WILKES-BARRE TWP. —Entering Saturday afternoon, King’s College’s Ron Garrett had already been cemented into the team record book for scoring a defensive touchdown in three straight games.
After Saturday, he may now be in the NCAA Division III record book. For the fourth straight game, the fifth-year senior scored a defensive touchdown. This time, a 22-yard fumble recovery helping the Monarchs topple FDU-Florham, 52-21 at McCarthy Stadium.
The record for defensive touchdowns in one season is not kept by the NCAA, but the most interceptions returned in a season in D-III history is three, accomplished by many players.
“It’s just right place at the right time. Every one, the ball just bounces right to me and I pick it up,” Garrett said. “It’s pretty cool. Hopefully my name is in some record books.”
The scoring play by Garrett came early in the third quarter and was part of three touchdowns scored by the Monarchs (2-3 overall, 2-2 MAC) in less than two minutes at the beginning of the second half as they jumped out to a 45-0 lead with 12:32 left in the third quarter. Garrett’s score was the second of the three. The third was also a defensive TD as Anthony Martuccio nabbed an interception and rumbled 51 yards to the end zone.
“I was getting nervous because at halftime everyone was saying ‘oh you have two quarters to score a touchdown,’” Garrett said. “When you’re young, they teach you to dive on the ball. That’s out the window now. I’m trying to score every time now to keep it up.”
The big defensive plays were only part of the Monarchs’ dominating effort as they won consecutive games for the first time in head coach Jeff Knarr’s tenure, and for the first time for the program since 2008.
“We still have a long way to go. A lot of things to do, but we’re encouraged that we hit a checkpoint in that we won two games in a row,” the coach said. “Now we move on and we look to get three in a row and just take it one game at a time, but we’re very excited with what these kids are doing.”
Offensively, King’s had a great game as well. Quarterback Tyler Hartranft finished 15 of 20 for 219 yards and three TDs, while tailback Kyle McGrath picked up his second straight 100-yard game, plowing for 100 yards and a score on 22 carries.
But the surprise on offense came from third-string tailback Patrick Robinson. The sophomore entered the game after Judens Goimbert went down with an injury early. And he responded with 94 rushing yards on 16 carries while also hauling in a team-high four receptions for 80 yards and his first career TD.
“Unfortunately, Judens goes down but Pat steps in and he responds well because he’s very good in the pass game,” Knarr added. “He understands Judens’ role from the pass and understands Kyle’s role from the tailback, and he took over and had a day.”
If there was one downfall to the King’s victory it was that the team may have got too comfortable after building a 45-point lead, committing several penalties and allowing the Devils (1-4, 0-4) to get back in the game. FDU scored 21 straight points to cut the lead to 45-21 with 8:27 left in the game.
“We lost our composure a little bit with the chippiness as (FDU) got frustrated and our kids have to learn how to be able to be ahead and how to handle that,” Knarr said. “That’s something we have to learn as a team. When you’re up like that, it’s still business-like. Keep doing it and no matter what they do, you don’t sink to their level.”
King’s 52, FDU-Florham 21
KING’S — Mulvihill 27 field goal 4:21
KING’S — McGrath 15 run (Mulvihill kick) :08
KING’S — Thomas 6 pass from Hartranft (Mulvihill kick) 5:29
KING’S — Robinson 41 pass from Hartranft (Mulvihill kick) :48
KING’S — Sanders 35 pass from Hartranft (Mulvihill kick) 14:07
KING’S — Garrett 22 fumble recovery (Mulvihill kick) 13:47
KING’S — Martuccio 51 interception return (Mulvihill kick) 12:32
FDU —Kimbrough 47 run (Gavin kick) 12:09
FDU — Mobley 74 pass from Santos (Gavin kick) 13:42
FDU — Fruncillo 72 pass from Santos (Gavin kick) 8:27
KING’S — Hehre 15 run (Mulvihill kick) 7:08
RUSHING — FDU, Craig Kimbrough 12-86, Nick DeFeo 1-4, James Ognibene 3-2, TEAM 1-(minus-4), Anthony Ognibene 2-(minus-5), Michael Santos 2-(minus-12). KING’S, Kyle McGrath 22-100, Patrick Robinson 16-94, Tom Hehre 3-28, Judens Goimbert 1-11, Tyler Hartranft 4-7, Michael Wythe 1-1, TEAM 3-(minus-6).
PASSING — FDU Michael Santos 14-25-1-215, Anthony Ognibene 1-3-1-13. KING’S, Tyler Hartranft 15-20-1-219, Tom Hehre 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — FDU, Anthony Fruncillo 6-111, Craig Kimbrough 3-20, Doug Van Orden 2-5, Esaun Mobley 1-74, Bryan Soletto 1-13, Joe Tauriello 1-3, Trey Smith 1-2. KING’S, Patrick Robinson 4-80, Dan Kempa 3-42, Josh Sanders 2-46, Slade Eigenmann 2-30, Jay Thomas 1-6, Darren Mitchell 1-6, Vince Albano 1-5, Kyle McGrath 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS — FDU, Nick Galletta 1-0. KING’S, Bobby Russell 1-47, Anthony Martuccio 1-51.
MISSED FGs — FDU, none. KING’S, Kevin Mulvihill (37, WL)