GAME #9: Mount Ida College (0-6) at Plymouth State College (3-5, 2-3 FFC)
Sat., Nov. 4, 2000, 12:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State College football team plays its final two games this season at home, beginning this Saturday with a non-conference encounter against Mount Ida College.
The Panthers and Mustangs will kick off at 12 noon Saturday at Currier Field. Plymouth State needs to win the final two games to avoid its first losing season since 1979, while Mount Ida is struggling through some growing pains in what is its second year of varsity football.
This will be the first career football meeting between PSC and Mount Ida. The Mustangs are 0-3 this season against Freedom Football Conference schools, having lost to Western Connecticut, Norwich and Coast Guard.
PSC, 3-5 overall and 2-3 FFC, snapped a four-game losing streak last Saturday with a 25-7 conference win at Coast Guard. The Panthers outgained the Bears in the second half 260-69 and scored four unanswered touchdowns to secure the victory. HB Russ Massahos ran for an all-time-high 208 yards and a career longest 78-yard TD, and QB Matt Simpson tossed scoring passes to three different receivers. LB Chris Kelliher anchored a solid defensive effort, reaching double figures in tackles for the fourth straight week, and S Jason Marcell made a season-high 11 stops.
Every player has a team he likes to play against, and for Massahos, it must be Coast Guard. The Panther running back has had two 200-yard games in his career, both at Coast Guard - 207 yards in 1998 and 208 last week. The other game against the Bears, in 1999, produced a PSC, FFC and New England Division III record six touchdowns and 189 yards rushing. His three-game totals against Coast Guard are a remarkable 604 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.
Mount Ida turned in a respectable 3-4 record in 1999, its first as a varsity team, pulling out wins over Western New England, Coast Guard and Kean. This year has been difficult for the team and first-year head coach Ed Sweeney, former head coach at Frostburg State. After starting the season with less than 30 players, the Mustangs were hit by injuries and had to cancel games against Wesley College and Brockport State. Mount Ida is winless (0-6) and has been shut out in all but one game.
DYNAMIC DUO: Plymouth State usually has a variety of players winning weekly honors from the conference, but lately it's been LB Chris Kelliher and HB Russ Massahos hogging all the awards. Kelliher has been recognized by the FFC after the last four games, including Defensive Player of the Week honors two of the past three weeks. He leads the conference in tackles and is among the leaders in tackles for loss and fumbles (combined forced and recovered). Massahos was on the Honor Roll for the third straight week and fourth time this season. He is among the FFC leaders in rushing, receptions, scoring and all-purpose yards.
FFC PICTURE: Springfield remains undefeated (8-0, 5-0) and appears headed to the FFC title, its third in five years. The Pride can clinch the crown and the FFC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a win this Saturday at Norwich. Current runner-up Norwich (7-1, 3-1) could shock everyone and share the championship with victories in its last two games against Springfield and Western Connecticut. Third-place Western Connecticut (7-1, 3-1) is also still alive, but lost a head-to-head match-up with Springfield. Kings Point (2-2) is in fourth place, followed by PSC (2-3), Coast Guard (0-4) and WPI (0-4).
2000 PSC WEEKLY HONORS:
Sept. 10 DB Mike Pelletier (FFC Def. Player/Week), WR Nate Sergent (FFC Honor Roll)
Sept. 24 DB Mike Pelletier (FFC Def. Player/Week, ECAC NE Honor Roll),
RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 9 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Honor Roll), RB Jason Bordas (FFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 16 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Def. Player/Week, ECAC NE Honor Roll),
RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 23 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Honor Roll), RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 30 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Def. Player/Week), RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)
PSC AT CURRIER FIELD: Despite a 1-2 home record this season, PSC has had plenty of success over the years at Currier Field. Plymouth State now has an all-time home record of 112-36-3 for a .752 winning percentage. The Panthers are 30-10 (.750) at home the last eight years, and they were 38-13-1 (.740) in the ‘90s.
A LOOK AHEAD: PSC concludes its 31st season of collegiate football next Saturday in the home finale at Currier Field against WPI. The Panther seniors and their parents will be recognized prior to the game.