Franklin Pierce Football Kicks Off Inaugural Division II Season

FPU Football and Rocky get ready to run on the field (Photo Courtesy of Maggie McComish)
FPU Football and Rocky get ready to run on the field (Photo Courtesy of Maggie McComish)

RINDGE, N.H. (September 7, 2019) – The Franklin Pierce University football team started their inaugural season in Division II athletics in front of a full house at Sodexo Field which was packed with students, alumni, parents, staff and local community members Saturday at noon. The Ravens showed great heart never taking a play off during their 69-0 loss to Wesley College.

In his first year as head coach of the program, Russell Gaskamp tweeted that he was "incredibly proud of (the) @fpuniversity crowd showing up and creating a great atmosphere today for the guys. The team didn't win today but our fans did."

Wesley is a solid NCAA Division III program who finished their campaign last year at 7-4 overall and 5-4 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). They averaged 448.6 yards of offense and 33.3 points per game in 2018. The year before that, Wolverines completed the year at 10-2, was an unblemished 9-0 in league play and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament capping off a run of 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. This was not considered an easy game for the Ravens, who last year began the transition to Division II football.

The Ravens were busy on defense with freshman defensive back Ishmael Johnson (Lynn, Mass.) carrying the load making 10 total tackles. Freshman linebacker Najiere Hutchinson (Neptune, N.J.) and senior backer Will Petit (Houston, Texas) made nine tackles apiece. In the secondary, freshman DB Luke Winslow (Lansing, N.Y.) broke up two passes and recovered a fumble.

For the guests, quarterback David Marrocco completed 13 of 16 attempts for 166 yards and four touchdowns. Wide Receiver Ruhann Peele collected 12 catches for 134 yards and three scores. As a team, the Wolverines amassed 544 yards of offense, with 297 of that coming via the running game.

Pierce lost the coin toss and Wesley elected to defer. The Ravens were immediately backed up to the one-yard line and was tackled in the end zone for a safety putting the squad down 2-0 in the early stages.

A couple of possessions later down 16-0, the Ravens capitalized off a muffed punt by the Werewolves with Winslow jumping on the loose ball at the Wesley 42 yard line. FPU drove to the red zone and turned the ball over off an interception as strong safety Coray Williams made tumbling grab for the drive-killing turnover.

Down 30-0, freshman gunslinger Dylan McDermott (West Babylon, N.Y.) fired a dart to junior Lo Jackson (Columbia, S.C.) for a 16 yard gain. FPU gained three yards on the next play and then McDermott was sacked two plays in a row.

The Crimson and Gray allowed 35 points in the second quarter and held their counterparts to nine markers in each the third and fourth quarter.

The Ravens continue their three-game homestand when they welcome Division III opponent Curry College to the gridiron next Saturday for a high noon kickoff.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (https://fpuravens.com/store). You can also follow the football team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Ravens_FB) and Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/franklinpierce_fb).