November 29, 2017

Football Game Preview: DelVal vs Brockport (NCAA Quarterfinals)

A MAC Football News "Game of the Week" Photo
DOYLESTOWN (PA) – A match-up of 12-0 teams, each looking for its first berth in the NCAA Division III semifinals, will take place on Saturday, December 2 when Delaware Valley University hosts The College at Brockport. Kickoff at Robert A. Lipinski Field at James Work Memorial Stadium is set for 12 p.m.

 
The Aggies and Brockport seemed destined for an Elite Eight quarterfinal showdown all season long as the two teams plowed through their conferences and the East Region. They were one-two in the NCAA regional polls and then placed on opposite ends of one of the four NCAA championship brackets. Each won their first two playoff contests (with the smallest margin of victory being 21), setting up Saturday's game and a right to claim a NCAA trophy (top four teams garner a trophy at the end of the season).
 
For DelVal, its journey to December started with a 24-19 victory over perennial power Wesley College. The Aggies then blitzed through the nine-game, Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) schedule for a perfect 10-0 regular season and a seventh trip to the NCAA championship tournament. They then blanked Western New England College, 35-0, in the opening round before dispatching Husson University, 37-15, in last week's second round to advance to the quarterfinals for just the third time in program history (2004 and 2005).
 
The win over Husson saw DelVal jump out to a 19-0 halftime lead. The Eagles scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, but the Aggies responded with a touchdown drive of their own and then had a pick-six just 18 seconds later to put the contest away. DelVal's defense notched four interceptions on the day while the offense racked up 502 total yards.
 
The Aggie offense is now 20th in Division III with an average of 39.5 points per game. It is a balanced attack with 236.4 yards per game on the ground (25th in Division III) and 189.7 yards per game in the air (426.1 total yards per game).
 
Junior Dashawn Darden has been the team's signal-caller since midway through his rookie campaign and he boasts a 25-3 record as a starter. This year, he has completed 146 of 265 passes for 2,146 yards and 24 touchdowns while also rushing for 624 yards and eight scores. Darden threw for 319 yards and accounted for four scores against Husson.
 
2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year and three-time all-MAC first-team tailback Devauntay Ellis has racked up 1,255 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. He ran for 100 yards on 18 attempts last week, the fifth time this season he has reached or eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
 
Junior wideout Marquis Ellis heads a balanced group of receivers with 31 catches for 454 yards and seven trips to the end zone. Sophomore tight end Dan Allen has emerged as a threat as well with 20 grabs for 402 yards and six touchdowns, including two scores against Husson.
 
DelVal has been dominant on the defensive side of the ball as the unit enters the quarterfinals as Division III's second toughest team to score on, allowing just 8.8 points per game (defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor is tops with 7.3 points allowed per outing). The Aggies are also second in pass efficiency defense (81.56 rating), fifth in turnovers gained (32), 12th in total defense (248.8 yards per game) and 13th in rushing (80.7 yards per game). They also have a knack for finding the end zone as their six scores is fourth in Division III.
 
Senior linebacker and team captain Nicholas DiGati leads the team in tackles with 98, including 24 over the two postseason contests. He also has one sack and one forced fumble to his credit.
 
Senior safety and preseason All-American Shawn Miller follows DiGati with 65 stops. The team captain has also intercepted six passes and has returned them for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He is second all-time in school history with 16 picks while his 444 yards and three scores are school records.
 
Jalen MayesJarren McBryde and Sammy Mohr join Miller to round out a starting secondary that has combined for 20 of the team's 25 interceptions.
 
Mayes had the pick-six against Husson to give him three interceptions on the year and go along with his 40 tackles. McBryde has made 41 stops and is tied with Miller for the team lead in interceptions with six. Two came in last week's second-round win. Mohr has intercepted five passes for 131 yards and a score (a 100-yard return in the first-round win over Western New England. He is also tied with Miller for the career record of three interception returns for touchdowns.
 
Sophomore defensive end Vincent DiLeo racked up three sacks against Husson to give him a team-best 8.5 on the season. He also has 30 tackles to his credit.  
 
THE COLLEGE AT BROCKPORT

The Golden Eagles are making their first NCAA appearance since 2003 a memorable one as they have reached the quarterfinals for just the second time in school history. The first was back in 2002 as part of a four-year run to the playoffs (2000-2003).
 
Brockport's journey to the '17 quarterfinals started with a perfect 10-0 regular season, including a 7-0 mark in the always-strong Empire 8 Conference. The Golden Eagles then opened NCAA championship play with a 66-0 rout of Plymouth State College and followed that with last Saturday's 49-28 triumph over Wesley in the second round.
 
In the win over Wesley, the teams were deadlocked at 21-21 at halftime before Brockport scored three straight touchdowns to take command. The Golden Eagles' defense forced five turnovers and scored two times in the second half alone.
 
Offensively, Brockport is 15th in Division III with an average of 40.6 points per game. The unit is also 19th in total yardage, averaging 471.1 yards an outing (210.5 avg rushing, 260.6 avg passing).

Sophomore quarterback Joe Germinerio was named the Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year just one year after being named the top rookie. He leads all of Division III in completion percentage (70.9%) and is fourth in passing efficiency (176.1 rating). He has thrown for 2,977 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 463 yards and 11 trips to the end zone. Last week against Wesley, Germinerio was 30-for-38 for 292 yards and three scores.
 
Fellow sophomore DaQuan Hubbard is the top target with 39 catches for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tyree Brown and Jerry Thompson have combined for 95 receptions for 1,359 yards and nine scores.
 
The ground attack is led by junior Justin Morrison, who has netted 878 yards and nine scores on 128 carries.
 
On the defensive side of the ball, Brockport permits just 12.2 points (ninth in Division III) and 233.3 yards (sixth) per game. The unit is second in the country in rushing, allowing just 31 yards an outing.
 
Matt Szymanski has 75 tackles to lead the charge while Julius Mizro has 62 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions to his credit. Nathaniel Keith III has 62 stops and 7.5 sacks while Jake O'Connell has a team-high seven interceptions. 

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