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Stevenson football returns from bye week to face unbeaten Delaware Valley

Stevenson's reward for a bye week was some much-needed rest and recovery for players and coaches. And the program's welcome-back gift is Saturday's home game against undefeated Delaware Valley at 3 p.m. at Mustang Stadium.

The Aggies are 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Middle Atlantic Conference and moved up to No. 22 in the latest American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll after beating then-No. 23 Lycoming, 52-42, last week. Delaware Valley has won four straight since enjoying a bye in Week 2, while the Mustangs (4-1, 3-1) haven't played since a 31-10 loss to Lycoming on Oct. 4.

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But Stevenson coach Ed Hottle said he doesn't worry about momentum or a lack thereof.

"I'm not sure how much it matters," he said Wednesday morning. "They had their bye earlier in the year, and I don't know how much that matters. I guess if we were sitting at 5-0 and then we went into a bye, then maybe. But the schedule is made so far in advance and the bye weeks are just so important to the health of our team. I don't put a whole lot of thought into that."

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Hottle said the weekend off gave the team a chance to regroup from the setback to the Warriors that tagged Stevenson with its first loss of the season and dropped the team from getting votes in the AFCA poll.

"We spent a lot of time talking and looking at film, cleaning some things up, making some things a little bit simpler, making some minor adjustments to get some more production out of the offensive side of the ball," he said. "So it's a good chance to do a mid-year review of what you've done to this point and kind of take stock of where you are and where you hope to be."

The team practiced twice last week and practiced again Tuesday, and Hottle said the players' enthusiasm has been palpable.

"I'd say that we've had three great days of practice," he said. "The kids are full of energy and they're focused, and they've got a little more pep in their steps than they did a week-and-a-half ago. That's good to see. We're definitely healing up some bumps and bruises that we got in the first half and hopefully getting ready to have a good second half."

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