SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Junior quarterback J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H./Winnacunnet) passed for three touchdowns and ran for another Saturday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to a 38-21 victory over Western New England College in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division game.
Brooks completed 9-of-13 passes for 145 yards and rushed for 77 yards on 20 carries as the Panthers improved their record to 4-1 overall with their fourth straight win. PSU is 2-0 in the division and has won 10 straight Boyd Division contests dating back to 2007.
The Golden Bears (1-4, 0-2 Boyd) gambled with an on-side kick to start the contest, but it didn't work as the visitors took over at the WNEC 41. Seven plays later Brooks fired a 27-yard scoring pass to junior tight end Aaron Getz (Palmerton, Pa.) just 3:41 into the game.
WNEC turned the ball over on a fumble on the next possession and junior linebacker Mike Bruning (Abington, Mass.) returned it 21 yards to the Golden Bears' 27. Brooks hit senior receiver Alex Smith (Walpole, Mass.) with a 17-yard strike four plays later for a 14-0 advantage at the 7:10 mark. Sophomore Christian Mulcahy (Norwich, Conn.) kicked a 21-yard field goal with 1:34 left in the period for a 17-0 lead.
Western New England finally got on the board when senior quarterback Justin Walz (Groton, Conn.) found sophomore running back JJ Jachym (Milford, Conn.) for a seven-yard pass with 10:35 left in the second quarter.
Plymouth State scored 14 points in the final 1:39 of the half when freshman running back Ty Long (Dover, NH) ran two yards for a score followed by a WNEC turnover that led to a five-yard pass from Brooks to Smith (game-high 5 catches, 83 yards) with just seven seconds left before the break.
The home team rallied with a pair of touchdowns in the third period to get within 31-21 on a two-yard run by Jachym (10 carries, 55 yards) and eight-yard pass from Walz (9-for-19, 111 yards) to senior receiver Chris Valliant (Holliston, Mass.).
Brooks scored the final touchdown of the game on a one-yard run with 9:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Plymouth State out-gained WNEC by a 432-230 margin with Long running for 107 yards on 15 carries. Junior running back Chris Francher (Weare, N.H.) contributed 92 yards on 20 carries.
Junior cornerback Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn.) made up for two fumbles on punt returns with a pair of interceptions and four tackles. Junior safety Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.) had a team-high eight tackles.
The Panthers, who forced four turnovers, converted 10-of-14 third-down conversions and controlled the ball for 40 minutes, 8 seconds. PSU has defeated WNEC in all 12 career meetings.
WNEC junior linebacker Justin Bailey (Northborough, Mass.) had a game-high14 tackles while freshman free safety Phil Tsopanides (Fairfield, Conn.) had 13 stops. Freshman cornerback Alex Miller (Seekonk, Mass.) had two fumble recoveries.
PSU is back at home for its next two games, beginning next Saturday with a Boyd Division game against Endicott (1:00 p.m.)
(Courtesy of Western New England College Sports Information)
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