(Carlisle, Pa.) – The Dickinson College football team suffered a heartbreaking loss on homecoming as Franklin & Marshall held on for 36-28 win here to claim possession of the Conestoga Wagon Trophy.
The Red Devils had a great start, scoring 14 points in the opening quarter to lead, 14-0, at the end of the first quarter. Sophomore quarterback Cole Ahnell (Rockville, Md./Walter Johnson) connected with senior Matt Wood (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) for three catches, covering 66 yards, including a seven yard touchdown on the Devils' second drive of the night.
Dickinson quickly doubled the score as sophomore Connor Thompson (Jenkintown, Pa./Father Judge) picked-up a fumble and scampered 14 yards into the end zone with 4:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Diplomats answered in the second, scoring 22 points to hold a one point advantage at halftime. F&M drove 77 yards and scored on a quarterback draw by E.J. Schneider from five yards out to put the guests on the scoreboard. The Diplomats faked the extra-point and scored on a two-point conversion to make the score, 14-8.
A mishandled punt led to another F&M score as Schneider found Jordan Zackery for a 29 yard touchdown strike to tie the game with 8:36 left in the half. The Devils blocked the extra-point, keeping things even at, 14-14.
The teams traded interceptions but the Devils got the better end of the deal as junior co-captain Michael Miller (Hainesport, N.J./Bishop Eustace) returned his pick 55 yards for a touchdown.
F&M covered 63 yards on the ensuing drive, scoring on a two yard run by Schneider to pull them within a point. The Diplomats went for a two-point conversion with Schneider finding Chris DeStefano to put F&M in front, 22-21, at the break.
The Diplomats advanced to the Dickinson nine yard line, but turned the ball over on downs. They regained possession on a point and stretched the lead to 29-21, scoring on a 10 yard pass to Tim Muller with 3:09 to play in the third quarter.
Another three-and-out put the ball back in Schneider's hands once again. He led a four-play, 58 yard drive to set up a Frank Strumolo touchdown run, extending the margin to 36-21, as the quarter came to a close.
The Devils would battle to the end, trying to overcome the 15-point deficit. Ahnell completed 6-of-8 passes, including a 34 yard connection with Wood on fourth down to keep the Devils' drive alive. He hit Wood in the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown and the Devils were back in contention.
The Devil defense held on the next drive but the Devils could only move the ball to the F&M 38 yard line before they would turn the ball over on downs. The Diplomats tried to run out the clock, but Dickinson held once more, giving the offense one more chance.
F&M hung on, however, intercepting a hail mary pass on the final play to secure the win.
Wood caught 10 passes for 190 yards on the day. That marks the fourth-highest single game total for receiving yards in program history. Ahnell completed 19-of-28 passes for 254 yards on the day. Sophomore Mathias Bedolfe (Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills) covered 40 yards on three key catches in the second half.
Thompson led the Devil defense, adding a game-high 10 tackles to his 41 yard fumble recovery. Dickinson has returned a fumble for a touchdown in each season since 2004. Senior Michael Byrnes (Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick School) also tallied 10 stops, adding a tackle-for-loss as well.
Senior co-captain Schuyler Simpson (Potomac, Md./Bullis) recorded nine tackles while first-year Jack Margavitch (York, Pa./Dallastown) came on to tally seven stops, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Walker Moriarty (Snowmass Village, Colo./Aspen) had a sack and a tackle-for-loss to go with six stops on the day.
Sophomore Adam Kaminski (Exton, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) averaged 46.2 yards on punts with a long of 61.
Schneider finished the day completing 23-of-36 passes for 260 yards while rushing for a pair of touchdowns. Lamont Jackson was just shy of the century mark, rushing for 95 yards while Tim Muller caught seven passes for 109 yards.
The Red Devils slip to 2-3 overall and 2-2 in the Centennial Conference. They are off next week before hosting Johns Hopkins University on Oct. 13 at 1:00 pm.