Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Delaware Valley University Football vs Stevenson Game Preview

A File Photo
DOYLESTOWN (PA) – The Delaware Valley University football team, ranked ninth in one national poll and 12th in another, will host defending Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) champion Stevenson University in a key match-up champion on Saturday, September 23. Kickoff at Robert A. Lipinski Field at James Work Memorial Stadium is slated for 12 p.m.

It is also the Hall of Fame Game as former Aggie greats Jamie Kleinle ’05 (football) and Ana Mecaj ’07 (women’s soccer) will be inducted during a halftime ceremony. 

DelVal is an amazing 93-19 against current MAC schools since the 2003 season when the turnaround of the program’s fortunes began. One of those setbacks was to Stevenson last year, a 19-0 setback in Owings Mills, Maryland where the Aggies were kept off the scoreboard for the first time since the 2002 season opener, a span of 165 games. Only two times since ’03 has DelVal lost to a conference opponent in back-to-back years (Wilkes University in 2006 and 2007; Lycoming College in 2012 and 2013) and the Aggies will look to avoid that and avenge last year’s defeat.

DelVal enters the game with a 3-0 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the conference following last Friday night’s 34-14 victory at Wilkes University. It was five-point ballgame in the fourth quarter when the Aggies scored two touchdowns in an 81-second span to put the game away.

Defensively, DelVal limited the Colonels to just 64 rushing yards and 224 total yards while forcing three turnovers, including one that was returned for a score. The Aggies have now forced 10 turnovers on the year and are allowing just 12 points and 230 yards per game.

The defensive touchdown at Wilkes came from senior safety and preseason All-American Shawn Miller (Laurel, DE/Laurel) as he returned an interception 31 yards for a score to make it 27-14. It was Miller’s first pick of the year and he is third on the team in tackles with 19.

Senior linebacker Nicholas DiGati (Townsend, DE/Middletown) was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week following his efforts at Wilkes. He finished with 21 tackles on the evening, one shy of the school’s single-game mark. DiGati is the team leader in the category with 33 stops.

Seniors linebackers Michael Ockimey (Philadelphia, PA/Monsignor Bonner), TJ Waters (Philadelphia, PA/West Catholic) and Nick Wright (Hatfield, PA/North Penn), along with junior end Christian Snowden (Williamstown, NJ/St. Joseph Hammonton), are off to strong starts in 2017.

Ockimey has 12 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while Waters has racked up 20 tackles. Wright’s numbers include 16 tackles, three sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Snowden has 13 stops, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery to his credit.

Offensively, the Aggies produced 319 total yards at Wilkes and the unit is averaging 30.7 points and 346 yards per game. Junior quarterback Dashawn Darden (Norristown, PA/Cardinal O’Hara), is about to make his 20thconsecutive start for DelVal. Darden has completed 46 of 83 passes for 437 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 138 yards and two scores. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for another at Wilkes.

Two-time all-MAC first-team tailback Devauntay Ellis (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) has carried the ball 53 times or 323 yards and three trips to the end zone. The senior netted 70 yards and one touchdown on 16 touches last week.

Junior wideout Marquis Ellis (Owings Mills, MD/Franklin) has caught a touchdown pass in each of DelVal’s three games this year. He has 13 grabs for 155 yards, including a six-catch, 59-yard effort at Wilkes.


The Mustangs are in only their seventh season of intercollegiate football, including last year’s run to a MAC title and an NCAA playoff berth. This year, they opened with a 33-7 loss to nationally-ranked Frostburg State University, but bounced back with conference routs of King’s College (30-9) and FDU-Florham (52-14). Stevenson is receiving votes in both national polls.

Offensively, the Mustangs average 32.3 points and 363.3 yards per game. They racked up 546 yards last week at FDU-Florham.

Junior quarterback Dan Williams has completed 67 of 108 passes for 781 yards and eight touchdowns. His big target is Preston Addo as the senior wideout has 15 catches for 369 yards (24.6 avg) and four touchdowns. The two teamed up for long touchdowns of 67 and 80 yards last week. Addo also added an 83-yard punt return for a score and was named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

The Stevenson ground attack is paced by Jainard Crawley-Lambert’s 173 yards on 31 carries. The junior has reached the end zone one time in 2017.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Mustangs held FDU-Florham to just 198 total yards last week and they recorded a takeaway for the 47th straight game. For the year, the unit is permitting just 18.7 points and 280.3 yards per showing.

Linebackers Ashton Leschke and Cory Pietrzyk lead the way with 24 tackles apiece. Pietrzyk, a senior, also has two sacks and a forced fumble to his credit. Junior cornerback DJ Broxton follows with 19 stops and is the team leader in pass breakups (three) and interceptions (two).

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