The Early Preseason Outlook: Plymouth State Panthers

PLYMOUTH STATE PANTHERS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage rolls on with a closer look at Plymouth State, which begins its season on Saturday, September 7th when they visit Castleton University for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

The Panthers’ 2018 Season: One year after posting a 9-2 record, the Panthers finished with a 6-4 mark, which included a thrilling 29-28 win over Framingham State, along with a hard-fought 10-7 win against Westfield State.

The Panthers did not compete in the NCAA Tournament last fall but certainly proved their nine-win season from 2017 wasn’t a fluke – this team is certainly capable of competing for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) every season.

Plymouth State had 15 seniors on last year’s squad that will certainly be missed this season – these student-athletes were a big reason why the Green and White won 9 of 11 contests in 2017, so look for the rising seniors and juniors to lead the Panthers this upcoming season.

The 2019 Outlook: Plymouth State will be without some key members of last year’s team, as well as the 2017 squad, especially on defense. Graduation losses to Grant McGregorMitch BanuskevichBrady LaFrance and Malcolm Huesman won’t be easy to replace however, the Panthers do return defensive back Matt Shea, who led the defense with 77.0 total tackles.

Defensive back David Salazar will also be a player to watch in the secondary, too. The rising sophomore averaged 5.3 total tackles per contest one year ago, while also recording 2.5 tackles for a loss of 10 yards.

Plymouth State graduated a slew of linebackers, but do return Elijah Bussell and Eric Smith. The duo combined for 53.0 total tackles last season.

On offense, the Panthers must find their replacement for quarterback Zack Edwards, a dual-threat signal-caller that concluded the 2018 season with 15 touchdowns (14 passing touchdowns).

David Hamilton returns for his final season at halfback after rushing for career-highs in yards (911) and touchdowns (eight) one year ago.

Wide receiver Jacob Szulc returns for his third season after leading the team with 26 receptions for 493 yards and seven touchdowns.

Plymouth State will also return a slew of offensive linemen, including Nick Cusano, who competed in all 10 contests one year ago, and Matt Palma, who appeared in nine games.

Plymouth State’s Schedule: We will learn more about this Plymouth State squad by the end of September – the opening month features a pair of non-conference foes, along with back-to-back conference clashes with Worcester State in week three and UMass Dartmouth in week four. Plymouth State beat the Lancers last fall but lost to the Corsairs. Can they win both conference games this season?

The Panthers will travel to Westfield State for an important conference meeting in week six before entertaining Framingham State in week seven for their Hall of Fame Game.

Weeks after their meeting with the Rams, the Panthers travel to Bridgewater State before capping their 2019 campaign with a trip to Western Connecticut on Saturday, November 16.

Players to Watch: David Hamilton (Halfback/ West Deptford, N.J.), Jacob Szulc (Wide Receiver/Concord, N.H.), Terrell Lewis (Wide Receiver/Nashua, N.H.), Jeremy Martin (Kicker/Charlton, Mass.), Nick Cusano (Offensive Line/Wethersfield, Conn.), Matt Palma (Offensive Line/Cheshire, Conn.), Matt Shea (Defensive Back/Windham, N.H.), and David Salazar (Defensive Back/West Newton, Mass.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

D3 Football Fan Vote: Plymouth State Tabbed Team of The Week

Plymouth State TOW 101618

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

After earning a hard-fought victory on the road last Saturday, the Plymouth State University football team scored an additional win two days later as our Noontime Sports New England D3 Football Team of the Week.

The New England D3 Football Team of the Week is decided by a Twitter poll, which was (and will continue to be) seen throughout the remainder of the season on Sunday and Monday’s through @NoontimeSports.

The Panthers secured a first-place nod in this week’s poll by collecting 57 percent of the votes, while Nichols College placed second with 26 percent. Middlebury College and Coast Guard Academy rounded out the the poll, finishing third (10 percent) and fourth (seven percent), respectively.

Against Framingham State, the Panthers used a late touchdown drive to push ahead, 29-28, before clinching the victory with a fourth down stop on the ensuing possession.

The win was the Panthers’ second-straight regular season victory against the Rams – they defeated Framingham State last season en route to sharing the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown. The win provided the Green and White an opportunity to compete in last year’s NCAA Division III Tournament, too.

