WASHINGTON (PA) – Delaware Valley College posted its second straight, one-point victory as the Aggies rallied from a 19-7, first-half deficit to down host Washington & Jefferson College, 20-19, in the PAC-MAC Challenge Series.
The win improved Delaware Valley to 2-0 on the season as it was coming off last Saturday's 10-9 overtime triumph over Muhlenberg College. The Presidents, who opened their year with a 40-0 rout of Juniata College last week, fell to 1-1.
The PAC-MAC Challenge Series features games between schools from the Presidents Athletic Conference and the Middle Atlantic Conference. The Delaware Valley-W&J contest is viewed as the marquee match-up as the Aggies have reached the playoffs (NCAA or ECAC) in seven of the last eight years while W&J has made eight straight trips to the postseason.
The 2011 contest did not look at all like last year's meeting in Doylestown where Delaware Valley was dominant in a 27-0 blanking. In fact, the Presidents had three consecutive touchdown drives for a combined 143 yards in the second quarter alone and that yardage figure more than doubled their entire offensive total from last year's contest (67 yards).
The first score for W&J was a 17-yard touchdown pass from Matt Bliss to Alex Baroffio with 9:45 remaining in the opening half. However, the extra-point attempt failed, leaving it at 6-0.
The Aggies responded with a six-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in a 24-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Aaron Wilmer to sophomore wideout Lewis Vincent. Jake Sobchak booted the point-after for a 7-6 Delaware Valley advantage with 7:17 on the clock.
However, the Presidents quickly responded just 22 seconds later as a 62-yard connection between Bliss and Adam Dominick put the ball at the Aggie two-yard line. A penalty moved it up a yard and Dion Wiegand took care of the final yard for the touchdown. W&J failed on a two-point conversion attempt and it was 12-7. Delaware Valley went three-and-out and the Presidents needed just four plays to go 52 yards. Bliss ended the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Creel and a 19-7 advantage with 4:55 left in the half.
The Aggies then marched 64 yards on nine plays to put themselves right back in the game. The big play was a 30-yard pass from Wilmer to fullback Tom Devlin. Devlin fumbled the ball but recovered it at the W&J eight-yard line. Delaware Valley then faced a fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line and elected to go for the touchdown. Tailback Kyle Schuberth found the end zone with just nine seconds left before the intermission. Sobchak missed the extra-point and the Aggies trailed 19-13 at the break.
Delaware Valley's defense made a big stand early in the second half after Wilmer fumbled the ball on a sack and it was recovered by the Presidents at the Aggie seven-yard line. The Aggies allowed just three yards over the next three plays and W&J kicker Colin Kracinovsky then missed a 21-yard field goal attempt.
Delaware Valley was forced to punt, but on the Presidents' first play after the boot, Aggie linebacker Jim DiLisio stripped Wiegand of the ball and Ken Fowlkes recovered it at the W&J 48-yard line. A 33-yard pass from Wilmer to Isaiah Hall on a third-and-eight put the ball at the 13 yard line. Delaware Valley then faced another third down from the eight-yard line when Wilmer scrambled and made his way into the end zone. Sobchak added the extra-point for a 20-19 Aggie advantage with 8:45 left in the third.
W&J had another chance late in the quarter as it recovered a fumble at the Aggie 34-yard line. The Presidents drove down to the 15 where they had a first down, but a sack, incomplete pass and a four-yard scramble brought up fourth down. Kracinovsky lined up for a 31-yard field goal attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter, but he sailed it wide to the right as Delaware Valley held onto its one-point advantage.
Later in the quarter, the Aggies appeared to up its lead as Wilmer found Chris Ruiz behind the secondary for a 56-yard strike, but it was called back due to an illegal shift penalty. They eventually punted and the Presidents took over at their own 22-yard line.
The teams then traded punts and W&J had another chance from its 20 with 4:40 remaining. A pair of completions moved the ball to the Presidents' 45-yard line, but a sack by John Marcelline marked it back six yards. Following an incomplete pass, Bliss was pressured by Dwayne Shaw and his throw was picked off by Terrance Osborne, who returned it 14 yards to the W&J 44.
Wilmer ran for eight yards and Kyle Schuberth followed with 13 yards and a first down. Later in the drive, the Aggies faced a fourth-and-two from the W&J 15 with exactly a minute to go after Presidents used their final timeout. A false start bumped it back five yards, but Wilmer then hit Rodney Blango on the right sideline for nine yards and a first down to ice the game.
Delaware Valley finished with 375 yards of total offense, including nearly 300 by Wilmer. The transfer from Division II West Chester University completed 14 of 27 passes for 245 yards and one touchdown and added another 51 yards and one score on the ground. He gained 110 yards rushing, but lost 59 as a result of six sacks. Hall caught four passes for 59 yards while Vincent made three grabs for 93 yards and a touchdown. Schuberth carried the ball 13 times for 52 yards and one trip to the end zone.
Defensively, All-American defensive end Mike Jaskowski racked up eight tackles and 1.5 of the team's six sacks in his first action of the season. Chris James added five tackles, one sack and interception in the win.
Bliss finished 20-for-31 for 260 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for W&J. He was the team's leading rusher with just 10 yards as the Presidents managed just 19 yards on the ground in the game. Dominick and Barrofio had seven catches each for a combined 197 yards. Neil Sorice had 17 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble on the defensive side.