PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The New England Football Conference announced its 2008 All-Star team Monday, and 10 Plymouth State University players were among those named Boyd Division All-Stars. The teams are voted on by the league's head coaches.
Eight Panthers were selected to the Boyd Division First Team, four on offense and four on defense, and two other defensive players were named to the Second Team. Four of the selections are repeat honorees from last season. They were all key players in Plymouth State's run to the NEFC championship and berth in the NCAA play-offs.
The offensive players named First Team All-Stars include senior running back Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.), senior tight end Tim Nicholson (Franklin, Mass.), senior offensive lineman Joe Duval (Dover, N.H.) and junior offensive lineman Zac Duval (Dover, N.H.). Mack received the honor for the second straight season, while the others are all first-time picks.
The four defensive players selected to the First Team are senior defensive lineman Justin Jarvis (Surry, N.H./Monadnock), junior defensive lineman Jim Sestito (Foxboro, Mass.), senior linebacker Brian Keenan (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton) and sophomore defensive back Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan). Jarvis is a three-time All-Conference selection, moving up to the First Team after two years on the Second Team. Whalen was on the Second Team last year, and the other two are first time choices.
PSU's Second Team selections are first-time honorees in senior defensive lineman Ryan Harrington (Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) and sophomore defensive back Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.).
Mack (right, near) completed an outstanding season, rushing for a school-record 1,779 yards and 20 touchdowns. He ran for more than 200 yards four times, and ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rushing. He carried the load for the Panthers, who ran the ball nearly 90 percent of the time.
PSU had a powerful offensive line opening holes for Mack, led by the Duval brothers. Joe (far left) is a four-year starter who spent time at both guard positions as well as center, while Zac (left, near) started every game at right tackle. Nicholson (above, far right), who shared co-captain duties with Mack, was a strong blocking tight end, moving back to the offense this season after a year at linebacker last season.
The Panthers had the top defense in the NEFC this season, and they were rewarded with six all-conference selections. Sestito, Jarvis, and Harrington gave PSU anchors on the interior line, Sestito (right, near) with 41 tackles, including a team-high 8.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, Jarvis (right, middle) with 46 tackles, including seven for lost yardage, and Harrington (far right) with 29 tackles, including three for losses and one sack.
Keenan (far left) backboned a solid linebacking unit, leading the team in tackles with 58, while also collecting an interception and a forced fumble. Whalen (left, middle) had three interceptions and eight pass break-ups and Parsons (left, near) recorded four interceptions and four break-ups to lead the Panther defensive backs.
Plymouth State won nine games in a row this year, including the NEFC championship game, before losing to SUNY Cortland last Saturday, 31-14, in the first round of the NCAA play-offs, finishing the season with a 10-2 overall record.
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