Quarterback Zack Edwards concluded this past Saturday’s contest with two touchdowns, including the go-ahead strike to Max Osgood late in the fourth quarter. Halfback David Hamilton rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries (4.3 yards per carry) and one touchdown, while Jacob Szulc caught four passes for 149 yards and one touchdown.

Matt Shea highlighted the Panthers’ defense with a team-high eight total tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for a loss of three yards. Elijah Bussell ended the game with five total tackles, including four solo stops and one fumble recovery.

Kicker Jeremy Martin tallied nine points in the win on three extra points and two field goals. His longest field goal was a 35-yard boot with 30 second remaining in the second quarter, which provided the Panthers with a 10-7 advantage at the break.

Plymouth State, which is now 3-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play, will look to continue its momentum on Saturday, October 20th when they host Massachusetts Maritime Academy at 1 p.m.

D3 Football: Noontime Sports Team Of The Week (Mon. Nov. 20th)

Noontime Team Week

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Following a busy weekend of NCAA Division III Tournament games, along with a pair of New England Bowls, too, it is time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Team of the Week.

Offensive Player of the Week: Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Wojenski was tabbed the New England Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) after tossing five touchdowns – all in the first half – which helped the Rams of Framingham State capture their second-straight bowl crown. Wojenski concluded the game 19 of 28 for 246 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Nathan Fleming (Framingham State): Against Curry, Fleming registered nine total tackles, including four solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 15 yards, one sack for a loss of 14 yards and one forced fumble.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Devin Pickett (Husson): Pickett connected on all three boots, including a 22-yard field goal mid-way through the fourth quarter, which helped the Eagles score their first-ever NCAA Tournament win over Springfield. Pickett concluded the contest with five points.


Offense of the Week

Dante Aiken (WNE): Aiken led all rushers with a game-high 98 yards on 21 carries (4.7 yards per carry) in his team’s NCAA Division III Tournament setback to Delaware Valley.

Hunter Belzo (Springfield): Belzo led the Pride with 113 yards rushing on nine carries (12.6 yards per carry), while registering one touchdown.

Shaquille Joseph (Framingham State): Joseph led all Framingham State receivers with seven grabs for 72 yards, while catching the game’s initial touchdown pass.

John Smith (Husson): Against Springfield, Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two scores as the Eagles stunned the Pride in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Spencer Tyler (Curry): Tyler concluded his team’s New England Bowl contest against Framingham State with a game-high nine receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown. He also threw a touchdown to quarterback Alex Corvese in the second half.

Jordan Wilcox (Springfield): Wilcox concluded his team’s game against Husson by tallying 111 yards on 22 carries (5.0 yards per carry), while rushing for a pair of touchdowns.

Quron Wright (Framingham State): Wright concluded last Saturday’s New England Bowl with 109 yards of total offense, including 60 yards on 16 carries and four receptions for 49 yards and two touchdowns.


Defense of the Week

Luca Cerasani (WPI): Cerasani concluded his team’s New England Bowl against SUNY Maritime with seven total tackles, including six solo stops, four tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two sacks for a loss of 14 yards. He also recorded one pass break-up, too.

Nick Giorgio (Springfield): Giorgio concluded his team’s contest with Husson by tallying seven total tackles, including five solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, one sack for a loss of nine yards and one forced fumble.

Tim Huffam (WNE): Against Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, Huffam paced the Golden Bears’ defense with 10 total tackles, including five solo stops, one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards and a sack for a loss of seven yards.

Sam Malafronte (WPI): Malafronte concluded his team’s New England Bowl with a team-high nine total tackles, including seven solo stops and one tackle for a loss of two yards.

Joshua Onujiogu (Framingham State): Onujiogu recorded four total tackles, including a trio of solo stops, a pair of tackles for a loss of 13 yards and one pass break-up in his team’s New England Bowl victory.

Matt Shea (Plymouth State): Against Brockport in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, Shea recorded a game-high 12 total tackles, including eight solo stops.

Elvin Suazo, Jr. (Husson): Suazo Jr. recorded a team-high 11 total tackles, including four solo stops, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his team’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win against Springfield.

