Only four games into the 2012 season F&M football recorded its third win, matching the total number of wins last season. The Diplomats squeaked by conference competitor Juniata College 45-38 in a dangerous second half, in which Juniata put up 28 points on four touchdowns Saturday.
Luckily for the Dips, they were able to rely on their first-half laurels, in which the defense allowed just 10 points.
F&M was able to find success offensively, as quarterback E.J. Schneider ’14 led the attack, finding blue jerseys time and again, on a near flawless 26-30 passing, and 319 yards.
On the rushing attack Frank Strumolo ’14 found daylight, breaking through the Eagles’ defense for 127 yards, including two touchdowns. Strumolo also tested his luck off the pass game with an additional touchdown off a 10-yard Schneider pass.
Wide receivers Tim Muller ’13 and Paul McGann ’15 found themselves in the end zone once and twice, respectively, combining for 199 yards.
Entering the game, John Troxell, head coach of the football team, was concerned the boys would be tired after the three-hour bus ride, but F&M would not be fazed.
After going up 20-10 at the half, the Diplomats slowed, and the Eagles seized the opportunity to claw their way back into the game.
“I thought we dominated the game up to a certain point and then lost focus,” Troxell said. “We were ahead 38-17 with a minute left in the third quarter and then made some critical mistakes to make the final score closer than the game was.”
With the win, F&M slides into a third-place tie in the conference rankings, its 2-1 record matching even with Muhlenberg College.
“I think our team felt great after the win,” Troxell said. “Last year at this point we were 1-3, and we have flipped that record around this year. There is a small margin of error to win a college football game, and we need to keep finding ways to win.”
Though Troxell and the entire organization were satisfied with the win, there is still work to be done in order to become a championship-caliber team.
“We still need to sure up some fundamental things because we still have not put a complete game together where the offense, defense, and kick game are all playing at a high level,” Troxell said.
With six games remaining in the season (all Centennial Conference matchups), F&M will have to continue to work by remaining healthy and, most importantly, taking each week and game as it comes.
“We plan to keep working hard and get better every week,” Troxell said. “We are going to coach the kids hard and outwork our opponents. In the end, if we worry about what we do as a team and not worry about what our opponents are doing, we will have success.”
F&M will travel to Carlisle, PA on Saturday to face Dickinson College and will have a week off for fall break, after which the Diplomats will host a pair of games, beginning with McDaniel on Oct. 13, and Moravian (homecoming) on Oct. 20.
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