FB 09.11.19

Football Gets First Win Led By Player of the Week

Monmouth football recorded their first victory of the 2019 campaign against visiting Lafayette on Saturday behind three players who received all Big South honors including junior running back Pete Guerriero who ran the ball 26 times for 152 yards and a touchdown.

The game got off to a slow, defensive start as the first couple drives for both teams resulted in zero points including punts and a Hawks’ turnover on the offensive side of the ball. The blue and white bounced back strong however to close out the first quarter of play with a 12-play, 86-yard drive that began on their own 14-yard line and culminated with a Guerriero 19-yard touchdown. His performance ultimately led to being named the Big South Offensive Player of the Week as well as an honorable mention for Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Offensive Player of the Week.

“Pete ran tough all day,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “You have to give fifth year running back Devell Jones and the offensive line credit too for what they were able to do in the closing minutes of the game to grind out those tough yards.”

The Hawks continued to move the ball into Lafayette territory in the second quarter of play as they were able to tack onto their lead with two field goals from senior kicker Matt Mosquera of 23 and 35-yard distances.

The visiting Leopards were able to get on the scoreboard late in the first half after a 13-yard rushing touchdown capped off their long, 15-play 75-yard drive to bring the score closer at 13-7.

The first half’s scoring did not end here as Monmouth pulled together a phenomenal six play final drive of the half resulting in a touchdown pass from fifth year quarterback Kenji Bahar to junior wide receiver Joey Aldarelli from ten yards out. A successful two-point conversion from Bahar to junior wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV sent the Hawks to the locker room with a 21-7 lead.

Moore IV finished the day with a career-high 122 receiving yards on six catches including a long of 48 yards. Bahar completed 15 of 29 passes on the afternoon for a total of 194 yards with a touchdown through the air and one interception.

“I thought going into halftime that we had that game in control,” said Callahan. “Lafayette did a good job and hung around, we didn’t seem to click in the third quarter the same way we did in the first half and that allowed them to get back into the game.”

The momentum seemed to sway in Lafayette’s direction after a huge 80-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to bring it back to a one possession game.

The blue and white defense was able to slow down the Leopard attack from here led by the strong effort from senior linebacker Da’Quan Grimes who had seven tackles earning himself All Big South honors for the week. Senior linebacker Evan Powell and junior defensive lineman Erik Massey also contributed to the defense’s ability to hold the lead with five tackles a piece including a combined three tackles for loss. Junior defensive back Anthony Budd put the finishing touches on the Monmouth defensive showing with a second half interception in the endzone to maintain the MU lead.

The Hawks added their only points of the second half early in the fourth quarter thanks to a deep, 40-yard field goal from Mosquera to extend the lead to a two-possession game. Mosquera’s career-high three made field goals on the day earned himself Big South Special Teams Player of the Week. His final kick ended up being the difference and margin of victory for MU after Lafayette added one more touchdown in the final minutes bringing it to a 24-21 final.

The 1-1 Hawks will stay home in the friendly confines of Kessler Stadium to face the Great Danes of Albany on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics