On the field and on paper, King's and Stevenson couldn't be more similar.
Both squads are young and in a rebuilding mode.
The teams, which have identical 1-6 overall records and 1-5 marks in the MAC, are 2-0 against Misericordia this season and 0-12 against everyone else. They also each have one of the top-two rushers in the MAC on their rosters. Those backs should see plenty of carries when the two square off this afternoon at 1 at McCarthy Stadium.
We're both doing this with young guys who are getting better and better, King's coach Jeff Knarr said. Both of us just haven't been able to put enough together to get over that hump in games.
The Mustangs' big weapon offensively is K.K. Smith, who leads the MAC with 950 rushing yards and an average of 135.7 yards per game. The freshman also has 13 receptions for 123 yards and will see many plays called in his favor today.
He's the real deal, Knarr said about Smith. He's one of those kids that could play a game of tag in a closet and never be ‘it.' He's got great vision and makes people miss.
What plays in the Monarchs' favor is they have the fourth-best rush defense in the MAC, only allowing 116.2 yards per game on the ground. Knarr plans to stack the box and make the Stevenson quarterbacks beat them by passing. But the Mustangs haven't had as much success in the pass attack as they've created by running.
We definitely have to get one more guy in the box and can't be even there because that will be success for these guys. They have a big line, Knarr said.
King's sophomore tailback Kyle McGrath is second in the MAC in rushing with 614 yards and five touchdowns. The Mustangs should see a heavy dose of McGrath this afternoon because they enter the game eighth in the conference in rushing yards allowed per game giving up an average of 225.5.
If we're going to win the game we have to be able to run the ball, Knarr added. That's been our strength and it matches up with what may not be their strength.
Stevenson (1-6, 1-5 MAC)
at King's (1-6, 1-5)
When: 1 p.m. today at McCarthy Stadium, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Last Meeting: King's won the inaugural meeting between the schools last year 51-26.
Last week: The Monarchs lost to Albright 41-10, while the Mustangs fell to Wilkes 38-35.
About the Monarchs: They are looking for their second win, which would be their best record since winning three times in 2009.
About the Mustangs: In a year and a half of varsity football, they have a 3-14 record.
King's will win if its run game can capitalize on Stevenson's rush defense that is allowing 225.5 yards per game and if its rush defense can bottle up Mustang freshman tailback K.K. Smith, the top rusher in the MAC.
Stevenson will win if Smith continues to rack up yardage helping the team to control the clock and keep the ball away from the Monarchs. The Mustangs also need to stop King's back Kyle McGrath or they're in for a long afternoon.
Monarchs Team Leaders
Passing: Tyler Hartranft 84-of-176, 1020 yards, 2 TDs, 7 ints.
Rushing: Kyle McGrath 691 yards, 5 TDs.
Receiving: Dan Kempa 15 receptions, 279 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Ryan Kelly 50 tackles; Jake Ksiazkiewicz 4 sacks; five players with one interception
Mustangs Team Leaders
Passing: John Gasprovic 60-of-91, 652 yards, 6 TDs, 2 ints.
Rushing: K.K. Smith 950 yards, 8 TDs.
Receiving: Jeromie Miller 23 receptions, 346 yards, 2 TDs.
Defense: Tim Campbell 52 tackles; Moses Anoh 2 sacks; Tyren Pinkett 3 ints.