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Plymouth State Football rallies to defeat Endicott

(Box Score

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior quarterback J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H./Winnacunnet) ran for a touchdown with 1:27 remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, capping a 21-point rally as Plymouth State University came from behind to defeat Endicott College, 31-28, in a New England Football Conference Boyd Division contest at Currier Field.

            Endicott led most of the game, and held a 28-10 advantage with three minutes left in the third quarter, but Brooks hit junior John Creamer (Abington, Mass.) with a dramatic 32-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left in the quarter and then ran for two fourth-quarter scores to help PSU pull out the win.  PSU extended its winning streak to five games, improving to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the NEFC Boyd Division, while the upset-minded Gulls fall to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the division.

            The Panthers extended their Boyd Division regular season winning streak to 12 games, dating back to 2007.  PSU also captured its 15th consecutive home victory, dating back to 2006.

            Creamer enjoyed a career game for the Panthers, catching nine passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.  He had 11 receptions for 143 yards and three scores on the season coming into the game.

            PSU also got 91 yards on 16 carries from freshman Ty Long (Dover, N.H.), while Brooks rushed for 73 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns.  Brooks also threw a season-high 27 passes, completing 13 for 237 yards and two scores.

            Endicott, which rushed for 229 yards, got 127 yards on 15 carries from sophomore Mike Lane (Medfield, Mass.) and 81 yards on 14 carries from senior Colby Hawkins (Scituate, Mass.), with each rushing for one touchdown.

            The Gulls jumped on top when Lane ran 73 yards for a touchdown on the first play of Endicott's second possession.  PSU answered on the ensuing possession, with Brooks hitting Creamer on a 30-yard scoring play to tie the game at 7-7.  Endicott came right back with a nine-play drive, taking a 14-7 lead when sophomore quarterback Phil Konopka (Shelton, Conn.) connected with sophomore Mike Fimiani (Melrose, Mass.) on a 23-yard TD pass.

            Plymouth State pulled to within 14-10 midway through the second quarter when sophomore Christian Mulcahy (Norwich, Conn.) kicked a 28-yard field goal, but Endicott responded four plays later when Hawkins rushed for a six-yard TD to make it a 21-10 Gulls lead at halftime.

            Endicott continued to maintain control in the third quarter. Junior PJ Bay (Darien, Conn.) intercepted the football and returned it 26 yards, setting up another Gulls touchdown. Konopka connected with junior Neil Powers (Westford, Mass.) on a 24-yard scoring strike to put the Gulls up, 28-10, with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.

            That's when PSU went to work. Brooks led the team on an eight-play drive before the end of the quarter, and the momentum changed when Brooks threw to Creamer in the end zone.  Creamer out-jumped three defenders to snare the ball and pull down the pass, pulling PSU to within 28-17 entering the fourth quarter.

            After the Panther defense held, Brooks led the team on an 11-play drive and finished it off with a three-yard plunge to make it 28-23.  A two-point conversion attempt failed, but eight minutes remained on the clock.

            With momentum in favor of the Panthers, Endicott went three-and-out, and PSU got the ball back at its own 44 with 6:49 to play.  Brooks again engineered an 11-play drive, and again capped it with a five-yard TD run with 1:27 remaining.  Brooks also connected with tight end Aaron Getz (Palmerton, Pa.) for the two-point conversion.

            Endicott had one last chance in the final 1:27, and drove 45 yards in nine plays, but a potential game-tying 39-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining was wide right.

            PSU is home again next Saturday against Nichols College (1:00 p.m.), while Endicott travels to Curry (1:00 p.m.) 

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