Hawks Fall Short In High-Scoring Affair

After football made a bold statement, walking away with an impressive 42-23 road victory against the Towson Tigers, the team got ready for a fierce matchup against the Campbell Fighting Camels, who had just come off of a dominant 56-7 victory against The Citadel Bulldogs. Unfortunately, the Hawks walked away with a hard fought loss in the home opener with a score of 45-31 in an absolute offensive shoot out.

Monmouth started off the game with momentum as the Hawks defense came out strong forcing a fourth down and five on the first offensive possession. Campbell would decide to go for it on fourth down at mid-field, but the Fighting Camels quarterback Malik Williams scramble attempt was held short of the sticks by a stellar tackle from sophomore defensive lineman Miles Mitchell. Monmouth’s first offensive possession started at mid-field and eventually resulted in a touchdown from Harvard transfer-student and running back Sone Ntoh, as he took a direct snap straight into the end zone behind a solid push from the Hawks offensive line. The Fighting Camels offense quickly answered by driving down the field and scoring a touchdown off of a direct snap to sophomore running back NaQuari Rogers, making the score tied up at 7-7 with about five minutes left in the first quarter of play.

For the first 12 minutes of play in the second quarter, it really seemed as if the Hawks were going to run away with the victory. The offense was driving at a great pace yet again and once the team got close to the end zone, the short yardage specialist, Sone Ntoh, entered the game and got the easy four yard run in for the touchdown. The Fighting Camels received the ball back but were not able to respond.

Freshman kicker Michael Calton Jr. made a 26 yard field goal after the Hawks offense was stopped just short of the end zone on a third down play. Monmouth special teams came up big again the next play by recovering the football on the kickoff causing an automatic turnover and giving quarterback Marquez McCray and the Hawks offense spectacular field position.

With just over four minutes to play in the first half, junior running back Jaden Shirden took a thirty five yard handoff to the house putting the Hawks into the driver’s seat with a convincing lead of 23-7. However, Campbell was able to get a last minute touchdown and field goal but still trailed behind 23-17, entering halftime.

Once the second half came to a start, momentum had really swayed in favor of Campbell as the Fighting Camels scored two touchdowns on their first two drives with the strategy of running the football up the nose. Unfortunately, the Hawks offense was held to zero points during this timeframe making the score 31-23 in favor of the Fighting Camels with about ninety seconds left to play in the third quarter.

In the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Hawks offense was able to finally respond as McCray threw a beautiful twenty-two yard pass that found Shirden in the endzone. The Hawks were able to secure the two point conversion, tying the game up at 31-31, making things very interesting for all in attendance.
Campbell’s NaQuari Rogers then put up his third touchdown of the day on a thirty two yard run that quickly gave the Fighting Camels a 38-31 lead. The Hawks put up a good fight after this, but Campbells defense was not giving in as they made a few clutch stops including an interception to maintain the tight seven point lead.

With just over five minutes left in regulation the Hawks defense made a big stop on a third down and six run to hold Campbell to a 48 yard field goal attempt that ended up being missed wide of the upright by graduate student kicker Caleb Dowden. This gave the Hawks a more realistic opportunity of making a comeback as they were now still only down by one score with a little under five minutes left to play in the game.

The Hawks saw much less action offensively after receiving the ball back, which allowed the Fighting Camels to gain possession again and score another rushing touchdown, which milked the clock a little closer to triple zeros and put the Hawks in a 45-31 hole.

On the last Monmouth drive, McCray led the offense down the field needing only a handful of impressive throws to do so. On fourth down and nine with sixty four seconds left to go in the game, McCray had to throw up a last stitch effort ball in the endzone, but Camels safety D’Marcus Harrington came up with the interception in the endzone which officially sealed the game as a 45-31 loss for the Monmouth Hawks.

Although the team did not walk away with a victory there is a lot to be excited about for this football team. Jaden Shirden continued his outstanding tenure on this team with one-hundred and sixty five yards rushing off of thirty-one carries. Marquez McCray seems to have a great connection with senior wide receiver Dymere Miller, as the shifty receiver was able to pull in nine receptions for a whopping one-hundred and thirty-eight yards.

The Hawks will look to bounce back with a win as they travel to Lafayette College to take on the Leopards on a Saturday (09/23/23) afternoon matchup in Pennsylvania.