WORCESTER, Mass. — There wasn’t a cloud in the sky Saturday, but the floodgates opened all too quickly for the Franklin Pierce football team, which seemed to have its own small storm system brewing over its heads.
Assumption College made it as clear as the blue sky above who the better football team was. The Ravens suffered another lopsided loss in their first road game, 53-6, and dropped to 1-3 on the season and 0-2 in Northeast-10 Conference play.
Assumption’s (3-1, 2-0) sophomore running back Joseph Kellum took the opening kickoff 50 yards all the way to the Franklin Pierce 29-yard line. It took just four plays during a drive that lasted one minute and 45 seconds for Assumption to put seven on the board.
The Greyhounds’ running backs continued to pound Franklin Pierce after they took their positions in the backfield.
Assumption came into the matchup averaging 248.7 rushing yards per game, and the team added five more rushing touchdowns to its resume.
“The tone was set by the ground attack and the way their defense played,” Franklin Pierce Coach Russell Gaskamp said.
The Greyhounds were in the driver’s seat all day, scoring all of their 53 points before halftime. Franklin Pierce amassed just 65 yards to Assumption’s 296, and had three turnovers in a first half that also saw a blocked punt and a safety on another punt attempt.
The Ravens’ run game was stuffed from start to finish, and freshman quarterback Drew Campanale noticeably struggled in his first road start after putting up two impressive starts at Sodexo Field.
The Shrewsbury, Mass., native overthrew open receivers and faced a tremendous amount of pressure from a fierce Assumption front seven.
“We’re much further along than the score showed. Just too many mistakes again today,” Gaskamp said.
Greyhounds junior quarterback Easton Turner completed 6 of 11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, while freshman tailback Berrell Neal piled up first half stats that included 83 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.
The Ravens fared much better in the second half, as their more experienced counterpart played most of its second and third stringers. FPU piled up 109 second-half yards to just 32 for Assumption.
A lone bright spot for Franklin Pierce came late in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Lo Jackson took in the only Ravens touchdown in relief of Campanale. The play came on a Lamar Jackson-esque 10-yard scramble with 5:05 left to play in regulation. Morgan Smith missed her first PAT attempt of the season after the score.
“The guys played pretty well in the second half,” said Gaskamp, “but you can’t outplay a team in just 30 minutes. It has to be a 60-minute effort.”
Gaskamp pulled his team to the corner of the south endzone following the teams’ postgame handshakes, before trotting off the field with his squad. He could be overheard saying that his group should still walk off the field with pride following the rough afternoon. He also urged his players to go and visit the families there who came to support the team. Many of the players thanked those in Ravens colors who were waiting for the team near the field’s exit.
Penalties once again marred both sides as the two NE-10 opponents had a total of 17 penalties — eight for Franklin Pierce, nine for Assumption — for 152 yards.
Campanale completed 11 of 25 for 79 yards and an interception late in the second quarter. Punter Brian Carey completed a fake punt attempt to freshman defensive back Kane Numera for a Ravens first down with under four minutes to go in the first quarter.
K.O. Gaskin also continued his stead as the workhorse back with 17 total carries, although he only managed 30 yards. Gaskin only managed 30 yards on those carries though and could not break through the defensive line of Assumption which feasted on the Franklin Pierce offensive line for the first 30 minutes. The Greyhounds added four sacks for a loss of 32 yards.
Freshman Najiere Hutchinson led the Ravens with seven total tackles. Carey did get off three punts for 147 yards and yards per punt average of 49.
Franklin Pierce will travel to face Southern Connecticut State next Saturday at noon. The Owls are 0-4 this season, including 0-2 at Jess Dow Field.