WILKES-BARRE TWP. – From the beginning of Saturday's game, it was evident that King's wasn't going to get pushed around by Widener like it was last time.
The Monarchs came out and dominated the Pride for the first 15 minutes of the MAC opener for both teams and had the 25th-ranked team in the country, according to d3football.com, trailing by six points.
But then Widener showed why it is ranked and that the young Monarchs have a little further to go. The pride scored 41 unanswered points and took advantage of some key Monarchs' miscues in a 41-6 win at McCarthy Stadium.
"Our kids played really well and they were executing early on," King's coach Jeff Knarr said. "They fought for 60 minutes and that's all you can ask for. We have to keep getting better in practice with execution. You can't fault them for the effort that's for sure."
King's wanted to keep Pride (2-0) quarterback Chris Haupt off his game by forcing him to make quick throws. In the first quarter, that's exactly what the Monarchs did forcing Widener and the 25-year-old former professional baseball player to punt three times on the first three drives.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs (0-2) were putting together some offensive punch. On their first drive, they fell inches short of taking a three-point lead as a 44-yard field goal try hit the crossbar and bounced out. Two drives later, the Monarchs wouldn't be denied taking a 6-0 lead when Kyle McGrath registered his first career touchdown with 3:32 left in the first. They were two kicks away from being up by 10 on the Pride.
"We were feeling good," Knarr added. "But they are a good team and went into another gear."
King's was also playing this well on defense without two top players, as linebackers Ryan Cordingly and Jake Ksiaziewicz sat out with injuries.
"Defensively you have two guys that you count on, and when they're down the young guys are playing and they played well. They held their own," the coach said.
But in the second quarter, against a whipping wind, the Monarchs ran into problems.
On a fourth-and-25 with King's lined up to punt, the kick netted minus-2 yards giving Widener excellent field position. The Pride took over on the King's 30 and they scored their first TD to take a 7-6 lead with 11:59 left in the second quarter when Haupt connected on his first of three scoring strikes.
Then Widener got a little luck on its next drive. Haupt found Anthony Davis for a 35-yard connection. Linebacker Ryan Kelly stripped the ball at the 2, but Davis jumped on the loose pigskin in the end zone for a 14-6 lead.
Haupt threw his second scoring strike of the quarter later in the period putting the Pride ahead 21-6 at the break.
Widener's defense was also keeping the Monarchs in check at this point grabbing a pair of interceptions and stripping the ball away for a touchdown holding King's to just 43 total yards in the second half.
"They were committed to making us throw putting nine guys in the box and that created some problems trying to throw," Knarr noted.
Tyler Hartranft played three-plus quarters at QB for King's as Bryant Klein, who had been sharing snaps behind center was out with an injury. Hartranft played well going 16-for-35 for 118 yards. Kris Matthews paced the King's defense with nine tackles, including one for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Widener 41, King's 6
KING'S – McGrath 2 run (kick failed) 3:32
WIDE – Davis 8 pass from Haupt (McFadden kick) 11:59
WIDE – Davis fumble recovery in end zone (McFadden kick) 6:17
WIDE – Morrison 19 pass from Haupt (McFadden kick) 3:21
WIDE – LaFate 35 run (McFadden kick) 12:53
WIDE – Pergolese 8 pass from Haupt (McFadden kick) 3:35
WIDE – Ditmer 45 fumble recovery (pass failed) 11:28
|Sacks by-Yards Lost||8-42||2-14|
RUSHING – WIDE, LaFate 4-41, Morrison 4-26, Campbell 7-18, Getz 2-6, Pergolese 3-5, Quattelbaum 1-4, Haupt 5-3, TEAM 2-(minus-12). KING'S, McGrath 14-27, Duncan 1-21, Goimbert 5-19, Williams 2-2, Hehre 2-(minus-1), Hartranft 15-(minus-32).
PASSING – WIDE, Haupt 15-29-0-205, Campbell 2-2-0-33. KING'S, Hartranft 16-35-2-118, Hehre 1-2-1-6.
RECEIVING – WIDE, DePasquale 4-41, Davis 3-60, Schlegel 2-45, LaFate 2-22, Pergolese 2-15, Locotos 1-33, Morrison 1-19, Ragona 1-3, Wrieth 1-0. KING'S – Kempa 4-62, Sanders 4-23, Henry 3-20, McGrath 2-1, Buford 1-10, Mitchell 1-6, Kudlacik 1-4, Goimbert 1-(minus-2).
INTERCEPTIONS – WIDE, Rodriguez 2, Burns
MISSED FIELD GOALS – KING'S, Williams (short)