Hudson Valley capitalizes, 18-17
By Gary Axelbank
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 15- The Monroe Mustangs' mistake and penalty-filled performance against Hudson Valley turned a potential win into a frustrating 18-17 loss at Reinhart Field on Saturday night.
Beset by an inordinate number of miscues, including several offensive false starts and a crucial fumbled punt in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs could not capitalize on an outstanding game by hometown running back Justin Johnson and a sparking game by freshman linebacker Leonardo Myers. As a result, Monroe dropped to 2-5 in their inaugural season. This was the 1-6 Vikings' first win of the year.
"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times tonight and it hurt our chances in trying to beat Hudson Valley," said Coach Terry Karg.
Monroe had a whopping 13 penalties for 84 yards (HV had 9 for 55 yards) including six false starts and one delay of game that stifled a number of drives and called back several important gains. The yellow flags also contributed mightily to Monroe's 1/14 third down efficiency in the game, forcing Monroe to try and play out of a number of third-and-longs.
Monroe also had four fumbles in the game, losing three of them.
Monroe led 7-6 after one quarter, with the Mustangs' score coming on a five-yard run by QB Michael Campbell, a surprise starter since Manny Cortez has received acclaim for his multi-faceted game through the first half of the season. But Coach Karg wanted to put the versatile and productive Cortez in a number of different positions to make the best use of his remarkable talents.
Unfortunately for Monroe, even though Cortez had an eye-popping 44-yard punt return that featured some dazzling twists and turns, he had maybe the biggest gaffe of the game, fumbling a punt with just over nine-minutes left and Monroe leading 17-12. Moments later the Vikings scored the touchdown that was ultimately the game winner.
“We used Manny Cortez in a number of different looks today and had him running back punts to make the most of his abilities and also give Mike Campbell a chance to play the whole game at QB. Some things Manny did well and some we'll have to clean up a bit," said Coach Karg.
Halfback Johnson had an excellent game for Monroe. The New Rochelle native had 19 carries for 157 net yards, including an impressive 57-yard run from scrimmage in the third quarter. Myers was a force on defense, leading the team with 10 solo tackles.
Kicker Juan Gatti had a 27-yard field goal, the second-game in a row that he nailed one. He also was 2/2 on PAT's and made a solo tackle on a kickoff return. Campbell had a 15-yard TD pass to Gunner Majer, which temporarily gave Monroe the lead in the second half.