November 02, 2012
Crusaders defeat conference rival F&M
However, senior wide receiver Mike Ritter had other plans for the ensuing onside kick by the Diplomats.
The ball bounced high and into Ritter's hands at the Franklin & Marshall 44-yard line to seal a victory for the Crusaders (4-4 overall, 3-4 Centennial Conference).
On the drive, the Diplomats (6-2, 5-2) were lead by sophomore quarterback E.J. Schneider, who led the Diplomats from their own 30-yard line to deep inside Crusaders territory as time began to run out on a comeback effort for the Diplomats.
Following a penalty that moved the ball to the five-yard line, Schneider saw relentless pressure from the Crusaders' front four, forcing the Diplomats to fall short of the end zone and settle for a field goal.
As was the theme throughout the game, the Crusaders defense loomed large when it was needed the most: inside the red zone.
Although the Crusaders' defense started to bend at times as the Diplomats moved the ball into the red zone, there was a key play to be made nearly every time the Diplomats started to put a successful drive together.
Whether it was a senior leader or a freshman playing well in front of the home crowd, the Crusaders' defense brought relentless pressure for 60 minutes.
On the opening play of the fourth quarter, a pass from Schneider sailed slightly high and off-the-mark, creating an opportunity for the Crusaders on defense.
Senior cornerback Will Dyson was able to get a hand on the ball, tipping it into the hands of freshman cornerback Nick Aigeldinger.
Aigeldinger outraced the opposition into the end zone to hand the Crusaders a three-point advantage, 17-14.
"That's the game," said head coach Steve Briggs, referring to the interception return by Aigeldinger.
Dyson added a defensive stop of his own with less than two minutes remaining in the first half to turn the tide of the game in the Crusaders' favor.
The Diplomats lined up at the Crusaders' 15 looking to add some insurance points to a 7-3 lead before halftime.
However, just as the Crusaders defense had been doing all game, they came up big when the team needed it.
Dyson jumped and intercepted a ball in the end zone heading for the right corner.
On the next play, sophomore Taylor Kolmer dropped back and found Mike Ritter streaking past the Diplomats, connecting with Ritter on an 80-yard score to put the Crusaders in front 10-7.
Ritter caught 10 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Ritter added a score with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter to pad the Crusaders lead to 24-14.
Kolmer finished with 213 yards through the air.
For the game, the Crusaders had a total of 224 offensive yards, while only gaining 11 yards on the ground.
The Crusaders will look to continue their upswing with a road clash with McDaniel on Saturday at 1 p.m.
SPORTS HEADLINESCrusaders finish second, qualify for regionals Crusaders clinch postseason spot Close game results in loss to Moravian Crusaders defeat conference rival F&M Crusaders earn another shutout victory
WEEKLY FEATURESNewsLiving & ArtsUniversity UpdateForumSports