September 12, 2015

King's Football - Monarchs fall to Defending MAC Champions Widener

Sophomore Matt Demarco's 96-yard kickoff return was the longest in King's modern era football history but the Monarchs fell to defending MAC champion Widener (photo Courtesy of King's Athletics)
CHESTER -- Defending Middle Atlantic Conference champion Widener University took its first step towards a possible title defense as the Pride racked up 561 yards of total offense on its way to a 43-20 victory over visiting King's College Saturday at Leslie C. Quick Stadium.

With the win Widener improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the MAC while King's slipped to 0-2 and 0-1.

Widener took the opening drive of the game and forged ahead 3-0. The Pride faced a fourth-and-five from the King's 47 and used a screen pass to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive. The Pride eventually settled for a 30-yard field goal by Ryan O'Hara with 11:16 on the clock

Widener later extended the lead with a drive from its own 27 following a King's punt. The Pride used a 53-yard pass from Seth Klein to Eric Sharpe to King's 19. Widener reached the end zone on a two-yard run by Robert Getz and O'Hara made good on the extra-point kick to give Widener a 10-0 lead with 12:30 left in half.

After being pinned at its own six-yard line following a King's punt, Widener put together another drive to stretch the lead. A 24-yard pass from Klein to Phil Ragona was fumbled at the goal line and recovered by Pride teammate Max Cutler in the end zone to give the Pride a 17-0 advantage with 4:33 remaining, a lead Widener would take into the halftime break.

King's managed just 47 yards of total offense on 33 plays in the first half while Widener amassed 308 yards on 49 plays.

After forcing a King's punt on the first possession of the second half, Widener took over at its own 46. The Pride struck quickly, using six plays, capped by a one-yard run by Getz to extend the lead to 24-0 with 12:05 remaining in the third quarter.

King's would then reach the scoreboard on the ensuing kickoff when Matt Demarco returned the offering 96 yards for a Monarch touchdown. It marked the longest kick return in King's history, surpassing the previous long of 91 yards set by Eric Ofcharsky against Stevenson in 2011. Mikhail Kniaziewiczmade good on the extra-point kick to cut the lead to 24-7.

But the Widener quick-strike offense answered immediate with a 66-yard scoring drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Ragona. The extra-point kick failed but the Pride lead grew to 30-7 with 10:04 left in the third quarter.

On King's next possession Jamal Goodman picked off Monarch quarterbackZach Whitehead and registered a 53-yard return, the Pride assumed possession at the King's 23.

After an incomplete pass, Getz took a second-down handoff and broke several tackles en route to a 23-yard touchdown run for another Widener score. O'Hara's conversion kick pushed the Pride lead to 37-7 with 7:48 remaining in third quarter.

King's would then turn the ball over again for a second straight possession when Hehre was picked off by Chris Maiden and returned 18 yards to the Monarch 32. Widener would settled for a 24-yard field goal by O'Hara to extend the lead to 40-7 with 2:27 remaining in the third.

Early in the fourth quarter King's blocked a Widener field goal and Trey Watsonreturned the ball 85 yards to the Widener 14. Two plays later Zack Funk score on a six yard run. The extra-point kick sailed wide as King's cut the score to 40-13 with 12:54 left in the contest.

Widener added a 38-yard field goal by O'Hara at 10:02. The Monarchs rounded out the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run by Gabe Brown with 1:35 to play to set the final score at 43-20.

King's, which posted 217 yards in the game, was paced by Brown with 76 rushing yards on 12 carries with one score. Zack Funk added 59 yards on five caries. Hehre completed 11-of-26 passes for just 37 yards and two interceptions while Whitehead was 4-of-9 for 43 yards and one interception.Mike Palmer led King's receivers with six catches for 36 yards

Klein led Widener by completing 24-of-38 passes for 321 yards and one touchdown. Ragona had nine catches for 103 yards while nine different Pride players combined to rush for 190 yards.

King's returns to the field Saturday when the Monarchs host its annual Homecoming Game against FDU-Florham at 1:00 p.m. at McCarthy Stadium. FDU-Florham won its opener with a 34-29 victory over The College of New Jersey.