SELINGSGROVE, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall edged Susquehanna 13-8 Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) football action. The victory is the third straight for the Diplomats as they improved to 5-3, 4-3 CC while the Crusaders dropped to 1-7, 1-6 CC.
Susquehanna took the early lead when the Crusaders turned an interception into points as Spencer Hotaling connected on a 23-yard field goal at 7:31 in the first for a 3-0 SU edge. F&M countered of its next possession when Jordan Zackery returned the ensuing kickoff close to midfield. Five plays later, Matt Magarity connected with Zackery on a third-and-goal for a four-yard score to put F&M up 6-3. The ensuing point after was blocked, and Cody Miller scooped the ball up for the Crusaders and raced 98 yards down the field for two points, making the score 6-5 with 4:19 left in the first.
Susquehanna had a chance to take the lead early in the second, but Sean Triandis blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt, keeping the Crusaders off the board. The Diplomats took over on their own 32 with 9:52 on clock and put together a 13-play, 68-yard drive that took 7:32 off the clock. The drive featured a heavy-dose of Scott LaValva who had nine rushes for 45 yards. Magarity found Paul McGann with a 14-yard strike to finished off the drive and put the Diplomats up 13-5.
The teams traded field position the remainder of the second and into the third quarter as both defenses limited the offense to short possessions. Susquehanna tacked on another three early in the fourth quarter when Hotaling hit a 34-yard field goal to make it 13-8 with 14:43 left to play.
F&M's defense forced a three-and-out on Susquehanna's next possession and the F&M offense was able to run five minutes off the clock midway through the fourth before giving the ball back with 5:30 left to play.
The Crusaders took over on their own eight and advanced to the F&M 21-yardline. A clipping call pushed them back to the 36 and three incomplete pass in the final four plays of the drive gave F&M the ball back with under two minutes to play and the Diplomats were able to run out the clock to secure the win.
Magarity completed 13-of-19 passes for 91 yards with two score and one interception. Zackery led all receivers with 58 yards on nine catches.
LaValva went over the 100-yard plateau for the second week in a row with 26 rushes for 125 yards and Magarity added on 60 on the ground on 12 carries.
Ryan Young paced the defense with seven stops (6 solo) while Brendan Daly and Brian Velasco both finished with five solo stop and an assist apiece. Daly added a pass breakup to his stat line and Steve Elf picked up six solo stops, including one for a loss.
F&M returns to action for its final regular-season home game against No. 9 Johns Hopkins on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 12:00 noon.