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Panthers hold off Springfield

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Shaun Spaulding (Everett, Mass.) caught a one-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the second quarter, and that proved to be the game-winning score Saturday as Plymouth State College stopped Springfield College in a Freedom Football Conference game at Currier Field, 9-7.

The victory improves PSC's record to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the FFC, while Springfield drops to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

The outcome overshadowed a strong performance from SC junior running back Joe Califano (Wappinger Falls, N.Y.), who rushed 33 times for 193 yards and one touchdown.

Springfield outgained PSC in total yards, 324-294, but could only get into the end zone once, on Califano's six-yard run midway through the first quarter.

Both teams scored on their first drive, and it looked like it might be a high-scoring affair. PSC went 57 yards on 10 plays on their opening possession, but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by sophomore Eric Calderwood (Merrimac, Mass.). Springfield answered with a 65-yard drive, and took a 7-3 lead on Califano's score.

Both teams had long drives on their next possessions, but turned the ball over on downs. PSC went 80 yards on 16 plays but missed on fourth-and-goal at the Springfield one yard line. The Pride then went 74 yards on 14 plays, but quarterback Ryan Sylvia (Marion, Mass.) was sacked by senior Brian Chaplain (Hooksett, N.H.) on fourth-and-11 in Panther territory.

Later in the second quarter, after Springfield missed a 20-yard field goal attempt, PSC went 80 yards on eight plays, culminating in Spaulding's TD reception. The extra point attempt by Calderwood failed, making it 9-7 PSC.

The Panther defense forced Springfield to punt on its first six possessions of the second half. The Pride's final two drives were stopped by PSC interceptions, first by junior Justin Falite (Saugus, Mass.) with 1:47 to go in the game, and then by senior Mike Pelletier (Concord, N.H.) with 17 seconds remaining.

Pelletier and senior Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, N.H.) anchored the PSC defensive effort, Kelliher finishing with 17 tackles and Pelletier with 14.

PSC's only chance to score in the second half came early in the fourth quarter, but Calderwood's 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

PSC gets a break from FFC action next Saturday, traveling to Bentley College for a non-conference affair (2:00 p.m.). Springfield returns home next Saturday to host WPI in an FFC contest (1:30 p.m.)