November 2, 2015


Bobby Russell haad a team-high 10 tackles and the King's defense held Albright's offense to 130 yards below its season average (Photo courtesy of King's Athletics)
WILKES-BARRE -- The King's College football team shot itself in the foot, committing four turnovers, all which led to 24 Albright College points as the host Monarchs dropped a disappointing 38-28 decision to the Middle Atlantic Conference co-leading Lions Saturday at McCarthy Stadium.

With the win, Albright improved to 7-1 overall and 6-1 in the MAC while King's saw its winning streak end at two games in falling to 3-5 overall and 3-4 in the MAC.

For King's, it was a bitter pill to swallow in a game the Monarchs could have won. King's outgained Albright 344-238 in total yards; led 22-to-15 in first downs; ran 69 plays compared to 49 for Albright, and also held a 34:51-to-25:09 possession time advantage. But games are not won on statistics and the Monarchs found out first hand.

The game could not have started any better for King's as the Monarchs took the opening kickoff and put together perhaps its most impressive drive of the season. King's marched 77 yards on 14 plays, lasting 8:10 and scored on a one-yard run by Gabe Brown to take a 7-0 lead.

After King's defense forced Albright o punt after three plays, the Monarchs assumed possession at their own 26. From there the first of four crippling turnovers would take place.

On first down, Monarch quarterback Tom Hehre was intercepted by Albright's Colton Ryan at the King's 35 and returned the pick to the Monarch 26. King's defense held firm and Dan obolewski kicked a 41-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.

On King's next possession, the Monarchs drove to the Albright 36-yard line on six plays. On a second-and-11 play, Hehre was again picked off, this time by Steve Barroso at the Lion 19, thwarting the Monarch scoring chance. The Lions then marched 81 yards on eight plays and found the end zone when Mike Knight connected with Malik Gilmore on a 10-yard touchdown to take a 10-7 lead.

After King's was forced to punt on its next possession, Albright took over at its own 39 and again advanced doen the field. The Lions used five plays before Alec Vignola hit Khari Jefferson with a 35 yard touchdown just inside the end zone border. Sobolewski added the conversion as the score grew to 17-7 with with 5:52 left in the half.

Two possessions later King's defense came up with a turnover when Tyler Mejasicpicked off Knight at the Monarchs 46 and the senior cornerback added a 15-yard return. Albright was then flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, give King's possession at the Lion 24 with 1:07 remaining in the half.

Hehre completed passes of 12 and 10 yards to Gabe Brown and Marquis Miller, giving the Monarchs a first down at the Lion nine. But disaster ensued two plays later when Ryan intercepted Hehre for the second time in the game, this time at the goal line and returned the pick 100 yards for a score with 0:15 on the clock.

The turnover was a potential 14-point swing as the Monarchs missed out on a chance to close to within 17-14 at the break, but instead trailed 24-7 entering halftime.

In the second half King's coach Jeff Knarr elected to start sophomore Zach Whiteheadat quarterback. The teams traded punts to start the second half before Albright made good on its next possession.

The Lions started their second drive of the half at its own 46 and marched to the Monarch two. On second-and-goal, Knight found Jefferson in the end zone for another Albright touchdown. Sobloewski's kick would push the Lion lead to 31-7 with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter.

On its ensuing possession, King's assumed possession at its own four-yard line after the kickoff. Whitehead led the Monarchs downfield, completing four passes and ran for 10, sandwiched around a 15-yard carry by Zack Funk. Whitehead then found Mike Palmer in the back of the end zone on a 26-yard scoring strike to get King's back on the board. Mikhail Kniaziewicz added the extra-point and King's cut the lead to 31-14 with 3:18 left in the third quarter.

King's defense created another turnover on Albright's next possession when Michael Martina sacked Knight and forced the freshman signal-caller to fumble. Monarch teammate Gary Poulson recovered the loose ball for King's at the Albright 49 and the Monarchs were back on the attack. Whitehead completed found Miller and Palmer for two short gains, then hit Dylan Flayhart for 24 yards to the Lion 14. After an eight-yard run by Matt Demarco on a reverse moved the ball to the two. the Monarchs needed three plays for Funk to score on a one-yard run. Kniaziewicz added the conversion and King's closed to within 31-21 with 12:40 left in the contest.

After the King's defense forced another Albright punt, the Monarchs took over at their own 20-yard line. After an encroachment penalty on Albright and a four-yard run by Whitehead set up a second-and-one play for the Monarch at their own 29, another devastating turnover reared its ugly head. Whitehead dropped back to pass and threw to the left sideline but was intercepted by Kali Boyce who raced 34 yards into the end zone for the Lions' second touchdown return of the game. Sobolewski's kick pushed the score to 38-21 with 8:11 to play.

But King's would not go down quietly as the Whitehead regrouped and marched the Monarchs downfield 75 yards, hitting Palmer for a 28-yard touchdown to trim the Albright lead to 38-28 with 5:56 to play.

With King's seeking to force a punt, Albright advanced to midfield. Facing a fourth-and-one play from their own 48, the Lions bypassed the punt and elected to go for the first down. But King's committed another big mistake when a Monarch defender jumped off side and made contact with an Albright lineman, drawing a penalty flag for encroachment and giving the Lions a first down with just over 3:00 to play. From there Albright managed to pick up three more first downs and ran out the clock to walk away with the victory.

Hehre completed 14-of-20 passes for 95 yards and rushed for 35 yards but threw three interceptions in the game. Whitehead performed well in relief, completing 12-of-18 passes for 176 yards with two touchdowns, but one interception. Palmer caught a career-high 12 passes for 133 yards and two scores while Demarco had four receptions for 55 yards.

Defensively for King's, Bobby Russell made a team-high 10 tackles, broke up three passes and had one and one-half quarterback sacks. Anthony Martuccio had six tackles while Michael Martina posted four tackles, including his team-high seventh sack of the season. The Monarch defense held Albright's offense to 129 yards below its season per-game average.

The Albright offense entered the game averaging 368.1 yards of total offense, were held to 238 total yards by the Monarch defense. Knight completed 10-of-20 passes for 72 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Gilmore and Jackson haad four catches apiece while Roemello Monroe and Chris Dawson led the Lions in rushing with 38 yards apiece.

Demonya Womack led the Lions with 13 tackles but turnovers were the true tale of the game. Albright took advantage of four interceptions, two by Ryan and one each from Boyce and Barroso. The Lions also registered nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the game.

King's will return to action Saturday when the Monarchs travel to Annville to face Lebanon valley College at 1:00 p.m.

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