On the surface it’s not a great time for most football fans in New Jersey.  The Giants, Jets and Eagles are not likely playing for titles any time soon and Rutgers, while showing progress, does not figure to be a Big Ten threat for a while if ever. Maybe it’s time for the Jersey Shore to begin celebrating the championship program that calls West Long Branch home.

Over the weekend Monmouth University clinched its second straight Big South football crown and did so in convincing fashion in front of family and friends at Kessler Stadium.  The 20th ranked Hawks dominated #7 Kennesaw State and sent the visitors from Georgia home rather humbled following a 42-17 beat down which was as impressive as the score might indicate.

At this point I’m sure some of you are wondering what I am talking about…it’s April and that is not football season.  Well it is for some who missed the fall season because the pandemic shut things down which is allowing many schools in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) to play now.  Only 5 of the Big South schools opted in for the spring and at 3-0 Monmouth has secured the title and a spot in the 16-team NCAA Playoffs which begin on April 24th.  The Hawks had their regular season finale at Robert Morris scheduled for this Saturday cancelled because the Colonials did not have enough players available. Monmouth will learn who their first round playoff opponent will be on Sunday during the NCAA FCS Selection Show at 11:30am.

It seems many in the area have been apathetic when it comes to the Hawks which is a shame because they are missing out.  As a reminder Monmouth crushed Kennesaw in the fall of 2019 to win their first-ever Big South title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs.  Now they are back and better than ever with a team featuring a nice blend of experience and youth and they are simply fun to watch…although unfortunately COVID-19 protocols have only allowed a small number of family members to be at Kessler Stadium for their two home games this spring.

In his 28th season as the only head coach in program history Kevin Callahan has built something pretty special and it’s time for not just alumni but all football fans from the Jersey Shore to embrace the champions who play right in our own backyard.

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