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King's Football Team Wins 21st Annual Mayor's Cup Game Over Wilkes 42-14

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NOVEMBER 12, 2016

KING'S FOOTBALL WINS 21ST MAYOR'S CUP GAME WITH 42-14 VICTORY OVER CITY RIVAL WILKES

EDWARDSVILLE — Junior quarterback Zach Whitehead accounted for 389 total yards with four touchdowns to earn team most valuable player honors as the King's College football team posted a 42-14 victory over cross-town rival Wilkes University Saturday at Schmidt Stadium.

With the win, King's ended its season with a 5-5 overall mark and a 5-4 record in the Middle Atlantic Conference. Wilkes, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak come to an end as the Colonels closed out their season at 3-7 and 3-6.  The victory was also King's third in the last four years, marking just the second time in Mayor's Cup history a Monarch senior class managed three cup wins. It also marked the third straight year the visiting team walked a way with the cup. The victory was also King's highest season win total since going 6-4 in 2013.

After forcing a King's punt on the opening series of the game, Wilkes struck first with a 14-play, 77-yard drive, capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Jose Tabora to William Deemer with 7:40 to play in the first quarter.

Following a second straight Monarch punt, Wilkes advanced to the King's 46 but the drive was thwarted when freshman Trevor Hill picked off a Tabora pass at the Monarch 12-yard line.

King's took advantage of the turnover on a third-and-two play when quarterback Whitehead broke free on a read-option keeper for a 55-yard touchdown jaunt down the left sideline. Mikhail Kniaziewicz added the point-after kick to tie the game at 7-7 with 0:26 to go in the first quarter. It was Whitehead's longest run of the season.

Wilkes looked to respond when the Colonels advanced to the Monarch 16-yard line. But on a fourth-and-one play, the King's defense stuffed a running play for no gain and took over possession.

The Monarchs seized the momentum, driving to the Wilkes 19. Two plays later, King's wrapped up a 13-play, 84-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Whitehead to Mike Palmer. The extra-point kick put the Monarchs on top 14-7 with 5:47 remaining in the second quarter.

After forcing a Wilkes punt at midfield, the Monarchs assumed possession at their own nine-yard line with 2:47 to play in the first half. King's wasted no time and drove the length of the field. Keyed by 19-yard run by Zack Funk and a 32-yard pass from Whitehead to tight end Trey Campbell to the Wilkes two-yard line, Funk would pad the lead with a two-yard run on the next play. Kniaziewicz's extra-point gave King's a 21-7 lead with 0:36 left on the clock, a lead the Monarchs would take into the halftime break.

In the second half, King's defense continued with its bend but don't break mentality. Wilkes took the second half kickoff and advanced to the Monarch 24-yard line. But on a fourth-and-nine play, Wilkes Tabora threw a third straight incomplete pass as King's defense stonewalled another Colonel scoring chance.

King's offense continued to click and quickly struck again. On a second-and-eight play, Whitehead found Campbell for a short gain in the flat, but Campbell broke a tackle and raced down the right sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Wilkes seven-yard line, wrapping up a 67-yard catch and run.  Two plays later Whitehead  hooked up with Palmer on a three-yard shovel pass for the Monarchs' fourth touchdown of the game. The point-after would give King's a 28-7 lead with 10:59 remaining in the third quarter.

Wilkes would again move into King's territory, reaching the Monarch seven-yard line. On a second-and-goal play, King's Hill intercepted Tabora for the second time in the game at the one-yard line and followed with a 38-yard return to end yet another Wilkes scoring opportunity. A personal foul penalty on the Colonels on the play gave King's possession at the Wilkes 47.

King's steadily moved the ball downfield and then reached the 19 yard line after runs of 15 and 12-yard runs by Alvonte Thompson. After a short pass to Marquise Miller, Thompson burst up the middle on second down for a 17-yard touchdown run to give the Monarchs a 35-7 lead with 5:50 to play in the third quarter. The touchdown marked 35 unanswered points for the Monarchs.

Wilkes would finally put an end to King's offensive deluge with a touchdown of its own on the game's next possession. The Colonels moved 60 yards on nine plays before Tabora completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Armstrong to trim the lead to 35-14 with 2:18 left in the third quarter.

Two possessions later King's defense again stopped Wilkes on a fourth-down attempt, this time at the Colonel 46 on a fourth-and-12 play. The Monarchs again capitalized, this time on a third-and-three play when Whitehead found Tyler Marroni down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown to push the lead to 42-14 with 8:49 left in the contest. With the completion, Whitehead broke King's single-season record with his  19th touchdown pass of the year.

King's defense made one final stand when Wilkes reached the Monarch nine-yard line. But came on a fourth-and-four play Tabora was stopped a yard short on a keeper as King's took over on downs at its own eight with 4:29 left in the contest.

While both teams were able to move the ball King's was able to take advantage of its scoring opportunities. King's owned a 498-to-478 advantage in total yards in the game. King's out gained Wilkes 199-to-118 on the ground While the Colonels had 360 passing yards compared to 299 for King's.

Whitehead completed 23-of-32 passes for 299 yards with three interceptions and did not throw an interception. The junior standout also rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries in the game. Thompson added 59 yards on eight carries with one score while Funk also contributed with 35 yards on six carries and one touchdown.  Marroni had six catches for 67 yards and one touchdowns while Palmer also had six receptions for 54 yards with two scores. Campbell finished the game with four catches for 109 yards while Corey Flynn and Marquis Miller posted tree catches apiece.

Whitehead finished his first season as a starter with league MVP-type numbers. Whitehead completed 60.4 (244-404) percent of his passes for 2,832 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 502 yards on 129 carries with 12 more touchdowns on the ground. In all, Whitehead accounted for 3,334 yards and 31 touchdowns on the year.

Defensively for King's, senior linebacker Bobby Russell posted a game-high 14 tackles while Chris DeDaetano followed with seven stops. Jake Manetti, Kody Stevens, and Justin Foster had seven tackles apiece Hill finished with two tackles, and two interceptions.

For Wilkes, Tabora completed 37-of-57 passes for 360 yards with two touchdowns but thew two costly interceptions. The Colonel signal-caller also rushed for 35 yards on 16 carries. William Deemer had a fine game for Wilkes with 10 catches for 104 yards and one touchdown and was named the Colonels' game most valuable player. Jeff Steeber and Garrett Armstrong added six catches apiece for the Colonels.

The game also marked the end of the careers of 13 King's players.  Seniors playing their last game includes Andres Armstrong, Jake Dever, Zack Funk, Brandon Gonzalez, Eric Haenggi, Bryan Hicks, David Hicks, Mikhail Kniaziewicz, Tyler Mejasic, Mike Palmer, Bobby Russell, and Andrew Zub. Junior Marquis Miller also played his final game as he will be transferring to the University of Notre Dame next year as part of King's 3+2 Engineering program agreement with Notre Dame.  
 

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