Look at the King’s College roster and you will notice just 15 seniors on the squad. Then glance at Albright’s list of players and you will see more than twice that many, including eight fifth-year seniors.
That’s the main problem the Monarchs are up against this afternoon at 1 when they face the Lions at McCarthy Stadium.
Of those seniors on Albright’s roster are running back Ty Hughes, quarterback T.J. Luddy, and top receivers Daniel McNair and Devron Clark, all offensive playmakers.
“It gives them experience. They had high hopes to start their season (but) they’ve had two losses, so we’ll see what kind of mindset they’ll be in,” King’s coach Jeff Knarr said.
Despite all the experience, the Lions are not indestructible. They enter with two losses in the MAC and a 1-2 overall record. Sure both losses are by a total of nine points, but they are beatable. With the exception of a three-minute stretch in last week’s loss to Delaware Valley, the Lions trailed throughout both setbacks.
That means the Monarchs will have to be consistent from start to finish today. In their first two games, the Monarchs showed they were a better second half team, scoring 24 of their 31 points this season in the final two quarters. Last week against Lebanon Valley, King’s gained confidence against the Dutchmen, scoring 17 and only giving up 10 in the final 30 minutes. With homecoming this weekend for the Monarchs, being consistent from start to finish is important.
“We’re carrying (confidence) into a game that’s at home, homecoming. A lot of festivities. Hopefully a lot of energy around, a lot of excitement,” Knarr added. “Then our kids need to feed off that. And play how they’ve been playing, just more disciplined, a little more focused and we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
If the Monarchs are going to increase their chance of winning today, they are going to need running back Kyle McGrath going. The junior, who nearly rushed for 1,000 yards last season, has been hampered by a hand injury and has been held to just 132 yards and one touchdown through the first two games. The addition of All-MAC offensive lineman Kyle Grampp, returning to the lineup after missing the first two games at left tackle with an injury, should help.
“I think there was a little rust because there were some holes that he normally hits,” Knarr said about McGrath, who didn’t practice much prior to the last game due to his injury. “Obviously having Kyle back is going to be good. We’ll see how long he can go. We’re excited to have him going.”
Albright (1-2, 0-2 MAC) at King’s (0-2, 0-1 MAC)
When: 1 p.m. today at McCarthy Stadium, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Last Week: Both teams are coming off losses. The Lions lost to Delaware Valley 20-17, while the Monarchs fell to Lebanon Valley 38-17.
Last meeting: In 2012, Albright was victorious at home, 41-10.
King’s player to watch: Offensive lineman Kyle Grampp, who missed the first two games of the season with an injury, returns to the lineup this afternoon. In 2012, he was an All-MAC offensive lineman.
Albright player to watch: Senior safety Drew Peterson, who already has three interceptions this season in three games, picked up three preseason All-American honors. He was a first team USA College Football, second team D3 Senior Classic and third team BSN Preseason All-American.
Monarchs’ team leaders: RB Kyle McGrath 132 yards, 1 TD; QB Tyler Hartranft 359 yards, 2TD, 1int; WR Dan Kempa 14 rec, 219 yards, 1TD; LB Nick Kaijala 16 tackles; LB Chad Curtice 3 sacks; DL Pete Santorelli 1 int
Lion’s team leaders: RB Ty Hughes 332 yards, 5TD; QB T.J. Luddy 619 yards, 1TD, 4int; WR Daniel McNair 16 rec, 234 yards, 1TD; DB Drew Peterson 3 int; DB Matt Hnatiuk, DB Levi Myers 29 tackles; DE Don Gould 2.5 sacks
King’s will win if: Quarterback Tyler Hartranft can find open receivers and those who are open can hang onto the ball for big gains. In the Monarchs’ losses, opportunities were lost on those types of plays. If those mistakes don’t happen this week, a victory should belong to the home team.
Albright will win if: Running back Ty Hughes, who is a bulky 6-foot, 228-pounder, can bulge through the King’s defense like he has against his first two opponents and rack up big numbers.
What to know: This afternoon’s contest marks homecoming for King’s. Last year when the Monarchs met Albright they played in the Lions’ homecoming affair. Now, King’s is hoping to return the favor in search of its second straight win on homecoming. A Monarchs win would be their first consecutive homecoming victories since 2004-05.