Ground Game Explosive as Monroe Football Opens Season with Victory over New Jersey Warriors
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., September 1, 2018 – The Monroe College football team put on a show with its ground game in its home opener at Joseph F. Fosina Field on Saturday, leading the Mustangs to a 24-8 victory over the New Jersey Warriors. The Mustangs start the season 1-0, while the Warriors drop to 0-1. Monroe rushed for 326 yards on 33 carries, including three long touchdown runs en route to their first victory over the season. Quarterback Jalen Brown led the way, rushing for 153 yards and two scores on 11 carries. Armani Bermudez rushed the ball six times for 113 yards and a score. Tyler Bailey added 67 yards on 13 attempts. The Mustangs kicked off to start the game, but quickly forced the Warriors into a three-and-out. After the punt, the Mustangs began their first drive on their own 28-yard line. Monroe pushed the ground game on their first drive of the season, rushing the ball on their first eight plays. Monroe was looking at a fourth-and-two on the 13-yard line, setting up Diogo Alves Dos Santos Pereira for his first-career field goal. Alves was good from 29 yards out to put the Mustangs ahead, 3-0, with 4:45 left in the first. The Warriors managed to drive down to the one-yard line on the ensuing drive, where Eric Dheron punched it in to put the Warriors in the lead. The Mustangs then managed to block the extra point, but it was picked up by the kicker, who managed to run it into the end zone for a two-point conversion, leaving the Warriors on top, 8-3, early in the second quarter. Late in the first half, the Mustangs forced another punt, starting a new drive at their own 38-yard line with 5:47 left until halftime. Bermudez pushed it to the Mustang 45-yard line after a pair of rushes, but Brown called his own number on the next play, found a hole, and was off to the races down the right sideline, taking it 55 yards to the house for a Mustang touchdown. Alves' extra point put Monroe ahead, 10-8. Late in the half, the Warriors used 15 plays to take the ball down to the Monroe 11-yard line with just eight seconds on the clock. Ross Spadavecchia lined up for a 28-yard field goal, but it was blocked by Jordan Valerius-Twyman, securing Monroe's two-point lead going into the break. The Mustangs received the kickoff to begin the second half, but were unable to get anything going and punted it away. The Warriors ran an eight-play drive, but Monroe managed to take the ball away on downs, getting the ball at their own 11-yard line. Tyler Bailey rushed twice for gains of nine and two to earn another Mustang first down. Brown then showed off the wheels once again, sprinting for an even more impressive 78-yard touchdown run down the right sideline, pushing Monroe's lead to 17-8. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Mustangs forced the Warriors into a fourth-and-six at midfield. Edamiyon Doggett tossed it deep down the left sideline, but Qudair Sims jumped in front of the receiver and intercepted it to give possession back to the Mustangs. On the very next play, Bermudez broke free for a huge 86-yard touchdown run, pushing the Mustangs ahead, 24-8, with 11:53 left to play. The Warriors got the ball back late in the game looking to put some points on the board. They brought it all the way down to the goal line with just a few seconds left. Eric Best was unable to complete a pass in the end zone while facing tons of pressure, but a pass interference call gave the Warriors a free play with no time on the clock. The snap on the next play squirted right through the quarterback's legs, and he was forced to jump on top of it, ending the play and ending the game. Rashon McNeil led the defense with 11 total tackles on the evening, followed by Zion Powell's eight. Malcolm Martinpicked up 1.5 sacks, while Gene Brown and Deven Lewis each picked up one. Alton Nobles combined with Martin on his sack. Sims made three tackles, one for a loss of yards, and had the big fourth-quarter interception. Valerius-Twyman made two tackles, one for loss, and blocked a field goal at the end of the first half. Joshua Boyd made a pair of tackles and broke up two passes. Keveon Clark and Tyler Hodge each caught two passes for Monroe in the win. Clark finished with 26 yards, while Hodge totaled 12. The Warriors rushed for 127 yards on 33 carries in the game. Doggett picked up 68 yards on 16 rushes to lead the visitors. He also passed for 166 yards, completing 21-of-36 attempts with an interception. The Mustangs will look to build off of their hot start on Saturday, Sept. 8, when they visit Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y. Kickoff for next Saturday's matchup is set for 1 p.m.