The 24th-ranked football team continued their strong season this week, as they dominated the Gettysburg College Bullets 52-0.
The Jays’ offense got off to a roll halfway through the first quarter as sophomore quarterback David Tammaro connected with freshman running back Zac Fernandez for a 48-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the drive.
Hopkins would extend the lead to 14 after junior running back Tyler Messinger capped off a 77-yard drive with a one-yard punch into the end zone.
The Jays would continue to put points on the board, taking their first drive of the second quarter 66 yards. Tammaro hit junior wide receiver Luke McFadden on back-to-back plays for seven and 15 yards, with the latter finding McFadden in the end zone as the Jays took a three-possession lead, 21-0.
Tammaro would work the ground game on the Blue Jays’ next possession, finishing off a four-play, 40-yard drive with a six-yard carry that put Hopkins ahead 28-0. This score would stand as the second quarter finished up. The Jays headed into the locker room at the half with a four-possession lead.
Riding their momentum from their impressive first-half performance, sophomore kick returner Patrick Kelly took back the opening kickoff 95 yards to give the Jays a 35-0 lead just 12 seconds into the third quarter.
He is the third player in Hopkins history with a 95 yard return, which is the longest in school history. Howard Caplan was the first to do it in 1928 against Columbia University, and in 1999 Harrison Bernstein accomplished the feat against the Merchant Marine Academy.
Kelly’s performance also earned him the honor of Centennial Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. He joined seniors kicker Jamie Sullivan and wide receiver David Brookhart in receiving the award this season.
Messinger would pick up his second touchdown of the day on the Jays’ next possession, this time from three yards out off of a four-play, 40-yard drive as the Jays continued to show their offensive prowess. The score improved to 42-0, with both teams trading possessions in the remainder of the quarter and failing to put points on the board to round off the third.
Freshman quarterback Nick Leongas would take charge under center and guide the Blue Jay offense 49 yards down the field before scrambling 23 yards into the end zone, piling on even more points for the Jays to take a 49-0 lead.
The Jays’ final drive was a clock burner, as Hopkins used 16 plays and 68 yards, taking 9:37 off of the clock before Sullivan booted a 22-yard field goal. As the final seconds ticked off of the clock, Hopkins would emerge victorious in a 52-0 domination.
With the impressive offensive performance, which accumulated 607 yards (292 yards rushing and 315 yards passing) while holding the ball for 41 minutes on a school-record 101 plays, the Blue Jay defense was steadfast against the Bullets.
The Jays surrendered only 139 yards while giving up just seven first downs, which limited Gettysburg to 19 minutes of possession time. This is made even more impressive by the fact that Dickinson had scored 20 points in each of their first six games and ended the game with 250 fewer yards than their season average.
“We did a great job of staying focused throughout the game while playing with a lot of emotion. It’s easier to shake off any rust that comes with a bye week when the lights are on at Homewood,” sophomore linebacker James Closser said.
Sophomore defensive end Mike Kalanik was tied for the team lead in tackles with junior safety Ian Lodge at six tackles in the game. Of his six tackles, 3.5 of them were for a loss and one was a sack. He now has 18 tackles for a loss on the season, which is the second highest total in school history.
Sophomore defensive back Jonah Gundrum and freshman lineman Kyle Roberts also contributed a sack each, while freshman linebacker Braxton Ransaw and sophomore defensive end Arman Koul combined for a sack.
“I thought we came out and played with intensity. Everyone was excited to be there this weekend, and it really showed from the first kickoff,” junior safety Michael Curry said.
This was head coach Jim Margraff’s 150th Centennial Conference victory. He is the first coach in Conference history to reach the milestone.
The Blue Jays will next travel to Allentown, Pa. to face off against rival Muhlenberg College in what could be the decisive game of the Centennial Conference.
“Muhlenberg will be a great challenge for us this week. We are excited to go up there and play a tough team in a great environment,” Closser added.
Curry agreed, adding that they face a team that could potentially knock them out of a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“We know they’re going to have a good game plan and execute it well, we just have to do the same. This game is going to be emotional and intense. We just have to play with a steady poise,” Curry said.