BY JEFF FALK
For a program way past the ‘moral victory’ stage, it was an unacceptable result. But there were some positives to be taken from it, some blocks upon which to build.
On Saturday in Lancaster, Lebanon Valley College opened its 118th season of football by dropping a close 28-21 decision to rival Franklin & Marshall. The Diplomats tallied a touchdown with 2:26 left to go ahead, and then held strong in the face of a last-ditch rally by the Flying Dutchmen.
Elco product Tyler George, a senior receiver, accounted for all three LVC touchdowns with scoring grabs. George finished the afternoon with seven total catches and 117 yards receiving.
Lebanon Valley College and Franklin & Marshall hadn’t met on the gridiron since 1982. The game was delayed at halftime by an hour-and-48-minute thunderstorm.
Though neither side enjoyed more than a one-score advantage throughout, the Dips notched what would prove to be the winning touchdown with less than three minutes to play on quarterback Matt Magarity’s five-yard jaunt. The game ended with the Flying Dutchmen offense on the F&M 14-yard line, after senior quarterback Brian Murphy had driven LVC mostly through the air.
George got Lebanon Valley on the scoreboard first when he hauled in a 20-yard Murphy aerial midway through the opening quarter. Then George was on the receiving end of an 11-yard Murphy touchdown toss with no time showing on the first-half clock, which tied the game at 14 and capped a 79-yard possession.
In a hotly contested defensive struggle, F&M out gained LVC 300 total yards to 297. Lebanon Valley was limited to 99 yards on the ground.
George’s third scoring reception, a 12-yarder from Murphy, came with 56 ticks left in the third quarter and knotted the score at 21.
With 12 tackles and a sack, Frank Gaffney showed the way for the Lebanon Valley defense. Teammate Kevin Antol followed suit with nine tackles, three of which resulted in losses of yardage.
The Flying Dutchmen offense did not relinquish a sack, and the two foes combined for just one lone turnover.
The Diplomats now lead the all-time series with Lebanon Valley, 26-8-1.