DOYLESTOWN - Jarrin Campman ran along the end line yelling at fellow Lycoming wide receiver Matt Atkinson not to touch the ball.
Even 10 yards away, Campman knew the football which quarterback Tyler Jenny floated toward the back of the endzone was all for him. But in the vicinity was Atkinson, and he was in a position where he could still make a play on the ball. So Campman started screaming at him.
The two talked about the play on the sidelines after Campman caught the ball for a key fourth-quarter touchdown that put the dagger in the heart of a huge 24-14 win over Delaware Valley for the Warriors. Atkinson said he heard Campman the whole way, so he let him go get the ball.
"If he would have hit it, it was going to be an incomplete pass," Campman said. "I'm glad he heard me."
The final 6 minutes of Saturday's game was merely a formality, especially once the Lycoming defense forced a turnover on downs on Delaware Valley's ensuing possession. Knowing it couldn't afford its second loss in a row, especially opening up conference play, Lycoming made a complete 180-degree turn from a week ago, playing stifling defense on the line of scrimmage and in the secondary, and Jenny threw two touchdown passes in the Warriors' first win over the Aggies since 2008.
The loss also sent Delaware Valley, the preseason favorite to win its fifth consecutive MAC title, to an 0-2 start for the first time since 2007 when it started 0-3. Delaware Valley is now in a position where it's going to need help from the rest of the MAC if it wants to win its fifth consecutive MAC title and qualify for the NCAA playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
Lycoming, meanwhile, is in control of its own MAC destiny with eight weeks to go.
"We want to be 2-0, but at this point it's greedy because we could be 0-2," Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. "We played two really good teams at the beginning of the year. We did what we had to do to win. If you have to be 1-1, I'd rather be in first place now in the MAC than in last."
Lycoming scored at least 20 points against Delaware Valley for the first time since 2003 despite being without starting quarterback Zach Klinger for the second consecutive week. Jenny took the reigns of an offense which didn't score a point a week ago and was forced to throw the ball 42 times because of its inability to run the ball, and helped turn it into a machine which Delaware Valley just had no answer for, especially during the first half.
Jenny helped get the Warriors into the right running plays that gouged the Aggies for more than 4.5 yards a carry in the first half. Although tailbacks Parker Showers and Craig Needhammer each finished with just 39 rushing yards, the combined effort was enough to open up short and intermediate routes for Jenny to throw to.
It was an offensive performance which allowed the Warriors to keep the football for more than 19 minutes of the first half. It was an offensive performance which allowed the Warriors to post a 17-7 halftime lead and seemingly put Delaware Valley on the ropes.
And surprisingly, Lycoming did it by running behind a right side of the offensive line. That's the side filled with new starters at tackle and guard, not the side will all-MAC caliber blockers in Cody Moyer and Andrew Wagner.
"We thought (Delaware Valley defensive end Dwayne Shaw) was good, and honestly, the film told us he would be on the right-hand side," Clark said. "So we made a decision to run at him and double team him. And we thought we could make him play a certain spot where we would be able to double team him all the time. It wasn't an accident. That was intentional, that was our plan."
The rushing success came a week after Lycoming had just 31 rushing yards on 18 carries. And even though the progress slowed down in the second half (20 carries, 57 yards), it was enough to give Lycoming a comfortable two-score lead.
"We couldn't run the ball at all last week. But I thought we had a pretty good week of practice as compared to last week," Campman said. "That's what we need to do and that's the type of offense we need to have where we can get the running game going early. The pass will come off that."
The run game was a basis of the offense that saw Jenny end up completing 9 of 14 passes for 95 yards in the first half. Trailing 7-0 after Delaware Valley forced a turnover on the game's opening possession and then marched for a touchdown, the Warriors' offense put together drives of nine plays and 43 yards, eight plays and 34 yards, seven plays and 47 yards, eight plays and 80 yards and nine plays for 37 yards in the first half.
A Zack Czap 31-yard field goal into the teeth of a blustery wind cut the Aggie lead to 7-3 with 1:30 to go in the first quarter. Jenny led Lycoming on a 47-yard drive to start the second quarter which featured 22 of Needhammer's 39 rushing yards. His final run got the Warriors to fourth-and-goal at the Delaware Valley 1-yard line.
After the officials set the ball, Jenny rushed the Lycoming offense to the line and executed a perfect quarterback sneak, running over Moyer to his left for the Warriors' first touchdown of the season and a 10-3 lead.
Jenny led the Warriors on another drive which started on the Aggie 20, staying poised in the pocket in the face of a tough pass rush. He ran the ball when needed, picking up 15 rushing yards on the drive, and took what the Delaware Valley defense gave him in the passing game, hitting tight end Greg Kovacs for 5 yards, and freshman Ryan Umpleby for 20 yards.
On second-and-goal from the Delaware Valley 8, Jenny stepped up in the pocket and found Atkinson over the middle. Atkinson made one great cut and as he dove for the goalline, he dropped the football. Campman recovered in the end zone for the Warriors' second touchdown of the quarter and a 17-7 lead.
Jenny finished his second consecutive start 12 of 20 passing for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"He's so athletic and he's a good player. He's been solid since his freshman year and he was our backup a year ago," Clark said. "He doesn't take sacks, he makes very good decisions. He got us into pretty good runs all day. He ran the ball where we wanted him to run the ball because we did a lot of fake cadence stuff where we could kind of get an idea of what we wanted to do. He's a smart kid, he's an athletic kid. He did a great job."
And just to add to the offense's success, the defense made it stand up quite emphatically. Senior defensive end Nate Oropollo recorded four first-half sacks, and the defense as a whole recorded six against dangerous Aggie quarterback Aaron Wilmer.
It was a defensive unit which was burned for more than 500 yards last week by Brockport, but held Delaware Valley to just 118 first-half yards yesterday. Yes, the Aggies finished with more than 300 yards of offense, but much of that came in the second half as the Warriors relaxed its pass coverage, giving up the middle of the field to keep the Aggies from going out of bounds.
"Honestly, it was Roger Jayne, Dwight Hentz, Braden Zeiner and Zack McMenamin getting pressure up the middle and the other side getting (Wilmer) flushed out to me and I was fortunate enough to be there to make the plays," said Oropollo, who recorded more than one sack in a game for the first time in his career. "They're getting double-teamed and triple-teamed and that just opens it up for us. They don't get enough credit at all and they deserve a lot because they played their butts off (Saturday)."