BALTIMORE – Franklin & Marshall fell 45-30 in a shootout with Johns Hopkins in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon at Homewood Field. The loss puts the Diplomats at 5-4, 5-3 CC while Hopkins stays unbeaten at a 9-0, 8-0 CC and clinched the CC Crown with the win.
The Blue Jays jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when Brandon Cherry broke off a 76 yard run on Hopkins' first play from scrimmage for the early edge. Seven plays and 72 yards later, F&M answered when Frank Strumolo took it in from a yard out. The PAT failed, making it 7-6 with 8:18 left in the first.
Hopkins went up 14-6 at 4:19 before Jordan Zackery scored twice in a six-minute span to give F&M a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter. E.J. Schneider found Zackery on a 25-yard pass for the first score and the pair hooked up again on a 14-yard pitch-and-catch to cap off an eight-play, 63 yard with 11:39 left in the second quarter.
Nick Campbell kicked a 31-yard field goal on the Blue Jays' next possession to make it 20-17. The teams traded possessions and F&M took over with 2:31 left to break. The Diplomats started at their own 24 and moved to the Blue Jays' 49 in three plays and look poised for another score before John Arena undercut a Schneider pass and raced 54 yards for the score to give Hopkins the lead for good, 24-20, at the break.
The Blue Jays went up 31-20 on their first drive in the third before Strumolo scored on an amazing 35-yard run to bring the Diplomats within four, 31-27, with 6:27 left in the third.
Four points quickly turned into 18 as Hopkins scored on back-to-back possessions in under five minutes of action to go up 45-27 early in the fourth.
Connor Ryan connected on 26-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 45-30 and F&M recovered the ensuing onsides kick, but the Blue Jay defense stopped the Diplomats on downs and the Blue Jays were able to take more than four minutes off the clock to seal the victory.
Schneider completed 16-of-29 passes for 207 yards and tossed two touchdowns. He added another 99 on 21 rushes.
Strumolo went over the 100-yard plateau for the second straight week and racked up 136 yards on 25 touches and two scores.
Tim Muller led all receivers with 88 yards on nine catches while Zackery finished with 73 on four catches and two scores.
Hopkins outgained F&M slightly with a 461-424 edge in total offensive yards.
F&M wraps up the regular season next Saturday when the Diplomats host Gettysburg at noon.