On Saturday, the Hopkins football team played in Carlisle, Pa. against the Dickinson Red Devils. Hopkins was ranked 18th going into the game. In the previous 12 meetings between these two teams, Hopkins had won all 12.
Junior running back Luke Yakely discussed the team’s mindset approaching a game against an opponent they usually beat.
“Coach [Greg] Chimera does a really good job of making sure we shut out the outside noise and just focus on ourselves,” he said. “We treat every week with a ton of intensity and really focus on having our best week of practice possible. You cannot take any opponent lightly in the Centennial, but if we just play our best football, we are in a good position to do well every week.”
The Blue Jays’ first drive of the game started off well. Senior quarterback David Tammaro threw a 19-yard pass to junior wide receiver Dawson Aicholz, which helped Hopkins march all the way to Dickinson’s 10-yard line. Unfortunately a fumble changed the momentum and Dickinson took the ball the other way.
Dickinson went on a march of their own, completing a 30-yard pass and getting all the way to the Jays’ seven-yard line. A penalty and two incomplete passes forced Dickinson to attempt a field goal from the Hopkins 22-yard line. The field goal missed however, and the game was still scoreless at the three-minute mark.
A few more underwhelming drives brought the first quarter to a close with a 0-0 tie. Nevertheless, Coach Chimera worked his magic between quarters, and it certainly motivated his team.
Only four minutes into the second quarter, Tammaro completed a 40-yard pass to junior wide receiver Ryan Hubley for the first touchdown of the game. With 12:13 left in the first half, the score was 7-0.
Dickinson took the ball and brought it all the way to the Hopkins 23-yard line in retaliation, but again they were forced to attempt a field goal. Hopkins was not going to let Dickinson get any easy points though, as junior defensive lineman Joe Tischler blocked the attempt. Sophomore defensive back Robert Fletcher returned the ball all the way to Dickinson’s eight-yard line.
Dickinson was tough enough to prevent the touchdown, but senior punter Mike Eberle still landed the field goal to bring the score to 10-0 with eight minutes left in the half.
On the next possession, Dickinson was able to secure a 33-yard touchdown pass to try and begin their comeback effort. But again, Hopkins would not relent. Sophomore defensive lineman Chris Bedell blocked the extra kick, keeping the score at 10-6.
As Dickinson tried to catch a break, Hopkins yet again refused to go easy. Sophomore wide receiver Harrison Wellmann returned the kickoff an absurd 95 yards to score the Blue Jays’ second touchdown. Later in the quarter, a 12-yard rush by Tammaro gave the Blue Jays their third touchdown. After a scoreless first quarter, the score at halftime was all the way up to 23-6.
Yakely explained that their strategy remained the same between the very different first and second quarters.
“Nothing really changed from the first quarter on,” he said. “We just continued doing what had been working and executing on our plays. Dickinson has a really strong defense this year and they were making some good plays as well. At the end of the day, it just came down to execution for us, and once we started doing that we just found a rhythm.”
After that first half, the Blue Jays had no intention of slowing down. An eight-play, 65-yard drive was capped off by Yakely rushing for a two-yard touchdown. With 11 minutes left in the third quarter, the Blue Jays were up 30-6.
What followed was uncharacteristic for the Blue Jays. Dickinson forced Hopkins into a 17-yard drive that ended in a safety. The third quarter ended 30-8.
Dickinson began the fourth quarter by scoring on a 22-yard touchdown pass. Dickinson had now scored 15 points and their score was being doubled by Hopkins, but this touchdown was the last time they would see their score rise.
After blocking a Hopkins field goal attempt, Dickinson turned the ball over themselves thanks to an interception from sophomore defensive back Ross Andersson. Hopkins made the most of this opportunity and scored on a 31-yard pass from Tammaro to senior wide receiver Jacob Yohr. This brought the score to 37-15 with only a minute left to play. The game was sealed, though, and the final minute passed without another score.
Harrison Wellmann had 298 yards on the day, the most in a game for Hopkins since 2010. Only seven times have the Blue Jays recorded more than that in a single game. He also recorded the University’s fourth ever 95-yard return.
Hopkins has now won 13 straight wins against Dickinson as they improve to a 3-1 record on the season. The team will head to Ursinus College and play the Bears on Saturday, October 5.
Yakely reflected on this victory and looked ahead to this weekend’s game.
“If we execute on every play, and everyone does his job, we become a really hard team to beat. There is not a particular thing we are focusing on besides our Ursinus game plan.”