PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One the great rivalries in local college football will write its next chapter on Saturday as Delaware Valley University hosts Widener University in Doylestown. The winner of this Division III battle earns bragging rights, the Keystone Cup and maybe even more.
DelVal is 7-2 on the season and 6-2 in the Middle Atlantic Conference. They are coming off a tough loss to Lycoming last weekend, 43-42. But the Aggies still have a chance at a piece of the MAC title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament with a win against Widener and an Albright loss to Lebanon Valley College.
“We have a young team,” DelVal head coach Duke Greco tells KYW Newsradio. “We have great senior leadership, but we’re pretty young and I think they’ve worked hard and 7-2 is where we are. The two games we lost, we should’ve won.”
Listen to the entire interview with DelVal’s Duke Greco
Widener is 6-3 and they are also 6-2 in the MAC. The Pride can also earn a share of the MAC title with a win and an Albright loss, but they lose the tiebreaker for the automatic tourney berth.
“We’ve done a lot of good things this year,” Widener head coach Mike Kelly tells KYW Newsradio. “Our record isn’t exactly what we hoped it would be, but we’re sitting as the #1 offense and the #1 defense in the conference.”
Listen to the entire interview with Widener’s Mike Kelly
A big reason for the defensive success of the Pride is a dominant defensive line. Senior ends Stacey Sunnerville (13 1/2) and Brandon Jones (12 1/2) have combined for an amazing 26 sacks this season. Another senior, Shakore Phillip mans the middle of that line, helping free up Sunnerville and Jones, while chipping in 3 1/2 sacks of his own.
“Their defensive line is as good as it gets in Division III. Coach Kelly does a great job and the (defensive coordinator Bill Shuey) does a great job,” Greco says.
Kelly is just as impressed with the work that DelVal does.
“Nobody has any more respect for an opponent than I do with Duke Greco and DelVal,” Kelly says. “I just think they do a really nice job up there. They play within structure, they’ve got athletes. They make good game day decisions.”
They also run the ball like crazy. The Aggies average more than 287 yards a game on the ground this season. Five players have rushed for more than 350 yards this season.
“We’re a tough team,” Greco says. “And I’m hoping that shows Saturday. We’re not going to finesse anybody. We’re just going to line-up and play football.”
“They’re going to be a challenge for us,” Kelly says. “It’s the tale of two different philosophies here. DelVal’s going to try and run the ball down our throats and we’re going to try and throw it all over the lot. So it should be a really entertaining game. But you’re going to see a lot of good small college athletes running around that field.”
Currently the Keystone Cup resides in Coach Kelly’s office. Last season, the Pride beat the Aggies, 44-28, in Chester.
Saturday’s game will kickoff at 1:00pm.