New Hampshire Football Report

PSU runs past Fitchburg

PLYMOUTH – Junior David Hamilton ran for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Plymouth State University to a 28-0 win over Fitchburg State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football game in the driving rain at Currier Field on Saturday.

PSU scored a total of four rushing touchdowns, punching the ball in from 6-, 1-, 1- and 3-yards out, as difficult weather limited the aerial attack for both teams. The Panthers improved to 6-3 and closed out the MASCAC portion of their schedule with a 5-3 mark. Fitchburg dropped to 1-8 and 1-6 in league action.

“We did what we had to do in ugly conditions today,” Plymouth State coach Paul Castonia said. “I was impressed with the defense. Offensively, we need to eliminate the turnovers. We did good things at times, but we need to get a lot better for next week.”

            How it Happened:

* Neither team was able to move the ball during their first possessions as the offenses struggled with the field conditions. The Panthers nearly caught a break when the wet ball got past Fitchburg punter Hunter Kreis, but Kreis recovered and was able to save some field position with a short kick to the 50-yard line.

* The Panthers’ second possession ended quickly as senior Jovon White jumped in front of a pass along the right sideline for an interception.

* The Falcons picked up the game’s first first down on the ensuing possession, but were forced to punt after sophomore Jake Canelas came up with a key sack near midfield.

* Hamilton jump-started the next drive with a 43-yard run along the left sideline to set up a first and goal at the 10-yard line. Three plays later senior Zack Edwards scrambled 6 yards for the touchdown with 5:17 left in the opening frame.

* Fitchburg followed with its best drive of the first half, covering 36 yards over 10 plays, but was forced to punt again.

* Plymouth’s following possession nearly came up short at the Fitchburg 15-yard line, but an offside penalty gave the Panthers a first down at the 10 and junior Nick Lancia punched the ball in on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line with 6:42 remaining in the half.

* The Panthers’ defense stood tall on Fitchburg’s next possession. Freshman Jaquan Seme came up with a sack for a loss of 9 yards and the Falcons were forced to punt from deep within their own zone.

* PSU took over on the Fitchburg 44-yard line. Edwards scrambled along the left sideline for a 13 yard gain, and Hamilton picked up another 8 yards. The Panthers were whistled for a false start and faced a third and 8 from the 31, but Edwards hit Hamilton for a 30-yard gain and one play later Hamilton rushed up the gut to make it 21-0.

* Plymouth’s defense forced another three and out to open the second half, with Kreis punting from deep within his own end zone. The kick got held up by the wind and the Panthers took over on the Fitchburg 30-yard line.

* PSU took advantage of a pass interference call on third down and Hamilton rushed four times for 15 yards, finding the end zone from 3 yards out to make it 28-0 with 10:20 left in the third.

  Inside the Numbers:

* A total of five quarterbacks saw action in the game; freshman Brandon Brown and junior Connor Fitzsimons for the Falcons, and Edwards, freshman Connor Robert (Bedford) and sophomore Shane Batyr  for the Panthers.

* Brown was 3-of-9 for 15 yards before being forced out due to injury. Fitzsimons was 7-of-13 for 53 yards, with one interception in relief.

* Edwards ended 4-of-10 for 85 yards and two interceptions for the Panthers, but added 21 yards and a rushing TD on the ground, while neither Robert nor Batyr threw a pass.

* Hamilton logged 14 carries for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns plus the 30-yard reception. Lancia added 12 carries for 35 yards, a 25-yard reception and a rushing TD.

* Senior Sterlin Garvin was the Falcons’ primary ball carrier, finishing with 99 yards on 29 attempts.

* Freshman Kerion Johnson snatched his first career interception to stop a Fitchburg drive early in the fourth quarter.

* The Panthers’ defense logged three sacks and seven tackles for a loss on the day, while Fitchburg also recorded three sacks, all by freshman Samuel Kenny and 12 tackles for a loss.

* Kenny led all players with 11 tackles (seven solo), while sophomore Caleb Gonsalves added seven (five solo) for Fitchburg.

* Senior Grant McGregor had a team-high eight stops for the Panthers (three solo), with freshman David Salazar adding seven (two solo).

* The Panthers improve to 3-3 against Fitchburg State since joining the MASCAC in 2013.


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