New Hampshire Football Report

PSU 42, Fitchburg St. 7

FITCHBURG, Mass. – Junior Willie Lombard (Bridgewater, Mass.) and senior Manny Sanchez (Hartford, Conn.) dominated on the ground as Plymouth State University ran past Fitchburg State University, 42-7, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football game at Elliot Field on Saturday.


Lombard amassed 110 yards on 11 carries, and Sanchez ran for 88 yards on eight carries. Each scored a pair of touchdowns as Plymouth State was in control throughout. Sophomore Gregory Walker (Boxford, Mass.) added 73 yards on the ground with a TD as well, as the Panthers amassed 385 yards rushing in the win.

Plymouth State improved to 5-1 (3-1 MASCAC), while Fitchburg State ended the day 1-6 (0-5 MASCAC).

How it Happened:

  • After forcing a three-and-out, Plymouth State opened the scoring with a seven-play, 74-yard scoring drive and Lombard’s two-yard run gave the Panthers an early 7-0 advantage. Lombard opened the drive with runs of 21, 5 and 12 yards, and Sanchez ripped off an 18-yard run to get the ball into the red zone.
  • After forcing another punt, Lombard raced for a 33-yard gain before Sanchez covered 38 yards on his next two carries. PSU’s drive stalled at the Fitchburg 16-yard line, though, and the Panthers’ field goal attempt went wide right.
  • Plymouth State doubled the lead three minutes into the second quarter after senior Kayden Baillargeon (Derry, N.H.) blocked a Falcons’ field goal attempt. Graduate student Thanos Boulukos (Old Bethpage, N.Y.) carried the pile for a 19-yard gain during the ensuing drive before finding the end zone on a two-yard score to make it 14-0.
  • Senior Christian Paillet (Nashua, N.H.) forced and recovered a fumble on the kickoff return and three plays later Sanchez found paydirt from 12 yards out to extend the lead to 21-0 with 7:45 left in the half.
  • A muffed punt gave Plymouth State a short field on its next drive. Starting from the Fitchburg 26-yard line, Sanchez picked up 21 yards on the opening play and two plays later he was in the end zone as the lead ballooned to 28-0.
  • Sophomore Evan Wilson (Derry, N.H.) ripped the ball loose and recovered at the Fitchburg 12-yard line to give PSU prime field position again, and Lombard’s 10-yard scoring run extended the margin to 35-0 at the half.
  • The score remained the same through the third quarter, though PSU closed the frame with a lengthy drive that carried over into the fourth, setting up Walker’s three-yard TD run. The drive covered 16 plays and 82 yards, chewing up nearly 11 minutes.
  • Fitchburg answered with a lengthy drive of its own on the ensuing possession, going 79 yards in nine plays before a three-yard touchdown run spoiled the Panthers’ shutout bid.

By the Numbers:

  • Lombard finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, averaging an even 10.0 yards per rush, while Sanchez was even better averaging 11.0 yards per carry.
  • Walker’s TD was the first of his career, while Boulukos scored his fourth of the season.
  • The Panthers rushed for 385 yards as a team, the most since the 2008 season when PSU had 395 yards against Endicott (10/11/08) and 415 yards against UMass Dartmouth (9/27/08).
  • Wilson led the defense with seven tackles (four solo), including one for a loss while adding the forced fumble and fumble recovery.
  • The defense finished with six tackles for a loss.
  • Plymouth State’s missed field goal was the team’s first red zone trip that didn’t result in points this season.
  • PSU improves to 11-3 against the Falcons dating back to the 1986 season. PSU has won each of the last six meetings, with the defense allowing just 20 total points over that stretch.


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