On Saturday, Hopkins traveled to Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) in Lancaster, Pa. to take on the Diplomats, a team against which they carried a five-game winning streak. Both teams entered the Oct. 6 matchup boasting 4-1 records on the season. While they shared the Centennial Conference title a year ago after both finishing the regular season 9-1, the likelihood of such a scenario playing out again is highly improbable. A defeat in this game would deliver one team its second Conference loss and significantly hurt its odds to contend for this year’s Centennial title. Thus the stakes were elevated for this year’s midseason matchup between the Conference rivals.
The first quarter was relatively low scoring. The lone score came on Hopkins senior running back Stuart Walters’ two-yard rushing touchdown. In the second quarter, the Blue Jays would add another two touchdowns to extend their lead to 21-0. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Hubley and Walters recorded receiving touchdowns of 10 and 42 yards, respectively.
Hubley elaborated on the factors that allowed him to score his fourth touchdown of the season.
“[Junior quarterback] Dave [Tammaro] saw that they were in man coverage at the line, and he checked the play. Practicing against some of the best defenders in the Conference put me in a really good position to beat the defender and make a play,” Hubley said.
The Diplomats were able to get on the scoreboard prior to the half, thanks to a three-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Joe Hartley-Vittoria. However, they were unable to tack on an extra point after the kick was blocked by junior defensive end Mike Kalanik.
Early in the third quarter, Hopkins went up 28-6 on Walters’ third score of the game, this one coming on a 16-yard run. Junior running back Hogan Irwin and Tammaro then scored rushing touchdowns of their own, these coming from 14 and three yards out, respectively.
F&M sophomore receiver Zachary Bross capped off scoring with a 19-yard touchdown reception in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Another blocked extra point by the Blue Jays followed the score and put an exclamation point on their commanding 42-12 victory.
Overall the game was yet another dominant performance for the Blue Jays on both sides the ball. Tammaro led the way on offense, passing for 290 yards and running for a team-high 105 yards on the ground. He finished the game with three total touchdowns and received his second Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week award of the season for his efforts. Walters, who also had three total touchdowns, had 67 rushing yards, 42 receiving yards and even threw a 22-yard pass.
Hubley led the receiving corps with 12 receptions and 107 yards.
“The main factor for all the catches was the game plan. We got the run game going early, and it allowed us to get some good numbers on the edge for us to throw the ball,” Hubley said.
On defense, freshman linebacker Robert Fletcher led the team with six total tackles. He also recorded a blocked punt in the first quarter. Kalanik and senior defensive lineman Anthony Davidson each picked up a game-high two sacks.
The Blue Jays head into their bye week riding a resounding four-game winning streak. To put it in perspective, Hopkins’ victory over the Diplomats, won by 30 points, was actually the team’s smallest winning margin all season.
Hubley attributes this to the team’s efforts during practice.
“The way we’ve been practicing the past few weeks has really been causing us to perform at such a high level. Guys are always going 100 percent in a very competitive atmosphere, which is great preparation for the games. Moving forward, we’re just going to keep working hard in practice, trying to get better everyday.”
He also commented on the team’s focus going forward.
“I think people are happy to get some time off, but we’re definitely looking to keep our momentum going. The focus is always our next game, so we will do whatever it takes to prepare for it,” Hubley said.
Following their week off, the Blue Jays will visit the 1-5 Gettysburg College Bullets.