Delaney has record day in loss

Cedrick Delaney

WINCHESTER — Never has a Shenandoah University running back had a football game quite like the one sophomore Cedrick Delaney had at Emory & Henry last Saturday afternoon.

Though it was in a losing effort, Delaney had a record-setting game against the Wasps, racking up 321 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries while nearly bringing Shenandoah all the way back from a four-touchdown deficit in the 42-34 loss.

“I had no idea until significantly after the game. I knew he had a huge day, but I looked at the stats and honestly I started laughing,” Hornets head coach Scott Yoder said Wednesday of Delaney’s performance. “I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he had over 300 yards.”

Delaney’s rushing performance shattered the previous Shenandoah record held by Anthony Frates, who rushed for 207 yards against Methodist University in 2004. Delaney’s 321 rushing yards also set a new Old Dominion Athletic Conference record, as it topped the 310-yard performance by Emory & Henry’s Oliver Jordan set back in 1998.

Delaney, who also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass in Saturday’s loss, averaged 7.8 yards per carry and helped lead SU to new single-game school records in total offense (592 yards) and rushing offense (442 yards).

“It was fun to watch,” Hornets offensive coordinator Stan Hodgin said. “… He’s shown how dynamic a football player he is prior to Saturday and any time you have success to the degree that Cedrick experienced on Saturday you’ve also got to spread the responsibility to other people. I thought our offensive line did exceptionally well in the run game. Time after time they created small creases and Cedrick was able to get to the second and third level, and he’s a difficult guy to tackle one-on-one.”

Delaney had 13 runs of 10-plus yards against Emory and Henry — including a 43-yard carry in the third quarter that set up his second rushing touchdown — with nine of those coming in the second half as Shenandoah tried to rally from a 35-7 third-quarter deficit.

Delaney, who said he was so focused on helping fuel the Hornets’ comeback bid that he wasn’t aware of his record numbers unfolding during the game, scored all three of his rushing touchdowns in the second half.

“I give all the credit to the o-line. The holes they were opening were so unbelievable, how they were just making key blocks when it really mattered,” said Delaney, who added that the outside zone runs were more effective than usual for SU against Emory & Henry. “We knew coming into the second half they were going to change their defense up and we changed some things around and it worked in our favor, basically.”

Delaney’s first touchdown run of the game came on an 18-yard scamper in the third quarter, and he added scoring runs of 24 and 23 yards in the fourth quarter. His third rushing touchdown of the game cut Emory & Henry’s lead to 42-34 with 7:29 left in the fourth quarter.

“There was a pretty electric feeling on the sidelines, like we knew every time he touched the ball that something cool was happening,” Yoder said. “You could just feel it up and down the sideline and there was just this sense of we don’t even really need to be in a two-minute drill because every time he touches it he can house it.”

Delaney’s effort also boosted him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and he’s now the owner of SU’s best single-season rushing performance with his 1,174 yards. Delaney’s exploits also earned him ODAC Player of the Week honors and a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week.

“It’s a great accomplishment but deep down I know if it wasn’t for my o-line and the coaches pushing me all the time, I wouldn’t be able to get the record,” Delaney said. “It’s good having it on my name, but I give credit to the o-line and the coaches.”

TRIPLE OPTION: For the third time this season, Shenandoah’s defense will be facing an option offense when the Hornets square off with Washington and Lee (1-8, 1-5 ODAC) in their season finale this Saturday.

SU saw a similar offense against Gallaudet and Ferrum in weeks one and three, respectively. Yoder said Washington and Lee’s spread-option style — which is run out of the shotgun formation — is similar to Ferrum’s version of the spread-option offense but more closely resembles Gallaudet in terms of scheme.

“They’re a little mix of both,” Hornets defensive end Jake Payne said. “They attack the edges a little more than Gallaudet did. We’ll see a little more speed option, a little more jet sweep, that kind of stuff. But it’s a triple-option team. We’ll see dive option probably 40 or 50 times.”

The Hornets, who boast the ODAC’s second-best rush defense, had success in their first two games against option teams, holding both Gallaudet and Ferrum well below their rushing averages in a pair of wins.

“It gives our guys some confidence to know we played really well against that earlier in the season, so hopefully those things will translate to Saturday,” Yoder said.

INJURY UPDATE: Shenandoah senior offensive lineman Ivan Ayala (foot) will not suit up for the Hornets’ finale, Yoder said Wednesday. Ayala hasn’t played since fracturing his foot in practice prior to SU’s Oct. 18 game against Catholic University.

Ayala could be in position to receive a medical redshirt for this season, Yoder said, which would allow Ayala to return to Shenandoah next season with one more year of eligibility. Yoder said his understanding is that Ayala has all of the qualifications necessary to earn a medical redshirt, although that process is handled outside the control of SU’s football program.

“It goes to our compliance people, then it goes to the ODAC and I just know we’ve had conversations with them and things look pretty positive that if everything goes the way we think it can, he could have another year if he wanted to take it,” Yoder said.

Yoder added Wednesday that an MRI on offensive lineman Phil Pasco’s knee confirmed the coaching staff’s initial fear that the junior re-injured his ACL while filling in for Ayala against Hampden-Sydney on Oct. 25. Yoder said the results of the MRI revealed “more damage” to Pasco’s ACL a year after he suffered a season-ending injury to the same knee.

“I think he’s going to have to get surgery again,” Yoder said. “… My expectation right now is he’s in for another tough rehab and try to get back if he can.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com