EDWARDSVILLE — Two weeks ago at Schmidt Stadium, Wilkes’ Taylor Young orchestrated a last-minute, game-winning drive.
In a similar situation on Saturday afternoon in the Colonels’ final home game of the season, the Delaware Valley defense clamped down on the freshman quarterback and Wilkes came up short falling 31-27 to the Aggies.
Wilkes’ offense got the ball back with 1:20 remaining in the game. Young completed passes for 14 yards on the first two plays before four straight incompletions ended the game.
“We need one more thing. One more first down, one sack, one tipped ball or just one more stop,” Wilkes coach Frank Sheptock said after his team’s heart-breaking loss on senior day. “I’m extremely proud of the execution, the energy, the execution of our players. We just gotta find a way to finish games. I’m thinking that’s part of a team progressing and a team learning.”
It wasn’t all the Aggies’ defense that came up with big plays late. A little bit of luck helped the team out as well on the game-winning drive.
Delaware Valley got the ball with 4:11 left in the game. On a third-and-7, quarterback Aaron Wilmer threaded the needle, getting the ball in between three Wilkes defenders to complete a pass for 20 yards to Rasheed Bailey for a first down.
On the final play of the drive, Wilmer connected with Bailey again, but this one was tipped by Wilkes defender Jared Powell and right into Bailey’s hands for a 19-yard touchdown, putting the Aggies in front.
“That touchdown I think is a pick for us,” Sheptock said. “Powell’s got good inside coverage and they both go up for it. I think he’s coming down with it in the end zone and it ricochets.
“That stuff you just sort of go ‘How did that even happen?’ I guess you get as many good breaks in games as you get in bad breaks if you’re in the game long enough.”
Delaware Valley, which has won four of the last five MAC championships but will not be in contention this season, looked like the Colonels did a few weeks ago when Wilkes overcame a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Stevenson at Schmidt Stadium.
The Aggies trailed 27-17 after Wilkes scored a touchdown with 12:49 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 54-yard pass from Young to David Claybrook.
But DelVal, a veteran squad, showed why it has won so many MAC titles in the past. The team scored a touchdown on its next drive, a stanza that went 65 yards on eight plays capped by a 7-yard pass from Wilmer to Chris Smallwood that trimmed the lead to 27-24.
“We got to find a way to get more pressure on the quarterback because that’s hurt us the last couple weeks,” Sheptock added.
In addition to the 54-yard TD reception, the freshman Claybrook made a heads-up play on a fumble in the third quarter. Tailback Pat Inguilli, who picked up a game-high 130 yards rushing and now has 778 for the season, rushed for a 10-yard gain and then lost the ball. But Claybrook was there scooped up the ball and picked up another 33 yards, setting up an Inguilli TD later on the drive giving Wilkes a 20-17 lead.
Claybrook had 163 total yards on the afternoon with 106 receiving yards and 57 rushing.
“David is a very special player and we think he will be one of the premier players in this league,” Sheptock noted.
Delaware Valley 31, Wilkes 27
WILKES — Inguilli 6 run (Fredo kick) 6:13
DV — Smallwood 4 run (Snyder kick) 11:44
DV — Bing 31 run (Snyder kick) 7:04
WILKES — Young 4 run (Fredo kick) 2:24
DV — Snyder 39 field goal 9:46
WILKES — Inguilli 3 run (kick failed) 8:21
WILKES — Claybrook 54 pass from Young (Bobo kick) 12:49
DV — Smallwood 7 pass from Wilmer (Snyder kick) 9:40
DV — Bailey 19 pass from Wilmer (Snyder kick) 1:29
RUSHING — DV, Kyle Schuberth 18-117, Aaron Wilmer 8-41, Darren Parrott 3-35, Tyler Bing 3-31, Chris Smallwood 2-9, Rasheed Bailey 1-(minus-1), TEAM 1-(minus-2). WILKES, Pat Inguilli 23-30, David Claybrook 3-57, Calvin Garvin 8-33, Taylor Young 8-14, TEAM 2-(minus-4).
PASSING — DV, Aaron Wilmer 16-30-0-226. WILKES, Taylor Young 12-21-0-159.
RECEIVING — DV, Rasheed Bailey 5-119, Lewis Vincent 3-31, Max Stella 3-20, Dashown Waller 1-18, James Norton 1-15, Tyler Bing 1-9, Kyle Schuberth 1-7, Chris Smallwood 1-7. WILKES, David Claybrook 3-106, Ryan Behrmann 3-25, Jonathon Conklin 3-25, Dan Curry 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS — none
MISSED FGs — WILKES, Frank Bobo (35, WR)