Des Moines, Iowa – Valpo’s David Macchi threw for a single-game, school-record 446 yards and four touchdowns, but Drake defeated the Crusaders 52-35 in the Pioneer Football League opener. A junior from San Jose, Cal., Macchi eclipsed his own school record of 434 yards set last Saturday against Saint Joseph’s. Aaron Overton and Jonathan Taylor scored three touchdowns each for Drake.
Macchi, who completed 25 of 52 passes, tossed two touchdown strikes to Rob Giancola and one each to Greg Sommersberger and Kevin Knutson. For the second straight week, Giancola and Sommersberger amassed over 100 receiving yards. Giancola, a sophomore, caught six passes for a career-high 166 yards, and Sommersberger, a senior, snagged a career-high seven aerials for 116 yards. Knutson added a career-best five catches for 80 yards for Valpo (0-5, 0-1 PFL).
Drake raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Following an interception by Drake’s Eric Papp on the Crusaders’ first possession, Taylor ran for a 26-yard touchdown to give Drake a 7-0 lead with 12:54 left in the first quarter. Tyler McGlade booted a 32-yard field goal five minutes later to extend the Bulldogs’ advantage to 10-0. After a fumble by Valpo, Overton ran a reverse for a 24-yard touchdown.
A 33-yard pass from Macchi to Casey Liddle was the key play in a nine-play, 70-yard drive that concluded with Joe Milazzo’s 1-yard run with 2:35 left in the first quarter. Overton, who caught seven passes for 132 yards, then caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Ira Vandever to give Drake (4-2, 1-0 PFL) a 24-7 lead with 1:51 remaining in the opening stanza.
Macchi connected with Giancola on a 25-yard pass to set up a 6-yard scoring pass from Macchi to Giancola which cut the deficit to 24-14 with 7:16 left in the second quarter. Vandever answered with a 25-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes left before halftime.
Valpo opened the second-half scoring and trimmed Drake’s lead to 31-21 on Giancola’s second touchdown, a 56-yard pass from Macchi, three minutes into the third quarter. Drake scored two plays later when Taylor sprinted 67 yards into the end zone.
Macchi then hit Sommersberger with a 37-yard scoring strike to trim the Bulldog lead to 38-28. The offensive slugfest continued when Vandever connected with Overton for a 26-yard touchdown – his third touchdown of the game. Taylor, who rushed for 160 yards on 14 carries, tallied his third touchdown of the game, a 10-yard scamper with 12:23 remaining. Macchi then broke the school’s passing record with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Knutson.
The two teams combined for 1,059 total yards as Drake compiled 543 and Valpo totaled 516. The Crusaders won the first-down battle 24-22. Vandever passed for 328 yards, completing 18 of 29 aerials. Jeff Seaman caught three passes for 112 yards for the Bulldogs.
The Crusaders also broke the school record for team passing yards in a game with 470, surpassing last week’s record mark of 434 against Saint Joseph’s.
Valpo hosts Dayton next Saturday (Oct. 12) beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Homecoming Game.