READING (PA) – Delaware Valley College remained the lone undefeated team in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) as the 14th-ranked Aggies notched a 20-10 victory at Albright College in the 61st annual Rajah Shriners Pretzel Bowl.
The win improved Delaware Valley to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference as it looks to become just the fifth team in MAC history to win four or more consecutive championships. The Aggies are one-game ahead of Lebanon Valley, Lycoming and Widener in the standings and still have to face Lycoming (on the road on November 5) and Widener (at home on November 12) in the weeks ahead. The Lions dropped their third game in a row as they fell to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the league.
The Pretzel Bowl is a traditional event at one Albright football game each season. Delaware Valley was awarded the Pretzel Bowl trophy as the game's victor and senior linebacker Ken Fowlkes was named the Aggies' Most Valuable Player as he tallied 11 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Delaware Valley got on the board on its second drive of the game thanks to a 94-yard drive after an Albright punt was downed at the six-yard line. The Aggies needed just four plays to reach Lion territory and they then a fourth-and-seven from the 32 when quarterback Aaron Wilmer hit Lewis Vincent for a 16-yard pass and a first down. On the next play, the 10th of the drive, Wilmer found Chris Ruiz across the middle for a touchdown. Jake Sobchak added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 2:55 remaining the opening quarter.
Albright threatened early in the second quarter as it reached the Delaware Valley 30-yard line and had a fourth-and-three. The Lions lined up offensively, but quarterback T.J. Luddy, who is also a punter, booted a kick and it went into the end zone for a touchback.
The Aggies responded with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. They netted 78 yards on the first six plays, but could only get one on the next three, bringing up fourth-and-goal from the one. Wilmer kept the ball and snuck in for the score. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt resulted in a failed conversion run and a 13-0 Delaware Valley lead with 3:10 left in the first half. It remained that way to the intermission.
The second half did not start how the Aggies wanted it to as tailback Kyle Schuberth fumbled the first play for scrimmage and the Lions recovered at the Delaware Valley 36-yard line. Albright moved the ball to the five-yard line and faced a third-and-three when Luddy scrambled out of pressure and found his way into the end zone. Jordan Loiodice put the extra-point through the uprights to make it a one-possession game at 13-7 with 11:33 to go in the third.
After the kickoff, a 53-yard pass from Wilmer to Ruiz put Delaware Valley at the Albright 20. However the drive stalled and the Aggies turned the ball over on downs. The Lions quickly moved into Delaware Valley territory and converted a fourth-and-seven play when Luddy hit Josh Bakala for 12 yards at the 25. A big sack by All-American end Mike Jaskowski backed the Lions up and they settled for Loiodice's 38-yard field goal. The kick pulled Albright to within three, 13-10, with 1:49 left in the third quarter.
Delaware Valley answered with a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took 5:35 off the clock. Schuberth did most of the damage on the ground and Tyler Neal finished it off by breaking a pair of tackles and hitting paydirt from 14 yards out. Sobchak's point-after made it a 20-10 ballgame with 11:14 to go.
Albright threatened late in the quarter but Ken Fowkles came through and sacked Luddy, forcing the ball loose. The Lions recovered but it brought up fourth-and-21 from the Aggie 27. Luddy's pass fell incomplete and Delaware Valley took over on downs. However, the Aggies were stopped and a penalty moved them back further. A punt out of the end zone went out of bounds, giving Albright the ball at the Delaware Valley 29-yard line with 2:26 remaining. Fowlkes came through and sacked Luddy again and Dwayne Shaw added a quarterback takedown as well to stop the rally attempt.
Delaware Valley's defense permitted just 258 yards on the afternoon, including 82 on 32 rushing attempts. In addition to Fowlkes' heroics, Terrance Osborne notched 11 tackles while Jaskowski and Jim DiLisio had seven stops apiece with Jaskowski also adding a sack.
Schuberth made Aggie history on Saturday as he became the first player to rush for 100 or more yards in five consecutive games. The sophomore finished with 123 yards on 27 carries. Neal added 53 yards and a score on eight carries. Wilmer completed 13 of 20 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown.
Luddy, who did not start the game for Albright, was 14-for-27 for 153 yards. Scott Pillar caught seven passes for 92 yards. Ryan Ott led the defensive charge with eight tackles.