BROCKPORT ENDS DELVAL’S SEASON
DOYLESTOWN, PA – An Elite Eight college football playoff game featuring two 12-0 teams who are very similar statistically so naturally it came down to a field goal.
Brett Renzi kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift The College at Brockport past Delaware Valley University 31-28 in an NCAA Division III Playoff Quarterfinal game at Robert A. Lipinski Field in James Work Memorial Stadium in Doylestown on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles were up 28-7 at the start of the fourth quarter but the DelVal scored three times in just over five minutes to tie the score. Marquis Ellis caught his second of three touchdowns on the first play of the final period, it came on a 25-yard pass from Dashawn Darden. The score capped a 72-yard drive that started after Renzi missed on a 45-yard field goal try.
The Aggies got the ball right back when Dan Allen recovered an on-side kick at the Brockport 44. Devauntay Ellis converted a third down with a 24-yard run and one play later Darden hit Ellis with a 12-yard pass for the score.
DelVal’s defense forced a three-and-out on the Golden Eagles next possession and the Aggies had the ball right back. This time Darden called his own number, the 5-10, 210 pound junior made Brockport defenders miss as he raced 57 yards to tie the score.
With all the momentum, DelVal got the ball again after another three-and-out by Brockport but the time the Aggies drive stalled just past midfield. The Golden Eagles managed one first down before they punted but the key in the sequence was the punt. Eric Yaeger’s kick was downed at the Aggies three-yard line with 3:01 remaining in the game. After DelVal moved the ball to their own 23, the Brockport defense, which had been on the field for most of the quarter, rose to the occasion and forced three-straight tackles for loss. After the punt, the Golden Eagles took over just inside DelVal territory. Brockport’s quarterback Joe Germinerio completed three passes to move the ball to the DelVal 22 then Justin Morrison ran for six yards to set thing up for Renzi, who kicked his 11th field goal of the season to send his team to the Final Four for the first time and end Delaware Valley season.
“A couple of the guys came up to me on the sideline and said it would be in my hands,” said Renzi, a senior who said he last kicked a walk-off field goal in his junior year of high school. “It’s a good feeling knowing your team believes in you.”
The Golden Eagles (13-0) scored on their first possession of the game when Germinerio dove in from a yard out. After the teams traded turnovers and the Aggies turned it over on downs, Brockport scored again on a 16-yard pass from Germinerio to Joseph Ortiz. Marquis Ellis first touchdown came on a 68-yard catch and run as he tiptoed down the sideline to make it 14-7.
Late in the second quarter the Aggies were driving, Devauntay Ellis fumbled when he was hit by Matt Szymanski and Nathaniel Keith III recovered it at the Golden Eagles’ 37. Germinerio matriculated the ball down the field by completing four of his six passes and running for eight yards to set up a one-yard run by Tyree Brown with just 29 seconds left in the half.
Imitating the New England Patriots, the Golden Eagles scored late in the first half and opened the second half with a touchdown to extend their lead. Germinerio ran in from the seven-yard line but the key play of the drive, which went 70 yards and took only 50 seconds, was a 45-yard pass from Germinerio to Daquan Hubbard on the first play of the half.
Down 28-7, the DelVal defense stiffened, they would allow only 79 yards total on the Golden Eagles next four possessions and help put the offense in position to make the furious comeback.
“Eventually, we pulled up our pants and put our boots on and started playing football,” said Shawn Miller, the Aggies All-American safety who led the team with 15 tackles. “We started to fight back when we realized we can’t play their game, we have to play our game. That’s all that sparked the comeback.”
For Brockport they advance to the semifinal to meet defending Division III champion Mary Hardin Baylor.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” said Germinerio, who finished with 297 yards passing. “We’re the first team in the East Region [since 2006] to go to a Final Four. It’s nice knowing all the work you put in from the off season until now…and here we are in the Final Four.”
while Delaware Valley finishes 12-1 with a MAC Championship and the third quarterfinal appearance in school history.
“I’ve never had a better group, I’ve never seen a better group,” said Aggies head coach Duke Greco. “I think this is our best team ever. I really feel that way.”
Email Rock Hoffman at Rock@footballstories.com