LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall scored the first 41 points of the game, en route to a 55-7 victory over Gettysburg in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Diplomats clinched a spot in a Centennial-MAC Bowl game next weekend, with their seed and opponent to be determined on Sunday. F&M improved to 6-4, 5-4 CC, while the Bullets fell to 1-9, 1-8 CC.
First Quarter (F&M - 20 | GC - 0)
The Diplomats raced out to a 7-0 lead on their second drive of the day, as Joe Hartley-Vittoria and Garrett Perschy did most of their work on the ground. Hartley-Vittoria rushed for 35 yards on the drive, and Perschy finished the job on a 25-yard scamper for a 7-0 lead.
On the next Diplomat possession, Perschy dropped a 59-yard bomb to Drew Benfatti on the first play from scrimmage to extend their lead to 13-0.
F&M notched its third touchdown just over two minutes later. Following a 15-yard Keshon Farmer rumble to the Gettysburg 34, Perschy found Benfatti again for a 34-yard TD toss and a 20-0 advantage.
Second Quarter (F&M - 27 | GC - 0)
Franklin & Marshall added to the lead on its last possession of the quarter, as Garrett Perschy dazzled yet again. The junior signal-caller ran for 23 yards on the first play of the drive, then found Brendan Dearing three plays later for a 58-yard pitch and catch on 3rd-and-8. A four-yard sling from Perschy to left tackle Brian Denoncour finished off the half with the Diplomats on top 27-0.
Third Quarter (F&M - 41 | GC - 7)
The Diplomats wasted little time out of the halftime break, finding paydirt on the back of Keshon Farmer. The ten-play, 65-yard drive started with five straight Farmer runs for 20 yards, and finished with a 27-yard scamper from the sophomore tailback for a 34-0 lead.
F&M scored again on its next drive, this time with senior QB Jack Donaghy at the helm. After a 21-yard Joe Hartley-Vittoria rush, Donaghy found paydirt of his own on a 23-yard scramble just two plays later for a 41-0 Diplomat edge.
Gettysburg got its only points of the day on the ensuing drive, going 65 yards in ten plays before the end of the quarter.
Fourth Quarter (F&M - 55 | GC - 7)
Special teams came up large for F&M on the next Gettysburg possession, as Kevonte Beard blocked, scooped, and scored the Bullets' punt attempt with 4:24 remaining for the 55-7 final margin.
Garrett Perschy had 237 net yards (190 passing, 47 rushing) and four scores (three passing, one rushing) to lead the Diplomats. Jack Donaghy completed all three of his pass attempts for one yard, and rushed for 23 yards and a touchdown.
Drew Benfatti scored touchdowns on both of his receptions for 93 yards. Brendan Dearing had three catches for 67 yards, and added a 30-yard kickoff return. Brian Denoncour scored from four yards out for his first career score. Kevin Lammers recorded three catches for 26 yards, and picked up another 61 on five punt returns.
Joe Hartley-Vittoria racked up 116 yards on 16 carries. Keshon Farmer ran it 15 times for 108 yards and his 12th touchdown of the year. The touchdown ties Farmer with Kenneth Davis (1952), Keith Wert (1976), Mark Hidlay (1989), and E.J. Schneider (2013) for most rushing touchdowns in a season in F&M history. Eric Harris picked up 27 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Kevonte Beard led the Diplomats' defense with six tackles (5s, 1a), four tackles for loss, two sacks, and a touchdown on a blocked punt. Calvin Krippner also had six tackles (2s, 4a) and a tackle for loss. Marlen Fenstermacher pitched in with five tackles (3s, 2a) and a pass breakup. K.J. Boston recorded four tackles (3s, 1a) and F&M's lone interception. James Gilmartin and Kevin Gault each picked up two tackles, with each recording a sack.
F&M awaits the results of the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday to determine its seed and opponent in the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series. The Diplomats will be traveling to their opponent as either the #2 or #3 seed in the Centennial.
The Diplomats seed and opponent are dependent upon Susquehanna (Centennial) and/or Stevenson (MAC) receiving at-large bids to the NCAA DIII Football Championship. The most likely scenario sees the Diplomats clinching the #2 seed and traveling to Wilkes next weekend.