Panthers hold off late threat by Mustangs
NEWTON, Mass. – Freshman Zack Edwards (Brookfield, Mass.) connected with sophomore Chris Kelly (Belmont, Mass.) on a touchdown pass midway through the second quarter, and the proved to be the game-winning score Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University defeated Mount Ida College, 9-6, in a non-conference affair at Alumni Field.
PSU recorded its first win of the season (1-1) and first triumph since a 30-24 decision over Mount Ida a year ago, while the Mustangs are winless after two games.
Senior Melquawn Pinkney (Springfield, Mass.) punched in a 9-yard touchdown five minutes into the game to give the Mustangs a 6-0 lead after a point after attempt failed. That play was set up by a Panthers fumble, forced by Anferne Jimenez (Salem, Mass.) and recovered by Mustang junior Sean Chinova (Watertown, Conn.)
Plymouth State scored all nine of their points in the second quarter, beginning with a Jeff Madden (Wolfeboro, N.H.) field goal from 20 yards out. That was set up by a blocked punt by Zach Ziemba (Manchester, N.H.), the first play of the second quarter, putting the visitors at the Mount Ida 7-yard line.
On the Mustang's next possession, they pushed the ball to Plymouth State's 24 yard line, but Alton George (Foxboro, Mass.) sacked Mount Ida freshman quarterback Jack Sheehan (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and forced a fumble, which was pounced on by freshman Cam McGhee (Winchester, Mass.).
The Panthers went eight plays and gained 76 yards to take the lead on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Edwards to Kelly with 4:14 to play in the half.
Sheehan threw for 202 yards for Mount Ida, completing 14-24 passes in the game, while Edwards went 15-22 for 166 yards with a touchdown.
On the ensuing Mount Ida possession after Plymouth State had taken the lead, the Mustangs stalled at midfield and then a muffed punt stopped them from pinning the visitors deep.
Miscues continued for both teams in the second half. Madden missed a 30-yard field goal midway through the third quarter that would have extended Plymouth State's lead, and Mount Ida sophomore Travis O'Brien (Portsmouth, R.I.) fumbled at the Plymouth State 16-yard line, with Ziemba pouncing on the ball to stop a Mount Ida scoring drive.
Faouzi Talabi (Brewster, Mass.) caught a 39-yard pass from Sheehan in the fourth quarter to put the Mustangs back into scoring possession, and on fourth and goal from the one, they lined up for a game-tying field goal, but another muffed snap forced Tyler Rogers (Bridgewater, Mass.) to pounce on the ball.
Mount Ida got one last chance to tie the game after an equipment penalty on the Panthers stopped what looked like a game-clinching run by Joe Ceraldi (Cranston, R.I.), who rushed seven times for 37 yards.
The Mustangs got the ball with thirty-four seconds to play and a 26-yard pass to Hewitt put the Mustangs at the visitor 12-yard line. With three seconds to play, a potential game-tying field goal attempt went just wide left.
Senior Will Perotti (East Canaan, Conn.) led the Panther defense with seven tackles, while George had four tackles, one for a quarterback sack, and a forced fumble.
The Panthers return home for their first conference game of the year next Saturday when Western Connecticut comes to town for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. Mount Ida (0-2) continues a three-game home-stand next Saturday with a 1:00 pm game against Springfield College.
(With contributions from Mount Ida Sports Information)
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