Delaware Valley upends Cadets in playoff opener

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DOYLESTOWN, PA. – Despite a big second half from Delaware Valley that led to the conclusion of Norwich University's 2011 season, Coach Mark Murnyack and his junior quarterback Kris Sabourin (Georgia, Vt.) were aware of a larger picture.

"I am very proud of what we've accomplished," Murnyack said of his 7-4 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference champions that fell 62-10 to the host Aggies Nov. 19. "I think the younger guys now see what we have to do to take the next step."

"This game sets a gauge for us to work towards in the off-season," Sabourin added. "We can build on what we did this year."

NU stayed with the top-seeded Aggies in the first half. The Maroon and Gold drove inside Delaware Valley territory twice with senior place-kicker Long Ding (Qing Dao, China) ending the first march with a 30-yard field goal and senior running back Andrew Fulford (Gloucester, Mass.) showing off his throwing arm with a nifty seven-yard pop pass to the back of the end zone that found junior tight end Jeff Hill (Canajoharie, N.Y.) for a touchdown.

However, after NU's touchdown drive closed the margin to just 21-10, Delaware Valley put together a key five-play, 62-yard scoring trek of its own in just over 30 seconds to close the first half and make it 28-10 at the break. It was more of the same in the second stanza as the Aggies continued a 41-point roll to reach their 62-point total.

"It unraveled on us a little bit in the second half after playing very tight and close with (Delaware Valley) in the first half," Murnyack said. "There were just too many big plays and mistakes given up on our end, as they got their speed guys into space and so forth. We couldn't afford that to happen against a team like Delaware Valley."

Sabourin's 92 yards on the ground guided the Cadets' offense which included a 70-yard keeper down the left sideline that set up the second quarter touchdown drive. Freshman running back Derrick Pitts (Schenectady, N.Y.) also was over 50 yards on the ground and aided the field goal for Norwich's first points by breaking a 21-yard scamper deep into Delaware Valley territory. NU's defense was topped by senior defensive back Colby LeClerc (Raynham, Mass.) and junior linebacker John Taranto (New Britain, Conn.) with six and a half tackles each. LeClerc also broke up two Aggie pass attempts.