WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Ask any football coach for a successful scheme and they'll likely tell you that if you can run the ball effectively and limit the other team from doing so, you'll be in good position to win.
To say that King's controlled the game with its rushing attack would be an understatement.
King's got a 145-yard, three-score performance from running back Kyle McGrath and held K.K. Smith, the MAC conference's leading rusher, to 90 yards in a 34-21 defeat of Stevenson in a MAC showdown at McCarthy Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
King's improves its record on the season to 2-6 overall and 2-5 in the conference while Stevenson falls to 1-7 overall and 1-6 in the conference.
I thought we did a really nice job, King's head coach Jeff Knarr said. Our guys did a good job of containing Smith and that's not easy to do, he doesn't need much room to get going.
We were able to establish our defensive line of scrimmage and offensive line as well, which really helped us out when (Stevenson) packed it in defensively and we were able to go over the top.
The Monarchs' grinding, methodical play up front early on led to 93 yards on the ground in the first quarter alone for McGrath. The punctuation came with 1:48 to go when the sophomore bulled into the end zone from 11 yards out for a 7-0 Monarch lead.
Sensing more of the same coming its way in the second quarter, Stevenson crowded the King's offensive line with extra defenders only to see the Monarchs attack a less populated area of the field.
Quarterback Tyler Hanranft threw two scoring strikes in the quarter, both times deep and down the left seam of the field. His 33-yard pass to Darren Mitchell followed a 34-yard toss to Adam Kudlacik, the scores coming 10 minutes apart and staking King's to a 20-0 lead.
Stevenson responded with a quick score late in the second quarter, a 40-yard hookup from quarterback John Gasparovic to Jeromie Miller that put the Mustangs in a short-lived 13 point deficit.
Four minutes into the third quarter McGrath added his second score on the ground, flashing some athleticism along the way. Following a block at the left side of his line, McGrath made a move outside of traffic and sprinted past a defender to the corner of the end zone, capping a seven play, 85-yard drive.
We really controlled things up front, McGrath said. We were able to get a great push at the pine and run the ball the way we wanted to. It really opened things up for us.
Stevenson was again able to score quickly on the following drive, a 39-yard rush on a reverse from Miller that was one of only five plays in the drive. The extra point left the scoreboard reading 27-14, Stevenson again in a 13-point hole and, again, not for long.
Two drives later, McGrath again found his way to the end zone, this time courtesy of Hartranft's third scoring pass of the game, a season-high for the signal caller.
McGrath started the play in the backfield, went in motion to the left of his line and kept going. Hartranft found him alone in the flat for the score and ended any chance the Mustangs had.
He's the real deal, Knarr said of McGrath. He runs hard, he's got tremendous vision. He can break tackles, make people miss, he can catch it out of the backfield. He's definitely the running back we want in our offense.
King's 34, Stevenson 21
KC – Kyle McGrath 11 run (Kevin Mulvihill kick) 1:48
KC – Adam Kudlacik 34 pass from Tyler Hartranft (kick failed) 14:11
KC – Darren Mitchell 33 pass from Hartranft (Mulvihill kick) 4:10
ST – Jeromie Miller 40 pass from John Gasparovic (Charlie Cornell kick) 2:52
KC – McGrath 10 run (Mulvihill kick) 3:03
ST Miller 39 run (Cornell kick)
KC – McGrath 5 pass from Hartranft (Mulvihill kick) 8:45
ST – Anthony Reid 3 run (Cornell kick) 3:08
RUSHING – ST: K.K. Smith 14-90, Reid 6-64, Miller 1-39, Gasparovic 3-34, Jalloh 1-0; KC: McGrath 26-145, Judens Goimbert 13-25, Hartranft 8-6
PASSING – Gasparovic 11-27-1-126, Reid 7-16-0-95; KC: Hartranft 15-22-0-223
RECEIVING – ST: Miller 6-92, Anthony Smith 3-66, Neil Harps 1-24, Travis Douglas 2-23, Max Wilson 2-10, Alpha Jalloh 1-6, K. Smith 3-0; KC: McGrath 4-65, Dan Kempa 3-60, Kudlacik 3-49, Mitchell 1-33, Josh Sanders 2-17, Goimbert 2 – (-1).
INT – KC: Kris Matthews
FG – ST: Cornell 45 (WR); KC: Mulvihill 26 (WL)