Saturday, November 12, 2016

Delaware Valley University 45, Widener University 7

A file photo
CHESTER (PA) – Delaware Valley University secured the Keystone Cup for the second year in a row and qualified for postseason play for the ninth straight season and the 13thtime in the last 14 years as the Aggies dominated host Widener University, 45-7.

The win improved DelVal to 8-2 overall and 7-2 in Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) play. The Aggies finished tied for second place in the league with Albright College, but the Lions have the tiebreaker thanks to a last-second victory over DelVal back in September.

As a result, the Aggies will be on the road for the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series, a series that was created last year and pits the top two remaining teams in both the MAC and Centennial Conferences after the NCAA Division III playoff field is announced. DelVal will be on the road at either Muhlenberg College (which has a shot at an at-large bid to the NCAAs) or Franklin & Marshall College. The official announcement of the two match-ups (Albright will host either F&M or Moravian College) will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The Aggies have won the Keystone Cup, which symbolizes small college football excellence in the Philadelphia area and is handed out annually to the winner of the DelVal-Widener rivalry game, 10 of the last 14 years. This was the most lopsided victory in the Aggies’ favor, topping the 56-28 triumph in 2011.

DelVal dominated all three facets of the contest. On offense, the team racked up 339 yards and controlled the ball for more than 35 minutes (35:03). Meanwhile, the Aggie defense had quite a showing as they permitted just 113 total yards with 63 of them coming on a late scoring drive. They notched seven sacks on the afternoon, forced three turnovers - including one that was returned for a score - and held the Pride (6-4, 6-3) to just one first down and minus-nine yards rushing through three quarters of play. And the special teams unit got on the scoreboard with a punt return for a touchdown.

DelVal recovered a Widener onsides kick attempt to start the game, but stalled on offense. After a punt trapped the Pride deep in its territory, defensive end Marc Isaac got through on the first Widener play and stripped quarterback Sean McGaughey of the ball. Devante Ford recovered it to give the Aggies the ball at the Widener nine-yard line. On the first play after the recovery, quarterback Dashawn Darden called his number and went into the end zone for the touchdown. Nick Restaino added the extra point for a 7-0 lead just 2:09 into the contest.

Later in the quarter, a 40-yard pass from Darden to Amir Johnson put DelVal in business at the Widener 25. The Aggies then faced a fourth-and-three when Darden lofted a pass into the end zone for Tyler Bing. With a defender draped all over him, Bing made a one-handed grab for the touchdown. Restaino’s boot upped the lead to 14-0 with 6:06 on the clock.

DelVal’s defense forced another three-and-out, highlighted by a sack from Vincent DiLeo which was the third of the day for the Aggies on Widener’s first 10 offensive plays. DelVal took over at the Widener 44-yard line and moved down to the 17 where it faced a third-and-seven for the first play of the second quarter. Darden floated a pass to Eric Shorter and the sophomore came down with it near a pair of defenders for a 21-0 advantage.

Restaino made it 24-0 with a 29-yard field goal midway through the second quarter. It stayed that way until the break as DelVal outgained the Pride 205-15 over the first 30 minutes.

Widener had the ball first in the second half and it was the Aggie defense that came up big again and got involved in the scoring as TJ Waters intercepted a McGaughey pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown.

Two drives later, the Pride began their possession in DelVal territory, but safety Shawn Miller picked off a pass at the 10 (his fifth interception of the year) and returned it 32 yards. The Aggies moved the ball down to the Widener 31-yard line where it faced a fourth-and-one. Darden went straight ahead on the sneak, but somehow stayed on his feet in the big pile of bodies, got to the outside and had his second touchdown run of the day for a 38-0 lead with 5:19 left in the third quarter.

Then 70 seconds into the fourth quarter, Mike Anusky fielded a punt at his own 40, got two big blocks in front of him and was gone for a 60-yard touchdown. Anusky had an earlier punt return for a score called back because of a penalty.

Widener spoiled the Aggies’ shutout with 9:12 remaining on an eight-yard touchdown pass from McGaughey to Blaine Price.

Darden accounted for four DelVal touchdowns as he completed 11 of 23 passes for 128 yards and two scores while leading the ground attack with 75 yards and two trips to the end zone on nine rushes. On the defensive side of the ball, Nicholas DiGati had seven tackles while Aric Boyes racked up six stops and two sacks. Isaac finished with five tackles and 1.5 sacks while Miller and Waters combined for five tackles to go along with their interceptions. Anusky had 94 yards and one touchdown on six punt returns.

For the Pride, McGaughey was 9-for-27 for 65 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Chris Randle netted 50 yards on 16 carries. Steve Gozur led the defensive charge with 13 tackles.

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