Sports

Football Hangs on to Beat Lafayette

Football 09.19.18After the defense gave up zero points in the second half, football came back to defeat the Lafayette Leopards 24-20.

“The defense did a good job in the second half, we knew we had a good plan in place and we needed just to execute it,” Head Coach Kevin Callahan said. “I have to give credit to the defense for what they were able to do in the second half.”

After going into the half down 20-15, the Hawks score retook the lead on the last play of the third quarter. Sophomore running back Pete Guerriero scored on a 43 yard rushing touchdown to make it 21-20. MU’s two point conversion after the touchdown was unsuccessful. Junior kicker Matt Mosquera added a 27 yard field goal midway through the second to make it the eventual score of 24-20.

In the first quarter, the Hawks and Leopards traded touchdowns, first was a junior quarterback Kenji Bahar to Guerriero 12-yard touchdown pass. The point after was unsuccessful after a botched snap. On the impending kickoff, Lafayette returned it 95 yards for the score to make it 7-6 Leopards.

The Leopards expanded their lead late in the first, scoring on a five-yard touchdown pass. The point after was blocked by junior defensive lineman Adam Kakar, leaving the score at 13-6.

After back-to-back punts by Monmouth and Lafayette to start the second, Mosquera brought the Hawks to within four after converting on a 25-yard field goal. On the next drive, the Hawks stopped the Leopards on third down twice, but two Monmouth penalties allowed the drive to continue for Lafayette. The Leopards would capitalize on the Hawks’ mistakes, scoring from five yards out.

“We had two critical penalties on their one drive on third downs and that kept the drive going and they were able to get in the end zone,” Callahan said.

Monmouth answered with a touchdown of their own, this time from senior running back Devell Jones. He scored from four yards out to make the halftime score 20-15.

In the second half, Lafayette attempted to expand on their lead in the opening drive, but the field goal attempt was blocked by senior defensive lineman Daivone Thomas. The next drive by Monmouth would stall in Lafayette territory after a failed fourth down conversion. After two punts by the Leopards and one by Monmouth, Guerriero scored on an untimed down, giving Monmouth a slim 21-20 lead going into the final quarter.

Mosquera’s field goal midway through the fourth gave Monmouth the 24-20 lead. Lafayette’s final attempt of the game was a 50 yard Hail Mary attempt that was batted down by junior defensive back Tymere Berry, sealing the narrow victory for the Hawks.

Junior linebacker Da’Quan Grimes was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. His four tackles helped the defense shut Lafayette out for the entire second half.

Bahar finished with a new career-high in passing yards with 334 on 28-40 passing, his second in two weeks. He was awarded with the Big South Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

“We started off a little slow but at the end of the day my guys were out there making plays,” Bahar said. “I tried to spread the ball around pretty evenly so it was all them, catching the ball and making plays. We had a two-minute drive going right before the half and we tied to build off of that drive starting off the second half.”

For the game, senior wide receiver Reggie White Jr. finished with seven catches for 86 yards. White Jr. is now in second place all-time with 198 career receptions at Monmouth. Guerriero finished with 110 rushing yards. Senior wide receiver Brandon Batts had a career-high seven catches for 93 yards.

The Hawks (2-1, 0-0 Big South) will next travel to Princeton to face off against the Tigers as they look to make it three wins in a row. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN+.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell