Saturday, September 16, 2017

Late Surge Lifts No. 12 Delaware Valley to 34-14 MAC Win Over Wilkes Football

A file photo
EDWARDSVILLE – Delaware Valley safety Shawn Miller’s interception and score with under seven minutes remaining broke open a five-point game lifting the No. 12 Aggies to a 34-14 victory over host Wilkes University Friday night in Middle Atlantic Conference action from Schmidt Stadium.

The Colonels drop to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in MAC games following the home defeat while the nationally ranked Aggies remain unbeaten standing 3-0 and 2-0 in league games through the first three weeks of the season.

Wilkes played by far its best all-around game of the season matching blows with Delaware Valley throughout the first half and deep into the final quarter of play. The Colonels found themselves down 19-14 with 6:16 on the fourth quarter clock with the ball looking for the game-winning drive to steal the home win. The drive was setup when Jordan Stiles intercepted Dashawn Darden’s pass with the Aggies driving deep in the Colonels territory at the 13 yard line.

After a six yard completion to Aaron Coyne and four yard strike to Garrett Armstrong gave the Colonels a first and ten at their own 23, Rippeon’s short pass to the left side was picked off by a streaking Miller as the All-American safety ran the pick back untouched to halt the Wilkes rally and late game-winning drive attempt.

Delaware Valley added another score three minutes later after a Wilkes fumble deep inside its own territory to seal the road victory and escape with a win that seemed much closer than the final tally.

The teams traded punts to begin the game with either offense finding any type of rhythm. The Aggies struck first when Darden found Marquis Ellis for a nine-yard pitch-and-catch score and a 6-0 lead after the extra point attempt was blocked by Ryan Bowman.

DVU added its second score of the game early in the second frame when Darden hit tight end Dan Allen just inside the right end zone marker to push the advantage to 13-0 with 11:42 left in the first half.

Rippeon, making his first collegiate start after starter Jose Tabora left with an injury last week, went 7-for-8 on the Colonels ensuing drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown throw to Coyne to cut the deficit to 13-7 at the half following a Mike Hauck extra point.

Darden pushed the DVU lead to 19-7 when he scampered in from seven yards out following a defensive takeaway on a Wilkes fumble. Wilkes wasted little time responding on offense as Rippeon went back to the air including a 15 yard strike to Jeff Steeber moving down to the Aggie 11. One play later Rippeon went back to Steeber as the junior wide receiver found daylight to the end zone to move Wilkes to within five at 19-14 setting up the final last drive late in the fourth before Miller’s pick six.

Rippeon enjoyed a fine first collegiate start throwing for 160 yards on 23-of-37 passing and two scores. Steeber was his top target making six catches for 61 yards and one score. Coyne followed with four receptions and one touchdown.

Shane Deemer led the Colonels on the ground rushing 18 times for 52 yards.

Defensively Lukas Wood finished with a team-high 17 tackles while Isaiah Robinson added 14 stops including 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Michael Murphy added 11 tackles and a half sack.

Darden led the Aggie offense throwing for 126 yards and two scores while also rushing 13 times for 92 yards and another touchdown.

Wilkes looks to earn its first MAC victory next Saturday when the Colonels travel to nearby Dallas, Pa. for a matchup against Misericordia University. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m.

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