Last year was the shootout.
Two years ago … the snow game.
In the past, there have also been many defensive battles in the Mayor’s Cup series between Wilkes and King’s.
“It seems like the series has taken some twists and turns,” Wilkes coach Frank Sheptock said. “Every time we think we know the direction the game is going to go, it goes the opposite direction.”
So with both teams’ offenses being on a roll lately, could there be another high-scoring affair when King’s hosts Wilkes Saturday afternoon in the 18th edition of the battle between rivals?
“I don’t know,” King’s coach Jeff Knarr said. “I didn’t think it would be like that last year. I was surprised.”
Throughout the last few years when when strange occurrences have happened, one thing has remained the same: Wilkes continues to have a stranglehold on the series, winning 13 of the previous 17 meetings, including nine of the last 10 and the last three. That means King’s seniors could walk off the field without ever being victorious against their city rival and without ever holding the coveted trophy.
Even though the Monarchs (5-4 overall, 5-3 MAC) have enjoyed their best season since 2006 and built the second-longest winning streak in program history, the season wouldn’t be complete unless they win the rivalry game.
“This is the game we have in the back of our minds before this season even started,” King’s senior fullback Slade Eigenmann said. “Even last game, last season, I was yelling at everyone ‘you see that cup, you don’t forget that.’ It’s always in the back of your mind. They’re right down the road from us so you want that cup.”
On the other side though, Wilkes (4-5, 3-5) seniors could graduate without ever losing to their crosstown rival. And in a season where the Colonels are trying to reach .500 and looking to avoid their second losing season in three years, the seniors are saying goodbye to a career that saw many achievements — being part of Sheptock’s ascention to the top of the school’s victories list and the mentor getting career win No. 100.
“Coach (Sheptock) said it last week when we played DelVal that never is a really long time and we never beat DelVal, so to be able to sweep King’s and never lose to King’s, that’s forever,” senior tight end Alex George said. “You forever get to say that you never lost a game to King’s. But they know that, too. They know they’ve never beaten us. So we expect a good game.”
Both teams consist of young playmakers on offense and in some cases the similarities are uncanny.
Look at each team’s quarterback and top wide receiver duo. Wilkes’ team of freshmen QB Taylor Young and WR David Claybrook have been explosive at times this season in blossoming into what could eventually be what the Monarchs have in juniors QB Tyler Hartranft and wideout Dan Kempa. The King’s duo are the top quarterback-receiver duo in the MAC with one more season to go.
The defenses are filled with stories as well. The Colonels have gained 24 turnovers, more than any other team in the conference by a landslide and are led by senior linebacker Tate Moore-Jacobs, who leads the league in tackles with 100. The Monarchs have senior defensive end Ron Garrett, who set an NCAA record earlier this season by scoring a defensive touchdown in five straight games. The Monarchs also seem to have experience on their side, meaning the turnover margin could play a bigger part.
“(King’s tailback) Kyle (McGrath) he’s older than who we play with at tailback (Pat Inguilli). Tyler he’s an older quarterback than we play with. Dan’s older than David. Their O-line is slightly older than our O-line,” Sheptock added. “So we need to find some of those other ways to get things done.”
Wilkes (4-5 overall, 3-5 MAC) at King’s (5-4, 5-3)
Series History: Wilkes has a stranglehold on the series, winning 20 of the 26 meetings, and 13 of the 17 times the teams have played for the Mayor’s Cup.
Wilkes will win if…the defense can continue to win the turnover battle. The Colonels have caused 24 turnovers this season, the most in the MAC.
King’s will win if…it can take advantage of the Wilkes secondary, which is allowing the most passing yards in the MAC at 241.0 per game. The King’s passing attack meanwhile, is putting up 221.4 yards through the air per game for fourth-best in the MAC.
What to know: King’s will honor three recently deceased members of the school community with a decal on the helmet honoring Matthew Wescavage, Peyton Walker and Betty Didgeon, with initials inside the logo.
Mayor’s Cup Results
(Wilkes leads 13-4)
2012 — Wilkes, 44-32
2011 — Wilkes, 13-6
2010 — Wilkes, 21-17
2009 — King’s, 33-16
2008 — Wilkes, 21-3
2007 — Wilkes, 35-0
2006 — Wilkes, 28-7
2005 — Wilkes, 36-13
2004 — Wilkes, 12-6
2003 — Wilkes, 37-0
2002 —King’s, 34-7
2001 —King’s, 28-12
2000 —King’s, 20-0
1999 —Wilkes, 30-6
1998 —Wilkes, 31-21
1997 —Wilkes, 23-0
1996 —Wilkes, 13-0