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Panthers Splash Past Owls on Senior Day, 10-7

Westfield State seniors with coach Kowalski.
Westfield State seniors with coach Kowalski.

WESTFIELD, Mass.  –  Jeremy Martin (Shepherd Hill/Charlton, Mass.) connected on a 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the game to lift Plymouth State to a 10-7 win over Westfield State in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference football game at Alumni Field on Saturday.

Plymouth scored on their first and their final drives of the game, which proved to be enough as the two teams clashed in the pouring rain and wind of the Nor'easter that battered New England on Saturday.

Plymouth State improves to 5-3 with the win and 4-3 in the MASCAC, while Westfield is now 4-5 overall and 3-4 in the conference.

On the opening drive, the Panthers marched 80 yards on 12 plays, capped by Zack Edwards (Tantasqua/ Brookfield, Mass.) 6-yard pass that found Jacob Szulc (Concord, N.H.) just inside the goal line, and Martin's extra point gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

Westfield answered with 4:07 left in the first half, as the Owls moved the ball 87 yards on 16 plays, capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Travon Holder (Cheney/Hartford, Conn.).  Plymouth stopped Holder on 1st and goal from the 3, and on successive tries from the 1-yard line, before Holder plunged in on fourth down.

In the second half, the Owls marched the ball deep into Plymouth territory on multiple occasions, to see one drive foiled at the Panthers' 13 by fumble, another stall on fourth down at the Plymouth 30, and a short field goal try missed when a drive stopped at the Plymouth seven, and yet another foiled by a fumble at the Plymouth 20-yard line.

Having dodged many bullets, the Panthers started at their own 8-yard line with 3:36 to play I the fourth quarter, then had the drive extended by a roughing the kicker call, and finally set themselves up in scoring position when Edwards launched a 42-yard bomb to Terrell Lewis (Nashua South/Nashua, N.H.) that gave the Panthers 1st and 10 at the Owls' 20 yard line with a minute to play.

Westfield outgained the panthers 323 to 197 yards in the game.  Both teams were plagued by fumbles with the wet conditions, as Plymouth fumbled six times, losing the ball twice, and the Owls had seven fumbles, losing three.

Holder had a big day on his senior day with 144 yards rushing on 34 carries, caught 3 passes for 37 yards, and even threw a 9-yard completion to Owls quarterback Jake Cassidy (Lawrence Academy/Swampscott, Mass.).    Cassidy finished 8-10 passing in the sloppy conditions for 68 yards, and rushed for 84 yards.  Holder moved into third place on the Owls' all-time rushing list, as he now has 3,220 yards in his career.

For Plymouth, David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) carried 18 times for 99 yards while doing most of his damage on the initial drive.   Edwards finished 5-14 passing for 84 yards.

Westfield's defense was led by it's seniors.   Linebacker Zach Howard (Prouty/Spencer, Mass.) recorded 10 tackles and a sack.  Defensive tackle Nick Borsari (Mansfield) had five tackles, one for a loss and forced a fumble, and DE Darryl Denson (Putnam/Springfield, Mass.)  had five tackles, a pair of sacks and forced a fumble.

Plymouth got 14 tackles from defensive back David Salazar (Newton North/West Newton, Mass.), 12 from Matt Shea (Windham, N.H.) and 10 from Grant McGregor (Lewis S Mills/Burlington, Conn.).

The Owls celebrated their senior day before the game. Westfield honored its 16 seniors and graduate students in a pregame ceremony despite the driving rain.  Head coach Pete Kowalski returned to the field to congratulate his seniors, despite the severe leg break injury he suffered two weeks ago at Fitchburg State. 

Westfield State has it's bye week next week, and will play its final game of the 2018 campaign at Western Connecticut on Saturday.  Plymouth State will face Fitchburg State next weekend.

Westfield State Seniors

43        Mike Amoroso           FB       Sr.        5-11    236     Canton, Conn. / Canton

94        Ommel Bonilla           DL       Sr.        6-0      253     Methuen / Andover

91        Nick Borsari               DT       Sr.        6-3      375     Mansfield / Mansfield

49        Andrew Carpenter    LB       Gr.       5-10    230     Auburn / Auburn

55        Noah Cirisoli              OL       Sr.        5-10    325     Ansonia, Conn. / Notre Dame Fairfield

99        Darryl Denson           DE       Sr.        5-11    237     Springfield / Putnam

22        James English             DB       Sr.        6-0      185     Lynn / Danvers

5          Travon Holder          RB       Sr.        5-9      183     Hartford, Conn. / Cheney Tech

54        Andrew Horstmann  OL       Sr.        6-1      215     Mansfield / Mansfield

51        Justin Landry             OL       Sr.        6-0      210     Lawrence / Central Catholic

23        Zach Howard             LB       Gr.       5-11    225     Spencer / David Prouty

8          Devin Lekan               TE       Sr.        6-3      230     Chelmsford / Chelmsford

93        Evan Lucey                DE       Sr.        6-3      240     Chelmsford / Chelmsford

4          Brandon Rivera         CB       Sr.        5-10    170     Amherst / Amherst

36        Tyler Robbins            LB       Sr.        6-0      235     Southwick / Valley Christian

53        Derek Tetrault           LB       Sr.        5-11    205     Bellingham / Franklin

52        Alyis Woodward       LB       Sr.        6-0      215     Lunenburg / Lunenburg