Banuskevich, Martin, Cusano garner First Team honors
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Seven members of the Plymouth State University football team were among those student-athletes to receive recognition when the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) announced its major awards winners and All-Conference teams on Thursday.
Plymouth State had seven athletes earn All-MASCAC honors, including two dual recipients and four First Team selections.
Senior defensive back Mitch Banuskevich (Milford, N.H.) and sophomore punter Jeremy Martin (Charlton, Mass.) earned All-MASCAC First Team Defense honors, while Martin (as a kicker) and junior offensive lineman Nick Cusano (Wethersfield, Conn.) garnered All-MASCAC First Team Offense recognition.
Additionally, junior defensive back Matt Shea (Windham, N.H.) and sophomore defensive lineman Zac Garside (Londonderry, N.H.) were voted to the All-MASCAC Second Team Defense, while Banuskevich (as a kick return specialist), junior offensive tackle Matt Palma (Cheshire, Conn.) and sophomore tight end Max Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) earned All-MASCAC Second Team Offense selections.
Banuskevich entered the season tenth among PSU's career rushing leaders, but made a seamless transition to defensive back for the Panthers. He finished fourth on the team with 48 tackles (32 solo) and led the PSU defense with two interceptions. As a returner he finished tops in the MASCAC with a 29.1 yard average on kickoffs and a 13.3 yard average on punts. Banuskevich was a Second Team Offense selection last fall as a tailback.
Martin put together a superb season. A Second Team selection on both offense and defense a year ago, Martin was the only kicker in the league to nail every PAT (22-for-22) with more than five attempts. He converted 82% of his field goal tries (9-of-11) to lead the league among kickers with more than one attempt, and his 49 points were tops among kickers and tenth among all players in the league. He also finished with a league-best 39.2 yards per punt average and had 13-of-37 punts downed inside the 20, also best in the league.
Cusano started all ten games on the offensive line, splitting time between center and guard, while Palma started nine games for the Panthers all at left tackle. At positions not known to accumulate statistics, the duo helped anchor a unit that surrendered just 14 sacks over 276 total drop backs this fall.
Shea finished in the top four in the MASCAC and tops on the team with 77 tackles and 48 solo stops. He added a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and one interception and was second on the team with three pass break-ups.
Garside was a regular on the defensive line playing in all ten games. Known for disrupting opposing offenses in the backfield, he led the team with 2.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss. Garside finished the year with 26 total tackles (14 solo) and added two pass break-ups.
Osgood impressed as a dual threat tight end. He provided strong blocking to open up running lanes while also finishing third on the team with 184 receiving yards and second with four receiving touchdowns. His best game came in a 38-6 win over Worcester State on Homecoming weekend when he caught three balls for 73 yards and two touchdowns, including a 22-yard TD grab on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Led by 16-year veteran head coach Paul Castonia the Panthers finished the season with a 6-4 overall mark and a 5-3 record in MASCAC play. All three of the team's league losses were by less than a touchdown.
A complete list of the All-MASCAC teams can be found at MASCAC.com.
– 30 –