Tim Bill contributed nearly 70 yards and two short touchdowns runs to Delaware Valley’s 283-yard ground assault on Saturday, but it was a 17-yard carry while he was playing linebacker on defense that ultimately sealed the outcome in a 34-14 victory over Rosselle.
With Roselle seemingly headed to a score that would bring it within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter Bill plucked a stripped Roselle fumble out of the air and returned it 17 yards across midfield to the Roselle 48.
Delaware Valley required nine running plays and five minutes from there before Chris Ambrose scored on a 2-yard run that capped off the Terriers’ season-opening victory.
Andrew Cooper ran 20 times for 112 yards and the Terriers ran the ball a whopping 60 times for 283 yards.
“I think it’s a little different this year in that we have four kids that are going to come out and get you,” Terriers’ coach Mike Columbo said, with Craig Leonhardt joining forces with Ambrose, Bill and Cooper to split those 60 rushing attempts. “I think it gives teams different things to worry about, which is what we want to do.”
Delaware Valley marched from its 25 to the Roselle 19 on the game’s first possession but came away empty. The Terriers then seized control of the contest by scoring on its remaining three drives of the half — on a 4-yard run by Cooper in the first quarter and a pair of 1-yard bursts by Bill in the second for a 20-7 cushion at halftime.
The third quarter got off to a sloppy start as the teams exchanged fumbles on consecutive plays less than 30 seconds into the half. A 47-yard jaunt down the left sideline by Khayri Hudeen brought Roselle within 20-13 four minutes into the half and the Terriers’ ensuing drive ended with a punt.
“The first drive we drive all of the way down the field and obviously we don’t get in,” Columbo said. “Then we did what we did. In the second half there was an adjustment to be made with one of our blocking schemes and we finally got that taken care of.”
Delaware Valley regained the momentum three plays later when Tanner Dixon recovered the second of Roselle’s three fumbles at the Ram 28 and Cooper capitalized with a 3-yard touchdown run that extended the margin to 27-13 on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Roselle wasn’t done, at least not quite yet. The Rams’ Jean Athis, who caught nine passes for 102 yards, crossed midfield on an 18-yard strike from Jason McRae. Roselle’s Darryn Canady burst up the middle to the Delaware Valley 35 but suddenly the ball was headed in the opposite direction and Bill was carrying it.
“I missed the tackle, then someone ripped the ball and I saw it in the air, caught it, and just did what I could,” Bill explained. “We run the ball like there’s no tomorrow. Our O-line, insane pushes up front. No one can stop us.”
Delaware Valley’s prodigious ground game may not have been its most impressive feat. The Terriers went the entire contest without being penalized.
“I think discipline and the way we work our kids in practice, the kids know and understand that penalties hurt you,” Columbo said. “Turnovers hurt you. We talk about them a lot.”
DV – Cooper 4 run (run failed)
R – Athis13 pass from McRae (Viyodachli kick)
DV – Bill 1 run (Brogan kick)
DV – Bill 1 run (Brogan kick)
R – Valeus 47 run (kick blocked)
DV – Cooper 3 run (Brogan kick)
DV – Ambrose 2 run (Brogan kick)
RUSHING: DV – Cooper 20-112, Ambrose 18-69, Bill 13-68 Leonhardt 9-34; R – Valeus 6-73, Hudeen 8-55, Canady 4-17, McRae 9-12.
PASSING: DV – Cooper 2-3-0-37, Ambrose 3-7-0-12; R – McRae 12-23-1-137, Viyodachli 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: DV – Bill 2-37, Cooper 2-12; R – Athis 9-108, Hudeen 2-25, Valeus 1-4.