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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hawks and Sinisi end 2007 with a bang


WEST LONG BRANCH - Tailback Dave Sinisi, the big gun in the backfield of the Monmouth University football team, was firing on all cylinders Saturday in a record-breaking and record-tying performance vs. Duquesne.

""There's many things that he can do,'' said Kevin Callahan, Monmouth coach. ""It's a smart thing to try and take advantage of those things.''

The wisdom was never more evident than in Monmouth's 31-20 victory in front of 2,812 fans at Kessler Field in the season finale for the Hawks (4-6).

Sinisi rushed for two TD out of different formations and threw for another while becoming Monmouth's all-time single season rushing leader.

Sinisi's 125 yards rushing yards gave him 1,184 on the season surpassing Chris Reed's total of 1,166 in 1998. He tied the Monmouth career rushing touchdown mark of 30 also held by Reed and equaled Matt Merklinger's record of eight career 100-yard games.

What would have been Sinisi's 31st career TD was wiped out by a holding call.

""He's (Sinisi) been very productive for us all year long and was very productive for us again today,'' said Callahan.

Six plays after an interception by outside linebacker T.J. Cerezo Sinisi took a direct snap and plowed three yards into the end zone. The TD gave Monmouth a 21-13 lead over the Dukes (6-4) with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.

""We do a great job up front of pushing people around, we work for it,'' Sinisi said.
Defensively Monmouth held potential National Football League prospect Bruce Hocker of Duquesne to six catches for 43 yards and a TD. The 6-4 senior led the nation in receiving yards per game (107) in 2006.

""We definitely wanted to recognize where he was in any formation,'' said Ken Amsel, Monmouth cornerback.

""I was talking to safeties, the Bischoffs (Bryan and Derek) and (Jon) Stolarz about where he was on the formations and about what routes he runs out of those formations.''

When Amsel saw Hocker running a comeback route on Duquesne's second possession of the second half the 5-10 sophomore was ready.

Amsel stepped in front of Hocker, picked the ball off near the right sidelines, and swerved across the field 32 yards to widen the Monmouth lead to 28-13.

""The receiver (Hocker) broke down pretty early,'' said Amsel. ""As soon as the quarterback (Kevin Rombach) brought his arm up I knew I was going to be able to break on it and take it.

""I saw their whole offensive line trying to cut me off so I decided to reverse it, cross the field,'' Amsel said. ""Fortunately it was open and I was able to score.''

The interception and TD were the first of Amsel's collegiate career. ""I couldn't breathe after it because everybody (on Monmouth's team) was tackling me,'' Amsel said.

The teams traded early touchdowns with Sinisi racing in from six yards out for a 7-0 Monmouth advantage.

Sinisi then sent Monmouth in front again early in the second quarter, 14-7, with a 20-yard halfback option pass to tight end John Nalbone.

""It was a toss right,'' said Sinisi. ""We were able to sneak John past the defense and I threw it up there for him and he made a great catch.''

Sinisi said the primary goal Saturday was playing for each other and the seniors.
"'This one was for them (seniors) to go out top on the Kess (Kessler Field),'' Sinisi said. ""And for the rest of the guys coming back, something to take into the off season.''


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