By Matt Noonan
It was an exciting first week of Division III New England football.
We saw some interesting outcomes, along with some impressive individual and team efforts to secure opening-day wins.
Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the week was Plymouth State earning its first win at Castleton since September 2010. It was also the Panthers’ first opening day victory since September 2011.
Plymouth State overcame a one-point (7-6) deficit at the break to secure a 20-7 win over the Spartans.
“We knew we had to win the third and fourth quarters,” Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zach Edwards told the Rutland Herald.
Edwards helped the Panthers secure the lead for good when he connected with junior wide receive Chris Kelly on a 37-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter before first-year halfback David Hamilton clinched the victory for Plymouth State in the fourth with a one-yard plunge.
Plymouth State will look to double its win total on Saturday, September 10 when they host Mount Ida for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.
More MASCAC Week One Success: Framingham State – the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) defending champions – commenced their title defense with an opening day victory over Endicott College. The win was the Rams’ fourth-straight opening days win against the Gulls.
Framingham State junior Stephen Beahn hauled in six catches for a school record 248 yards, while registering a trio of touchdowns.
According to the school’s release, Beahn was a linebacker last season, but ended yesterday’s contest with an average of 41.3 yards per reception.
Including Framingham State, six MASCAC teams earned opening day wins, including Fitchburg State, UMass Dartmouth and Westfield State. UMass Dartmouth tallied the most points among all nine squads, outscoring Mount Ida, 40-9, on Friday evening.
UMass Dartmouth led Mount Ida, 13-3, at the break, but pushed ahead for good by tallying 13 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth. Junior linebacker Brandon Miller recorded a career-best 12 tackles, while senior quarterback Cory Burnham tossed four touchdowns and completed 13 of 26 passes for 150 yards.
Shawn Brathwaite – a junior quarterback transfer from American International College (AIC) – helped Westfield State commence its season with a 34-21 win over Nichols College. Brathwaite threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his debut for the Owls.
An exciting finish in Danbury, Connecticut: MIT and WPI may have been the game of the evening on Friday, but perhaps the most dramatic win on Saturday occurred in Danbury, Connecticut where Western Connecticut State University needed a late touchdown reception to defeat Hartwick.
Junior quarterback Quinn Fleeting helped the Colonials overcome a three-point (31-28) deficit with 54 seconds remaining when he located classmate Jaward Chisholm for an 81-yard touchdown pass to help the hosts claim an opening day 35-31 victory.
Fleeting concluded the game with four touchdowns passes, while connecting on 27 of 40 attempts for 425 yards. Chisholm led all receivers with 229 yards on 14 receptions. He also hauled in two of Fleeting’s touchdown passes.