November 1, 2014

DelVal Football - Aggies hold on for 24-21 Triumph at King's

WILKES-BARRE (PA) – Delaware Valley College jumped out to a 17-0 lead and then had to hold on as a King’s College game-tying 39-yard field goal attempt fell short and the visiting Aggies escaped with the 24-21, Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) victory.

Delaware Valley, which entered the game ranked as high as 18th in national polls, remained undefeated as it improved to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the MAC. The Aggies are tied atop the conference standings with Widener University, which had to battle for a 34-23 home win over Stevenson University. The two will meet at Widener for the regular-season finale after Delaware Valley hosts FDU-Florham and Widener travels to King’s next week.

Delaware Valley, behind a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Wilmer to wideout Rasheed Bailey and a Brandon Snyder field goal, built a 17-0 lead in the first 27 minutes of the contest as it looked to avenge a home loss to the Monarchs (3-5, 3-4 MAC) last year.

However, King’s rallied and pulled to within three on two occasions, the last at 24-21 early in the fourth. The Monarchs then stopped the Aggies at the one-yard line on a fourth down play and took over with 3:03remaining. They drove down to the Delaware Valley with 22 with five seconds left and sent Mikhail Kniaziewicz onto the field to attempt a game-tying 39-yard field goal into the wind. The kick fell short and the Aggies left McCarthy stadium with the win.

Delaware Valley’s defense forced a turnover on the first play of the game as lineman Aric Boyes stripped quarterback Tyler Hartranft on a scramble and linebacker Matt Smith recovered at the Monarch 29-yard line. It was Smith’s fourth fumble recovery of the year, moving the junior into a tie for first place in all of Division III in that category.

The Aggies faced a third-and-nine from the 14 when Wilmer drilled a pass to Bailey in-between two defenders in the end zone for the touchdown. Brandon Snyder added the extra-point for the early 7-0 lead just 2:15 into the game.

Later in the quarter, King’s faces a fourth-and-one from the Delaware Valley 38. Hartranft tried a quarterback sneak but the Aggies stuffed it for no gain and a turnover on downs. Delaware Valley nearly forced a turnover on King’s next possession, but the Monarchs recovered the fumble and were forced to punt.

On the ensuing possession, Bailey got behind the defense and Wilmer hit him for a 59-yard touchdown. Snyder’s extra-point upped the lead to 14-0 with 17 seconds left in the opening quarter.

In the opening minute of the second quarter, Chris Smallwood was stripped of the ball and King’s Anthony Martuccio recovered to give the Monarchs the ball at the Aggie 25. Delaware Valley forced a fourth-and-15 situation and the pass fell incomplete as the Aggie defense held after the turnover.

Later in the half, Delaware Valley went on a nine-play, 75-yard drive and reached the one-yard line, but a penalty and a loss of yardage on a run brought up fourth down at the King’s seven. Snyder came on to boot a 24-yard field goal and a 17-0 advantage with 3:17 remaining.

The Monarchs got on the board with 1:53 to go before the intermission as Hartranft found a wide-open Dan Kempa for a 59-yard touchdown. Delaware Valley drove down to the King’s 21 but a pair of costly holding penalties moved the ball back and the half ended with the Aggies holding a 10-point lead.

Delaware Valley went three-and-out deep in its own territory to start the second half and the Monarchs took over at the Aggies 35. King’s needed seven plays to find the end zone and Kyle McGrath capped it with a two-yard run to make it a 17-14 ballgame with 10:19 left in the third.

Delaware Valley responded with a 10-play, 69-yard scoring drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock. Smallwood ended with a three-yard run into the end zone as he tied the school’s single-season record with his 18th rushing touchdown. Snyder added the point-after to put the team back up 10, 24-14, with 5:10remaining in the third quarter.

Back came the Monarchs as they drove inside the Aggie 20 on the ensuing possession and reached the four after a big run by McGrath. Two short runs by McGrath put the ball at the one and McGrath found the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it a three-point game once again.

Both teams exchanged punts and the Aggies took over on their own 27 after King’s boot. They faced a second-and-23 when Wilmer hit Bailey for 21 yards and Smallwood followed with a run to move the sticks. Delaware Valley moved the ball to the one-yard for a fourth-and-goal. The call went to fullback Jarrett Reinhard and he was stopped shy of the goal line, giving the ball back to Monarchs with 3:03 remaining.

King’s moved into Delaware Valley territory, but a holding penalty put the yard line back to the Monarch 42. A pass to Kempa made it third-and-three from the Delaware Valley 41 with 26 seconds to go. Kempa hauled in another pass and got out of bounds at the 32-yard line. A toss to Patrick Robinson went for seven yards and an incomplete pass followed for a third-and-three with just nine ticks left. Hartranft hit Kempa for a first down at 22 with five seconds to go. After two Aggie timeouts, Kniaziewicz’s game-tying kick fell short and Delaware Valley had the win.

The Aggies finished the day with 421 yards of total offense. Smallwood carried the ball 30 times for 169 yards and one touchdown while Wilmer was 13-for-28 for 217 yards and two scores. Bailey, who entered the game leading the country in receiving yards (1,195), receiving yards per game (170.7 avg) and receiving touchdowns (13), had five grabs for 115 yards and one trip to the end zone. Smith and Danny Wynne led the defensive charge with 10 tackles apiece while Aric Boyes had nine stops and two sacks.

For King’s, Hartranft was 16-for-27 for 200 yards and one score while Kempa had eight catches for 123 yards and that touchdown. McGrath netted 88 yards and two scores on 16 carries. Nick Kaiajla recorded a game-high 14 tackles.