(Lancaster, Pa.) – The Dickinson College football team rallied from a 21-point deficit at halftime to overtake Franklin & Marshall, 31-24. The Red Devils regain possession of the coveted Conestoga Wagon Trophy. The Devils have not lost back-to-back Conestoga Wagon games since 1987.
The Diplomats appeared to have things well in hand as the teams headed to the locker rooms at halftime, holding a 21-0 lead. Brian Kelly caught a five yard pass from John Harrison to put F&M on the board at the 9:39 mark of the first quarter.
John Kaschak extended the Diplomat lead with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, running for one from 23 yards and pulling in a 13 yard catch from Harrison to cap a pair of 80-plus yard drives.
The Red Devils came out of halftime and immediately went to work. First-year quarterback Cole Ahnell (Rockville, Md./Walter Johnson) moved into the starting role under center on Saturday. He drove the Devils 58 yards, following a 30 yard kick-off return by Shea Licata (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset). Ahnell hit senior Tyler Rosa' (Carmel, Calif./Stevenson School) for a 13 yard score to trigger the Red Devil comeback with 13:16 remaining in the third quarter.
The defense forced a three-and-out, putting the ball back in the hands of the Red Devils. Ahnell ran for 31 yards and hit Cam Di Fede (Miami, Fla./Palmer Trinity) for a 12 yard gain to put Dickinson on the Diplomats' three yard line. Sophomore Mike Capone (Dupont, Pa./Pittston Area) dove in from there to pull the Devils within a touchdown at the 10:14 mark of the third period.
F&M was threatening before sophomore Robert Spriggs (Lanham, Md./Bullis) picked-off Harrison at his own 15 yard line and went 85 yards to even the score, 21-21, with 5:15 to play in the third.
Chris DeStefano closed out the third with a 22 yard field-goal to put F&M back in front, 24-21. Dickinson answered with an 80 yard drive to set up senior David London (Chevy Chase, Md./Maret School) for a 27 yard field-goal. London split the uprights, knotting the game at 24-24 with 12:02 remaining in regulation.
The teams would trade punts, putting the ball in the hands of the Devils with 5:30 on the clock. Capone carried most of the workload on the final drive, diving in from two yards out to put Dickinson on top, 31-24, with just 1:20 on the clock.
F&M made one last charge before first-year Linn Worthington (Owings Mills, Md./Gilman) intercepted a pass on the five yard line to stall the drive and secure the dramatic win for the Devils.
Ahnell made the most of his first collegiate start, completing 17-of-24 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. He ran for a team-high 79 yards on 19 carries. Di Fede caught nine passes to cover 116 yards while Rosa and running back Mike Shimkin (New Hope, Pa./Princeton Day School) each made three catches for 58 yards.
Defensively, first-year Connor Thompson (Jenkintown, Pa./Father Judge) led the way with a game-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Michael Miller (Hainesport, N.J./Bishop Eustace) added eight tackles while senior Scott Sullivan (Coatesville, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) added a third interception for the Devils.
The Red Devils improve to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Centennial Conference. They are off next weekend before traveling to Baltimore to face Johns Hopkins University on Friday, October 14th at 7:00 pm.