Monarchs Prepare for Tough Road Trip vs. No. 23 Lycoming
The road back toward the top of the Middle Athletic Conference has been nothing short of difficult for the Monarch football squad.
Coming off a disappointing start to the season, falling to Moravian and losing their home opener against Stevenson, King’s football needs to find a way to bounce back. One of the biggest wins in recent program history was this time last year, a 28-24 upset over Lycoming.
But with another year past, and records changed, both teams’ chemistry has shifted. And Jeff Knarr, the Monarch’s head coach, has reminded his team that another win is possible, even if they’re traveling to Williamsport to face the No. 23 ranked team in the nation.
“We brought up that they we are going to play a good football team that’s fundamentally sound,” Knarr said Thursday during his weekly media availability. “We haven’t had success historically [in Williamsport]. Last year we played mistake free football, we had timely runs, put pressure on the QB and had good punting…we have to play the football we are capable of playing.”
The 0-2 Monarchs are looking to rebound another tough start to another rough season, a team that was originally pegged to finish 6th in the MAC by conference voters. Knarr, in his fifth season with the club, is 10-32 all-time, is looking for any sort of momentum.
And Lycoming won’t go down easy, similar to last season’s scrap. The Warriors finished 7-3 last season and tied for a share of the MAC crown. This year is no different. They ran past Albright in their season opener and didn’t give up a score.
But Knarr has faith in his troops. Neither he nor the team has wrapped their minds about last year’s historic season and this season’s losing streak. The coach told his team to stop doing “too much.”
“Prepare like crazy so during the week so you can play and have fun on Saturday,” Knarr said. “All you can do is your job and you can’t do more than what’s asked of you on that play. It’s not going to click magically.”
Saturday will be the 24th all-time clash between the two conference foes, Lycoming leading the series 16-6-1 overall. The last time King’s went on the road, Lycoming bested them, 33-10.
The Warriors boast the MAC’s best offensive squad, totaling 34 points per game after crushing Susquehanna in Week 1 with 42 points and last week’s Albright game had 26. Senior quarterback Tyler Jenny leads the conference in complete percentage (64%) and is second in the conference in passing yards with 221.5 yards per contest.
Their ground attack is also superb, Craig Needhammer tops the conference in rushing with 116 yards per game, including a conference-best four rushing touchdowns.
And with the odds once again stacked in the favor of the opposition, Knarr said that team morale has never been higher. The hopes of playing “David” in the face of another “Goliath” is upon the Monarchs, and they’ve never been more excited to take on the heavy task.
“The team has been staying together and they’ve been upbeat,” Knarr said. “Last night was one of our best offensive practices and they see that they are hurting themselves [on game day]… sometimes we don’t go through progressions from a passing standpoint and we have to do that every time, we have to get them to relax and just play.”