Story courtesy of Franklin & Marshall Athletics
LANCASTER, Pa. – Jordan Zackery caught a pair of touchdown passes in the final five minutes of the second quarter to put F&M up for good en route to a 40-28 victory over Ursinus in Centennial Conference (CC) football action. F&M improved to 2-1, 1-1 CC while the Bears fell to 1-2, 0-2 CC.
F&M found itself trailing 14-13 with 8:31 remaining in the second quarter when E.J. Schneider and Zackery hooked up on back-to-back touchdowns. Schneider found Zackery streaking up the visitor sideline and placed the ball to the far right shoulder and Zackery took it from there with a difficult grab to give F&M the lead for good, 19-14, with 5:01 left in the half.
The Diplomats limited the Bears to four plays on their next drive and F&M received the ball on their own 15-yardline with 3:25 left to halftime. Schneider led the F&M offense down to the Ursinus 21, completing three out four passes for 62 yards. On second and eight, Schneider found Zackery again on an identical play for the score and Chris DeStefano hit the extra point to give F&M a 26-14 with one minute left until the break.
Ursinus quickly responded when Chris Curran led Ursinus on a seven-play, 67-yard drive in 51 seconds and found Darius Jones on a 20-yard strike to make it 26-21 with two seconds left until halftime.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as neither team was able to light the scoreboard.
F&M struck nine seconds into the fourth quarter, putting together a nine-play, 80-yard drive to go up 33-21. Scott LaValva had 33 yards in the drive, including a 16-yard jaunt for the score at 14:51.
The teams traded possessions over the next ten minutes with all but one drive lasting over three plays. Ursinus received the ball on their own nine with 4:52 left in game and one last legitimate chance when the F&M defense stepped up.
Sam Massaro drilled Bryan Ellis for a seven-yard loss on the first play of the series, pushing the Bears back to their own two-yard line. Ursinus managed four yards on the next play, before an incompletion on third down. Facing fourth and 13 on their own six, Ursinus, with no choice, went for it and C.T. Marsh put pressure on Curran and forced an incomplete pass, giving F&M the ball on the six.
Lamont Jackson took the first play on F&M's next possession around the left side for the score to give F&M a 40-21 edge. The Bears scored on their next possession for the 40-28 final.
F&M struck first with a touchdown 5:10 into the game. Schneider found Devin Hunter on a seven-yard pass to complete an eight-play, 51-yard drive and give F&M and early 6-0 edge. Jackson made it 13-0 with a nine-yard sprint with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bears answered with back-to-back scores in the second quarter to go up 14-13. Curran found Jerry Rahil for the first touchdown at 12:54 and plunged a yard into the end zone for the second score, before Zackery's touchdowns.
Schneider finished the day with 229 yards on 19-for-28 passing and three touchdowns as the Diplomats had a balanced attack with 185 yards on the ground and 229 through the air.
Jackson led the rushing attack with 89 yards on 14 carries with two scores while LaValva ended the day with 54 yards and one touchdown. Frank Strumolo chipped in 29 yards on five carries.
Tim Muller hauled in a team-high five catches and Zackery finished with four catches and two scores.
The offensive line led by Sam Wojciechowski, Chad Tothero, Sami Caygoz, Sam Dickinson and Ryan Ignatovig kept the Ursinus pass rush at bay, allowing zero sacks on the afternoon.
Massaro led the defense with seven tackles (5s, 2a) and Aaron Fant finished with five solo stops. Brian Velasco, Ryan Young, John Gandolfo and Kenny Provost each finished with four tackles.
F&M returns to action next Saturday when the Diplomats travel to Juniata for a 1:00 p.m. game.