Saturday, September 24, 2016

King's Football Team Holds Off Lebanon Valley to Post 21-17 Homecoming Victory

WILKES-BARRE -- The King's College football team built a four-point half-time lead and Jake Manetti's late interception at the Monarch three-yard line saved the day as King's held off visiting Lebanon Valley College 21-17 in a Middle Atlantic Conference Homecoming matchup Saturday at McCarthy Stadium.

With the win, King's improved to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the MAC while Lebanon Valley slipped to 1-3 and 1-2 in conference play. 

Lebanon Valley took over its own 44 following a King's punt with 8:05 left with an opportunity to push across the winning score.  The Flying Dutchmen used 11 plays to advance to the Monarch 13-yard line with the deciding touchdown within reach.  But on a third-and-13 play from the King's 25, Dutchmen quarterback Tim Pirrone lofted a pass near the front left corner of the end zone, but Manetti stepped in front of the pass to register the decisive interception with 3:41 left in the game.

The Monarch offense then stepped up and managed to maintain possession by picking up two critical first downs to keep the clock running as time expired.

The game was a tale of two halves as both teams managed to move the ball and put points on the board. 

King's scored on the first possession of the game with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a one-yard run by quarterback Zach Whitehead.  Lebanon Valley countered with an eight-play, 55-yard drive, culminating with a 25-yard field goal by Marcus Brown to cut the scored to 7-3 with 8:10 left in the quarter.

King's responded with a 11-play, 75-yard drive with Whitehead again scoring, this time from two yards out to push the lead to 14-3 with 4:54 remaining in the opening stanza.

But Lebanon Valley responded two possessions later with an interception when a Whitehead pass caromed off the hands of a King's receiver, giving the Dutchmen a first down on the Monarch 27. On the first play of the possession, Pirrone raced around the right side of the line all the way into the end zone to bring Lebanon Valley within 14-10 with 14:04 left in the half.

After a King's punt, the Dutchmen drove 66 yards on 12 plays and took a 16-14 lead with 1:57 remaining in the half on a two-yard pass from Pirrone to Dylan Berberick.

But the Monarchs stepped up and rocketed down the field, going 57 yards in four plays to find paydirt when Whitehead hit Tyler Marroni with a 25-yard scoring play with 0:54 on the clock as King's took a 21-17 lead into the break.

In the second half King's was unable to find the end zone and punted four times. Meanwhile, the Monarch defense bent but did not break in stopping Lebanon Valley on three occasions when the Dutchmen advanced to the 25-yard line or better.

The first came in the third quarter when the Dutchmen reached the King's 25. On a fourth-and-two play, the Monarchs stuffed Pirrone for no gain to end the scoring threat.

The second occurred in the fourth quarter when Lebanon Valley drove to the King's three-yard line. But on a fourth-and-goal from the three, the Monarch defense stuffed tailback Ryan Fink for a one-yard loss.

The final stop came on Mannetti's game-saving interception with 3:41 to play.

It marked the third straight year the King's-Lebanon Valley
game was closely contested.  Last year the Dutchmen won 10-6 at home while King's won the 2014 matchup 10-7 in Wilkes-Barre.

King's finished the game with 407 total yards, including 250 passing yards and a season-high 150 yards on the ground.

Whithead completed 22-of-38 passes for 250 yards with one touchdown and one interception while also rushing for 44 yards on 11 attempts. Freshman tailback Alvonte Thompson ran for 83 yards on 13 carries while senior Zack Funk added 43 yards on seven attempts.

Marquis Miller led King's receivers with seven catches for 58 yards while Mike Palmer added four for 36 yards. Corey Flynn and Maronni chipped in with three catches each

For Lebanon Valley, the Dutchmen totaled 376 yards, while the MAC's top rushing team picked up 236 on the ground. Brendon Irving led all runners with 115 yards on 25 carries. Pirrone completed 10-of-19 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while also rushing for 48 yards on eight carries. Travis Saylor caught a team-high three passes.

Bobby Russell led the King's defense with 15 tackles, including an interception. Jacoby Foresman followed with 12 tackles while Manetti contributed 10 tackles and an interception. Bruce Damon chipped in with nine stops.

Spencer Moser and Kyle Murray led the Dutchmen with eight tackles

King's will face anothemajor test on Saturday when the Monarchs travel to face Albright College (3-1). The defending MAC champion Lions upended previously unbeaten, 13th-ranked Delaware Valley (3-1) Saturday in Doylestown.

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