Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Delaware Valley University Battles Lebanon Valley In Doylestown

A www.MACfb.com "Game of the Week" Photo
DOYLESTOWN (PA) – After a bye week, the undefeated and fifth-ranked Delaware Valley University football team will return to action on Saturday, October 28 when it hosts Lebanon Valley College for a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) contest. Kickoff at Robert A. Lipinski Field at James Work Memorial Stadium for Military Service Day and Youth Football Day is scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Aggies upped their record to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the MAC following their 49-14, Homecoming triumph over King’s College on October 14. That triumph moved the team to fifth in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III poll while they hold the number eight spot in the D3football.com poll.

DelVal is in sole possession of first place in the conference, one game ahead of archrival Widener University with the two teams slated to meet in Doylestown for the regular-season finale on November 11. The Aggies are searching for their seventh MAC crown (the first since 2011) and seventh trip to the NCAA playoffs (the first since 2014) since 2004.

Offensively, DelVal is averaging 38.3 points per game and have gone over the 40-point mark in each of its last three contests (60-7 at FDU-Florham, 41-6 at Albright, 49-14 versus King’s). The balanced unit averages 413.6 total yards per outing with 209.7 yards per game in the air and 203.9 yards per game on the ground.

Junior quarterback Dashawn Darden (Norristown, PA/Cardinal O’Hara) heads the unit as he prepares for the 25th consecutive start of his career. This season, he has completed 102 of 178 passes for 1,387 yards, 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He has also rushed for 316 yards and two scores. In his last outing, Darden threw for 357 yards (ninth-highest, single-game total in program history) and four touchdowns and he even added a scoring catch to his totals.

Two-time all-MAC first-team tailback Devauntay Ellis (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) is the conference’s leading rusher with 698 yards and seven touchdowns on 122 carries.

Junior wideout Marquis Ellis (Owings Mills, MD/Franklin) heads a balanced group of receivers as he hauled in 23 passes for 314 yards and six touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Aggies are ranked sixth in all of Division III as the unit has allowed just 10 points per game. They are also fifth in pass efficiency defense (84.91 rating), 11th in total defense (240.1 yards per game) and 13th in rushing defense (70.4 yards per game).

Senior safety and preseason All-American Shawn Miller (Laurel, DE/Laurel) has 39 tackles to go along with three interceptions and a blocked punt. He had two picks in the win over King’s two weeks ago.

Senior linebacker Nick Wright (Hatfield, PA/North Penn) has made numerous big plays all season and is still the team’s third leading scorer with 20 points. He has a fumble return for a touchdown, an interception return for a score and a safety on defense and a blocked punt return for a touchdown on special teams. Wright’s other totals include 34 tackles, three interceptions and three sacks.

Fellow senior and linebacker Nicholas DiGati (Townsend, DE/Middletown) leads the team in tackles with 49 (24 solo). He also has one forced fumble to his credit.

Sophomore end Vincent DiLeo (Philadelphia, PA/Bishop McDevitt) moved into the team in sacks with four after he registered 2.5 against King’s. DiLeo also has 21 tackles on the year.

The Flying Dutchmen have won two straight and three of their last four to climb to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the MAC. They are tied with two others for third place in the standings and have a win over one of them with a 31-24 upset of defending champion Stevenson University on October 14.

Last week, Lebanon Valley travelled to Misericordia University and notched a 17-0 triumph. The offense notched nearly 400 yards on the afternoon while the defense held the Cougars to 213 total yards.

The Flying Dutchmen offense averages 24.9 points and 304.4 yards (171.1 avg rushing, 133.3 avg passing) per game. Senior Tyler Sterner is the team’s signal-caller and he has thrown for 877 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

Seniors Tim Pirrone and Jeremy De La Cruz are the favorite targets. Pirrone has caught 23 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 217 yards (second on the team) and two scores. De La Cruz has 15 receptions for 234 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, Lebanon Valley is permitting 22.6 points and 336.9 yards (114.0 avg rushing, 222.9 avg passing). It is an opportunistic unit as the group has forced 24 turnovers (15 fumbles, nine interceptions).

Linebackers Tom Gallagher and Tim Schumacher lead the way with 34 and 33 tackles respectively. Schumacher also has two interceptions to his credit.

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