LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall jumped out to an early 14-point lead and never trailed enroute to a 35-14 win over Dickinson in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. The win ensures the Conestoga Wagon Trophy will stay in Lancaster for another year.
Jordan Zackery picked up where he left off last week and took the first punt of the game 73 yards to the house to give F&M (3-2, 3-1 CC) an early 7-0 lead just 6:36 into the game. Tre Henderson picked off Cole Ahnell on the second play of the ensuing Dickinson possession and E.J. Schneider found Zackery on a 14-yard strike four plays later to put the Diplomats up 14-0 just under nine minutes into the contest.
Dickinson (2-3, 2-2 CC) responded on their next series by putting together a six-play, 71-yard scoring drive capped off by a 31 yard reception by Colin Rodgers to make it 14-7 with 8:38 left in the first quarter.
The teams traded possessions the remainder of the first half as both defenses stepped up and kept the opponents offense off the board for over 23 minutes of action in the first half, resulting in a 14-7 F&M lead at the break.
F&M came out of halftime strong with a six-play, 73-yard drive on its first possession of the second half. The Diplomats started at their own 27 and quickly marched down the field when Schneider found Tim Muller on a 30-yard pitch and catch to give F&M a 21-7 edge at 12:25.
The Red Devils answered and came within a score, 21-14, almost five minutes later, and looked poised to put another six on the board on their next series. Dickinson started on the F&M 45 and quickly moved to the F&M 20 looking to score, but on first and ten, Chris DeStefano stepped in front of a slant over the middle, picked off the ball and raced 85 yards down the field to put F&M up 28-14 at 2:55.
Both teams managed short possessions over the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter before F&M took over on downs on their own 39 with 7:33 left to play. The Diplomats slowly moved the ball down the field in 10 plays taking 5:56 off the clock before A.J. Kolen put the game out of reach with a 10-yard jaunt with 1:46 remaining to make it 35-14.
Schneider completed 25-of-36 passes for 276 yards and two scores and racked up another 56 on the ground.
Kolen had 34 rushing yards on six touches and Scott LaValva totaled 28 yards on 11 rushes.
Muller had a game-high 109 yards with seven catches and a score while Paul McGann finished with 80 yards on eight grabs. Zackery hauled in six passes for 58 yards and a score and added 163 yards (84 kr, 79 pr) on returns.
Brendan Wengerter went over the double-digit mark in tackles for the fourth time this season with a game-high 17 tackles (9s). The senior finished with half a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Ryan Young had 11 stops (7s), one went for a loss and John Stark also reached double-digits with 10 stops.
Troy Harrison had 1.5 sacks and finished with nine tackles while DeStefano and Henderson each finished with an interception.
F&M is off next week and will resume action on Oct. 19 when the Diplomats travel to McDaniel for a 1:00 p.m. game.