It took the Delaware Valley High School football team exactly six plays to make last week’s blowout loss at Cranford ancient history.
The Terriers ripped off a 61-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage, then blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone, jumping all over winless Somerville en route to a 33-14 triumph at home Friday.
“Coming off the loss to Cranford we really had to do something to turn it around,” said junior quarterback Chris Ambrose, who rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns and threw an 80-yard touchdown pass. “We went back to running the ball right up the middle. It’s what we do best and it worked tonight.”
All four of Delaware Valley’s rushing touchdowns came in that fashion, all through huge holes cleared by the line, as the Terriers improved to 3-2 and remained in the Central Group II playoff hunt.
“If we don’t score touchdowns running behind that line, we’re doing something wrong,” Ambrose said.
The Terriers’ defensive front was equally impressive, sacking Somerville quarterback Joe Lucas four times for 54 yards in losses and holding the Pioneers to just 36 net rushing yards on 36 attempts.
“They’re very strong, all veteran kids,” Delaware Valley coach Mike Columbo said of his defensive linemen and linebackers. “A very good bunch.”
The fireworks started early for Delaware Valley. On the second play junior Dominick Benedetto, who would finish with 107 rushing yards, raced untouched up the middle for a 61-yard score. Then, after a Somerville three-and-out, senior Nour Mays busted through the line and blocked a Pioneer punt. The ball rolled into the end zone, where junior Najee Hudgins fell on it for a touchdown.
Delaware Valley’s next drive lasted eight plays, all runs, and ended with a 4-yard touchdown plunge by Ambrose to make it 20-0.
Somerville countered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, but a fumbled pitch in the red zone cost the Pioneers 15 yards, leading to a 43-yard field goal attempt by Scott Jordan that bounced off the top of the left upright.
Delaware Valley buried the dagger on the next play, as Ambrose hit Chris Leonhardt with a short pass and the senior running back did the rest, completing an 80-yard scoring play. The Terriers took a 27-0 lead into halftime and that was that.
A visit from rival North Plainfield is up next for Delaware Valley. Somerville, meanwhile, fell to 0-6 with games against A.L. Johnson, Roselle and Montgomery on tap before a consolation contest. The Pioneers’ last winless season was 1993.
“We came out flat and we didn’t tackle. We weren’t ready,” Somerville coach Skip Fuller said. “Delaware Valley is good. They’re very good up front, very physical.”
Somerville only dressed 30 players for the game.
“We’ve got about 10 injuries – three ACL tears and four or five kids with concussions,” Fuller said. “We just have to keep fighting, keep pushing the rock uphill.”
|Delaware Valley (3-2)||20||7||0||6||—||33|
DV – Benedetto 61 run (Brogan kick)
DV – Hudgins recovered blocked punt in end zone (kick failed)
DV – Ambrose 5 run (Brogan kick)
DV – Leonhardt 80 pass from Ambrose (Brogan kick)
S – Cohn 17 pass from Blaze Aranzullo (Jordan kick)
DV – Ambrose 66 run (kick failed)
S – Aranzullo 1 run (Jordan kick)
RUSHING: S – Petrone 5-35, Aranzullo 18-42, Lucas 8-(-35), Trinidad 5-(-17); DV – Benedetto 11-107, Ambrose 13-126, Bill 1-4, Neighhbour 1-8.
PASSING: S – Lucas 8-21-0-138; DV – Ambrose 1-3-0-80.
RECEIVING: S – Trinidad 4-42, Aranzullo 1-10, Cohn 2-37, Petrone 1-5, Kyle 1-26; DV – Leonhardt 1-80.