Sports

Football Defeats Wagner with Late Touchdown

Football 10.03.18Tied at 47 with 1:14 left, senior wide receiver Reggie White Jr. scored the game-winning 84-yard touchdown which set the program record 213 career receptions to send football past the Wagner Seahawks 54-47 on Saturday afternoon.

“[The game-winning touchdown] was huge. Darnell Leslie told me that I was going to break the record on a TD,” White Jr. said. “I was running down the field and he called it. As soon as I scored and pointed right to him. [Pete] Righi and Juwon [Farri] had huge blocks. They opened it up for me and I just ran the rest of the way. Without them that play wouldn’t have happened.”

After being down 47-32 with 12:49 left in the game, Monmouth scored on three straight touchdown drives to finish the 15 point comeback.

On the opening drive for Wagner, a botched snap traveled 20 yards backwards to their own end zone which resulted in a safety. After a Monmouth interception on the next drive, Wagner scored three straight passing touchdowns to make the score 21-2 midway through the second.

The Hawks answered with three straight scoring drives of their own. First was a junior quarterback Kenji Bahar to White Jr. five-yard touchdown pass. After a three and out by the Seahawks, sophomore running back Pete Guerriero scored on a five-yard rushing touchdown. After another Wagner three and out, Bahar scored on a 68-yard rushing touchdown after breaking a few tackles along the way, giving Monmouth the 22-21 lead.

“I made two moves and I was still up and I was like ‘I might score’ and I just ran to the end zone,” Bahar said. “There was a good block by Juwon [Farri] and Lonnie [Moore].”

Wagner came back with two straight scoring drives for themselves after the Bahar run. The Seahawks went for the two-point conversion after each score but was unsuccessful both times. Senior running back Devell Jones added to the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run for the Hawks, making it the half time score of 33-29, advantage Wagner.

The third quarter was the lowest scoring of the game; Monmouth added on a 37-yard field goal and Wagner scored on a five-yard rushing touchdown, giving Wagner the 40-32 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Seahawks added to their lead early in the fourth, which made it 47-32 Wagner. Farri came back with two rushing touchdowns, from 21 and 19 yards out to bring the score to 47 all en route to earning Big South Rookie of the Week honors.

After the Hawks received the ball at their own one yard line after a Wagner punt, Monmouth went 15 yards to their own 16 before White Jr. went 84 yards to break the receptions record while also clinching the comeback victory for Monmouth. The wide out was also named Big South Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

“We knew going into the game this game was probably like 23 [games against Wagner that] came before,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “It would be a game that came down to the wire. Both teams and players making plays, everyone happy with the outcome. There were times in the game where we couldn’t do anything right. There were times where we couldn’t do anything wrong. I think you saw several players on our team step up and make big plays. As we move forward, there’s a lot we have to work on, a lot we can do better. We are very happy with the victory heading into the bye.”

Even though the defense gave up 47 points, they held Wagner to only 59 rushing yards, including Wagner’s leading running back who entered the game as the leading rusher in all of Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

“The front seven on defense played outstanding today. You got to give them a lot of credit, they did an outstanding job,” said Callahan. “He (Wagner leading rusher) had no place to run. They had several tackles for losses and they were big for us. They made Wagner one dimensional.”

For the Hawks, Farri and Guerriero reached the century mark for rushing, with 104 and 102 yards, respectively. White Jr. finished with 161 yards on seven receptions and two touchdowns. Bahar went 14-26 passing with 251 passing yards.

Monmouth (3-2, 0-0 Big South), will have a bye week before welcoming the Bucknell Bison to Kessler Stadium on Oct. 13. Kickoff will be at 1:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell