WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- The Monmouth University football team finished off it’s spring schedule with the annual Blue/White game on Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of over a 1,000 fans at Kessler Field.
The offense yielded five scoring drives, reaching the endzone three times and kicking a pair of field goals twice on the afternoon. The defensive unit forced a trio of miscues, with junior Nick Carroll (Bath, N.Y./Bath-Haverling) intercepting a pair of passes, one of which was returned for a would-be touchdown that was negated by a penalty.
“Today concluded what I thought was a very productive spring,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “I thought our guys worked hard and competed in each one of the fifteen practices that we had, and we saw development across the board in a lot of different positions. We’re not where we need to be for our opening game yet, but we still have two significant segments of time in our preparation coming up. The next segment will be what we do in the summer to prepare ourselves, and how hard we prepare ourselves. The segment after that will be what we do when we get back here on the field in August. So we have taken a significant step, although the job is not finished there is still a number of things in front of us that we need to do. I know our guys are excited about getting back here in August and getting to work.”
On the first drive of the afternoon, the offense moved the ball down the field with a 15 play, 47 yard effort. Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier) converted on a fourth down inside of midfield, and finished the drive with 8 carries for 33 yards. The drive stalled at the 18 yard line, where Eric Spillane (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) booted a 36 yard field goal to open the scoring.
The first offensive touchdown came on a drive led by Ben Onett (Glenn Dale, Md./St. John’s College H.S.). After scrambling for nine yards, Kevin Rogers (Ocean, N.J./Ocean) came in and rushed for 13 of his own, and a penalty tacked 15 yards onto that. On first down from the 33, Onett hit Mike Strange (Davidsonville, Md./South River) streaking down the right side, outrunning the defenders to score and cap off a 3 play, 70 yard drive.
Rogers started the very next drive with a sixteen-yard burst across midfield, setting up the day’s second touchdown. Onett found a crease through the left side and sped through the secondary, avoiding contact at the goal line to convert a 49 yard touchdown run.
The next offensive possession found Terence Scanlon (Lincroft, N.J./Red Bank Regional) leading the offense on a 14 play, 50 yard drive that resulted in another field goal attempt. Pete Nagy (East Hanover, N.J./Hanover Park/Montclair St.) had 22 total yards on the drive, Thaddeus Richards (Colombus, N.J./Northern Burlington) caught two first downs and Scanlon hooked up with Kyle McGuire (Ewing, N.J./Ewing) for 21 yards and another first. The drive was halted when Eric Macik (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) sacked Scanlon, the second sack of the possession for Macik. The drive culminated in a Lucas Santangelo (Jamaica Estates, N.Y./New Hyde Park Memorial) field goal attempt that was blocked.
Onett led another scoring drive later in the day, rushing for a first down and finding Ed Waite (Ford Lauderdale, Fla./Pine Crest) for his first catch of the day en route to Santangelo booting a 39 yarder.
The final scoring of the afternoon came on the last offensive possession, when Charlie Vellis (Wallington, N.J./Wallington) hit McGuire for his second big gain of the day, a 37 yard hookup down inside the 40 yard line. Two plays later, Vellis put one into the hands of Dan Kowal (Pompton Lakes, N.J./DePaul Catholic) down the right sideline for a 25 yard score.
Offensively, Hayes rushed for 57 yards on the afternoon, second to only Onett who had 88 yards on five carries. Eric Sumlin (Dover, Del./Dover) took a double-reverse for 33 yards. Vellis completed five of eleven for 71 yards and a score, and Scanlon converted on five of twelve. McGuire led the receivers with 52 yards, while Richards caught four balls for 27 yards.
The defense was led by a trio of players with five tackles, as Pat Gray (Westfield, N.J./Westfield/Hargrave Military Academy), Ryan Zuczek (Robbinsville, N.J./Robbinsville), and Dave Damirgian (Churchville, Pa./Council Rock) all finished with five stops. Ethan Gambale (Mays Landing, N.J./Holy Spirit) had four solo tackles. Macik had 1.5 sacks, all on the same drive, and Corey Neal (Forked River, N.J./Lacey) had the helper on Macik’s first. Dimitrius Smith (Millstone, N.J./Jackson Memorial/Milford Academy) had a nice play on a tackle for a loss to stop a runner in his tracks, while Jameson Zacharias (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron) was credited with the only fumble recovery of the afternoon.
Two defensive backs made impact plays, as Jahmer Bunch (Shrewsbury, N.J./Red Bank Regional) blocked two field goals for the defense, shooting through the line both times to get a hand on the kicks.