October 11, 2014

DelVal Football - Aggies posts 52-42 homecoming win over in battle of the unbeatens

Fr WR Ta'riq Thomas makes circus catch with 20 seconds left
in the first half (Photo courtesy of DelVal Sports Information)
DOYLESTOWN (PA) – In a game that featured one of Division III's top offenses against one of the top defenses, it was the offense that prevailed as No. 24 Delaware Valley College notched a 52-42, Homecoming triumph over No. 20/23 Lycoming College in a battle of unbeaten Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) teams.

The win improved the Aggies to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the MAC as they are now just one of two undefeated teams left in the league (Widener is 5-0, 4-0). Lycoming, which will host Widener in two weeks after its bye, fell to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in conference action.

Delaware Valley entered the game ranked sixth in the country in scoring and 15th in total offense with averages of 49.8 points and 518.3 yards per contest. Meanwhile, the Warrior defense was allowing just an average of 10 points (10th in Division III) and 208 yards (6th) per showing. In fact, they had permitted just a total of six touchdowns and 50 points over their first five games.

The Aggies blew away those numbers as they found the end zone seven times on Saturday and went over the 50-point mark for a fourth game in a row. In fact, they put up the most points against a Lycoming team since Wilkes University scored 64 points on the Warriors all the way back in 1949.

Delaware Valley racked up 380 yards in the air and 231 more on the ground for a 611-yard performance on just 65 plays (9.4 avg). The offensive line also allowed just one sack to a Lycoming unit that had accrued 23 of them in the first five games.

Sr QB Aaron Wilmer (Image: John Green)
Senior quarterback Aaron Wilmer orchestrated the Delaware Valley offense as he completed 21 of 27 passes for 380 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for a score. In the process, he became just the second player in school history to go over the 10,000-yard mark for total offense (rushing and receiving) as he upped his total to 10,049 (2005 All-American quarterback Adam Knoblauch holds the record with 12,833 total yards).

Chris Smallwood (Image: John Green)
Wilmer's favorite target, Rasheed Bailey, entered the game as Division III's leader with 177 receiving yards per game. He should hold onto that spot after grabbing nine passes for 195 yards and one score. And the ground attack was led by Chris Smallwood as the senior netted 180 yards and one trip to the end zone on 25 carries.

The game opened with Lycoming's offense scoring on its first three drives, the last of the three coming on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Jenny to Ryan Umpleby to give the Warriors a 21-7 advantage with 2:17 left in the first quarter. It was already Jenny's third touchdown toss of the game as he hit John Sibel for a 10-yard score on the opening possession and, after a Wilmer to Mike Jensen connection for the Aggies, he found Corey Talerico for a 17-yard strike in the end zone.

Delaware Valley answered with 28 seconds left in the first quarter as Smallwood scored from 15 yards out to cap a five-play, 66-yard drive. Lycoming took the ensuing possession and drove 74 yards on 12 plays, taking nearly six minutes off the clock. The drive ended with Nick Mongiello's one-yard plunge into the end zone for a 28-14 Lycoming lead with 9:23 left in the first half.

Back came Wilmer and the Aggies as he hit Danny Lopez for a four-yard touchdown to end a 68-yard scoring drive. The extra-point attempt was blocked to leave the score 28-20 with 5:42 to go before the intermission.

The Delaware Valley defense got its first stop of the day and the offense took over at its own 32. A 47-yard bomb from Wilmer to Bailey put the ball deep in Lycoming territory and, six plays later, Wilmer scored from three yards out. The Aggies went for the two-point conversion and got it with a Wilmer run to tie the game at 28-28 with just 1:05 remaining.

Delaware Valley registered a pair of sacks on the Warriors' next drive and used its timeouts to force a punt. The kick rolled to the Aggie 42 where they took over with 12 seconds left. Wilmer went back and threw a bomb downfield that freshman Ta'riq Thomas caught over a Lycoming defender at the 10-yard line and he went into the end zone for the 58-yard stunner and a 35-28 Delaware Valley advantage with just four seconds remaining.

The Aggies built the lead up 10 on the first possession of the second half thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Brandon Snyder. The teams then exchanged touchdowns as Jenny hit Matt Cookson for a 20-yard score with 6:19 left in the third and Wilmer found Bailey from 11 yards out with 2:19 to go for a 45-35 score.

After a defensive stop, Wilmer culminated a seven-play, 87-yard scoring drive by hitting tight end Stephen Greco for a 28-yard touchdown and a 52-35 advantage just three minutes into the fourth quarter. Lycoming answered four minutes later as Jenny teamed with Umpleby for a 15-yard score, but the Aggies used up all but the final 13 seconds on their next possession for the 52-42 final.

Jenny was stellar in defeat for the Warriors as he completed 28 of 37 passes for 376 yards and five touchdowns. Umpleby caught eight passes for 127 yards and two scores while Sibel had six grabs for 95 yards and a touchdown. Craig Needhammer, was of the MACs top running backs, was held to 63 yards on 15 carries.

Defensively, Aric Boyes, Chris Kitchen and Danny Wynne had seven tackles apiece for Delaware Valley with Boyes getting one of the team's three sacks. Mike Gentile led the defensive effort for Lycoming with eight stops.