WILKES-BARRE, PA (September 15, 2018) – King's College posted a school-record for points with 65 on Saturday, as the King's College football team knocked off Hartwick College 65-48 in non-conference action from McCarthy Stadium. The Monarchs moved to 1-1 on the season, while Hartwick dropped to 2-1 on the year.
The Monarchs passed the previous school record of 63 points, set last year against Misericordia University, while the 46 points in the first half was the second-most in a first half game since posting 49 against Susquehanna University in 2005.
King's took the opening drive of the game and drove 41 yards over four plays to strike first, as freshman kicker Jack Barreras connected on a 24-yard field goal to make the score 3-0. King's would take a 9-0 lead later in the first quarter, as senior running back Jordan Downes needed just one play to bust a 71-yarder down the right sideline.
Hartwick quickly struck back on the next play from scrimmage, as Ronald Ballard busted a 36-yard touchdown run to cut King's lead to 9-7. The Monarchs got the ball back and proceeded to march 72 yards on six plays, with the big play coming on a 49-yard reception from sophomore Tim Costantino. That set up an eight-yard touchdown run by junior Titus Nelson, his first of two scores Saturday on the ground.
The visiting Hawks once again came right back, as Ballard posted his second rushing score of the first quarter from a yard out. The point after though was blocked by junior Mikal Butler, keeping King's up by three at 16-13. The quick strike offense for King's once again was on display on their next drive, going 66 yards on three plays, as sophomore Gabe Boccella burst through the line on a run-pass option play and scored from 60 yards out to make the score 23-13.
After the quarter break, Hartwick once again trimmed the King's lead to three points after a Bryce Macina 17-yard touchdown run. The Hawks took its first lead of the game at 11:05 of the second quarter, as Macina hit Dylan Mucci for an 84-yard touchdown strike to make the score 27-23. The offense kept coming 4:49 later in the second quarter, as sophomore Tommy Klock came on to run the unit for King's.
Klock led King's on a methodical and somewhat extended drive for the up-tempo Monarch offense, needing 11 plays to go 65 yards before Klock took a quarterback keeper and plunged in from a yard out to make the score 30-27 King's. The first big defensive play came on the next possession for Hartwick, as King's sophomore Mando Sallavanti sacked Macina, forcing a fumble. Sophomore Yusef Wheeler scooped up the ball at the 10-yard line and walked into the end zone for the touchdown. The defensive touchdown was King's first October 25, 2014 at Albright College by Anthony Martuccio.
On the very next play from scrimmage, King's forced another sack and fumble recovery, as senior Devrin Baynard dislodged the ball from Macina and Izuchukwu Mozie dove on the loose ball to give King's the ball at the Hartwick 38. The Monarchs took full advantage, needing six plays to cash in on the turnover, as Downes took a screen pass from Klock and dove for the left pilon to put King's up 43-27.
The King's defense got another stop with 1:10 to go in the period and got the ball at the Hartwick 43 after a 15-yard punt from the Hawks. King's would use the final 60 seconds to march into field goal range, and Barreras knocked through a 25-yarder to make the score 46-27 at the break. King's held the ball for 11:10 of the second quarter, converting 6-of-7 third downs in the second quarter while posting 11 first-downs in the period.
After the intermission, Hartwick scored after taking advantage of a muffed punt by the Monarchs, as Macina scored from eight yards out on a carry, making the score 46-34 King's. On the ensuring drive, the Monarchs stretched their lead up to 15 points at 49-34, as Barreras connected on another 25-yard field goal to complete a 12-play, 4:52 drive.
The visitors trimmed the game back to a one-score game at 49-41 with 2:02 to play in the third quarter, as Hartwick finished a seven-play drive on another Macina rushing touchdown, scoring from 17 yards out. The Monarchs wouldn't relent offensively though, using a strong kick return from Downes to make the score 55-41, as Nelson powered in to complete a six-play drive over 2:51.
Another big play from the defensive unit was in store for the next drive, as Mucci was stripped by sophomore Elijah Demosthene and classmate Charles McCall picked up the fumble and rumbled down to the Hartwick two-yard line. After a personal foul penalty, King's added to its lead thanks to a 34-yarder from Barreras.
Hartwick answered to make it a 10-point game at 58-48 score line, as Macina hit Mucci for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 6:38 to play to keep things interesting. King's wasn't about to give the lead away though, going eight plays over the next 3:45, gaining all 44 yards on the ground before Downes pushed in from a yard out to make the score 65-48.
The icing on the cake came on the next possession, as Tommy Gilmore intercepted Macina with 1:22 to go to clinch the win for the Monarchs. The Monarchs finished the game with 353 yards on the ground, which was the most in a game since gaining 397 yards rushing against FDU-Florham on October 22, 2016. The six rushing TD's were also the most since posting six against Misericordia last October 7.
Downes finished with 156 yards on 16 carries, averaging 9.8 yards per carry, while Nelson added 72 yards on 14 carries. Boccella needed just six carries to get to 90 yards, while Klock also rushed for 37 yards. The two quarterbacks combined to go 16-for-33 for 231 yards and a touchdown, and Costantino led all Monarch receivers with five catches for 97 yards.
Barreras was perfect on his four field goal attempts Saturday, shaking off his Week 1 miss against Moravian to hit from 24, 25, 25 and 34 yards. Defensively, Sallavanti led all tacklers for King's with nine tackles, posting two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Wheeler posted seven tackles in addition to his defensive score, and Baynard also had five stops and a sack.
Junior Mikal Butler made three tackles, while adding an interception and blocked extra point, while freshman Dhedhus Anumgba had three stops and two pass break-ups.
Hartwick saw Macina throw for 324 yards and two touchdowns, as his targets Connor Darmetko and Mucci posted 184 and 115 yards receiving, respectively. Ballard rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries, while Macina added 35 yards and three touchdowns.
King's will continue its mini two-game home stand, entertaining Stevenson University next Saturday in McCarthy Stadium, September 22 for Homecoming weekend.