Delaware Valley 62, Norwich 10
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – Delaware Valley College racked up 604 yards of total offense, including 397 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, as the Aggies defeated visiting Norwich University (VT), 62-10, in the opening round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
The win improved Delaware Valley to 11-0 on the season and one of just eight teams in all of Division III (239 schools sponsor football) to remain undefeated. The Aggies will meet St. John Fisher College in the second round next Saturday, November 26 (12:00 p.m.) with the site to be officially announced by the NCAA on Sunday. St. John Fisher advanced with a 23-12 road victory over Johns Hopkins University. Delaware Valley and St. John Fisher met in the second round of the 2004 postseason when the Aggies scored two late touchdowns for a 26-20 home triumph.
The 62 points marked the second-highest scoring total in Delaware Valley history, trailing only a 66-point performance in the 2009 first-round playoff game against Susquehanna. The seven rushing touchdowns tied the school mark that was set in that 2009 contest as well as a 2004 game against Lebanon Valley College.
Norwich, which was making its first trip to the NCAA playoffs, ended its year with a 7-4 overall record. The Cadets pulled to within 11, 21-10, when tailback Andrew Fulford threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Hill with just 43 seconds left in the first half.
However, it was all Delaware Valley from there, beginning with the ensuing drive as the Aggies needed just 32 seconds to move 62 yards on five plays. The last 32 yards came on a scoring pass as quarterback Aaron Wilmer found Tyler Neal wide-open out of the backfield. Jake Sobchak added the extra point for the 28-10 advantage.
The Aggies received the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 61 yards on 13 plays. They converted a third and a fourth-down conversion on the possession and capped it with a one-yard touchdown run by Kyle Schuberth with 9:11 remaining.
Norwich was stopped on its next drive and Delaware Valley took over on its own 39. After a six-yard run by Tyler Neal, senior Isaiah Hall took a handoff and raced 55 yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. Sobchak missed the extra-point, leaving the score at 41-10 with 5:54 to go in the third.
Delaware Valley's next possession saw the offense go 47 yards on eight plays, culminating in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Wilmer to Rodney Blango with 36 ticks left in the quarter. In the fourth, Hall capped a day to remember with a 19-yard touchdown run with 4:20 remaining while Darren Parrot reversed field and found the end zone from 36 yards with 2:41 to go for the 62-10 final.
The Cadets received the opening kickoff of the contest, but managed just three yards on the drive. A short punt into the wind gave the Aggies the ball at the Norwich 49-yard line. They faced a third-and-two when Wilmer called his own number and went right up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead less than three minutes in.
Later in the first, a 23-yard run by Wilmer keyed a 56-yard Delaware Valley that ended with a one-yard touchdown by Neal. Sobchak's extra-point made it 14-0 with 4:40 on the clock.
The Cadets got on the scoreboard with 10:25 remaining in the first half as they drove 51 yards and got inside the Delaware Valley 10, before settling for Long Ding's 30-yard field goal.
A Norwich punt later in the quarter trapped the Aggies at their own 14-yard line. They needed seven plays to move the ball to the Cadet 36 when Hall got the carry and went untouched for his first score of the game. Sobchak added the extra-point for the 21-3 advantage with 2:42 remaining.
The ensuing possession saw Norwich face a third-and-15 from its own 22 when quarterback Kris Sabourin kept the ball and raced down the left sideline 70 yards to the Delaware Valley eight-yard line. The big play eventually led to the touchdown on the halfback pass and the 21-10 score. The Aggies responded quickly then ran away in the second half for the big victory.
Hall, a player who lines up at receiver, tailback and even quarterback (in the wildcat formation) carried the ball seven times for career-highs of 128 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 19 yards. Wilmer completed 13 of 24 passes for 207 yards and two scores and also rushed 10 times for 78 yards and a trip to the end zone. Parrot and Schubert netted 77 and 61 yards rushing respectively while Neal had a combined 73 rushing and receiving yards and scored twice. Blango caught seven passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Delaware Valley held Norwich's spread option in check as the Cadets managed just 222 yards of total offense (181 rushing, 41 passing). John Robinson and Chris James led the charge with 10 and eight tackles respectively.
For Norwich, Sabourin rushed 11 times for 92 yards and was 4-for-11 for 34 yards in the air. Derrick Pitts added 50 yards on 11 carries. John Taranto had a team-best 10 tackles while Matt Simonelli finished with seven tackles and a sack.