DOYLESTOWN (Pa.) – The Delaware Valley University football team played its longest game in program history as it battled visiting Wesley College through four overtimes before surrendering a 24-18 defeat.
The Wolverines came into the game ranked 22nd in the D3Football.com national polls and improved to 2-0 overall with the upset over the 13th ranked Aggies who fell to 1-1.
Neither offense could get anything going in the first half as each of the two team's seven possessions resulted in a punt or a turnover on downs, and each team only crossed the timeline once.
DelVal got the eighth and final possession of the half and worked its way down to Wesley's 15-yard line, setting up a 32-yard field goal attempt with two seconds on the clock. The Wolverines called a timeout to ice senior kicker Nick Restaino and it paid off as the attempt sailed wide left of the uprights to keep the score 0-0 at the break.
The Aggies had 117 yards of total offense in the first half and held the Wesley to just 84 including only 19 yards on the ground.
The Wolverines got the ball to start the second half and on third and 10 quarterback David Marrocco found Jerrish Halsey streaking down the sideline for a 51 yard gain to set Wesley up at the Aggies' 14 yard line. After gaining just two yards on the next three plays, the Wolverines settled for a 27-yard field goal that Nick Bruhn sent through the uprights for the first points of the game, 3-0.
DelVal worked the ball to Wesley's 12 on the ensuing drive and quarterback Anthony Fontana's pass to a wide open Juwan Manigo was short and picked off by Brady Walters to end the drive.
The Wolverines out gained the Aggies in the third quarter, 104-84, in yards but the score remained just 3-0 heading to the fourth.
DelVal drove down the field to start the fourth quarter as Fontana hit Manigo and John Davis for key third down conversions to set up a 34-yard field goal attempt for Restaino. This time, Restaino made good and game was tied, 3-3. The game would remain tied through regulation and the two nationally-ranked squads headed to overtime.
Under NCAA rules, the ball is placed at the 25-yard line and each team gets a possession until the tie is broken.
The Aggies started with the ball at Wesley's 25 and, after a first down, Fontana was picked for the second time in the game. Dante Daniel stepped in front of a receiver in the end zone for the interception to give the ball to the Wolverines with a chance to win the game.
Needing only a field goal to win, Wesley sent out Nick Bruhn for a 35-yard attempt after failing to convert a first down. Bruhn's attempt came up well short, and the game continued to the second overtime.
With the team's alternating possessions to start the overtime frames, the Wolverines began with the ball at DelVal's 25. E.J. Rush broke into the end zone on an eight-yard run and Bruhn's extra point was good as Wesley took a 10-3 lead.
The Aggies responded with their second possession as Fontana found pay dirt on a six-yard quarterback draw to tie the game at 10-10.
In the third overtime, Fontana connected with Aaron Nelson through the air to set up a first and goal and senior Mario Nigro punched it in from nine yards out. DelVal went for the two-point conversion and Fontana laced a seed into the arms of Juwan Manigo to put the Aggies up, 18-10.
Wesley countered on its possession with a fade pass to the corner of the end zone from Marrocco to Ruhann Peele. Needing to convert the two-point conversion to send the game to the fourth overtime, the Wolverines through a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Corterris Simpson and the wide out converted to tie the game again, 18-18.
It was Wesley's turn to get first possession in the fourth overtime against a laboring DelVal defense. On the second play from scrimmage, Marrocco hooked up with Peele again, this time down the right side for a 24-yard score. The Aggies stopped the two-point conversion to keep it a six-point game, 24-18.
Ezekial Ennis picked up seven yards on a completion on the first play for DelVal, but the Aggies next two rushes went for just one yard combined, setting up a fourth and two. Fontana dropped back and attempted a pass to the end zone but it floated into the hands of the Wolverines' defensive back Drew Fry, and the Wesley sideline erupted into celebration as it pulled of the upset, 24-18.
Both teams racked up more yards in the overtime sessions than they had in regulation. Wesley finished with 333 total yards of offense including 204 yards passing while the Aggies went for 313 total yards with 163 coming via the run.
Fontana completed 20-of-42 passes for 150 yards with three interceptions and he ran the ball 12 times for 38 yards and a score. Donte Simmons led the ground attack with 52 yards on 14 carries and Quadir Strothers finished with 42 yards on eight carries. Nelson led the receiving corps with five catches for 46 yards and Dan Allen caught three passes for 25.
For Wesley, Marrocco finished 16-for-36 for 197 yards and two touchdowns and E.J. Lee rushed for 108 yards on 28 carries with one score. Ruhann Peele hauled in the two touchdowns in overtime and finished with 64 yards on six catches.
Kenyonn Jones led DelVal defensively with nine tackles, 2.5 for loss including 1.5 sacks. Cornerback Justin Harris made 7.5 tackles and Michael Nobile finished with six including a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. As a team, the Aggies racked up nine tackles in the backfield and got four sacks on the quarterback.
DelVal will begin its defense of the Middle Atlantic Conference championship as it kicks off conference play at home against Stevenson at 1 p.m.