LIBERTY — Outside the winning locker room, Marlboro senior linebacker Monte Walker proudly wore the golden custom-made championship belt that is given to players who make special defensive plays. But in the Dukes’ easy 44-0 Section 9 Class B victory over Liberty on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon, Walker had more to celebrate than just his defensive exploits.
Walker scored on both sides of the ball to get the Dukes (2-1) off to a fast start in a bounce-back win following last week’s 16-6 loss to Class A Cornwall.
Walker ripped off a 28-yard touchdown burst to put the Dukes on top 6-0 on their first offensive series of the day.
Then late in the first quarter, he scooped up Liberty running back Jake Lesczynski’s fumble and returned it 12 yards for another score for a 12-0 lead.
Including his formative years in youth football, it was the first time Walker has scored touchdowns on both offense and defense in the same game.
“It feels incredible,” Walker said. “I have to credit Gio (Frisenda) for setting me up for that touchdown,” he said of the Dukes defensive back. “He stripped the ball and it just popped in my hands.”
Marlboro senior Sam Mongelli, who shared quarterbacking duties with junior Christian Diorio, completed touchdown passes to Troy McEwen (31 yards) and Noah Hadley (16 yards) in the second quarter to give the Dukes a 28-0 halftime lead.
Mongelli added 15- and 70-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter to complete the rout.
Diorio, who started and led the first scoring drive that culminated in Walker’s first TD, said the Dukes were confident they would rebound from the Cornwall setback.
“We knew we should have won that game,” Diorio said. “Today we were driving on all four cylinders. The offensive line looked great. Our skill players were moving down the field good. Everything worked good today.”
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Eric Borchert thinks the Dukes are stronger than most other teams with two quarterbacks like Mongelli and Diorio under center.
“It’s a luxury to have two quarterbacks like that,” Borchert said.
Borchert said it was nice to have such a dominating offensive and defensive effort against the Indians (1-2), who didn’t complete a pass and never established star running back Kymanni Dennis.
“We’re not in shambles or anything,“ Borchert said. “Cornwall’s a good team. They beat us. But nothing has really changed at Marlboro.”