Saturday, September 1, 2018

Around the MAC - No. 17 Delaware Valley University falls to No. 9 Wesley College

Aggies file photo by John Green
Dover, DE – The season-opening battle of nationally-ranked teams and 2017 Division III playoff qualifiers went to the home team as No. 9 Wesley College pulled away to a 34-10 victory over 17th-ranked Delaware Valley University on Friday evening.

It was a wild night in Delaware as the game started 45 minutes late due to poor field conditions from torrential downpours all afternoon. Then just 4:55 into the contest, there was a lightning delay that lasted 40 minutes. The final horn sounded more than four hours and 20 minutes after the originally-scheduled kickoff time.

DelVal freshman Jarvai Flowers made an impressive collegiate debut as he took the opening kickoff and returned it 34 yards. That, combined with a Wesley penalty, gave the Aggie offense the ball at the Wolverine 38-yard line. Later in the drive, they faced a fourth-and-six when quarterback Dashawn Darden scrambled for seven yards and a first down. The drive stalled inside the 10-yard line, but Nick Restaino booted a 25-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Following the lightning drive, Wesley took its first possession of the season and found the end zone on a 22-yard pass from Khaaliq Burroughs to Alex Kemp. The extra-point attempt failed for a 6-3 score with 9:55 left in the first.

Wesley drove into Aggie territory on its second drive, but a Burroughs pass was intercepted by Anthony Thomas to stop the threat. DelVal moved the ball down the field and took advantage of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Wolverines to keep the possession alive. The Aggies eventually had a fourth-and-goal at the one and Darden called his own number, but Wesley stopped him shy of the goal line.

The Wolverines then proceeded to go the length of the field for a 14-play, 99-yard drive. They were aided by a roughing the punter called on DelVal and E.J. Lee capped it with a seven-yard touchdown run for a 13-3 advantage with 6:28 left in the half.

Flowers had another big return as went 57 yards to the Wesley 35 with another five tacked on because of a penalty. The Aggies moved inside the 10 again and faced a fourth-and-three from the seven when Darden hit Juwan Manigo for a six-yard pass and a first down. Two plays later, Darden got into the end zone. Restaino added the extra-point to pull DelVal to within three, 13-10, with 3:10 to go.

On the ensuing drive, Burroughs was stripped of the ball on a sack by Michael Nobile and Vincent DiLeo recovered for the Aggies. A big run by Darden on a long third down play and a Darden escape from a sack and a pass to Mario Nigro gave DelVal the chance for a 32-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the opening half. However, Restaino’s kick clanked off the right goalpost.

In the second half, DelVal was driving towards a potential go-ahead touchdown, but a fumble was the first turnover against the Wolverines in three years. Wesley then struck for three touchdowns in a 14-minute span for a 34-10 advantage. Burroughs and Kemp teamed up for a 78-yard touchdown with 9:28 left in the third quarter. Eight minutes later, Burroughs hit Ruhann Peele for a 52-yard strike. Then early in the fourth, Abe Mansaray had a four-yard touchdown run to end the game’s scoring.

Darden threw for 152 yards while Donte Simmons and Quadir Strothers combined for 110 yards on 17 carries for the Aggies. Defensively, Michael Nobile collegiate debut saw the freshman rack up 15 tackles, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks from his end position. Twin brother Anthony Nobile added seven stops and a sack while Ryan Barrett had eight tackles.

Burroughs threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns while Kemp caught four passes for 112 yards and two scores. Cappadonna Miller led the Wolverine defensive charge with 11 tackles.

DelVal will hit the road again next Saturday, September 28 when it travels to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for a noon start.