October 5, 2014

King's Football - Defense Leads Monarchs to 10-7 Win Over Lebanon Valley College

Junior safety Anthony Martuccio had 10 tackles and helped the Monarch defense contain Lebanon Valley on route to a 10-9 win on Saturday (Photo courtesy of Kng's Sports Infromation)
WILKES-BARRE -- Freshman cornerback Justin Foster had two interceptions and the King's College defense held visiting Lebanon Valley College to 232 yards of offense, the lowest number of yards the Monarchs have yielded this season, en route to registering a 10-7 victory Saturday at McCarthy Stadium in Wilkes-Barre.

With the win, King's improved to 2-3 on the year and equaled its Middle Atlantic Conference mark at 2-2. In the process, King's snapped a seven-year losing streak to Lebanon Valley dating from 2007-2014. The Monarchs had not beat the Flying Dutchmen since a 1-0 triumph in 2006 in Wilkes-Barre. Lebanon Valley, the 2013 MAC co-champion, fell to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the MAC in yet another close defeat for the Flying Dutchmen. 

After a scoreless first quarter, King's grabbed a 7-0 lead in the second quarter thanks to a Lebanon Valley turnover. With the Dutchmen poised to punt from their own 49, a bad snap resulted in a 21-yard loss, giving the Monarchs first down at the Lebanon Valley 28.

A 13-yard run by Patrick Robinson was followed by a personal foul penalty against Lebanon Valley, moving the ball to the eight. On the next play Robinson raced into the end zone of left tackle for the first score of the game. Mikhail Kniaziewicz added the extra-point as the Monarchs took a 7-0  lead with 9:07 left in the first half.

The Monarchs added to the lead on its final possession of the first half following a Dutchmen punt to the King's 32.  A 10-yard run by Kyle McGrath and a 13-yard scramble by quarterback Tyler Hartranft gave King's possession at midfield.  Hartranft and Robinson hooked up for a 14-yard completion before later finding Dan Kempa for 25 yards to the Lebanon Valley 15. The catch allowed Kempa to break King's career recpetions mark. From there the drive stalled and Kniaziewicz drilled a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the first half as King's took a 10-0 lead at the break.

King's defense was the story of the first half, holding the Flying Dutchmen to just 67 yards of total offense on 30 players in the opening stanza.
In the second half neither team could move the ball as the teams combined for four punts in the third quarter. King's thwarted a Dutchmen drive when Lebanon Valley reached the Monarch 44 and Kris Matthews came through with a key interception at the Monarch 29 . The Monarch defense also stopped the Dutchmen on a fourth-and-four play at the King's 34 when Bobby Russell knocked away a Brian Murphy pass.

Early in the fourth quarter King's came up with a huge special teams play after Lebanon Valley took an intercepted pass batted into the air at the line of scrimmage and returned the ball to the Monarch 16. The Dutchmen reached the Monarch five but three straight played were stuffed by the King's defense. From there Lebanon Valley attempted a 22-yard field goal but King's nose-guard Bob Shaw swatted down the kick and the Monarchs took over at its own 27.

Two possessions later in the fourth quarter  Lebanon Valley took over at its own  39 with 9:19 left in the contest and managed its lone score of the day. The Dutchmen faced a second-and-29 yard play and Murphy launched a desperation pass down field where tight end Tyler George out-jumped the King's secondary for a 48-yard gain to the Monarch 32. Two plays later Murphy hit George for a 17-yard touchdown to trim the King's lead to 10-7 with 8:00 left in the contest.

After a King's punt the Dutchmen took over at their own 20 and looked for the big play as Murphy's long down field pass to George was picked off by Monarch freshman cornerback Justin Foster at the Monarchs 46. But King's was again able to move the ball and punted the ball away as the Dutchmen took over at their own 30 with 4:31 on the clock.

Lebanon Valley moved to the King's 44 where the Dutchmen faced a fourth-and-nine play. But Murphy's pass to George fell incomplete as the Monarchs assumed possession at its own 44 with 2:23 on the clock.

The Monarchs ran three running plays and whittled the clock down to 0:22 before punting the ball away. A Dutchmen elected to fair catch the Eric Haenggi offering at it own 24 with 0:14 left.  

Lebanon Valley would try two long passes down field but each fell  incomplete as the Monarchs held on for the victory.

Both defenses were outstanding as King's gained just 194 yards of total offense while the Dutchmen finished with 232 in the game.
Hartranft led the King's offense by completing 11-of-25 passes for 131 yards while also scampering for 46 rushing yards, 29 which were negated by four quarterback sacks. McGrath rushed for 30 yards on 14 carries and moved into sixth-place on the Monarchs' all-time rushing list with 1,997 yards.

Kempa also reached another career milestone with three catches for 40 yards and set the King's record with his 119th reception, bettering the mark of 117 set by Julian Walker from 2002-05. Patrick Robinson added six catches out of the backfield for 59 yards.

Anthony Martucci paced the King's defense with a season-high 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Bobby Russell added eight tackles and 2.00 tackles for loss whileJames Burke posted seven tackles and a sack while Nick Kaijala also finished with seven tackles. Justin Burke contributed five tackles and broke up two passes while Matthews tallied four tackles, an interception, and two pass breaks. Foster also came up big with two interceptions.

For Lebanon Valley, Murphy completed 9-of-27 passes for 131 yards and three interceptions. Brendan Irving rushed for 87 yards on 22 carries.

King's will enjoy an off week before returning to the gridiron October 18 against FDU-Florham at 1:00 p.m. in Madison, NJ.