FB 10.16.19

Football Shuts Out First Conference Rival

Monmouth football put a nearly flawless performance together in their first Big South matchup of the season, dominating visiting Presbyterian on Saturday 45-0 at Kessler Stadium in Long Branch. 

It was the fifth-year quarterback Kenji Bahar who led the way yet again for the blue and white despite getting pulled in the second half due to the massive lead. Bahar compiled 233 total passing yards while converting 16 of 23 passes for three touchdowns.

Bahar’s favorite target remained the same as it has been all year long, junior wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV hauled in six receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown fresh off of his game-winning touchdown last week at Wagner. His touchdown kick started the Hawks’ scoring early in the first quarter in the back corner of the endzone as he got one foot down for the 14-yard score.

Moore IV’s career-best season so far is becoming shockingly similar to Monmouth record-breaker Reggie White Jr.’s 2018 campaign which he was asked about after the game.

“One of the reasons why I actually came to Monmouth was because of Reggie. I took a visit here and he was the person who showed me around,” said Moore IV. “He just showed me the steps and being able to be behind guys like him was able to teach me a lot on and off the field. It’s a big testimony to those guys who set the standard for us.”

Among the players this season who are helping to fill the void of White Jr.’s departure are also junior and senior running backs Pete Guerrero and Devell Jones who each had huge games in Saturday’s victory. Guerrero ran for 83 total yards on 11 carries while breaking a 48-yard game changing touchdown run early in the first quarter to give Monmouth the 14-0 lead. This was also the longest run of the season for the starting running back.

Jones provided a change of pace for the Hawks as he was the short yardage weapon rushing the ball 11 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns including a wildcat score late in the first quarter to make it a 21-0 lead at the first intermission.

“We talked about execution, we talked about being aggressive, we talked about being physical and giving good effort and I think that’s what you saw out there today,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “I’m very happy with what the defense did, making some big plays early on to set the offense up in field position.”

The defense put together their strongest performance of the season headlined by the efforts of senior linebacker Da’Quan Grimes who compiled a game-high seven tackles as well as a forced fumble which was recovered by fifth-year defensive back Matt Castronuova.

“My mindset is to win every play. Our coaches stress ‘next play, next play’ so we want to come out and win the down,” said Grimes. “We take it from there, we made a lot of plays this year as a defense, but we need to focus on the little mental errors that keep us from being a dominant defense.”

The defensive dominance was also anchored by senior defensive lineman Russell Davidson who forced a fumble to open up the second quarter which was recovered by junior defensive back Anthony Budd who has become a turnover machine in 2019. Budd leads all of college football with five interceptions on the young season.

Junior linebacker DeJaun Cooper and senior defensive lineman Lowell Kelly-Gamble also forced fumbles in the game as Cooper had four total tackles and Kelly-Gamble had two tackles for loss. Junior defensive lineman Erik Massey was all over the field on every play with three total tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Bahar wrapped up the day’s scoring with second half touchdown passes to fifth year tight end Shawn Clark and junior wide receiver Terrance Greene Jr. before getting taken out due to the 45-0 lead for sophomore quarterback Eddie Scott.

The Hawks will remain home for their biggest matchup to date on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for their Homecoming game against 3-3 Gardner-Webb.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell