A Hawks’ Homecoming: Football Dominates the Day

The Monmouth Hawks (2-3) took on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (1-4) this past Saturday, Sept. 30, for Monmouth University’s annual Homecoming football game. Monmouth football not only took home the win but absolutely dominated in all aspects of the game, resulting in a bold victory with the score of 49-7.

Monmouth came out hot from the start as the Hawks defense forced the Mountain Hawks to punt the ball after only seven plays on offense. This gave Monmouth’s offense possession of the ball and, although backed up at their own four-yard line to start off the drive, this didn’t seem to faze the Hawks.

By no surprise, junior running back Jaden Shirden gave the Hawks the spark they needed on their first offensive drive with a 66-yard run that set the team up in scoring position at Lehigh’s three-yard line. A few plays later, graduate student running back Sone Ntoh took a one-yard run into the endzone for the first score of the game, making the score 7-0 in favor of the Hawks with 7:24 left in the first quarter.

After being shut out for all of the first quarter by Monmouth’s defense, Mountain Hawks sophomore quarterback Brayten Silbor would eventually be able to lead Lehigh’s offense downfield with multiple passes to various targets. After a long 15-play drive that took up 7:55 of the game clock, Silbor was able to take a one-yard run on fourth and goal into the endzone, tying the game up at 7-7 with 8:56 left in the second quarter.

Graduate student quarterback Marquez McCray was able to respond to Lehigh’s touchdown almost immediately, only needing 2:36 of game clock to do so. McCray drove the Hawks 76 yards downfield with multiple passes, including a clutch third down and two passes at the Lehigh 37-yard line that was caught by fifth-year wide receiver Assanti Kearney for a 16-yard gain. Just two plays later, McCray connected with senior wide receiver Dymere Miller for a ten-yard touchdown pass that put the Hawks up 14-7 with 6:13 left in the second quarter of play.

On Lehigh’s next offensive drive, Monmouth’s defense wasted no time extending their lead as freshman defensive back Deuce Lee came up with an interception on the first play of the drive that the young defender would take 36 yards to the house. This put the Hawks up 21-7 with 5:55 left in the first half and was a key point of the game for Monmouth, giving the team 14 points in just under 20 seconds of game clock.

Just before halftime, the Hawks offense was able to put up yet another touchdown. The Hawks were forced to punt on this drive, but Lehigh handed the Hawks the ball back after a roughing the kicker penalty. The very next play, McCray made the Mountain Hawks pay for the unnecessary penalty, finding fifth year wide receiver Dre Tucker for a 34-yard touchdown pass with just twelve seconds left in the half that made the score 28-7 in favor of Monmouth at the half.

Monmouth continued to immensely outperform their opponent as soon as the second half got underway. With the help of a few good runs from Ntoh and Shirden, the Hawks were set up in Lehigh territory. This allowed McCray to find Miller for their second touchdown connection of the day, as the senior wide receiver found the endzone of a long 36-yard pass making the score 35-7 with 10:37 left in the third quarter.

The Hawks defense forced another quick three and out, which gave the Hawks the ball back again after only 1:42 of play. The offense took immediate advantage of this as Ntoh took a handoff from the Hawks’ own 8-yard line; a grand total of 92 yards for the touchdown on the first play of the drive, putting the score all the way up to 42-7 with 8:35 left in the third quarter.

The next score of the game came on a quick drive by the Monmouth offense that only lasted 1:49. McCray was able to continue his stellar day by finding sophomore wide receiver Gavin Nelson for a 29-yard touchdown pass which made the score a whopping 49-7 in favor of the Hawks with 4:32 left in the third quarter.

The rest of the game saw no scoring as both offenses got shut out in the fourth quarter of play. Both Monmouth’s offense and defense came to play on this Homecoming Saturday, ultimately giving them a well-deserved 49-7 blowout win vs the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

McCray had a spectacular day putting up four touchdowns and 333 yards passing, and Miller had another stand-out performance putting up two touchdowns from 128 yards receiving, the Hawks rushing offense coming alive as the team ran for 231 yards. Monmouth’s defense played their best game of the year being dominant throughout, only allowing one score the whole game. The Hawks will look to ride this momentum as they host Hampton (3-1) this upcoming Saturday, Oct. 7, at Kessler Stadium.