BY JEREMY SCHILLING
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – After eight days away from football activities and everything these players had gone through, you really didn’t know what to expect from Monmouth football’s game today at home against St. Francis.
What you got was a rusty and sluggish Monmouth (4-5, 3-3) team that got dominated by St. Francis (4-6, 3-4) 45-31 on Senior Day at Kessler Field.
“We unfortunately, came out and didn’t get things going right away,” Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan said. “We didn’t have the energy that you need to have to start a football game. I think that caused us to not execute some things the way we need to.”
“I think [the layoff] did [have an impact] a little bit,” senior defensive tackle Mike Upham said. “We didn’t play – we had that whole week off because of the hurricane. But that’s not an excuse. Everyone on the team was fresh. We should have came out a lot faster than that. Not playing is not an excuse for not coming out fast.”
This game did not start well at all for the Hawks, as John Kelly and the St. Francis offense went right down the field in nine plays on the opening possession, ending in a one-yard rushing touchdown by running back Keion Wade to make it 7-0.
Monmouth answered right back with a K.B. Asante 37-yard rushing touchdown, but all that momentum was vanished when Dane Domonkos returned the kickoff 97 yards for a Red Flash touchdown to make it 14-7 St. Francis. Domonokos finished with 159 total yards on the day.
It would only get worse.
On the ensuing kickoff, St. Francis head coach Chris Villarial called for a surprise onside kick which worked, and they got the ball back at their own 46 yard line. Five plays later, Josh Thiel kicked a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-7 Red Flash with 5:26 left in the first quarter.
After a 39-yard field goal attempt by Monmouth kicker Eric Spillane went wide left to start the second period, St. Francis took advantage of their good field position to score another touchdown, this time on a two-yard pitch-and-catch to Dan Conley to make it 24-7 St. Francis.
Monmouth was being dominated, in every single facet of the game.
Following a Monmouth punt and after a rush for no gain by Wade, a fight broke out with Wade and Jeremy Rodriguez of Monmouth getting ejected. But the Red Flash had too many weapons on this day, and Wade’s replacement, Anthony Abeid picked up right where his predecessor left off, rushing 27 yards later in the drive for another touchdown to make it 31-7 Red Flash with 6:05 left in the half.
Abeid finished with 119 rushing yards.