Sports

Football Receives Votes for National Ranking

FB 10.30.19Hawks football improved their record to 6-2 and remained undefeated in conference play beating Charleston Southern on the road 35-13 behind a career-best day from junior running back Pete Guerriero who earned Big South Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Guerriero ran the ball 22 times in the game for a career-high 221 yards and a touchdown which came late in the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on a road domination for the blue and white. This is the fourth most rushing yards a running back has ever recorded in a single game in Monmouth history.

Senior quarterback Kenji Bahar also led the winning efforts throwing for 194 yards and three touchdowns in route to becoming the program’s all-time leading passer with 8,000 total.

“Kenji’s just a great performer for us,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “This is his third and a half year as a starter and you can see his growth and maturation each and every year. There is no question he’s the leader of our offensive unit and he runs the show out on the field.”

Bahar got the offense going again in this one as he typically does, putting the first MU points on the board early in the first quarter with a 36-yard touchdown on just his second completion of the day to junior wide receiver Terrance Greene Jr.

The matchup tightened up from here for most of the first half as Charleston Southern responded with two field goals in the ensuing drives to shorten the margin to a lone point, 7-6. Right before half the Hawks capitalized on back-to-back completions to junior standout wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV to set up a 13-yard touchdown pass to fifth year tight end Shawn Clark making the score 14-6.

The first points of the second half came after the second longest run of the season for Guerriero who burst a 63-yarder just a week after his 65-yard break against Gardner-Webb. Fifth year running back Devell Jones converted on the great field possession from four yards out for his sixth touchdown of the year to put Monmouth up 21-6.

“We had some frustrations in the first half running the ball,” said Callahan. “We made a couple of adjustments at halftime on how we were blocking. I thought the offensive line did a really good job and we started getting some movement on them in the second half. Anytime you can get movement and give Pete a crease he’s going to break some big runs.”

The Hawks continued their lockdown defense in the second half as well not allowing a single point in the third quarter which gave the offense the opportunity to pull away with the game. Freshman defensive back Davis Smith headlined this side of the ball, leading the blue and white in tackles with nine total while the senior linebacker Da’Quan Grimes finished with seven. The senior defensive back Tymere Berry also contributed six tackles including a forced fumble.

“We tightened up when we got in the redzone and forced them to kick field goals and I take that as a win for the defense,” said Callahan. “In the second half we did a nice job of getting three and outs and giving the ball back to the offense.”

Bahar and the Hawks’ offense cushioned their lead to 28-6 in the third quarter with the second touchdown of the day for the tight end Clark who had his first multi-touchdown game of his career.

Guerriero scored from 42 yards out in the fourth to complete the Monmouth scoring before the Buccaneers scored their lone touchdown resulting in the 35-13 final.

The Hawks will now travel to the #5 ranked team in the country, Kennesaw State on Saturday where the winner will be in control of the Big South. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ at 2:00 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY of Willis Glassgow