DOYLESTOWN (PA) – Making his first collegiate start due to an injury, St. John Fisher junior quarterback Ahmed Hassanien threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score while the Cardinal defense forced five turnovers in a 27-14 road victory over previously unbeaten Delaware Valley College in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
It marked the second week in a row that St. John Fisher (10-2) went on the road knocked off an undefeated team as it posted a 23-12 triumph at Johns Hopkins University last Saturday. The Cardinals advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in program history (2006 and 2007) where they will travel to undefeated University of St. Thomas (MN) next Saturday. December 3. St. Thomas notched a 38-10 triumph over Monmouth College (IL).
Delaware Valley saw its season end in the second round of the postseason for the third straight year. The Aggies rebuilt their offense with the graduation of nine starters, but still went 10-0 in the regular season and captured their fourth consecutive Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championship. They opened the playoffs last week with a 62-10 rout of Norwich University.
Hassanien got the starting nod in place of Ryan Kramer, who was injured at Johns Hopkins last week. He completed 11 of 19 passes for just 93 yards and ran for 28 yards, but he led an offensive unit that managed 288 total yards and turned the ball over just once. They also held the ball for more than 10 minutes in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Cardinal defense notched four interceptions and a fumble recovery to give them 10 turnovers in the last two weeks (five interceptions last week).
Both teams failed to take advantage of opportunities in the early going. Delaware Valley forced a turnover as Jared Pattinson stripped running back Cody Miller of the ball and the Aggies' Terrance Osborne recovered it at the Delaware Valley 35-yard line.
The Aggies moved just inside Cardinal territory, but were forced to line up for a punt. A low snap on the punt resulted in St. John Fisher's Tyler Schier recovering the loose ball at the Delaware Valley 34. The Cardinals advanced the ball to the 12-yard line, but Chad Monheim's 29-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Chris James.
Later in the first, St. John Fisher took over at its own 35-yard line. Hassanien had a pair of key for fifth downs on the drive as the Cardinals advanced the ball to the Aggie 12 at the end of the quarter. On the first play of the second, they faced a third-and-three when Hassanien hit Ryan Francis for a touchdown. Monheim added the extra-point for a 7-0 advantage.
Delaware Valley responded with an eight-play, 85-yard scoring drive to tie the contest. Freshman quarterback Aaron Wilmer completed four passes on the possession and tailback Kyle Schuberth ended it with a 26-yard burst into the end zone. Jake Sobchak added the extra-point with 10:30 remaining in the half.
The Aggies' momentum was short-lived as Francis caught the ensuing kickoff and went untouched for an 83-yard touchdown. Monheim booted the extra-point for a 14-7 St. John Fisher lead just 11 seconds after the Delaware Valley score.
The Aggies responded with a long drive again, this time, a 13-play, 77-yard effort. They reached the Cardinal five and faced a fourth-and-two when Wilmer hit Isaiah Hall for a three-yard gain and a first down. Schuberth was stopped for no gain on the next play, but Wilmer called his own number and reached the end zone for the two-yard score. Sobchak split the pipes for a 14-14 score with 3:57 remaining before the intermission.
The Cardinals answered as they moved the ball 47 yards on eight plays and took the lead for good when Monheim connected on a 39-yard field goal with 50 seconds to go. Delaware Valley reached the St. John Fisher 32 in the finals seconds, but Brendan Moore intercepted a Wilmer pass to end the half.
Wilmer was picked off on the first possession of the second stanza as Wade Kline stepped in front of a pass and returned it 22 yards to the Aggie 47-yard line. The Cardinals needed three plays to move 15 yards to 32. On first down, Hassanien went back to pass, but tucked it in due to the rush. He broke a few tackles and scored on a 32-yard touchdown run. Monheim's boot upped the St. John Fisher advantage to 24-14 with 10:53 left in the third.
Delaware Valley drove to the Cardinal 17-yard line on the ensuing possession. On third-and-one, Schuberth was driven back for a loss of one. The Aggies elected to go for the first down, but Schuberth was stopped one-yard shy the sticks by Chris Sawyer and Mason Judd.
The teams exchanged punts before St. John Fisher put together another scoring drive. This time it moved the ball 40 yards on nine plays and Monheim kicked a 26-yard field goal for a 27-14 lead with 12:05 remaining in the contest.
After a punt, the Aggie defense came through with a big stop as Miller did not net a yard on a fourth-and-one from the Delaware Valley 35 with 6:02 on the clock. The Aggies moved downfield and reached the Cardinal 10-yard where they faced a fourth-and-five with 3:29 to go. Wilmer looked into the end zone, but Travis Tones intercepted it for the touchback.
Delaware Valley had one last drive as it took over on its own 28 with 58 seconds left and no timeouts. The offense moved the ball to the St. John Fisher 13 before Kline picked off Wilmer again with 10 seconds left to seal the win and a trip to the quarterfinals for the Cardinals.
Wilmer, the MAC Rookie of the Year who threw just six interceptions in the first 11 games of the year, was 29-for-41 for 241 yards and the four picks. He also rushed 18 times for 74 yards and a score. Schuberth netted 47 yards and a touchdown on nine carries while Hall and Rodney Blango combined for 15 catches for 114 yards. James had eight tackles and the blocked kick to pace the Aggie defense.
Miller had the most productive rushing day against Delaware Valley this season as he carried the ball 24 times for 145 yards. Francis caught four passes for 31 yards and a score while adding 106 yards and a big touchdown on two kickoff returns. Morre finished with 11 tackles and an interception while Kline had five tackles and two picks.