PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior quarterback Dan Warren (Roscommon, MI) threw for a first-quarter touchdown and ran for a second-quarter score Saturday at rainy Currier Field to lead the Coast Guard Academy to a 19-0 victory over Plymouth State College.
The Bears, 7-1 overall, remain the only undefeated team in the Freedom Football Conference (4-0), while Plymouth State had its five-game winning streak stopped, falling to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the FFC. PSC came into the game ranked #1 in New England and Coast Guard was #2.
Coast Guard was aided by eight Plymouth State turnovers, four fumbles and four interceptions.
"Not to take anything away from Coast Guard, they're a very good football team," said a disappointed Panther coach Mike Kemp, "but we basically shot ourselves in the foot. Eight turnovers will do you in."
Warren hit wide receiver Al Thompson (East Lyme, CT) on a 29-yard scoring play with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The kick failed and the Bears led 6-0.
Midway through the second quarter, PSC fumbled deep in its own territory and Coast Guard recovered at the Panther three yard line. Warren scored on a QB keeper on fourth and goal from the one, and after a two-point conversion failed, the Bears held a 12-0 lead.
The Panther offense struggled most of the afternoon. Senior QB Josh Norse (Brattleboro, VT) was 20-for-41 for 203 yards and four interceptions, and tailback Jose Raymond (Wakefield, MA), who had scored at least one touchdown in each of PSC's first seven games, carried 15 times for just 43 yards, while fumbling three times.
"Jose might have lost some confidence, but after the third fumble, I had to go elsewhere," said Kemp. "Their kids don't make a lot of mistakes. But the biggest part of this game was our mistakes."
The bright spot for the Panther offense was by sophomore wide receiver Charlie Schubert (Manchester, NH/Central), who caught a career-high 10 passes for 111 yards. Linebackers Dave Gibson (Middletown, RI) and Rocky Criscone (Burnt Hills, NY) anchored the defense, with Gibson making 15 tackles and Criscone 10, including three in the Coast Guard backfield.
Senior Ed Hernaez (Fairfax, VA) returned Norse's fourth interception 34 yards for a touchdown with eight seconds remaining in the game to close out the scoring.
"If you're a good team, you should be able to right your situations," said Kemp. "We couldn't do that today. We played last week in far worse weather, so I don't know what the answer is. We can't afford to make mistakes. Our offense didn't play well today. That was the story of the game."
The Panthers, at 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference, can still earn a share of the FFC title as well as an ECAC post-season berth. PSC wraps up the regular season with a pair of road games - next Saturday in a non-conference affair at Curry College (12:00 p.m.) and on Nov. 15th at conference foe WPI (1:00 p.m.).
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