Football Falls To #23 Delaware Valley In Home Opener

Football Falls To #23 Delaware Valley In Home Opener

DARTMOUTH, Mass. --  Senior quarterback Dashawn Darden (Norristown, Pa.) threw for 207 yards and four touchdowns to lead 23rd-ranked Delaware Valley to a 52-21 non-league college football victory over UMass Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Cressy Field.

The visiting Aggies (1-1) jumped out to a 17-0 advantage midway through the opening quarter, as a Darden scoring strike to junior Dan Allen (Collingdale, Pa.) and an eight-yard run by sophomore Donte Simmons (Bristol, Pa.) sandwiched a 34-yard field goal by junior Nick Restaino (Bloomfield, N.J.).  The host Corsairs (1-1) got on the board 2:23 into the second stanza when sophomore quarterback Stephen Gacioch (Tiverton, R.I.) connected with junior Jacen Hudson (Hudson, N.H.) on a nine-yard touchdown pass, but Delaware Valley extended its edge to 31-7 at the break on a pair of Darden touchdown tosses to Allen and senior John Graham (Philadelphia, Pa.) from 47 and seven yards out, respectively.

The Aggies took their largest lead of the day (45-7) following a pair of third quarter touchdowns, as Darden’s fourth scoring strike of the day came on a 25-yard connection with junior Aaron Nelson (Hampstead, Md.) and was followed by a one-yard plunge by junior Quadir Strothers (Philadelphia, Pa.).  Gacioch and junior Jace Pena (Riverside, R.I.) each provided one-yard scoring runs in the final stanza for UMass Dartmouth, while junior Wavell Wint (Far Rockaway, N.Y.) accounted for the final Delaware Valley touchdown with a three-yard scamper.

Darden completed 11-of-20 pass attempts and added 42 rushing yards to finish with 249 yards of total offense in the triumph for the Aggies, who received 95 rushing yards from Simmons to go with four catches for 143 yards from Allen.  Gacioch threw for 103 yards and added 41 more on the ground to end the day with 144 yards of total offense in the setback for the Corsairs, who received a combined 150 rushing yards on 28 carries from freshmen Steffan Gravely (Lynn, Mass.) and Devante Graves (Raynham, Mass.).  Sophomore Leroy Brown (Milton, Mass.) hauled in three receptions for 45 yards for the hosts, as Delaware Valley outgained UMass Dartmouth by a 465-321 margin but ran only one more play (66) in the contest.

Junior Vincent DiLeo (Philadelphia, Pa.) recorded nine total tackles (six solo) to lead the way on the defensive side for the Aggies, who received fumble recoveries from senior Marquis Ellis (Owings Mills, Md.) and freshman Blaine Netterman (Brick, N.J.) along with a 34-yard interception by junior Aaron Mayers (Bronx, N.Y.).  Senior Samuel Ejiasi (Forney, Tex.) registered seven stops (five solo) in the setback for the Corsairs, who received a pair of interceptions from sophomore Jacob Burkhead (Plymouth, Mass.) in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

UMass Dartmouth opens its Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule on Friday evening by heading to Westfield, Mass. to take on Westfield State in a league clash at 7:00 pm, while Delaware Valley hosts Wilkes in its Middle Athletic Conference opener next Saturday afternoon in Doylestown, Pa. that kicks off at 1:00 pm.

(Photo Credit:  Rainier Almonte '20)