Bullets give up Lincoln Trophy to Diplomats
By Maddie Brown, Staff Writer
The Gettysburg Football team (3-6) lost to archrival Franklin and Marshall College (6-3) 28-21 in its final game of the season. The loss sent the Lincoln Trophy to the F&M Campus for the first time since the trophy was first created during the 2014 season.
“Records go out the window when it comes to rivalry,” said senior linebacker Chris Miller. “Emotions really pick up when it comes to the last two rivalry games at the end of the year. They are more than just another game in the schedule.”
Miller tore his ACL earlier this season during Gettysburg’s matchup against Juniata. He played this Saturday with a large brace on his injured knee until he was pulled at halftime due to increased pain. Miller made 6 tackles in his last career game.
Sophomore Charles Clewis scored the first points of the game. The Diplomats crowded the line and blitzed the Gettysburg quarterback, but Clewis found a hole in the line and ran 77 yards to the end zone at 1:09 in the first quarter. First-year kicker Justin Geisel made the extra point, and the Bullets owned a 7-0 lead.
Franklin & Marshall responded and put up a score of its own after a drive featuring three pass completions from quarterback Zach Bradley. Junior Diplomat Taalib Gerald touched the end zone at 4:26. Senior Billy Zwicharowski executed a successful extra point and the quarter ended 7-7.
Gettysburg opened the 2nd quarter in F&M territory but was unable to convert on third-down. Giesel added three points via a 36-yard field goal at 2:02.
“We didn’t expect them to blitz a lot, which they started doing early and it worked,” Senior quarterback Danny Thompson commented.
After multiple exchanges throughout the latter part of the first half, F&M was forced to punt from their own 12-yard line. A miss-thrown snap caused for a 2-point safety to be granted to Gettysburg, making the score 12-7 Bullets.
An interception from Gettysburg Junior Kamau Bridges prevented any more points to be scored by the Diplomats during the half.
F&M opened the second half in possession of the ball. The Diplomats drove down the field into Gettysburg territory, where they were forced into a fourth down conversion.
Bradley overthrew a pass and the Bullets regained possession.
Halfway through the third-quarter, F&M kick-returner Kevin Lammers returned 60-yard punt to the Gettysburg 25-yard line. F&M quarterback Tanner Erisman passed to Senior Bobby Keyes for a 24-yard gain. Two plays later, Erisman passed short to Senior Andrew DeStefano for a touchdown.
With 1:19 left in the third, the Diplomats took their first lead of the game, 14-12.
The Bullets took possession on the kickoff in the fourth and drove down the field. A 40-yard run by quarterback Justin Davidov put Gettysburg at the F&M 4-yard line. D. Thompson then threw to junior brother Ryan Thompson for a touchdown. The Bullets attempted and failed on a two-point conversion, making the score 18-14.
Senior Derek Singer intercepted a pass at the end of the third quarter which Gettysburg capitalized off of at the top of the fourth. A field goal by Giesel let the Bullets to lead 21-14.
The Diplomats answered with a drive dominated by Gerald and Erisman. At 4:05, Erisman ran into the end zone to tie up the game.
Gettysburg received the ball back, but Thompson was sacked and fumbled at the Gettysburg 21-yard line. The Diplomats exploited the error and quickly scored off a 3-yard pass from Erisman to Sophomore K.J. Pretty with 2:18 left in the quarter.
Gettysburg drove down the field with 4 minutes left in an attempt to tie up the game, but a multitude of incompletions ended the run.
The Bullets earned back possession with 1:23 left, and Coach Barry Streeter called a number of strategic timeouts. Davidov led the final drive, featuring completed passes by R. Thompson. A pass to Sophomore Matt McFadden put the Bullets on the Diplomats 31-yard line.
F&M called a timeout, and, on the next play, Davidov’s pass was intercepted by F&M’s Ben Okun to end the game F&M 28, Gettysburg 21.
Saturday’s home game honored the 15 graduating seniors on the Gettysburg team.
“Coach Streeter thanked all of us for giving our all to the program,” said Miller.
Gettysburg failed to qualify for the Centennial Conference playoffs.