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No. 16 Monroe Football Tops ASA College, 35-28, in NEFC Showdown

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y, October 28, 2018 – Jalen Brown rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another and Imhotep Cromer returned a kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown as 16th-ranked Monroe Mustangs football defeated their NEFC-rival, ASA College, 35-28, on Saturday at Joseph F. Fosina Field. With the win, the Mustangs move to 5-1 (1-1) on the season. After ASA won the toss and deferred to the second half, the Mustangs quickly got on the scoreboard and took an early lead. Brown hit Tyler Hodge for 19-yards and Shawn McFarland for another 25-yards, en route to a seven-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. Brown ran it in from two yards out, Diogo Alves nailed the extra point, and after just 3:15 of play, the Mustangs led the Avengers, 7-0. The Avengers had an answer, driving 85-yards in 21-plays and 9:51, but the Mustangs' defense got a third down stop in the red zone, and Jean Palacio shanked his only field goal attempt of the night, keeping Monroe in front by a touchdown. Monroe couldn't get anything going on their next drive, and ASA opened the second quarter with a first down and 10 from their own 33. Khalid Morris and the Avengers dinked and dunked their way to the first score, a nine-yard pass to Cortez Ervin, chewing up 67-yards on 12-plays in 5:03 to tie the game at seven. From there, the Mustangs and Avengers traded punts the rest of the quarter, with neither team getting much further past midfield, and the two sides headed into halftime squared at 7-7. The Avengers got the ball to start the second half, and it didn't take long for them to take the lead. In just 2:41, the Avengers went 70-yards, starting with a 20-yard rush by Alex Brink and finishing off with a 33-yard touchdown reception by Gary Makell from Morris to give ASA a 14-7 lead. But the Mustangs would tie the game even quicker. Imhotep Cromer took the ensuing kickoff out of his own end zone 100-yards for a score, tying the game up again at 14-all. ASA responded with another long drive of their own, moving into the Mustangs red zone midway through the third. But on fourth-down and goal, Niadre Zouzoua and Alton Nobles held Khalid Morris to a gain of just one, forcing a turnover on downs. And on the very next play, Jarious Jones took the handoff 95-yards for a touchdown, giving the Mustangs their first lead since early on in the second quarter, 21-14. The Avengers though, again had an answer, as Morris' two-yard touchdown run finished off a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, leveling the score at 21-21 as the two sides headed into the fourth quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Mustangs took advantage of an ASA penalty on third-and-long, continuing their drive into the Avengers' red zone before Brown scampered in from 16-yards out, his second score of the day making it 28-21 Monroe. And this time, even after ASA converted a fourth-down on a fake punt, the Mustangs held strong on third-and-eight just inside Monroe territory, forcing a punt, and giving Monroe the ball back with a chance to extend their lead. The Mustangs did exactly that, as Brown found Hodge for 11-yards on third-and-one before finding Jevin Frett for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Mustangs a two-possession lead. It took just 1:19 for ASA to answer though, with Morris connecting with Alex Brink for 55-yards and Ervin for another 15-yards. A play later, Morris' five-yard strike to Tosin Oyekanmi cut the Mustangs lead in half, with just under five minutes remaining. The Mustangs went three-and-out, giving the Avengers a chance to tie the game, and ASA slowly drove down the field, picking up a fourth-down and three from their own 40 to move into Mustang territory. But back-to-back incomplete passes by Morris brought up a fourth-down and eight at the Mustangs 45 with under a minute to play, and ASA couldn't convert, as Emmanuel Appiah-Tahkyi broke up and almost intercepted the pass intended for Roland Foiyoe. Brown took three knees to give the Mustangs the victory, the first over the Avengers since 2016. Brown led the way for the Mustangs, completing 10-of-13 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 44-yards and two scores on eight carries. Jones tallied 86-yards on the ground and a touchdown, his longest run of the season, while Frett led Monroe through the air with two catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Grant Melton totaled a team-high 10 tackles, while Rashon McNiel added 1.5 tackles for a loss and Heath Stephen II recorded a sack. The Mustangs will look to start a winning streak when they head to Buffalo, N.Y. to take on Erie Community College on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 12 p.m.

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