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January 6, 2009

Four PSU Football players named ECAC All-Stars

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The post-season parade of honors continued for the Plymouth State University football team on Monday when four Panthers were named to the 2008 Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Northeast All-Star Team.

            Senior running back Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford) and senior offensive lineman Joe Duval (Dover, N.H./Dover) were PSU's representatives on the offense, and junior defensive lineman Jim Sestito (Foxboro, Mass./Foxboro) and sophomore defensive back Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) were recognized on defense. Plymouth State led all schools with four players selected, while Trinity College, Williams College and Tufts University were each represented by three players.

            The teams are voted on by the ECAC Division III Northeast head coaches.  The players will be honored on February 24, 2009, at the annual Eastern College Football Awards Banquet presented by FieldTurf Tarkett, an event held in the Pegasus Restaurant at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J.

            The four Panther All-Stars were also New England Football Conference First Team All-Stars and were all key players in Plymouth State's run to the NEFC championship and berth in the NCAA play-offs.

            Mack (near right) 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. Duval (far right) anchored the powerful offensive line opening holes for Mack.

            The Panthers had the top defense in the NEFC this season, led by Sestito and Whalen among others. Sestito (far left) recorded 41 tackles, including a conference-leading 8.5 sacks, while Whalen (near left) had three interceptions and eight pass break-ups to earn his second straight All-NEFC selection.

            Plymouth State won nine games in a row this year, including the NEFC championship game, before losing to SUNY Cortland, 31-14, in the first round of the NCAA play-offs, finishing the season with a 10-2 overall record.

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