Editor’s note: Baylee Guedes is the sibling to King’s senior quarterback Tekoah Guedes.
The biggest game of the year in the Barre took place on Saturday as Wilkes took on King’s College for the 25th annual Mayor’s Cup game at McCarthy Stadium. However, the Colonels lost to the Monarchs 34-7 after big drives from the King’s offense.
“I think the rivalry is an important aspect for both schools’ traditions,” said head coach Jonathan Drach. “In the grand scheme of things, it is just another game. I think that both schools want to win that game every year and it is an important game to win and we did not pull it off this week.”
The Monarchs got an early lead in the first quarter with a running touchdown from Brennan Robinson after a handoff by senior quarterback Tyler Moore as well as an extra point by Kyle Prescavage. Wilkes’ defense was crumbling early on as King’s kept pressuring them with their offense.
The Colonels struggled to get offensive drives in the first quarter as the Monarch defense was keeping the petal to the metal, forcing three punts by first-year punter Alex Orlando. King’s recovered the punts, but failed to score again in the first.
On Wilkes’ second drive of the second quarter, senior quarterback Jose Tabora scored an 11-yard rushing touchdown for the Colonels, continuing to break his record for all-time rushing yards at Wilkes.
The score remained 7-7 heading into halftime, and both Wilkes and King’s knew they had to come out hard in the third quarter to obtain the Mayor’s Cup.
The Monarch’s made a vital change as they put in senior quarterback Tekoah Guedes who completed multiple drives leading his offense to scoring position. Guedes handed off the ball to Shemar Ellis for a six-yard rushing touchdown.
Tabora and the Colonel offense could not get a drive anywhere near the endzone, leading to more punts by Orlando.
“We started the second half by giving them (King’s) really good field position off of a miss- kick,” said Drach. “Then they (King’s) were able to go down and score when our back was against the wall and they created some momentum.”
King’s capitalized on the faltering Wilkes offense and pressured the defense with another rushing touchdown by Ellis, having the scoreboard read 21-7 to end the third quarter as the extra point was good
The fourth quarter started with the Monarchs on offense. Wilkes’ defense could not hold on after a minute of gameplay, leading to a 51-yard passing touchdown from Guedes to Joe Herman.
The Colonel offense got the ball at the 44-yard line after Monarch’s Prescavage kicked it to the 36-yard line and Wilkes’ Elijah Jules returned it for 22 yards, leading to a drive that had the potential of a score for the Wilkes offense.
“Overall, it was a rough day,” said Jules. “I still believe we have one of the most explosive offenses and in due time that will be shown.”
Tabora started his offensive drive with a two-yard loss after a sack by the Monarch defense. The offense tried to get the ball rolling, but a pass was broken up by King’s Joseph Carchio for an incomplete pass to Jason Schweizerhof.
Tabora completed a pass to Schweizerhof for a four-yard gain and then Tabora rushed for a 13 yard gain. However, Wilkes was charged with a personal foul, causing a 15- yard penalty and a fourth down.
The Colonels tried to capitalize on their fourth and 15, but Tabora’s pass was incomplete to Devin Higgins, causing a turnover on downs.
King’s started its fourth-quarter drive at their own 49-yard line with three first-down conversions leading to a five-yard touchdown pass from Guedes to Brandon Cohen, the scoreboard read 34-7 as the extra point was no good because of a bad snap.
Wilkes looked for a change of pace as they put in junior quarterback Heath Hoovler, but his drive was short-lived as he had a fumble and an incomplete pass, leading to another punt for Orlando.
King’s let the clock run out from five minutes to zero by keeping their drive going and then ending the game on a kneel.
Wilkes lost the Mayor’s Cup game and the cup was presented to King’s College by the mayor of Wilkes- Barre, George Brown.
“The rivalry game meant a lot,”said Jules. “To see it end like that is very disappointing but we will bounce back. I do not want people thinking that that game was a real representation of Wilkes football, we are a better team than we portrayed.”
King’s Carchio was named with the game’s most valuable player honor as he had the best performance for the Monarch defense. Colonel’s senior linebacker Cole Jesmer was awarded with the game’s most valuable player honor for Wilkes as he led the defense with 12 tackles.
“It felt great to win MVP for my last game, but I do wish we came out with a win,” said Jesmer. “I got the MVP last season and doing it again this season it meant a lot because I don’t know anybody who ever had a two-peat of the MVP award. The game meant everything to me and going out the way I did, it wasn’t hateful.”
Tabora ended his football career with multiple school records including 7,653 passing yards, 622 completions, 62 of them being touchdown passes.
The football season has come to a deafening end for Wilkes and they will resume gameplay next fall in hopes to win the Mayor’s Cup back from their cross-town rival.
“We are a young football team,” said Drach. “Quite a few will return with two or three years left and those kids are going to have an opportunity to learn from their experiences from this year and build on that in the off season to gain positive momentum.”