PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomores John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) and Brent Gallant (Byron, Maine) each rushed for over 100 yards Saturday afternoon, and they combined for three touchdowns as Plymouth State University ran past Mount Ida College, 31-20, in PSU's football season finale at Currier Field.
DeMarco carried the ball 24 times for 146 yards and one touchdown on the afternoon, while Gallant ran 15 times for 113 yards and two TDs to lead the Panther ground game. PSU gained 280 of its 348 yards on the ground. The Panthers won three of their final five games to finish the season with a 4-6 record, while Mount Ida dropped its fifth in a row to fall to 1-8 with one game remaining.
The outcome spoiled another strong rushing game by Mount Ida junior Antwan Harris (Hartford, Conn.), who finished with 141 yards on 27 carries, and two touchdowns. Harris rushed for over 100 yards against PSU last season, and increased his season total this year to 1,281 yards and nine TDs.
Both teams took the ball into the end zone on their opening drives of the game. Mount Ida went 71 yards on seven plays, capped by a 15-yard burst by Harris, and PSU answered with a 69-yard drive, finished off by an 11-yard TD pass from junior Tye Seastedt (Danville, N.H.) to sophomore Drew Richardson (Newburgh, Maine).
PSU took the lead for good later in the first quarter, as senior Jake Meserve (Dover, N.H.) recovered a fumble at the Mount Ida 10 yard line, and two plays later, Gallant went into the end zone from five yards out.
The Panthers started their next possession at their own three-yard line following an interception by freshman Jermaine Jordan (Bellingham, Mass.), and put together their most impressive drive of the year. PSU went 97 yards on 16 plays, 12 on the ground, with DeMarco and Gallant both contributing, and Gallant scoring on a fourth-down-and-one play from the Mount Ida 15.
Plymouth State extended its lead to 28-7 two minutes later when, following another Mustang turnover, DeMarco punched it in from two yards out. Junior Chris Smith (Maple Shade, N.J.) booted his fourth straight extra point and the Panthers took the three-touchdown lead into the intermission.
Mount Ida cut the margin to 28-14 on its first possession of the second half, as senior QB Corey Doe (Roxbury, Mass.) scrambled for a four-yard score.
Smith pushed PSU's lead to 17 points with a season-long 39-yard field goal on the third play of the fourth quarter. Mount Ida added a TD on a Harris 19-yard run with 1:22 remaining, but time ran out on the Mustangs as Meserve intercepted a pass for PSU in the final minute.
Meserve celebrated Senior Day with an outstanding performance, finishing with a team-leading 10 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and two fumble recoveries. Senior DL Pat Quinlan (Saugus, Mass.) collected eight tackles and batted down one pass. PSU's other two seniors playing in their final game were DL Caleb Hooker (Peterborough, N.H.) and OL Sean Elwood (Walpole, Mass.)
Junior Steve DeLeon (East Falmouth, Mass.) led the Mustangs defense, making a team-high 10 tackles, including a sack.
Mount Ida wraps up its season next week with a home game against Western Connecticut.
This was PSU's last game as a Division III independent, as the Panthers move into the New England Football Conference in 2006.
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