October 24, 2015

Delaware Valley Football - Aggies Upset Nationally Ranked and Undefeated Albright

Photo Courtesy of DeVal Athletics
READING (PA) – Delaware Valley University quarterback Dashawn Darden and wideout Michael Jensen teamed up for a pair of touchdowns, including the decisive score with 9:11 remaining as the Aggies moved into a tie for first place in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) with a 28-23 victory at previously undefeated and 16th-ranked Albright College.

The victory was the fifth straight for a young DelVal squad that has all 11 new starters on offense and seven on defense. The Aggies are now 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the MAC, tied with both Albright (6-1, 5-1) and Stevenson University (6-1, 5-1) and the owners of victories over both squads. Lebanon Valley College and Widener University are each 4-2 in MAC play and DelVal faces both of them at home down the stretch, starting with next Saturday’s meeting with Lebanon Valley.

It was also the 65th annual Pretzel Bowl at Widener and Jensen took home DelVal Most Valuable Player honors in the game. Both he and Darden were in the starting lineups for the first time in 2015 and they combined for the first passing scores of the year for the team.

Down 23-21, the Aggies took over at their own 35-yard line just 53 seconds into the fourth quarter. They moved the ball into Lions’ territory and faced a third-and-six from the 37 when Darden hit Brian Norman for an eight-yard pass and a first down. After three running plays netted three yards, head coach Duke Greco kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-seven situation from the Albright 26-yard line. Darden drilled a pass into the middle of the end zone and Jensen was there to snag it for the touchdown. Nick Restaino added the extra-point for a 28-23 lead with 9:11 remaining.

Albright went three-and-out and DelVal regained possession at its own 37 with 7:28 to go. Darden converted a third-and-seven with an 11-yard pass to Norman and then Armani Fuller-Williams broke tackles for a nine-yard run on a third-and-three. The clock ticked down to 2:52 and the Aggies had another third-down play, this time a third-and-three from the Lions’ 26. On a hard count, the defense jumped offside, giving DelVal the first downs. Two runs and an unsportsmanlike penalty on Albright moved the ball down to the seven-yard line and another first down for the Aggies with 1:07 left. The Lions used their last timeout, but DelVal just had to kneel down three times to run out the clock and pick up the huge road win.

Darden and Jensen teamed up for the first score of the day as Jensen ran a post pattern and Darden hit him in stride for the 16-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 3:20 into the game. The Aggies had to go just 30 yards for the score as linebacker Trae Hall, in his first start of the year, intercepted a Mike Knight pass on the opening drive.

All-American placekicker Daniel Sobolewski missed a 29-yard field goal attempt for Albright last in the first quarter and the DelVal got possession at its own 20. After three plays netted 10 yards and a first down, wideout Tyler Bing took a jet sweep to the left and sprinted untouched for a 70-yard touchdown. Restaino’s extra-point gave them a 14-0 lead with 1:46 left in the quarter.

The Lions responded with the game’s next points, starting with Roemello Monroe’s six-yard touchdown run five seconds into the second quarter. After two three-and-outs by DelVal, Albright tied it up with 6:54 to go before intermission on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Knight to Malik Gilmore. The Lions then took the lead with just 28 seconds as a nine-play, 75-yard drive was capped by a nine-yard scoring pass from Knight to Gerrod Gainer. However, Sobolewski’s point-after missed, leaving the Albright lead at 20-14.

The Lions had two golden opportunities to take a two-score lead in the third quarter, but the DelVal defense came up with big plays each time. On their possession of the second half, Albright drove the ball from its own 20 to the Aggie two-yard line for a third-and-goal situation. Monroe gained just one yard to bring up fourth down. Monroe got the call again, but Luke Boonstra and Danny Wynne dropped him for a one-yard loss and a change of possession.

DelVal did not net a yard on its three plays and a short punt gave the ball back to the Lions at the Aggie 28. After a three-yard run, Knight threw the ball into the end one but DelVal safety Shawn Miller was there for the interception and a touchback. The Aggies then marched 80 yards on eight plays and the drive ended when Fuller-Williams found the end zone from five yards out and a 21-20 lead with 4:08 left in the third. The big play on the drive was when wide receiver Michael Anusky threw back to Darden for a 43-yard reception.

Sobolewski booted home a 40-yard field goal just 44 seconds into the fourth quarter to regain the lead for Albright. However, the Aggies responded with Darden’s touchdown pass to Jensen and a time-consuming drive to run out the clock in the win.

Darden completed 10 of 20 passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 38 yards on 17 carries and caught the one pass for 43 yards. Jensen had three grabs for 56 yards and the two scores. Bing netted 83 yards and the long touchdown on three carries while Fuller-Williams had eight rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown.

On the defense side, Wynne paced DelVal with 10 tackles, including an assist on the goal-line stop. Nick Wright added seven tackles while Devante Ford had five stops and one sack.

Knight was 21-for-31 for 308 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Lions. Vinny Williams had eight catches for 80 yards while Gainer finished with seven receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown. Steve Barrose led the defensive charge with 11 tackles.