Courtesy of Gannon Athletics
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Zach Boedicker tied a career-high with three passing touchdowns and the Gannon defense held Shippensburg to 71 yards of total offense in the second half as the Golden Knights posted an eye-opening 22-19 victory Saturday afternoon in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) football action.
Gannonâ€™s victory over the defending PSAC champion featured several notable feats. The Golden Knights extended their win streak to six games dating back to last season, the programâ€™s longest streak since winning 10 straight during the 2003 and 2004 campaigns. The verdict was Gannonâ€™s third consecutive road victory dating back to last season, marking the programâ€™s first three-game road winning streak since posting six straight road wins from 2003 to 2004.
Head coach Jim Kiernanâ€™s squad is now 2-0 for the first time since the 1995 campaign. In addition, the Golden Knights snapped the Raidersâ€™ streak of 13 consecutive games with at least 21 points.
Gannon trailed 19-0 at halftime, but dominated the second half. The Golden Knights posted large advantages in total offense (176-71), rushing yards (58-25) and passing yards (118-46) during the final 30 minutes.
The tide started to shift early in the third quarter. Shippensburg went three-and-out on its opening drive and then suffered an 11-yard loss on a bad snap while trying to punt. Gannon took over at the Ship 26-yard line and immediately scored on the next play as Boedicker hit Khalid Walker (Oakland Park, Fla./American Heritage) for the Golden Knightsâ€™ first score.
Midway through the quarter, Gannon began the make the contest extremely interesting. The Golden Knights needed only three plays to move 56 yards and cut the deficit to 19-14. Following two running plays that picked up two yards, Boedicker escaped a strong rush and found a wide-open Levar Goff (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena) for a 54-yard touchdown connection.
The deficit remained at five points until early in the fourth quarter. Shippensburg elected to go for it on fourth-and-17 from the Gannon 33-yard line, but Randy Colling (Arcade, N.Y./Pioneer) forced an incomplete pass.
Gannon then marched the ball 67 yards on seven plays to forge ahead. Tyler Batts (Homestead, Pa./Penn-Trafford) opened the drive with a 29-yard run to the Shippensburg 38-yard line. Six plays later, Boedicker and Jerry Smith (Westland, Mich./John Glenn) hooked up for a 22-yard touchdown pass. A two-point conversion from Boedicker to Walker pushed the lead to 22-19 with 6:32 to play.
Defensive coordinator Brad Rzyczyckiâ€™s troops then slammed the door shut. Shippensburg drove to the Gannon three-yard line on its next possession, before Khayree Connors-McChristian (Sicklerville, N.J./Winslow Township) intercepted a third-down pass in the endzone.
Gannon went three-and-out on the following possession, setting up one last Shippensburg effort. The Raiders picked up one first down and drove to the Gannon 44-yard line, but the Golden Knights recorded a sack and forced three incomplete passes on the next four plays to seal the road victory.
The first half was nearly a complete opposite version of the second half. Shippensburg out-gained Gannon 232-102 in the first two quarters, including a 161-61 advantage on the ground. The Raiders scored two first-quarter touchdowns, but only led 12-0 after a blocked PAT and missed PAT. Mike Frenetteâ€™s second touchdown with 1:43 left in the first half sent the home team to the intermission with a commanding 19-0 lead.
Shippensburg ended the game with slight advantages in total offense (303-278), rushing yards (186-121) and time of possession (30:19-29:32). Gannon held a 157-117 edge in passing yards.
Boedicker led the Gannon offense with a 10-of-20 passing chart for 157 yards while tying a career-high with three touchdown passes. The senior quarterback rushed for 94 yards, but was credited with 24 after losing 70 yards due to sacks.
Batts headlined the rushing attack with 60 yards on 14 carries. Tony Sims (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) added 37 yards on six carries.
Smith was the top receiver, hauling in three passes for 37 yards and one score. Walker had two receptions for 38 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Parris Williams (Penfield, N.Y./Penfield) led the troops with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops. The performance tied a career-high for tackles in a game.
Matt Jones (Rochester, N.Y./The Aquinas Institute) recorded seven tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Keith Yager (Hermitage, Pa./Hickory) and Matthew Neal-Mink (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) chipped in six tackles each.
Gannon improved to 2-0 with Saturdayâ€™s victory. Shippensburg dropped to 0-2. The Golden Knights continue a three-game road swing Saturday, September 18 at Millersville. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.