Dominic Traversa (Springfield): Against Husson, Traversa paced the Pride’s defense with a game-high 13 total stops, including five solo tackles, one fumble recovery and one tackles for a loss of two yards.

Cody Wlasuk (Framingham State): Wlasuk concluded his team’s 11th game of the season by recording seven total tackles, including five solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 14 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards, one pass break-up and one interception returned for nine yards.

Christian Zotti (Springfield): Zotti concluded his team’s contest against Husson with 11 total tackles, including five solo stops, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble, one interception returned for 24 yards and one pass break-up.


Special Teams of the Week

Ryan Clifford (Framingham State): Clifford connected on six of seven extra point attempts in his team’s 48-14 New England Bowl victory last Saturday.

Spencer Herrington (WPI): Herrington concluded his team’s New England Bowl by connecting on all three kicks, including a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter, which provided the host Engineers with the lead for good.

Noontime Sports Football Team Of The Month: Plymouth State Panthers

noontime-team-of-the-month

By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports is proud to announce its first-ever ‘Team of the Month’ award – a monthly honor for a school’s athletic team. And with it being the final day of September, we are pleased to announce that Plymouth State’s football team has earned our initial honor of ‘Team of the Month’ for September.

Under the direction of head coach Paul Castonia; the Panthers have enjoyed a successful start to their 2016 campaign, winning four-straight contests, including a dramatic overtime week two victory against Mount Ida College. Plymouth State’s four-consecutive victories match their start from 2007.

Plymouth State began its campaign with an impressive 20-7 win over Castleton on September 3 – it was the program’s first win in Vermont since September 4, 2010. First-year tailback David Hamilton rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries, along with one touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Zack Edwards completed 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards, while tossing one touchdown. Senior defensive back RJ Ramsden paced the Green and White’s defense with nine total tackles, including seven solo stops – he also recorded an interception.

One week later, the Panthers defense came-up with a critical stop in overtime to defeat Mount Ida by a score of 30-28 (OT). Edwards tossed three touchdowns in the win, first-year wide-out Jacob Szulc hauled in eight catches for 122 yards – he also caught a pair of touchdown passes – and junior defensive back Blair Zentek concluded the game with two pass break-ups, along with five total tackles.

A team effort on offense, defense and special teams helped the Panthers defeat Western Connecticut State University on the road in week three – the win was the program’s first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory of the season. Sophomore tailback Mitch Banuskevich highlighted the team’s rushing attack, tallying 78 yards on 15 carries, while Hamilton registered 33 yards on 14 carries and one score. Senior defensive back Zach Ziemba concluded the game with a season-best 13 solo-stops with one of those tackles being a tackle for a loss of two yards.

Last weekend, the Panthers’ bumped their win total to 4-0 as they defeated UMass Dartmouth at home by a score of 30-14. Hamilton rushed for his third touchdown in the season, while first-year defensive back Matt Shea registered a team-best eight solo stops.

The Panthers begin their October slate on the road tomorrow when they visit Westfield State for a 2:00 p.m. kick-off.

New England D3 Football: Team Effort Carries Plymouth State Past Castleton

Plymouth State junior Chris Kelly hauled in the go-ahead touchdown to help the Panthers earn their first win on the road against Castleton since 2010. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State Athletics)

Plymouth State junior Chris Kelly hauled in the go-ahead touchdown to help the Panthers earn their first win on the road against Castleton since 2010. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Plymouth State highlighted the final day of the first week of the New England Division III football season with a thrilling 20-7 win over Castleton.

The win was the Panthers’ first victory in Vermont since September 2010.

Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zach Edwards tossed one touchdown, while completing 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards. First-year halfback David Hamilton rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries and recorded his first collegiate touchdown on a one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers’ defense concluded the contest by forcing five turnovers, including three interceptions. Senior RJ Ramsden led the unit with nine total tackles, including four solo stops, while first-year Matt Shea tallied four individual tackles.

Castleton led once in the contest when they capped a 10-play, 67 yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Nick Boles to senior wide-out Soren Pelz-Walsh.

The Spartans led at the break, 7-6, before the Panthers erased the one-point deficit with an Edwards touchdown pass to junior wide-out Chris Kelly.

Both teams are back in action next week with Plymouth State hosting Mount Ida, while Castleton travels to Fitchburg State.