WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Presbyterian College football team fell at Monmouth, 21-16, in cold, windy conditions at Keller Field on Saturday. The Blue Hose entered halftime with a 10-7 lead but the Hawks used 14 third-quarter points to hold off a late PC surge.
Senior linebacker Donelle Williams led the PC defense with a game-high 13 tackles and his first interception of the season, which set up the first Presbyterian touchdown of the game. It was the fifth time this season that Williams recorded double-digit tackles. Mitchell Anderson and Ugonna Akoh each added seven tackles, while Kenneth Coleman grabbed a fumble for the PC’s 11th fumble recovery of the season.
On offense, Ben Cheek completed 9-of-18 passes for a career-high 93 yards and one touchdown through the air with 13 carries for 33 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground. Quahlin Patterson carried most of the load on the ground, rushing 19 times for 35 yards. DaShawn Davis led all PC receivers with four receptions for 44 yard and one touchdown, his second of the season.
The Presbyterian defense created some early momentum for the Blue Hose. After Monmouth drove out to midfield, Williams intercepted a pass from Cody Williams and returned it down to the PC 20 to set up a scoring opportunity. The Blue Hose were unable to move the chains on the ensuing possession but Brett Norton nailed a 34-yard field goal to give his team a 3-0 lead.
Monmouth would get on the board midway through the second quarter with a lengthy touchdown drive. The Hawks drove 86 yards on 13 plays and took 5:17 off the clock. Zach Welch provided the key play in the drive with a 32-yard run for a third-down conversion, before Cody Williams found Ugo Ezemma from five yards for the touchdown several plays later to put Monmouth up 7-3.
PC answered the score on its ensuing possession with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive of their own. Cheek completed his first pass of the game in a big spot, converting a third down with a 14-yard toss to Marquel Hines. Three plays later, Cheek would find Tre’von Howell for 32 yards to put PC five yards from the goal line. Cheek then scored his first touchdown of the season, a one-yard run, four plays later to give the Blue Hose a halftime lead of 10-7.
Monmouth would grab the momentum early in the second half. On PC’s opening possession of the half, Tymere Berry snagged a deflected Cheek pass out of the air, giving Monmouth the ball on the PC 40-yard line. Eight plays later, Darren Ambush took the ball 13 yards in to the end zone for the score to give the Hawks a 14-10 advantage early in the third quarter.
The Hawks added to the lead late in the quarter on another lengthy drive. The Hawks went 80 yards on 11 plays to take 4:35 off the clock. Welch again had a key play, rushing for 23 yards, to move the ball in to PC territory, before Williams found Ambush for 22 yards on the next play to move in to the red zone. Three plays later, Williams found Reggie White Jr. for 11 yards and, after review, the play resulted in a touchdown and gave Monmouth a 21-10 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, PC was able to capitalize on a Monmouth miscue. Kenneth Coleman came away with a fumble on a muffed punt by the Hawks, giving PC possession at the MU 28 with 7:32 to play in the game. On the ensuing drive, Cheek would find Davis for 18 yards and the touchdown to cut the lead to 21-16, after a failed two-point conversion.
The Blue Hose defense would get a stop and PC would gain possession with 1:54 to play in the contest. The Monmouth defense got two sacks on the final PC possession and would take over on downs to ice the game.
Monmouth was led by Cody Williams, who threw for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 15 completions and rushed 38 yards on seven carries. Zach Welch added 81 rushing yards on 10 carries and Lavon Chaney rushed for 57 yards on 23 carries. Reggie White Jr. led all Hawks in receiving with 44 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.The Blue Hose wrap up the season next Saturday, November 21, at home against Kennesaw State.