(Carlisle, Pa.) - For the first time since 2003, the Conestoga Wagon will reside in Lancaster as Franklin & Marshall came out on top of a see-saw battle at Dickinson. Under the lights of Biddle Field, the Diplomats posted a 35-26 win in Centennial Conference football action on Friday night.
The Red Devils forced a fumble on F&M's first possession but missed a field-goal to give the ball back to the Diplomats on the 20-yard line. Junior quarterback John Harrison (Flourtown, Pa./La Salle College) finished an 80-yard drive with a three-yard pass to Jay Ridinger (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Twp) to put the Diplomats on the board.
Dickinson answered early in the second quarter on a 29-yard pass from Ricky Martz (Pottsgrove, Pa./Pottsgrove) to senior Nick Baller (Maple Plain, Minn./Orono) in the back corner of the end-zone.
The Devils forced a punt and senior Craig Helfer (W. Caldwell, N.J./Newark Academy) broke free, scoring from 24 yards out on a pass from Martz to put the Devils in front 14-7.
F&M answered with a nine-play, 60-yard drive that ended with junior John Kashak (Lake Hoptacong, N.J./Jefferson Twp.) finding pay-dirt on a one-yard dive with 1:20 to play in the half.
The Devils weren't quite done yet. Martz put the Devils in range and senior Gordon Craig (Grove City, Pa./Grove City) kicked a 40-yard field-goal to give Dickinson a 17-14 edge as time expired in the first half.
Craig would strike again on the Devils' first possession, this time from a career-long 47 yards, stretching the lead to 20-14 with 11:19 remaining in the third quarter.
Harrison capped a 71-yard drive with an 18-yard strike to Jarrell Diggs (Baltimore, Md./Gilman) on the next possession. He added another TD pass on a 75-yard drive, this time to Michael Deutch (Sussex, N.J./Vernon), to put F&M in front 28-20 with 12:19 to play in the game.
Penalties plagued the Devils on their next possession, forcing them to punt with just under eight minutes on the clock. Nine plays later Kashak would cross the end-line to give the Diplomats a 35-20 lead with just 3:33 remaining.
Martz completed 6-of-8 passes, orchestrating a beautiful drive, hitting Cam Di Fede (Miami, Fla./Palmer Trinity) in the endzone to cut the deficit to 35-26. Junior C.T. Marsh (Phoenix, Md./Loyoal-Blakefield) blocked the extra-point, keeping F&M in front by nine with just 1:46 to play.
The Devils tried an on-side kick, but it was covered by Ridinger and the Diplomats were able to run out the clock and hold on for the win.
Martz finished 17-for-30, passing for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Helfer caught five passes for 90 yards on the night.
Defensively, Andrew Fink (Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Schulykill Haven) led the Red Devils with a game-high 12 tackles while Julian Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/University School) added 10 stops on the night. Josh Harrison (Forest Hill, Md./Milton Wright) tallied seven tackles and recovered a fumble.
The Devils sacked Harrison three times on the night, but the junior turned in a strong performance, completing 22-of-26 passes for 215 yards and three scores. Diggs finished with eight catches for game-high 92 yards and Kaschak rushed for 129 yards and two TDs on 24 carries.
The Red Devils slip to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in the Centennial Conference. They travel to McDaniel College next Saturday for a 1:00 pm kick-off.