EDWARDSVILLE – From games played in the snow to teams winning when they were a heavy underdog, the Mayor's Cup has consisted of many different scenarios.
Add a shootout to the long list of game types in the 17th annual contest between King's and Wilkes.
The teams combined for a game-record 66 points, smashing the previous mark, saw a 400-yard passer for the first time and combined for nearly 1,000 yards of offense as the Colonels held onto the coveted trophy for the third straight season in a 44-32 victory Saturday afternoon at Schmidt Stadium.
Those stats were just some of the awkwardness that occurred in the game.
I don't think anyone knows the importance of this game better than Frank Sheptock because I've been in every game, said Sheptock, the Wilkes coach. All the games since (King's coach) Jeff (Knarr) has been there have been different. This rivalry will continue to go through cycles.
The first half was all offense with neither team having to punt in the first 30 minutes of play as Wilkes' 35-20 lead accounted for the most combined points scored in a Mayor's Cup game. The previous high mark was 44 set in 2005 and 2009.
Wilkes (5-5, 4-5 MAC) scored on its first five drives of the half. The Monarchs (2-8, 2-7) could've achieved the same mark if not for an interception by Marcus Leaf in the end zone and another from J.T. Keer near Wilkes territory.
Wilkes quarterback Tyler Berntsen, who was named the team's Most Valuable Player in the game, was 11-of-12 for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He also registered a rushing score in the second quarter.
There's a lot of times our offense puttered this season so we wanted to go out and score each time we had the ball in the first half and we were able to do that, said Berntsen, who split time at QB with Alex George for the majority of the season for the Colonels' sluggish passing attack.
Receiver Dan Kempa, who earned the Monarchs' MVP award, piled up 147 yards and three touchdowns in the first half en route to his school-record 237 yards on 10 receptions. He was the favorite target of quarterback Tyler Hartranft, who also set a school-mark for King's, tossing for 408 yards and the most completions in one game with 27.
There's no bright side of the game, Hartranft said. We worked so hard for this all year. We were looking forward to this all week and we couldn't get it done.
Individual effort means nothing. Everyone needs to do their one-11th. We have to come together as a team, not just one player shine here, one player shine there.
The defenses came out looking different in the second half.
Wilkes was held to just one touchdown as King's, which was 3-of-4 on fourth-down conversions, attempted to come back from a 22-point deficit.
Hartranft orchestrated a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to trim Wilkes' lead to 42-32. Then one of the rarest plays in football occurred when Leaf intercepted Hartranft on a two-point conversion attempt and returned it more than 100 yards for two points for the Colonels with 7:02 left on the clock and a 44-32 lead.
Later in the fourth quarter, after Tate Moore-Jacobs intercepted Hartranft on the Wilkes 5, an inadvertent whistle kept the Monarchs off the board. It appeared that Wilkes' P.J. Incremona fumbled and it was returned by King's freshman cornerback Tyler Struckus for a touchdown. The whistle came from the other side of the field and prompted a heated argument by Knarr and several King's players to no avail.
Everything I know about officiating, that's a cardinal sin, the coach said about the inadvertent whistle. You don't blow your whistle unless you're 100 percent sure.
That would've been for us to make a play. Wilkes made plays to stop us and that would've been a huge play for us, but it wasn't to be.
Wilkes 44, King's 32
WILKES – Dan Curry 13 pass from Tyler Berntsen (Jordan Fredo kick) 12:48
KING'S – Dan Kempa 14 pass from Tyler Hartranft (kick blocked) 10:42
WILKES – Pat Inguilli 46 run (Fredo kick) 9:50
WILKES – Jonathan Conklin 19 pass from Berntsen (Fredo kick) :21
KING'S – Kempa 31 pass from Hartranft (Kevin Mulvihill kick) 5:03
WILKES – P.J. Incremona 1 run (Fredo kick) 2:38
WILKES – Berntsen 4 run (Fredo kick) 1:17
KING'S – Kempa 51 pass from Hartranft (Mulvihill kick) :57
WILKES – Berntsen 53 run (Fredo kick) :26
KING'S – Hartranft 1 run (pass failed) 10:52
KING'S – Kyle McGrath 1 run (pass intercepted) 7:02
WILKES – Marcus Leaf conversion return 7:02
RUSHING – KING'S: McGrath 24-81, Hartranft 6-31, Kempa 1-(minus-2); WILKES: Inguilli 21-140, Berntsen 10-89, Incremona 8-26, Calvin Garvin 1-(minus-1), TEAM 1-(minus-2)
PASSING – KING'S: Hartranft 27-40-4-408; WILKES: Berntsen 12-19-1-185
RECEIVING –KING'S: Kempa 10-237, Josh Sanders 5-66, McGrath 4-13, Darren Mitchell 2-33, Adam Kudlacik 2-27, Matt Henry 2-16, Judens Goimbert 2-16; WILKES: Conklin 5-83, Payton Bachman 3-28, Drew Devitt 2-37, Justin Pellowski 1-24, Curry 1-13
INTERCEPTIONS – KING'S: Tyler Struckus; WILKES: J.T. Keer 2, Marcus Leaf, Tate Moore-Jacobs
MISSED FIELD GOALS – None