Ground Game Rolls King’s to Homecoming Victory
The sun sweltered on McCarthy Stadium as King’s took on rival Misericordia Saturday afternoon. With many alumni in attendance, as it is homecoming week, King’s tallied up their first victory of the season, a 36-29 victory over cross-valley rival Misericordia.
Monarch head coach Jeff Knarr talked reinforced that the ground game was essential to victory against the Cougars, and King’s didn’t disappoint. The Monarchs racked up 228 yards on the ground as sophomore Patrick Robinson and senior Kyle McGrath led the team on the attack. Robinson’s number was called 16 times as he rushed for 77 yards and a trip to the end zone. McGrath carried it 14 times for 73 yards and one stop to pay dirt.
The Cougars had no answer for the tough running style the two possessed. Coach Knarr had his own opinion on those two as well.
“We feel like they are all-conference level caliber backs,” Knarr said of Robinson and McGrath after the game. “We have to get them going because if you can run the football everything gets easier.”
Senior quarterback Tyler Hartranft also hlped the Monarchs, combining with the backs to amass a season-high 388 total yards of offense. He found sophomore tight end Jay Thomas for a 3-yard strike just as time expired in the first half. Midway through the third quarter, Hartanft struck again as he rolled out off of a play action fake and hit senior receiver Dan Kempa for a 44-yard bomb.
Kempa finished the day with 73 yards on three grabs for one touchdown and one 12-yard rushing touchdown. The Monarchs also shut down the Cougar running game when they were in the red zone, holding Misericordia to three field goals. Leading the team on defense were two underclassman Bobby Russell and Hassan Maxwell, who combined for 23 tackles.
Althrough the Monarch defense gave up 340 total yards, 242 on the ground, Maxwell was proud of the team’s second half adjustments.
“In the first half we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” Maxwell said. “But in the second half we tightened up the D.”
King’s had 14 penalties for 138 yards, totaling 39 penalties for nearly 400 yards this season. And though the Monarchs escaped without the penalties becoming too much of a factor, Knarr was pleased with how his team as a whole played.
“It’s hard to get wins,” Knarr said. “And this is our first one, and our kids worked really hard for it and earned it.”
Quarterback Jeff Puckett, who struggled through the air as he only completed 9 of 23 attempts but it was his rushing that hurt the Monarchs, led Misericordia. Puckett ran 30 times for 130 yards and 2 scores. Though he struggled passing, he did connect for a 22-yard touchdown to Juwan Petties-Jackson late in the fourth quarter to cut King’s lead to seven.
Misericordia attempted an onside kick with 44 seconds left but were unable to recover and that sealed the victory for the Monarchs. With the win Saturday, King’s improved to 1-3 and will take on Lebanon Valley College next week at home at 1:00 pm. The Dutchmen have started slow out of the gate, and hold a record of 0-4.