Panthers score early touchdown but fall to Falcons
FITCHBURG, Mass. – Fitchburg State University's stout defense held Plymouth State University to 148 total yards of offense Saturday afternoon, leading the way for the 30-7 Falcon victory over the Panthers in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football action on Senior Day at Elliot Field.
The upset-minded Panthers scored the first touchdown of the day and led 7-0 after one quarter, but the offense stalled and Fitchburg ran up 30 unanswered points. Fitchburg State completes the regular season at 8-2 overall and 6-2 in MASCAC play, which tied for second and puts the Falcons in strong contention for an ECAC post-season berth. Plymouth State completes its season at 2-8 overall and 1-7 in conference play.
Junior quarterback Garrett Dellechiaie completed 17-of-30 passes for 196 yards and four touchdowns for the Falconns, while senior wide receiver Ty Spencer hauled in eight catches for 95 yards and one score. Junior tight end Devin Summiel was also solid for the Falcons in the passing game, catching two passes for 34 yards and pair of TD's
Freshman QB Zack Edwards (Brookfield, Mass.) led the way for the Panthers offense, completing 11-of-22 passes for 125 yards, while senior Andrew Vollaro (Higganum, Conn.) ran for 43 yards on seven carries. Newcomer Mitch Banuskevich (Milford, N.H.) added to the mix as well with six catches for 80 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Luis Feliz totaled a team-leading eight tackles, including six solo stops, three sacks and a fumble recovery, while junior Malcolm Brown-Simpson added six stops to go along with one tackle for loss and a fumble forced for the Green and Gold.
For Plymouth State, junior defensive back RJ Ramsden (Florence, Mass.) finished with a game-best 11 stops, including nine solo tackles, while senior linebacker Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.) added to the mix with 10 total tackles, two and half stops for loss and an assisted sack.
Plymouth State opened the scoring at the 7:20 mark, driving 72 yards on 12 plays as sophomore running back Joe Ceraldi (Cranston, R.I.) ran it in from one yard out for the early 7-0 advantage.
The Falcons knotted the score (7-7) with 12:13 remaining in the second quarter, capping an 11-play, 40-yard drive when Dellechiaie found Summiel in the far corner of the end zone for the six-yard touchdown.
Fitchburg State struck again taking the lead with six minutes left in the half on a 26-yard field goal by junior kicker Christopher Lugwig for the 10-7 lead before the Green and Gold extended its lead with 4:07 left as Dellechiaie hit senior Trayvon Neal in the back of the end zone to make the 16-7 going into the break.
The second half would resume with the Green and Gold receiving the kickoff and the offense continued to flow, as they took it 70 yards on seven plays capping off the scoring drive with a touchdown pass as Dellechiaie connected with Spencer from 22 yards out, widening the gap 23-7.
Dellechiaie threw his fourth and final touchdown in the fourth quarter, finding pay-dirt in under a minute and hitting Summiel for six to break the school's single-season touchdown receptions record with 11.
(With contributions from Fitchburg State Sports Information)
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