LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall scored 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and defeat McDaniel 43-41 in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon at Sponaugle-Williamson Field. The Diplomats improved to 3-0, 2-0 CC while the Green Terror suffered their first loss and dropped to 2-1, 1-1 CC.
If you missed the game, you can catch the replay at GoDiplomats.com/Live and click on the on-demand tab.
The game went back and forth all afternoon with 143 combined plays between the two teams accounting for 896 total offensive yards. F&M struck first when a Joe Granahan interception on McDaniel's first play of the game gave the Diplomats the ball on the McDaniel 25-yard line. Four plays later, Taalib Gerald found pay dirt on a 5-yard run to make it 6-0.
McDaniel answered on its next series with a 78-yard drive and took a 7-6 lead when Perry Stefanelli took the ball in from a yard out. The Diplomats responded nine seconds later when Tanner Erisman found K.J. Pretty on a 46-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Diplomats back out front, 12-7, with 8:46 left in the first. Kevin Lammers gave F&M an 11-point lead when he scored on a 9-yard catch with a little under four minutes to play in the first to make it 18-7.
The Green Terror answered and dominated the next 17 minutes of action. McDaniel scored 24 consecutive points and took a 31-18 lead into halftime.
F&M came out of the break and put together a 12-play, 70-drive that was capped off when Dillon Alderfer hauled in a 9-yard pass from Erisman to bring the Diplomats within seven, 31-24, with 9:10 left in the first. McDaniel countered on their next series with another Stefanelli touchdown-run and took a 38-24 advantage with a little less than eight minutes to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brendan Dearing raced 94-yards down the field for the touchdown and brought F&M within seven, 38-31, midway through the third quarter. McDaniel tacked on three more points later in third and took a 41-31 lead in the final quarter.
The Diplomats finished strong and shut out McDaniel during the final 17:23 of action and scored 12 unanswered points to end the game. F&M put together a 12-play, 73-yard, that spanned from the third to the fourth quarter and ended with another Erisman to Alderfer connection in the end zone to bring F&M with four, 41-37, early in the fourth quarter.
McDaniel was forced to punt on its next series and Lammers' 19-yard return set up F&M on the McDaniel 40. On the first play of the series, Erisman found Pretty down the sideline for the go-ahead touchdown to put F&M up 41-31 with 10:14 left to play. Most of the ensuring action took place between the 30s as neither team found the red zone during the next 10 minutes of action and McDaniel's last play fell short of the goal line to secure the win for F&M.
Erisman completed 18-of-31 passes for 285 yards and five scores. Gerald racked up 125 yards on 25 carries with a score and Pretty finished with 131 receiving yards on six grabs with two touchdowns. Alderfer added another 65 yards with two scores and Lammers contributed another receiving touchdown for the Diplomats.
Ben Okun led the defense with eight stops while Vincent Moffett ended with six. Jeff Leone recorded three pass break-ups with four tackles and Joe Granahan along with Bobby McDevitt each finished with four tackles while McDevitt and Frank McGlinchey had one interception each.
The Diplomats return to action next Saturday when F&M travels to Susquehanna for a 1:00 p.m. game.