DOYLESTOWN (PA) – Sean Fakete kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime as Lebanon Valley College first overcame a 17-point, second-half deficit and then a Delaware Valley College touchdown with no time remaining in regulation to post a 34-31, Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) road victory.
The win, combined with upset victories by King's College over Lycoming College and Albright College over Widener University, puts the Flying Dutchmen in sole possession of first place in the conference with just two games remaining. They upped their record to 7-1 overall and 6-1 in the MAC. It was also the 100th win for Lebanon Valley head coach Jim Monos.
Delaware Valley, based on the other results, would have moved into a five-way tie for the top spot in the standings if it pulled out the win. Instead, the Aggies dropped their second straight home overtime game and fell to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the MAC.
Fakete's game-winning kick capped a wild final 23-plus minutes of the game after Rasheed Bailey's two-yard touchdown catch midway through the third quarter gave Delaware Valley a 24-7 lead. Lebanon Valley then scored the next 24 points to take a 31-24 lead only to see the Aggies drive 97 yards in 70 seconds and score on the last play of regulation where the snap took place with one-tenth of a second on the clock.
After Delaware Valley's miracle score, the Flying Dutchmen won the overtime coin toss and elected to go on defense first. Three straight passes from Aggie quarterback Aaron Wilmer fell incomplete and Brandon Snyder came on to try a 42-yard field goal. Snyder got all of his kick but it smacked high against the right upright and fell back into play.
Needing just a field goal to win it, Lebanon Valley went to its ground attack and freshman Brendan Irving, who got his first start of his career, continued his strong game by picking up 15 yards over three plays. Quarterback Brian Murphy then netted a yard on second down and centered the ball for Fakete, who came on the field on third down to attempt the game-winner. His boot left no doubt and the Flying Dutchmen had their first win over Delaware Valley since 2002.
It did not appear as if overtime was a possibility after Jake Ziegler's 45-yard punt was downed at the Aggie three-yard line with 1:10 remaining and no timeouts. Delaware Valley then faced third down when Wilmer scrambled out of bounds after gaining 21 yards and a first down. He then hit Lewis Vincent over the middle to the Aggie 48 and spiked the ball to stop the clock. Wilmer scrambled and hit Rasheed Bailey, who went out of bounds at the Lebanon Valley 27 and was hit late for a personal foul penalty and another 14 yards to the Flying Dutchmen 13-yard line with 14 seconds to go.
Wilmer's next two passes were broken up as was his pass on third down. But, there was still one-tenth of a second left on the clock and the Aggies had one more play. Wilmer looked to the left corner of the end zone for a fade and wideout Bobby Marterella came down with it for the improbable touchdown. Snyder hit the extra-point for a 31-31 score and overtime.
Delaware Valley started strong on the afternoon and scored on two of its first three possessions for a 14-0 lead. It took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards on 11 plays, capped by a nine-yard scoring pass from Wilmer to Bailey just 4:19 in. Then with 18 seconds gone in the second quarter, Kyle Schuberth scored from a yard out to cap a six-play, 82-yard drive.
Lebanon Valley cut that lead in half with 4:41 remaining in the first stanza as an Austin Hartman three-yard touchdown run was the final part of a nine-play, 97-yard scoring drive. Both teams stalled and the Aggies got a final chance with 26 seconds left in the half. They moved the ball 26 yards and Snyder hit a 35-yard field goal with two ticks to go for a 17-7 lead.
After Bailey's second touchdown catch of the game made it 24-7 with 8:25 left in the third, the Flying Dutchmen got rolling. First, Fakete boomed a 44-yard field goal with 4:50 to go in the quarter, and then Hartman's two-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the third made it a 24-17 contest.
Delaware Valley was stopped again and Lebanon Valley went on a nine-play, 59-yard scoring drive that ended when Tyler George outleaped an Aggie defender in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown catch on a third-and-11 play with 8:24 remaining.
Lebanon Valley then forced the lone turnover of the game as Wilmer was sacked by Andrew Burkholder and Joey Scerbo recovered the loose ball at the Flying Dutchmen 47. Three players later, Irving broke free and raced 40 yards for a touchdown and a 31-24 advantage with 4:49 to go. It looked like that was going to be the game-winner, but the Aggies pulled off their last-second play only to see Lebanon Valley regroup and win it in the extra session.
Wilmer completed 25 of 43 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns. Bailey was at the receiving end of nine throws and two scores while Marterella had three catches for 31 yards and the tying touchdown. Schuberth netted 84 yards and a score on 19 carries. Bernard Avery had 11 tackles and a sack to lead the defense.
Irving carried the ball 23 times for 134 yards and one touchdown. Murphy was 16-for-25 for 198 yards and one touchdown while Joey Miller caught seven passes for 103 yards. Frank Gaffney did not add to his Division III-best total of 13 sacks, but he finished with 10 tackles for Lebanon Valley.