Thursday, September 22, 2016

Delaware Valley Football - Dutchman Game Preview vs Albright

A file photo
DOYLESTOWN (PA) – Delaware Valley University will put its undefeated record to the test on Saturday, September 24 when the 14th-ranked Aggies host defending Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) champion Albright College. Kickoff at Robert A. Lipinski Field at James Work Memorial Stadium is slated for 1 p.m.

The DelVal Hall of Fame ceremony, which was rescheduled following the heat-related move of the  home opener against Misericordia, will take place at halftime as Tony D’Amico ’00 (baseball), Mike Margelis ’01 (wrestling) and Adam Knoblauch ’06 (football) will officially be inducted.

DelVal and Albright were picked one-two and were separated by just one point in the MAC preseason coaches’ poll. The Aggies had 75 total points while the Lions received more first-place votes (6 to 4).

DelVal enters the game a perfect 3-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play following last Saturday’s 49-14 triumph at King’s College. It marked the second week in a row that the Aggies led a MAC opponent, 42-0, at halftime as they did the same to Misericordia on September 9 before finishing with a 49-7 rout.

DelVal scored on its first seven drives of the game against King’s. The offense racked up 440 total yards, including 278 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile, the Aggie defense held the Monarchs to just two rushing yards and 125 yards of total offense.

DelVal’s offense is averaging 39.7 points and 431.7 yards per game. Heading the unit is sophomore quarterback Dashawn Darden (Norristown, PA/Cardinal O’Hara), who took over as the starter prior to the Aggies’ meeting with undefeated Albright (6-0) last year and led the team to a 28-23 road victory.

This year, Darden has completed 39 of 58 passes for 612 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. He has also rushed for 79 yards and one score. Darden had a strong showing at King’s as he was 11-for-19 for 121 yards and two touchdowns in the air while netting 49 yards on seven rushes.

Darden’s favorite targets are wideouts Eric Shorter (Trenton, NJ/Princeton) and Mike Jensen (Woodbridge, NJ/Bishop George Ahr). Shorter, a sophomore, has hauled in 10 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown and he also has a kickoff return for a touchdown to his credit. He had four grabs for 21 yards last week.

Jensen caught three passes for 41 yards and a pair of touchdowns against King’s. The performance upped the senior’s season numbers to seven receptions for 106 yards and three trips to the end zone.

The DelVal rushing attack is paced by the tailback tandem of 2015 all-conference honorees Robert Cleveland (Willingboro, NJ/Willingboro) and Devauntay Ellis (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) as the two combined for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Last week against King’s, they each found the end zone two times and finished with a combined 116 yards on 23 touches.

Individually, Cleveland, a senior, has carried the ball 30 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns. Ellis, a junior, has 122 yards and three scores on 28 carries. Ellis has also caught four passes for 116 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Aggies have allowed just 35 points on the year, only 14 by the first unit. They also are permitting just 261.3 yards per contest.

Junior safety Shawn Miller (Laurel, DE/Laurel) head the defense with 20 tackles and is tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. He had 14 stops and tied a school record with three picks in the season-opening win at seventh-ranked Wesley College. Miller had four tackles at King’s.

Fellow junior Nick Wright (Hatfield, PA/North Penn) recorded two of his three interceptions on the year at King’s and both gave the Aggies excellent field position (they converted both into touchdowns). Wright has eight tackles and a team-best four pass breakups on the year. 

Linebackers Nicholas DiGati (Townsend, DE/Middletown) and Frank Law (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley), along with safety Jarren McBryde (Brigantine, NJ/Atlantic City) are tied for second on the team in tackles with 15. The trio combined for eight stops at King’s.


The Lions dropped its first two games with setbacks to Salisbury University (34-18) and Stevenson University (31-26), but bounced back with last Saturday’s 17-3 triumph over Lycoming College.

Albright held the Warriors to their lowest point total in Reading since 1976. The Lion defense forced three turnovers on the day while the offense, without starting quarterbackMike Knight, racked up 414 total yards.

Knight, who was the MAC Rookie of the Year in 2015, has played just a game and a half this season and has completed 28 of 53 passes for 272 yards and three interceptions. Junior Alec Vignola got the start against Lycoming and was 19-for-27 for 253 yards and one score.

Junior Malik Jackson is the team’s leading receiver with 17 catches for 201 yards. He had three grabs for 36 yards last week. Kyle Dickerson and Vinny Williams follow with 13 catches apiece and they have gone for a combined 333 yards and three touchdowns. They combined for 10 catches for 159 yards and one trip to the end zone in the win over Lycoming.

The Lion ground attack is led by junior Roemello Monroe as he has lugged the ball 60 times for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He has 117 yards in back-to-back games and his output against Lycoming came on 25 carries.

Defensively, Albright is permitting 22.7 points and 306.7 yards per game. Senior linebacker Kevin Mason paces the unit with 30 tackles, including a team-high 11 stops (10 solo) against Lycoming.

Two other players to watch are junior linebacker Grant Boehler and senior end Rich Kuhn. Boehler has 20 tackles and one sack on the year with two stops coming against Lycoming. Kuhn had six tackles and two sacks last week to up his season totals to nine tackles and a team-high three sacks.   

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