Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 4, 2000 · 103
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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · 103

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Monday, December 4, 2000
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MONDAY, DECEMBERS 2000 PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS PAOE X03 BIbd Metros otro TmM $w' 03333B3 Delaware to face Georgia Southern by Bill Flelschman Daily News Sports Writer NEWARK, Del. When a team reaches the national final four, it's natural to start thinking championship. Delaware's players realize they are one step from the NCAA Division I-AA football final. However, a mature Delaware team knows a huge obstacle is blocking its path to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the Dec. 16 championship game. The second-seeded Blue Hens (12-1) need to hear only two words for a reality check: Georgia Southern. Third-seeded Georgia Southern (11-2), the defending I-AA champion, defeated No. 11 Hofstra, 48-20, on Saturday. (In the third game of the regular season, visiting Delaware handled Hofstra, 44-14.) Delaware advanced to the I-AA semifinals for the first time since 1997 by beating Lehigh, 47-22, Saturday before a Delaware Stadium playoff-record crowd of 16,390. Delaware will host Georgia Southern at noon Saturday. Top-seeded Montana (12-1) and No. 13 Appalachian State (10-3) meet in Saturday's other semifinal. At 12-0, Lehigh was the only unbeaten team remaining in the I-AA tournament. The lOth-seed-ed Patriot League champions had upset the No. 7 seed, Western Illinois, 37-7, in the first round. None of Delaware's players seemed surprised that they cruised past Lehigh. Said senior center Jeff Fiss, from Norristown High: "To be honest, I think we are the first good team they played. Their defense could not stop our offense." Lehigh coach Kevin Higgins was gracious in defeat, saying, "Their skill players are the best we've seen at Delaware in a long time. The defense is playing better than they ever have before." After trailing, 7-0 and 10-7, Delaware scored 40 consecutive points. The Hens turned three Lehigh fumbles into first-half TDs. Senior quarterback Matt Nagy added to his Delaware records by throwing for 266 yards and two touchdown passes. This sea son, Nagy has 29 TD passes (58 career). He also is the first Delaware quarterback to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a season (3,247) and 8,000 career yards (8,025). Jamin Elliott and Brett Veach, Delaware's explosive junior receivers, each caught TD passes. While the high-powered Delaware offense averages 42.6 points and 460 yards per game, the defense also has been punishing at times. Lehigh, which came into the game averaging 202 yards rushing, was held to 67 yards on the ground. Entering the game, the Hens had vowed not to drop a second consecutive home game to the Mountain Hawks. A year ago, in a regular-season meeting, Lehigh topped Delaware, 42-35. "Them coming here and completely running and throwing the ball down our throats and our defense couldn't do anything about it was a motivational factor," said Mike Cecere, Delaware's all-Atlantic 10 Conference defensive end. "We focused on what we had to stop: Their running game and getting to their quarterback." Send e-mail to WeM-airinniedl Wlden-eir woods Granato throws six touchdowns as Pioneers advance to semifinals Daily News Wire Services Going into the Division III quarterfinals against host Springfield (Mass.) College, Widener coach Bill Zwaan was confident his team could score some points. What his team accomplished offensively Saturday, however, was pretty incomprehensible. Quarterback Mike Granato threw six touchdowns and receivers Jim Jones (197 yards) and Mike Coleman (177) combined for 374 receiving yards to help propel the Pioneers (12-1) over Springfield (11-2), 61-27. Widener will travel to Alliance, Ohio, on Saturday (noon) to face Mount Union, 12-0 and the top-ranked team in Division III. Granato, who completed 22 of 28 passes for 415 yards, hooked up with Coleman for a 26-yard touchdown pass 1:12 into the game. He hit Coleman again with 11 seconds left in the half, giving the Pioneers a 30-13 lead. Coleman caught four touchdowns, while Jones caught two and ran for another. Mike Ambrose rushed nine times for 77 yards and one touchdown as Widener racked up 647 yards of total offense. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl on Dec. 16 at Salem, Va. It will face the winner of the other semifinal, between St. John's, Minn. (12-1) and Hardin-Simmons, Texas (12-0). Michael A. Aronsky, M.D. Board Certified LASIK More experience! Less risk! Equals better results! Kremer's truly sterile, private operating rooms are 10 times safer for preventing an infection! Over 20,000 LASIK procedures performed! 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