Two weeks removed from a heartbreaking loss to Ursinus on a last-second field goal, Franklin & Marshall’s football team faced deja’ vu.
Driving from its 17 to the Diplomat 5 Lycoming faced a third-and-two, with 18 seconds left in regulation.
Bobby McDevitt sacked Lycoming quarterback Elijah Shemory for a ten-yard loss.
The Diplomats (8-3) blocked Jamie Fisher’s 32-yard fourth-down field goal and F&M won its second straight CC-MAC Bowl with a 21-20 victory, Saturday at Shadek Stadium.
The block was the Dips second of the day off Fisher, a First Team MAC selection at kicker, who also missed a first-quarter PAT.
“We talk about three things,” said Dips coach John Troxell, “play great defense, play great special teams and don’t turn it over.”
Well, make that two out of three as the Dips muffed a first-quarter punt at their 38, recovered by the Warriors (5-6) at the 37.
Shemory hit a wide-open Nick Costello for a touchdown on the next play.
F&M drove to the Lycoming 5 on the next series, then threw an interception in the endzone.
The Warriors cashed that as running back Jacob Fimbres made a great one-handed catch on a swing pass and ran down the right sideline for a 52-yard TD.
F&M got on the board as Keshon Farmer (15 carries, 94 yards) weaved 31 yards to the endzone, sprung by a great block from Brendan Deering.
Early in the second quarter, keyed by a 39-yard completion to Costello, Shemory tossed a five-yard TD to John Kim to give the Warriors a 20-7 lead..
They wouldn’t score again.
Taking over at their 45 with just under two minutes to halftime Dips quarterback Tanner Erisman (17-32-1, 207 yards) scrambled to keep a 37-yard completion to Deering alive.
Joe Hartley-Vittoria bulled his way five yards to the endzone to bring the Dips to within six, 20-14.
Lammer’s 21-yard punt return to the Lyco 32 sparked the Dips first possession of the second half and Erisman found K.J. Pretty in the back of the endzone for a 20-yard TD and the lead.
“We had run kind of a bender over the middle as a dig (route) and they started to call it out,” said Pretty (7 catches, 95 yards) who was voted the MVP of the game.
“We said, at halftime, let’s see if we can get them to bite on the dig and catch them. It worked just like we drew it up.”
The fun was just beginning.
Helped by a targeting foul — that wiped out a fourth down at midfield — Lycoming drove to the 4.
A false start and a delay of game penalty sandwiched Kim’s 8-yard catch to the one — Harrison Wirth saving the TD — and linebacker Matt Hamby blocked Fisher’s 23-yard try.
“We knew we had a chance to block it,” said Hamby, who had seven tackles — five solo — including two sacks and a tackle for loss
“The guys in the middle got a great push and that’s what gave penetration.”
As the third quarter turned to the fourth the game devolved into an exchange of punts until there was 3:16 left.
A 39-yard completion to Christoff Minott moved the ball to the F&M 30 and a 17-yard gadget play, Shemory tossing to Minott, who threw back across the field to Shemory took it to the 13.
Two Fimbres runs picked up eight yards, to the 5, before McDevitt’s sack.
F&M’s line got such deep penetration that Fisher’s try bounced off the helmet of one of his linemen, Brendan Kilkenny getting credit for the block.
“It’s just an awesome way to go out,” said Joe Granahan, the CC record-holder for career sacks and one of seven seniors on defense, ten in all.
“Winning 18 of the last 22 is sending them out the right way,” Troxell said of his senior class. “A lot of guys really stepped up and played great football.”