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No. 12 Monroe Football Falls to No. 6 Lackawanna

SCRANTON, Pa., October 13, 2018 – The 12th-ranked Monroe College Mustangs football team dropped their first contest of the 2018 season, falling to the 6th-ranked Lackwanna College Falcons, 21-7, on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium to drop to 4-1 (0-1 NEFC) on the season. After the Mustangs and Falcons combined for four-straight three-and-outs to open the first quarter, Lackawanna put together a scoring drive to take the early lead. On first-and-10 from the Lackawanna 32, Darius Brown broke free for a 61-yard gain to put the Falcons in the red zone. Back-to-back two-yard rushes, as well as an offsides penalty, brought up third-and-goal, but Reggie Jean-Charles punches it in from two-yards out to give Lackawanna a 6-0 lead. Isaiah Howard's extra point made it 7-0, and after a six-play, 80-yard drive, the Falcons led 7-0 with 5:54 remaining. The Mustangs followed with another three-out struggling to find their offensive footing in the first quarter. But after another Lackawanna three-and-out, Jalen Brown and the Mustangs began the second quarter with a second-and-seven from their own 36. However, Zaire Jones was unable to find any running room on second down, and after an incomplete pass from Brown, the Falcons found themselves with terrific field position, starting the drive on the Monroe 49 after a 26-yard punt return. The Falcons continued to ride Brown, who carried for four, seven and 34 yards before punching it in from four-yards out to give Lackawanna a 14-0 lead. The Mustangs responded with a drive of their own, following a 25-yard kickoff return from Imhotep Cromer. Jones carried for 12 yards on first-and-ten to open the drive, and the Mustangs got into Lackawanna territory for the first time on a personal foul. But a holding penalty stalled the drive at the Lackawanna 35, and Diogo Alves' 47-yard field goal attempt missed wide left, keeping the Mustangs off the scoreboard. Monroe's defense came up big on their next possession, stopping Lackawanna on fourth-and-two inside the Mustangs' red zone to keep the score at 14-0. But again, the Mustangs couldn't get going offensively and were forced to punt, and the Falcons ran out the clock to head into the halftime break up 14-0. Both teams again started the second half slow, before the Mustangs got the ball off a Bradley King punt for the third time with 9:14 remaining in the quarter. Jarious Jones put the Mustangs into Lackawanna territory with a 30-yard run, and just a few plays later the Mustangs entered the red zone for the first time. Brown's 13-yard pass to Shawn McFarland put Monroe on the doorstep, before Brown snuck it in, cutting the Falcons' lead to 14-7. Four plays later, Grant Melton gave Monroe the ball back, recovering Browns' fumble after a 14-yard run, but the Mustangs couldn't take advantage, and punted it away with 1:13 remaining in the third. The Falcons, starting near midfield, moved the ball quickly into the red zone and were stopped on first-and-goal as the third quarter came to an end. The Mustangs got another stop on second-and-goal, but Shane McLaughlin found James Stanley from five-yards out for a second, putting the Falcons ahead, 21-7. The Mustangs and Falcons proceeded to trade punts, with the Mustangs unable to get past midfield. But after a short punt from King, putting Monroe at their own 45, the Mustangs moved the ball into Lackawanna territory. Brown found Nyjaliek Williams for gains of eight and five yards, and McFarland for 17, but four-straight incompletions led to a turnover on downs, giving Lackawanna the ball back with 4:34 remaining. The Mustangs defense held, forcing a three-out, and Monroe got the ball back with 3:20 remaining, in need of a score. But after picking up four yards on first-and-10, Brown was intercepted by Ja'yir Brown, effectively sealing the game for the Falcons. Monroe would again get the ball back with 43 seconds remaining, but the Falcons sacked Brown on second-and-10 to run out the clock, and pick up a 21-7 victory. Brown led the Mustangs both on the ground and through the air, completing 13-of-39 for 125 yards and an interception, while rushing for 43 yards and a touchdown. Jarious Jones added 39 yards on the ground with a long of 30, while Williams led the Mustangs with six catches for 65 yards. Defensively, Rashon McNeil tallied a team-high eight tackles (four solo) and two tackles for a loss, while both Jason Simon and Joshua Boyd forced fumbles. The Mustangs will look to bounce back when they return home for a Homecoming matchup with Kirkland Academy on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at Joseph F. Fosina Field at Flowers Park.

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