/seasons/2016/contrib/201610089devjt

King's Football Overcomes Rash of Penalties to Down Misericordia 42-35 as Whitehead Shines Offensively

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OCTOBER 8, 2016

WHITEHEAD ACCOUNTS FOR 454 YARDS AND KING'S FOOTBALL SURVIVES PENALTY BONANZA TO ESCAPE WITH A 42-35 VICTORY OVER MISERICORDIA

WILKES-BARRE --  Zach Whitehead accounted for 454 yards and five touchdowns and Trevor Hill prevented the potential game-tying score with an interception in the end zone with 0:46 left as the King's College football team held on for a 42-35 victory over visiting Misericordia University Saturday at McCarthy Stadium.

With the win King's improved to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the Middle Atlantic Conference while Misericordia slipped to 0-6 and 0-5 in league play.

As outstanding a game as Whitehead had, the performance was nearly overshadowed by the Monarchs being flagged for a surreal total of 17 penalties for a near back-breaking 216 yards.  

After taking a 21-14 lead into the half-time break, the Monarchs took the second half kickoff and marched 60 yards in five plays to score on a 10-yard pass from Whitehead to Mike Palmer.

But after a Misericordia punt, the Monarchs fumbled the ball and the Cougars took over at the King's 27. Five plays later Clayton Veck scored to cut the score to 28-21 with 9:03 left in the period.

King's countered with a seven-play, 72-yard drive capped by  nine-yard scamper by Whitehead to push the King's lead to 35-21 with 6:41 remaining in the third quarter.

The Cougars answered with a nine-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard pass from Brandon Leap to Colton Pyne to trim the lead to 35-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

Whitehead again led the Monarchs downfield, this time on an eight-play, 85-yard drive, capped by a three-yard run by the junior quarterback to up the King's advantage to 42-28 with 13:36 to go in the game.

But Misericordia again battled back and answered with a six-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 21-yard pass from Leap to Sam Gillison with 11:38 to play, cutting the King's lead to 42-35.

After a King's punt the Cougars had an opportunity to take the lead and drove 54 yards to the Monarch 14. But on a fourth-and-one play, the Monarch defense stepped up and stopped a Vleck carry just short of a first down with 6:25 on the clock.

The Monarchs had a chance of their own to seal the win when King's used eight plays to reach the Misericordia 47. But Whitehead and tailback Zack Funk were unable to complete the exchange and fumbled, giving Misericordia the ball back at the King's 48 with 2:05 left in the contest.

The Cougars took advantage of a second down pass interference penalty on King's, the Monarchs' 17th flag of the day, to advance to the 31. Three plays later, Leap  hit Pyne for eight-yards and a first down at the Monarch 15. After the Cougars spiked the ball to stop the clock with 0:57 left, Misericordia went for the winning score but Leap's throw just beyond the front pylon was intercepted by Hill in the end zone, giving the Monarchs possession with 0:46 remaining.  King's needed to call just one play to run out the clock and hold onto the win.

Whitehead was brilliant for the Monarchs with both his arms and his feet. King's amassed 519 yards of total offense in the game as Whitehead was responsible for 454 yards. He completed 26-of-38 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns while adding 99 net yards on 17 carries with two more scores.  Marquis Miller caught a career-high nine passes for 77 yards while Mike Palmer added six receptions for 95 yards, including a 30-yarder in the second quarter that brought the senior over the 1,000-yard mark in his two-year varsity career.

Tyler Marroni caught four passes for 111 yards and one touchdown, including a 74-yard pass from Whitehead that tied the game at 14-14 in the first quarter.  Funk rushed for 56 yards on nine carries, including a 13-yard touchdown run for the Monarchs' first score of the day. He also added three catches for 23 yards.

The offensive outburst enabled King's to overcome its most penalized game since head coach Jeff Knarr took over the program in 2010. King's previous high was 131 penalty yards on 12 penalties against Stevenson in 2012. But Saturday, the Monarchs obliterated that mark with 216 yards on 17 flags, averaging a whopping 12.7 yards each penalty. Of the 17 penalties, 10 calls came in the second half. The Monarchs' previous high this season was 76 yards of penalties against Delaware Valley in September 17.

Defensively for King's, junior linebacker Bruce Damon posted a career-high 20 tackles in the game.

For Misericordia, Leap completed 19-of-34 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 31 yards on six attempts. Pyne led Cougar receivers with six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown while Gillison added four receptions for 70 yards and one score.  Vleck led the ground game with 66 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns. The Cougars gained 384 yards of total offense in the game.

The Monarchs will enjoy an off week before returning to the field October 22 with a 1:00 pm. Match-up at FDU-Florham.

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Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

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