Panthers and Colonels to wrap up regular season
|GAME #10:||Curry College (5-4, 3-3) at Plymouth State University (6-3, 4-2)|
|Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, 12:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The regular season in the New England Football Conference wraps up this Saturday as Plymouth State University hosts Curry College in one of the four Boyd Division affairs.
The Panthers and Colonels will kick off at 12 noon Saturday at Currier Field in Plymouth. Both teams are out conclude the season on winning notes, but unlike the last three years, the Boyd Division title is not on the line. PSU is tied for third in the division while Curry is in the unusual position of fifth place. Plymouth State is also celebrating Senior Day, honoring those Panthers who are playing their final collegiate home games.
PSU is looking to regroup after back-to-back losses to Western New England College and Salve Regina University, the first consecutive setbacks for the Panthers since October of 2006. The Panthers had won 19 of their last 20 Boyd Division games dating back to 2007 until the two recent defeats. Plymouth State was leading the NEFC in total defense before giving up 290 yards to Salve in last Saturday’s 30-14 loss to the Seahawks. The Panther offense was held to a season-low 92 yards on the ground, more than 100 yards below its average, and now ranks third in the conference in rushing with 196 yards per game.
After an NEFC dynasty that included seven of the past eight Boyd Division titles, five straight NEFC Championships (2003-07), and six straight NCAA appearances (2003-08), Curry will finish in the middle of the pack in this year’s Boyd Division race. The Colonels suffered consecutive losses to Endicott, Western New England and Salve Regina last month to fall out of the race, but have rebounded with wins over Nichols and UMass Dartmouth. The Colonels rank third in the NEFC behind PSU and Salve in total defense (255 yards allowed per game) and seventh, just ahead of PSU, in total offense (283 yards per game). Curry could finish out of the top 10 in the Division III New England rankings for the first time since 2000.
Saturday marks the 27th career meeting in football between Plymouth State and Curry, and while the Colonels have won three of the four games since 2006, the Panthers hold a 17-9 lead in the series that dates back to 1971. Curry won six of the first seven games in the 1970s, and PSU dominated the next two decades, with 15 consecutive victories between 1978 and 1997. The Colonels prevailed in the first two games when PSU rejoined the NEFC, winning 40-26 in 2006 and 42-14 in 2007 before PSU took the 2008 showdown, 28-17. Curry bounced back and won last year’s battle in Milton, Mass., 20-9.
SENIOR DAY: The Panthers are proud to honor a large group of 17 seniors on this year’s team. They have combined for a four-year record of 33-9 with an NEFC Championships and three post-season berths. The Panther seniors on defense are linebackers Mike Bruning (Abington, Mass.) Steve Campbell (Northborough, Mass.), Brian Castellucci (Derry, N.H.) and Harry Fallon (Hampton Falls, N.H.); backs Dan Kelly (Londonderry, N.H.), Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.) and Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn.); and linemen Jim Buckley (Burlington, Mass.) and Matt MacLean (Abington, Mass.); the group on offense includes linemen Ryan Britko (Hudson, N.H.) and Nick Fuccillo (East Falmouth, Mass.), tight end Aaron Getz (Palmerton, Pa.), quarterbacks JJ Brooks (Seabrook, N.H.) and Alex Sobolov (Goffstown, N.H.), fullback Chris Francher (Weare, N.H.) and receivers John Creamer (Hanover, Mass.) and Brendan Fontaine (Canterbury, Conn.).
PSU AT CURRIER FIELD: The Panthers have posted a 2-2 record at Currier Field this season after having their 17-game home winning streak snapped earlier this year. PSU was undefeated at home the past three seasons (5-0 the last two years and a 6-0 mark in 2007). Plymouth State is 24-5 at home since 2005 and has an all-time home record of 143-56-3 for a .715 winning percentage.
NEW ENGLAND POLL: Amherst College (6-0) owns the top spot in this week’s New England Division III poll, receiving 19 of the 23 first-place votes. The only other unbeaten team, Williams (6-0), got the other four top votes and is ranked second. Maine Maritime (7-1), Springfield (6-2) and Trinity (5-1) round out the top five spots, with the bottom five including Endicott (7-2), Framingham State (7-2), Norwich (7-2), Western New England (7-2) and Wesleyan (4-2).
NEFC HONORS: For the first time this season, Plymouth State did not have a player selected to receive NEFC weekly honors. Here are the Panthers who have received NEFC honors this season:
|Sept. 6||RB Ty Long, LB Brian Castellucci (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Sept. 13||RB Ty Long (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Sept. 20||LB Brian Castellucci (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Sept. 27||QB J.J. Brooks (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Oct. 4||LB Brian Castellucci (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Oct. 11||DL Peter LaBreck (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Oct. 18||LB Steve Campbell (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Oct. 25||RB Ty Long (NEFC Honor Roll)|
NEFC LEADERS: A handful of Panthers are among the NEFC statistical leaders, which includes all 16 teams. Sophomore RB Ty Long (Dover, N.H.) is ranked seventh in rushing (83.4 yds/gm), and senior LB Brian Castellucci (Derry, N.H.) is tied for 14th in tackles (7.9/gm). On special teams, sophomore Nick Provost (Stratham, N.H.) is the third-leading punter with a 38.3 average; and junior Christian Mulcahy (Norwich, Conn.) ranks eighth in kick scoring (4-of-7 on field goals, 15-of-18 on PATs).
PANTHER ALL-STARS: PSU has several players with previous post-season honors. Senior DB Zach Parsons and senior LB Brian Castellucci were First Team All-NEFC selections last year, and senior LB Harry Fallon was a Second Team pick. Senior DB Kevin Whalen was also a First Team honoree in 2008. On the offense, QB JJ Brooks was a Second Team selection last season and RB Ty Long was the NEFC Boyd Division Rookie of the Year. On special teams, as sophomore punter Nick Provost was voted to the First Team and junior Christian Mulcahy was Second Team as a kick returner.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Bogan champion will host the Boyd Division winner next Saturday for the NEFC championship and the automatic berth in the NCAA Championship Tournament. Maine Maritime and Endicott are in the driver’s seats heading into the final weekend, as each is tied for first in their respective divisions and owners of the tiebreaker against the team with which they are tied. Several NEFC schools are also hoping for ECAC post-season berths, which will be announced on Monday, Nov. 15.
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