Panthers wind up play in the NEFC
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Kevin Fruwirth (Agawam, Mass.) completed 23-of-38 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns Saturday afternoon to lead Curry College to a 27-19 victory over Plymouth State University in the New England Football Conference Boyd Division regular season finale for both schools.
Fruwirth connected with senior Greg Caswell (Brookfield, Mass.) on a pair of first-half touchdown passes as Caswell finished the day with seven receptions for 100 yards. Junior Richard Johnson (Framingham, Mass.) and senior Rob Bambini (Westwood, Mass.) also caught TD passes from Fruwirth as Curry completes the regular season at 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the Boyd Division.
PSU junior Jake Tyler (Maynard, Mass.) threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 47 yards and a TD as the Panthers completed their season at 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the division.
The Colonels looked like they were going to run away with it in the first quarter, taking a 13-0 lead and outgaining the Panthers in total offense, 168-25. After each team fumbled on its first possession, Curry jumped on top when Fruwirth connected with Caswell on a 17-yard scoring strike. The touchdown came one play after Fruwirth hit Johnson on a 29-yard gain. The extra point attempt failed, leaving the score at 6-0.
Curry scored again on its next possession, going 79 yards in eight plays and capped by a Fruwirth-to-Johnson eight-yard toss. The extra point kick made it 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Plymouth State got on the scoreboard in the second quarter, converting a Colonel fumble into a touchdown. On the first play after Curry turned the ball over, Tyler hit senior Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) on a 29-yard completion down the left sideline to the Curry nine yard line. Three plays later, Tyler connected with Foglia on a six-yard TD pass, but PSU's extra point attempt failed.
The Panthers tied the game at 13-all with six minutes left in the second quarter when Tyler ran it in from seven yards out. The touchdown was set up by a 26-yard pass play from Tyler to junior Zac Iovanella (North Andover, Mass.) The Colonels came right back to regain the lead when Fruwirth connected with Caswell on a nine-yard TD pass, and Curry took a 20-13 margin into halftime.
PSU was poised for a tying score early in the third quarter with an 11-play drive, including a first-and-goal at the Curry six, but Curry senior Rashad Sims (Beverly, Mass.) picked off Tyler to snuff out the drive.
The Colonels pulled away with a 10-play, 97-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, capped by Fruwirth's 16-yard strike to Bambini that made the score 27-13. The play was slightly controversial as Bambini lost control of the ball at the goal line, and the officials needed to huddle before ruling it a touchdown.
Plymouth State had a golden chance to score again with about four minutes remaining but came up short after having first-and-goal at the Curry two. PSU managed one final touchdown with 1:46 remaining when Tyler found senior Dustin Matthews (Eliot, Maine) in the back of the end zone, but Curry recovered PSU's on-side kick and ran out the clock.
The game also marked PSU's final game in the New England Football Conference. The Panthers will compete in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) for football in 2013. PSU was a member of the NEFC from 1971-91, winning or sharing nine titles in those 21 seasons, including eight straight in the 1980s. After competing in the now-defunct Freedom Football Conference from 1992-2003, PSU rejoined the NEFC in 2006 and won its 10th NEFC title in 2008.
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