MILTON, Mass. - Senior running back Jose Raymond (Wakefield, MA) rushed 17 times for a career-high 146 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as Plymouth State routed winless Curry College, 42-0, at rainy Forbes Will Field.
Raymond rebounded from a sub-par game a week ago to register the best outing of his career. He scored from 32 yards out in the first quarter, from seven yards out in the second quarter, and on a one-yard plunge in the third quarter as PSC ran away from the Colonels.
"The offensive line gave me some great holes today," said Raymond. "The guys never lost confidence in me after last week's fumbles. They wanted me to carry the ball today. We wanted to stick to our game plan and get some confidence back that we lost last week."
Sophomore Brent Bardellini (Milford, MA) also scored twice for the Panthers, who used reserves most of the second half. Bardellini caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from QB Josh Norse (Brattleboro, VT) in the first quarter to put PSC up 7-0, then returned a punt 54 yards for PSC's final score midway through the third quarter.
"This was a must-win for us," said PSC head coach Mike Kemp. "It was a tough week after a tough loss to Coast Guard. We were depressed and it makes concentrating difficult. But to the kids' credit, they came through and executed very well today. This is a sign of maturity the way they drew together as a team."
Despite the sloppy field conditions and cold, steady sheets of rain plaguing the game, PSC dominated on both sides of the football. The Panther offense gained 316 yards, 240 of which were on the ground, while the PSC defense limited Curry to a total of 64 yards for the game.
"We wanted to pass early because their secondary was creeping up on us," said Kemp, "and with the weather the way it was, we wanted to throw early and get a jump on the other team. We executed very well today. It was important that our offense and special teams gain some confidence back today, and we did that."
After Bardellini scored on PSC's first possession, Raymond scored the first of his three touchdowns, giving the Panthers a 14-0 lead at the end of one quarter. Raymond's second touchdown and a one-yard TD from fullback Bryan Sinatro (West Hartford, CT) gave PSC a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Raymond added his third touchdown early in the second half, making it 35-0, and Bardellini put the nails in the coffin with his 54 yard punt return. It is the second punt he's returned for a touchdown this season, and the fifth on his career. The remainder of the third quarter and the fourth quarter was filled with reserves from both sides. Neither team was able to do much, as field conditions had deteriorated by then.
The Panthers, 7-2 overall, remain alive for an ECAC post-season berth and a share of the Freedom Football Conference title. PSC will close out the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 15, with a 1:00 p.m. game at FFC foe WPI.
"We know our NCAA chances are out of reach, but we're still working hard for the seniors," said PSC offensive guard and team captain Brian Arakelian (Hampton, NH). "Everyone is still focused on staying together."
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