Panthers eyeing fourth straight winning season
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University football team was picked to finish fourth in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) in 2019 following a vote of the league's nine head coaches.
Framingham State was picked to finish first after collecting seven first place votes and 63 points. WestConn grabbed the final two first place votes for 53 points, as Bridgewater State (50 points) finished third.
Plymouth State earned 44 points, ahead of UMass Dartmouth (40 points) and Westfield State (26 points), while Fitchburg State (19 points), Mass. Maritime (16 points) and Worcester State (13 points) rounded out the poll.
Veteran head coach Paul Castonia, entering his 17th season at the helm, will be looking for some new faces to step into key roles as the Panthers hope to contend for the MASCAC title.
PSU will return its entire starting offensive line in senior captain Nick Cusano (Wethersfield, Conn.), classmates Matt Palma (Cheshire, Conn.), CJ Perrino (Rocky Point, N.H.) and Brandt O'Hara (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and junior Anthony Angerami (Manchester, N.H.), which will be tasked with protecting a new starting quarterback.
Seniors David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) and Nick Lancia (Bedford, N.Y.) are expected to carry the load at running back. Hamilton enters the season ninth on PSU's all-time career rushing list and finished last fall with a 911 yard season, while Lancia plowed through defenders to amass 294 yards last year.
The Panthers' most experienced receivers are junior Terrell Lewis (New Boston, N.H.) and sophomore Gavin Moody (Warner, N.H.), while juniors Zach Swanson (Meredith, N.H.) and Max Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) offer solid blocking and pass-catching abilities at the tight end position.
The competition for the QB job has come down to a pair of new faces; sophomore transfer Brett Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) and freshman Christian Paillet (Coconut Creek, Fla.). Both offer the ability to run and throw, though to date the duo have attempted just one pass in a collegiate game.
PSU has led the MASCAC in scoring defense each of the last two seasons – a trend Castonia hopes will continue in 2019 – but the Panthers will be relying on some new players on the defensive side as well.
Juniors Zac Garside (Mason, N.H.), Derrick Terrazzano (Manchester, N.H.) and Rowan Drew (Plymouth, N.H.) serve as the most experienced linemen, while junior Elijah Bussell (Athens, Maine), seniors Eric Smith (Seekonk, Mass.) and Dave Lyons (Abington, Mass.) and sophomore Jack Glanville (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) are expected to anchor the linebacker corps.
Senior captain Matt Shea (Atkinson, N.H.) and sophomore David Salazar (Waltham, Mass.) are set to lead the secondary. Shea has paced the team in tackles each of the last two years, while Salazar contributed 53 tackles as a rookie last fall.
Plymouth State opens the season on the road at Castleton on Saturday (Sept. 7), before hosting Maine Maritime in the home opener at Currier Field the following week.
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