A Bright Spot in New Jersey Football
It has been a pretty dismal football season for fans who root for teams that play their games in New Jersey.
The Jets are 3-7, the Giants are 2-8 and Rutgers is 2-8 for a combined Garden State futility record of 7-23. Not too many happy weekends for those who play in East Rutherford and Piscataway.
However there is a New Jersey team whose fans leave home games pretty happy because they are 5-0 this season and have won 15 of their last 16 in their building.
Kessler Stadium is where Monmouth University plays and if you have not been to West Long Branch than you have missed some exciting football in this the 27th year of the program.
The Hawks have clinched their first Big South championship and for the second time in three years are headed to the FCS Playoffs where they will be one of just 24 teams with a chance to compete for the National Championship.
Monmouth will find out Sunday who, when and where they will be playing but there’s a chance they’ll be one of the 8 teams to get a first-round bye but if not might get their first-ever home playoff game next week.
However first there is the matter of finishing up the regular season as they take a 7-game winning streak into tomorrow’s noon contest against Hampton on Senior Day at Kessler Stadium. As many as 28 seniors could be playing their final game at home, a group that includes Shore Conference alumni like Tymere Berry, Matt Castronouva and Matt Mosquera.
The Hawks are flying high led by an offense that has scored 40 or more points in five of their last six games with QB Kenji Bahar and running back Pete Guerriero putting up huge numbers.
Bahar has passed for 2900 yards and 24 touchdowns and has re-written the program’s record books while Guerriero has run for almost 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. The two are worth the price of admission and you’ll clearly get more bang for your buck at Kessler then at MetLife Stadium.
What’s just as nice is Monmouth does it the right way and much of that credit goes to Kevin Callahan, the only head coach in program history and one of the true gentlemen of the game. This season has been a truly special one and hopefully it’s not over by a long shot.
Do yourself a favor on Saturday. Head to West Long Branch and watch a winner Kickoff is at noon.