Second Half Surge Lifts Diplomats Past Eagles

Second Half Surge Lifts Diplomats Past Eagles

Box Score

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Franklin & Marshall scored 33 unanswered points in the second half to erase a 17-7 halftime deficit and defeated Juniata 40-17 in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. The Diplomats improved to 2-0, 1-0 CC while the Eagles dropped to 0-2, 0-1 CC. 

F&M went ahead early when Diplomats took advantage of strip sack by Joe Granahan, giving the Diplomats the ball inside the 30. Tanner Erisman finished off the 29-yard drive with a five-yard run to put F&M ahead 7-0 just two minutes into the game. The Eagles answered with 17 straight and took a 17-7 lead into the break. 

It was all F&M in the second half as the Diplomats shutout the host in the final two quarters, while scoring five touchdowns to close out the game. 

F&M came within three, 17-14, when K.J. Pretty hauled in a 12-yard pass 4:30 into the third quarter. A Stevie Gerovasilis punt block gave F&M the ball on the on their own 17 and Kevin Lammers scored on the first play of the drive to put the Diplomats out front for good. Joe Hartley-Vittoria added seven more with 3:38 left to give the Diplomats a 28-17 lead heading into the final frame. 

The Diplomats added two more scores in the fourth, both on runs by Keshon Farmer. The first was a 1-yard spurt at 10:50 and the second came on a 41-yard run with 4:39 left to play for the last points of the game. 

F&M outgained Juniata 360 - 314 including a 227-69 advantage on the ground. The Diplomats also led in time of possession, 36:26-23:34, and had 20 first downs in the game. 

Tanner Erisman completed 17-of-28 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. He added another 35 yards on the ground on 10 carries with one touchdown. Keshon Farmer racked up 73 yards on 11 rushes with two scores while Joe Hartley-Vittoria picked up 70 yards on 14 carries with one touchdown and Kevin Lammers scored on a 17-yard run. 

K.J. Pretty hauled in seven passes for 57 yards and one touchdown and Timothy Walter finished the day with 49 yards on eight grabs. 

Garrett Perschy had a 34.4-yard putting average while Drew Tomlinson averaged 61 yards on seven kickoffs with five touchbacks. Brendan Dearing averaged 23.7 yards on three kick returns for F&M. 

Vincent Speranza paced the defense with nine tackles including 1.5 sacks with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Joe Granahan had nine tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble and Bobby McDevitt along with Mekhi Holley finished with four tackles each. McDevitt added an interception return for 34 yards with two pass break-ups and Holley added a forced fumble. Stephan Smith along with Sebastian Silva-Muniz, Thomas Hourican and Frank McGlinchey all ended with three tackles each, while McGlinchey and Matt Hamby added a forced fumble for F&M. 

The Diplomats return to action on Saturday when F&M travels to McDaniel for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.