CARLISLE, Pa. – Dickinson scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Franklin & Marshall 27-14 in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. The win gives Dickinson the coveted Conestoga Wagon Trophy and improves the Red Devils record to 2-3, 2-2 CC while the Diplomats dropped to 2-3, 1-3 CC.
F&M appeared to have the momentum on its side going into halftime. At the end of the second quarter, Dickinson drove down the field and had a fresh set of downs with the ball an inch away from the goal line. F&M's defense stepped up and pushed the Red Devils back to the three and on third and goal, forced a turnover keeping the Red Devils out of the end zone and Diplomats headed into the break with a 14-3 edge.
It was all Dickinson after that.
On the first play of the Red Devils opening series in the third quarter, Cedric Madden burst through the middle of the line and raced 94 yards for the score and brought Dickinson within four, 14-10, with 12:27 on the clock.
Six minutes later, Cole Ahnell found Cedric Madden on a post down the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown play, which gave Dickinson the lead for good, 17-14, with 6:49 left in the third. The Red Devils tacked on three more when Adam Kaminski connected on a 19-yard field goal to make it 20-14 heading into the fourth.
The teams traded short possessions throughout the fourth quarter and a missed 39 field goal gave F&M the ball on its own 21 with 2:36 left to play. F&M moved to the 30 and faced a 4th-and-1 that turned into a fourth-and-six after a false start and Zachary Bradley's pass on fourth down was incomplete, giving Dickinson the ball on the F&M 25.
F&M's defense forced Dickinson to a 4th-and-12 and the Diplomats looked to get the ball back with a little over thirty seconds left, trailing by 6, but Madden broke a 27 yard run off the left side for the score and put the game out of reach for the Diplomats.
The Diplomats defense dominated most of the first half, sacking Ahnell three times in the opening quarter. A.J. Koikoi's sack-fumble gave F&M the ball on the Dickinson's side of the field midway through the first quarter and Scott LaValva raced 39 yards on F&M's first play of the ensuing series to set F&M up inside the 10.
Three plays later, Bradley found Taalib Gerald on a four yard pass to put the first points on the boards and gave F&M the early 7-0 advantage. Dickinson added three in the early minutes of the second quarter to make it 7-3. Two series later, F&M put together a 12-play, 53-yard drive capped off when Bradley found Paul McGann on a drag route in the end zone to put the Diplomats up 14-3 with 2:09 left in the half, which set up Dickinson's fumble at the end of the half.
Dickinson held a 488-355 advantage in total offense, while the Diplomats had a slight edge in time of possession, 30:40-29:20.
Bradley finished with 231 yards on 24-for-38 passing, two touchdowns and one interception. McGann led all receivers with 108 yards on nine catches and a score and Jordan Zackery added another 107 yards on nine catches. Zackery added another 99 yards in return yards to finish the game with 206 all-purpose yards.
LaValva rushed for 57 yards on seven carries and Gerald finished the day with 40 yards on 15 touches.
Ryan Young paced the defense with 10 tackles (6s), including a sack while Luke Foukas and Brian Velasco finished with eight and seven stops respectively. Brendan Daly picked up six tackles and Koikoi finished with one sack and two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.
F&M has a bye next Saturday before returning home on Oct. 18th to take on McDaniel at 1:00 p.m.