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