September 20, 2015

King's Football Goes Overtime to Down FDU in 35-28 Homecoming Win

Photo Courtesy of King's Athletics
WILKES-BARRE — Tom Hehere score what proved to be the winning touchdown in the first possession of overtime and the King's College defense came up with the game-clinching fumble recovery as the Monarchs posted a 35-28 victory over visiting FDU-Florham Saturday at King's Homecoming at McCarthy Stadium.

With the win KIng's improved to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the Middle Atlantic Conference while FDU slipped to 1-1 and 0-1 in league games.

The Monarchs overcame their most mistake-laden performance of the season despite getting off to an outstanding start. After forcing an FDU punt on the first possession of the game the Monarchs marched downfield, getting on the scoreboard first with a 14-yard run by freshman tailback Gabe Brown. After forcing an FDU punt, the Monarchs coughed the ball up and FDU recovered at the King's 20. There plays later the Devils found the end zone when Tyler Maurer hit Esaun Mobley for a 31-yards touchdown. The extra-point kick failed as the Monarchs held a 7-6 lrad with 4:554 left in the first quarter.

The Devils took advantage of another costly Monarch mistake when quarterback Tom Hehre was picked off by Jaleel Tyson at the Monarchs 18. Two plays later FDU made KIng's pay as Nick LaVecchia found Malik Pressley with an 11-yard touchdown pass to give the Devils a 13-7 lead with 2:33 remaining in the half.

But King's special teams came up big when Justin Burke returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards to the Devil 23. On first down Zach Whitehead hooked with Mike Palmer for a 23-yard touchdown to give the Monarchs a 14-13 lead with 2:12 on the clock, a lead King's would take into the halftime break.

KIng's took the second-half kickoff and put together a 14-play, 60 yard drive. After a pass interference penalty on a pass to Monarch tight end Danny Lynch gave KIng's a first down at the Devil one-yard line, Hehre would find the end zone on a quarterback sneak to give King's a 21-13 advantage.

Late in the third quarter, King's assumed possession at its own 24-yard line following an FDU punt. But on a third-and-four play from its own 30, Hehre was intercepted by Chris Fitzgerald who returned the offering 31 yards for an FDU touchdown. The Devils opted to attempt a two-point conversion andLaVecchia found Mobley in the end zone to tie the game at 21-21 with 0:07 remaining in the third quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter FDU assumed possession at its own 25 following a Monarch punt. The Devils used a mammoth 19-play, 75-yard drive to reach the KIng's four-yard line. From there Anthony Ognibene scored from four-yards out to cap the drive, which ran off 8:18 off the clock as the Devils took a 28-21 lead with just 1:08 left in the contest.

But KIng's would not quit and Hehre found sophomore split end Matt Demarco for seven yards before hooking up with Tyler Marroni for 13 more. After a five-yard hookup with Marquis Miller, Hehre came up big with a 29-yard pass to Mike Palmer at the Devil five. On the next play Demarco powered in the end zone from five yards out on a reverse and Mike Tumminello added the all-important extra-point kick with 0:14 left to send the game into overtime.

In extra-time, FDU won the coin toss and deferred possession, giving the Monarchs the ball first. With the football placed at the 25-yard line, A six-yard run by Zach Funk, FDU was flagged for a roughing-the-passer penalty, giving King's a first-down at the Devil nine. Three player later Hehre worked his way over the goal line on a quarterback sneak and Tumminello made good on the extra-point as King's took a 35-28 lead.

With FDU now taking its forst possession of overtime, the game would suddenly end. The Devils attempted a rushing play but LaVecchi and Mobley were unable to complete the handoff, resulting in a fumble. Monarch linebacker Bobby Russell pounced on the loose ball as the Monarchs walked away with a gut-wrenching victory.

It was a game of turnovers for both teams, which combined for nine fumbles and two interceptions. FDU fumbled six times and lost three while th Monarchs fumbled three times and lost two. King's also threw two interceptions in the contest.

Te Monarchs out gained FDU 303-252 in total yards while outrushing the Devils 151-104. King's also held a 152-148 edge in passing yards. Here completed 17-of-32 passes for 129 yards with two interceptions but also rushed for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Brown rushed for 81 yards on 19 carries while Palmer and Demarco caught five passes each.

LaVecchia, who replaced injured starter Maurer in the second quarter, completed 11-of-16 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 27 yards on seven carries. Maurer was 8-13 for 17 yards before going down with an apparent knee injury. Ognibene rushed for a team-high 55 yards on 18 carries while Tyler Adams led all Devil receivers with seven catches for 43 yards. The Monarchs did an admirable job on standout receiver Malik Pressley, holding the receiver to four catches for 34 yards. Last week Pressley torched The College of New Jersey for 15 catches for 309 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively for King's, Michael Martina had a team-high seven tackles with one sack. Jake Mannetti followed with six stops whileHassan Maxwell, Monroe Sherman, andAnthony Martuccio all had five tackles apiece.

An unsung hero for the Monarchs was Tumminello who was forced to make his varsity debut after Monarch kicker Mikhail Kniaziewicz went down with an injury. Tumminello went 3-for-3 in extra-points, including the critical game-tying kick to send the game to overtime, as well as the important 35th Monarch point in overtime.

King's returns to the gridiron Saturday when the Monarchs travel to Doylestown for a 7:00 p.m. Matchup against MAC rival Delaware Valley College (2-1), a 28-7 winner over Misericordia on Saturday.

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