DOYLESTOWN (PA) – Delaware Valley College scored three touchdowns in an eight-minute span in the second quarter and forced five turnovers in the game as the three-time defending Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) champion Aggies erased an early 10-7 deficit and defeated visiting Lebanon Valley College, 34-10, in the league opener for both teams.
Delaware Valley, ranked 25th in the latest D3football.com poll, improved to 3-0 while the Flying Dutchmen suffered their first loss of the season and fell to 2-1.
The Aggies took the opening kickoff and drove 61 yards on 11 plays. They converted a pair of third-down conversions and capped it with a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Tom Devlin. Jake Sobchak added the extra-point for a 7-0 advantage just 5:09 into the contest.
However, the Flying Dutchmen needed just 21 seconds to tie the game. Pete Panichi caught the ensuing kickoff at his own 13-yard line and raced 86 yards before losing his footing at the one-yard line. Ben Guiles took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and found the end zone. Sean Fakete added the extra-point for a 7-7 score.
Delaware Valley went three-and-out and Lebanon Valley took over at its own 48-yard line. The Flying Dutchmen converted on a trio of third-down plays and had a first-and-goal at the Aggie three. However, they failed to gain another yard and settled for a 20-yard field by Fakete for a 10-7 advantage with 2:23 left in the opening quarter.
It was all Delaware Valley from there, starting with the ensuing drive as it reached the Lebanon Valley 24 and faced a fourth-and-eight as the first quarter came to an end. The first play of the second saw quarterback Aaron Wilmer find wideout Rodney Blango for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Sobchak added the extra-point for a 14-10 advantage.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Aggies' Terrance Osborne drilled returner Jake Zeigler. The ball came loose and Osborne recovered it at the Flying Dutchmen 22-yard line. Five plays later, they were in the end zone as Tyler Neal scored from a yard out. Sobchak's boot made it a 21-10 contest with 12:40 remaining in the half.
Lebanon Valley entered Delaware Valley territory on its next drive and hit a big play as quarterback Colt Zarilla found an open Tim Picerno. Picerno reached the Aggie 10-yard line when the ball was jarred free by safety Ryna McCullough and cornerback Troy Green recovered it at the four.
Delaware Valley then went on a nine-play, 96-yard scoring drive in less than four minutes. Wilmer was 3-for-3 for 56 yards on the drive, including the final 10 to Blango for a touchdown. Sobchak added the extra-point to make it 28-10 with 6:43 on the clock.
Neither team hit the scoreboard in the third and the Flying Dutchmen had a pair of golden opportunities in the red zone in the fourth. On the first attempt, they reached the Aggie 13 but a sack bumped them back six yards where they faced a fourth-and-13. Zarilla was then sacked again, this time by Jared Pattinson, to turn the ball over on downs.
On their next drive, Lebanon Valley had a fourth-and-three from the Aggie eight-yard line when Osbrone picked Zarilla off in the end zone for a touchback. It was his second interception of the game. Delaware Valley then drove 80 yards on 12 plays, capped by Kyle Schuberth's three-yard touchdown run with 2:15 remaining for the 34-10 final.
Delaware Valley racked up a season-best 443 yards of total offense and held the ball for nearly 34 minutes (33:42). Wilmer completed 14 of 20 passes for 250 yards while Blango was his top target as the senior notched career-highs of nine catches for 169 yards and two scores. Schuberth went over the 100-yard mark on the ground as the sophomore netted 139 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.
Defensively, Osborne finished with 10 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Chris James and John Robinson had nine tackles apiece while All-American end Mike Jaskowski finished with eight tackles, a forced fumble and a sack.
Guiles, a preseason All-American, was held under 100 yards for the first time this season as he carried the ball 13 times for 67 yards and the lone Lebanon Valley touchdown. Zarilla was 12-for-20 for 164 yards and two interceptions. Joey Miller caught five passes for 64 yards while Picerno added four grabs for 73 yards. Cory Homer paced the defensive effort with 12 tackles and one sack.