For the fifth time in the previous six years, Franklin & Marshall's football team concluded its season with a winning record, when the Diplomats once again contributed to that sum in 2016 by rolling to a 7-4 overall mark and a 6-3 Centennial Conference (CC) record.
Click here to watch a highlight video of the 2016 F&M football team.
F&M reached the postseason for the first time since 2013, earning a spot in the second annual CC-MAC Bowl series, but coming up just short in a 28-23 loss against Albright on Nov. 19.
The regular season opened with wins in five of the Diplomats' first six games with F&M winning by double-digits in five of those victories, including a 30-6 bashing on Lebanon Valley in the season opener on Sept. 3.
Through the course of the year, the Diplomats went 2-0 in a pair of much-anticipated rivalry games with F&M bringing home the Wagon Trophy after downing Dickinson by a 20-10 score (Oct. 1), as well as the Lincoln Trophy with a 28-21 defeat of Gettysburg to close out the regular season (Nov. 12).
A staunch defense and efficient running game keyed the Diplomats' success and were on full display in the Conference's final statistical rankings. F&M led the CC in time of possession (33:46 minutes per game), total sacks (33), and least amount of opponent first downs allowed (183), while placing second in rushing offense (181.5 yards per game).
Twelve members of the team earned their way onto the All-CC list, the most for the program since 1996. All four first-team nods came from the defensive unit as Joe Granahan '19, Steve Elf '17, Vincent Moffett '18 and Brendan Daly '17 garnered top honors.
Mark Opaliski '17 joined Michael Sullivan '18 and Luke Foukas '17 on the Second Team, while Taalib Gerald '18, Matthew Hlavinka '17, Jon Naji '17, Billy Zwicharowski '17 and Cody Hubbs '17 all received Honorable Mention recognition.
Additional postseason awards included Granahan and Daly being named to the ECAC South All-Star Team, as well as Zwicharowski and Hubbs landing on the Academic All-Centennial list. Hubbs continued to be recognized for his work in the classroom, earning a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 Team.