LANCASTER, Pa. -- Franklin & Marshall begins its 130th football season on Saturday when the Diplomats travel to Lebanon Valley for a 1:00 p.m. game. The Diplomats return 32 letter winners from last year's team that finished 7-4, with a 6-3 mark in Centennial Conference action. F&M made the postseason for the fifth time in the last eight seasons in 2016 and is poised to make another run into the postseason this year.
Click here to watch the season preview video with head coach John Troxell.
Below is a positional break down of the F&M roster. Click here to watch the video roster.
Tanner Erisman will start in the opener against LVC after battling Zachary Bradley in camp. The pair were in a similar situation a year ago and split time throughout the season. Erisman played in seven games and completed 63 passes for 646 yards and seven scores. Bradley saw action in 10 games with 1,180 yards on 107 completions and seven touchdowns.
Key Returner: Taalib Gerald (Sr.)
Taalib Gerald returns for the third year at running back. He received All-Centennial Honorable Mention last season after leading the team with 66 points on 11 touchdowns. The senior racked up 740 yards on 162 attempts for a 4.6 average and added another 100 yards on 10 receptions. Senior Taylor Collison, sophomore Eric Harris and freshman Joe Hartley-Vittoria will rotate in at running back.
Dillon Alderfer, Fortunato Perri, and K.J. Pretty return at receiver as all three look to take a more significant role in the offense this year. Alderfer played in 11 games with 25 receptions for 309 yards and added three touchdowns, while Perri and Pretty both saw action in nine games in 2016.
A.J. Gasser, Brian Denoncour, and Aiden Kenny return from last year's unit that helped pave the way for 1,716 yards. Juniors John Limato and Brandon Lowe along with sophomores Tim Fink and Phillip Weiser will fill in the remaining two spots and all will see valuable snaps this season.
The strength of the Diplomats this season is their defense and it all starts at the defensive line position with five major contributors from last season returning. Leading the way is first team All-CC selection Joe Granahan. He led the team and was is second in the CC with 8.5 sacks. His 13.5 tackles for a loss were also second in the conference and he finished last year with 49 tackles. Sullivan ended last season with 32 stops and Kilkenny picked up 17 tackles last year.
Dylan Jones will start for the third consecutive year at linebacker and he is joined by Bobby McDevitt, Vincent Speranza and Sebastian Silva-Muniz in the second level. Jones had 22 tackles with two sacks last season, McDevitt played in seven games and Speranza ended the season with 14 stops and 2.5 tackles for a loss.
Jeff Leone and Ben Okun return to anchor the cornerback spots again this season. Leone led the league in pass breakups with 12 while also adding 42 tackles. Okun had 41 stops to go along with four tackles for a loss and five pass breakups.
Key Returners: Vincent Moffett (Sr.)
A 2016 All-CC First Team selection, Vincent Moffett will start at safety for the fourth consecutive year. He ended the season with 38 tackles (28s), three interceptions and five pass breakups. Sophomore K.J. Boston gets the opening day nod at the other safety position with junior Stevie Gerovasilis and sophomore Marlen Fenstermacher set to be major contributors at safety.
The Road Ahead
F&M's tradition of kicking off the regular season against Lebanon Valley continues for the fourth straight year when the Diplomats travel to Annville for a 1:00 p.m. showdown on Saturday, Sept. 2. The 2017 home and Centennial opener follows on Saturday, Sept. 9 with a 1:00 p.m. contest against Juniata.
Sponaugle-Williamson Field will be the site for the first three home games of the season before F&M moves across the street to the newly-minted, state-of-the-art, Shadek Stadium to close out the year. The inaugural game will occur Homecoming weekend when the Diplomats face Dickinson on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1:30 p.m.
The regular season draws to a close on Saturday, Nov. 11 when F&M hosts Gettysburg for the annual Lincoln Trophy game at 1:00 p.m.
A continued feature to this year's schedule is the "Add to Calendar" button, which allows fans to sync new events and updates directly in their Google, Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, ICal and additional calendars.
Look for the icon below, which can be accessed at the top-right of the 2017 football schedule when viewed on your computer, or bottom-left of all schedules on your mobile device.
Centennial Conference Digital Network
The Centennial Conference announced a partnership with Stretch Internet to become the conference's digital network provider and establish a central location for all CC athletic events. Broadcasts that are present in the Stretch portal are exclusively produced by each of the 11-member institutions of the conference.
In addition to its Roku channel, the Conference will have three new over-the-top (OTT) applications to make broadcasts available – Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Android TV. Home broadcasts that are produced by all 11 members will be available on CentennialConference.TV and the OTT apps.
All 10 regular season football games will be available for free on the four OTT apps through the Centennial Conference Digital Network.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.