The St. John Fisher College football team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championship, as the Cardinals came away with a 27-14 win over host Delaware Valley College on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Fisher improves to 10-2 overall and will now play in the regional finals. This is the fourth time in the program's history the Cardinals have reached double-digits in the win column and the third time Fisher has advanced to the Elite 8.
It was entire team effort for the Cardinals. The Fisher defense held the top-seeded Aggies scoreless in three of the game's four quarters, while the offense, led by backup-quarterback Ahmed Hassanien mustered 289 yards of total offense (196 rushing, 93 passing), including a career-high 145 yards on the ground from sophomore running back Cody Miller. The special teams also came through, delivering two field goals and a touchdown on a kick return.
After a scoreless first quarter, Fisher struck first on the first play of the second quarter with a 12-yard fade pass from Hassanien to Ryan Francis to the back right corner of the end zone. The play capped a 10-play, 65 yard drive that ate up 5:44 of the clock.
Delaware Valley returned the favor with a long 85-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown run by Kyle Schuberth that knotted the score at sevens with 10:41 remaining in the half.
Francis gained the momentum back just 11 second later when he took an untouched 83-yard kickoff return to the house that gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead with 10:30 on the clock in the second quarter.
The Aggies then used up 6:26 off the clock, driving 77 yard on 13 plays, finishing with a two-yard run by quarterback Aaron Wilmer to again tie the game, this time at 14-14 with 3:57 remaining in the stanza.
Fisher quickly moved down the field to setup a 39-yard field goal for Chad Monheim, who cashed in the three points for a Cardinals 17-14 lead with 50 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Delaware Valley moved quickly into Fisher territory, but with 17 seconds left, Brenden Moore picked off a pass to stop the Aggies drive, allowing the Cardinals to enter the locker room with a 17-14 lead.
Fisher pushed its lead to 24-17 on its first possession of the second half, as Hassenien scored on a career-long 32-yard run with 10:53 left in the third. The drive was set up in Aggie territory, thanks to an interception from Wade Kline, which ended the first drive of the second half.
The Cardinals closed out the scoring with a 36-yard field goal from Monheim with 12:05 left in the fourth.
This is Fisher's fourth appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship. The Cardinals are 8-3 all-time in NCAA post-season action. Fisher advanced to the national semifinals in 2006 and the national quarterfinals in 2007, losing both times to Mt. Union College.