September 30, 2017

King's Football Unable to Hold on as Albright Rallies for 34-31 Victory

A www.MACfb.com "Game of the Week" Photo
Article Courtesy of King's College Office of Sports Information
WILKES-BARRE -- The King's College football team was unable to hold onto a 24-7 second quarter lead as visiting Albright College rallied to post a 34-31 victory over the Monarchs on a field goal with 0:58 left in the contest.


With the loss, King's fell to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the Middle Atlantic Conference while Albright improved to 5-0 and 4-0 in MAC play. The Lions enters the game as the first team just outside the NCAA Division III Top-25 Poll.

For King's, it was a second-straight gut-wrenching defeat in the final minute of play. The Monarchs lost to Lycoming last week by a 44-41 margin on a touchdown with 0:42 to play, then watched as Kevin Goetz converted a 32-yard field goal to cap a comeback in which Albright outscored King's 27-7 over the final 30:14 of the game. It also marked the fourth time in five games this season that the Monarchs played in a game decided in the final minute of play.

King's scored first on a 24-yard field goal by Mike Tumminello with 1:36 left in the first quarter. King's built a 10-0 lead when Zach Whitehead found Jordan Downes for a 74-yard touchdown pass. The lead grew to 17-0 when Whitehead hooked up with Corey Flynn for a 17-0 lead with 6:06 to go in the half.

Albright got on the scoreboard when Isaiah Baylor scored on a 10-yard fumble return with 4:18 left in the half.  King's countered with a 75-yard drive, capped by a nine-yard touchdown run by Downes to put the Monarchs ahead 24-7 with 1:16 left in the half.

After an Albright turnover King's was unable to take advantage. The Monarchs ran four plays, taking just 0:45 off the clock and were forced to punt from their own 37-yard line. King's punt traveled just 13 yards to midfield and the Monarchs were flagged for a holding penalty, giving Albright possession at the King's 40-yard line with 0:30 to play in the half.  

Aided by a King's roughing the passer penalty, Albright scored on a four-yard pass from Alec Vignola to Malik Jackson with 0:14 on the clock to close to within 24-14 at the break.

In the second half, Albright cut the lead to 24-21 on a one-yard run by Vignola to cap a 12-play, 82-yard Lion drive.  

King's countered with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard scoring pass from Whitehead to Corey Flynn  as King's stretched the lead to 31-21 with 0:50 remaining in the third quarter.

But Albright outscored King's 13-0 the rest of the way.

First Vignola engineered a seven-play, 63-yard drive and scored on a three-yard run to trim the score to 31-28 with 7:15 to play. 

King's was unable to to move the ball and a seven-yard Monarch punt positioned Albright at the Monarch 30. Albright would tie the score when Goetz kicked a 21-yard field goal with 4:02 to go.

The Monarchs were again unable to move the ball on its ensuing possession and were forced to punt from its own 18. A 38-yard Monarch punt would give Albright possession at its own 44-yard line with 2:31 left in regulation.

From there, Albright would use five plays to reach the King's 15-yard line before the drive stalled. But Goetz came in to kick his third field goal of the game, another 32-yarder, with 0:58 remaining.

King's looked to answer and reached the Albright 33. But two straight incomplete passes, combined with a third-down intentional grounding penalty on the Monarchs, set up a fourth-and-16 play from the 39 with 0:07 left. But from there Whitehead was sacked on the final play of the game as the Monarchs' upset bid fell short. 

Statistically, King's outgained Albright 466-to-426 in total yards.  But the Monarchs, who entered he game leading the MAC with 11 penalties over-game, were flagged 12 times for 101 yards in the game.  Albright managed to overcome five turnovers in the game to pull out the victory.

Whitehead completed 20-of-42 passes for 359 yards with three touchdowns. Downes rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns and added four catches for 93 yards and one score.  Flynn led King's with seven receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns while Marquis Miller and Tyler Marroni had three catches apiece.

For Albright, Vignone completed 23-of-46 passes for 386 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for two scores. Mike Jordan caught seven passes for 125 yards while Jackson had five receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown.

King's returns to the field Saturday with a 1:00 PM matchup with local rival Misericordia University. The Cougars (1-4) lost 65-7 to defending MAC champion Stevenson University on Saturday.

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