Hamilton ends career fourth among all-time rushing leaders
DANBURY, Conn. – Senior David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) rushed for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns to move into fourth place on Plymouth State University's all-time rushing leaders list, but Western Connecticut State University rallied from a ten-point deficit to top the Panthers, 26-23, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football game at the Westside Athletic Complex on Saturday.
PSU held a 23-13 lead midway through the third quarter, but the hosts rallied with consecutive touchdown-scoring drives of 60+ yards to pull in front. The Colonials' missed an extra point to keep the Panthers within three, and a long Hamilton rush coupled with a WestConn roughing the passer penalty helped Plymouth State move the ball to the Colonials' 15-yard line. The WestConn defense came up with a big play on third down to push PSU out of field goal range, though, and a sack on fourth-and-22 gave the Colonials the ball back. Plymouth State had one final chance at a game-tying drive starting from its own 25-yard line with just 31 seconds to play, but the Panthers were unable to move the ball as WestConn held on for the win.
Hamilton's 923 rushing yards this season are a career high and give him 2,589 for his career, marking the fourth highest total in program history. All three players above him logged over 700 attempts, while Hamilton reached the mark in 562 carries.
Plymouth State ends its season with a 6-4 record and an even 4-4 mark in the MASCAC, while WestConn improves to 8-2 (6-2 MASCAC) to secure a spot in the New England Cup next weekend.
Plymouth State 23, WestConn 26
Plymouth State (6-4, 4-4 MASCAC)
WestConn (8-2, 6-2 MASCAC)
How it Happened.
- Plymouth State took an early lead when Hamilton scored on a nine-yard run with 4:42 left in the first quarter. His TD run was set up after a bad snap over the head of the Colonials' punter gave the Panthers the ball on the WestConn 12-yard line.
- WestConn drew within a point when senior quarterback David James (Stamford, Conn.) connected with sophomore Will Daniels (Bethel, Conn.) for a nine-yard touchdown in the opening minutes of the second quarter, but PSU retained the lead when the extra point attempt was blocked by sophomore Kayden Baillargeon (Derry, N.H.).
- The Panthers went ahead by seven points, 13-6, when senior Nick Lancia (Bedford, N.Y.) scored on a four-yard run with 8:19 left in the second quarter, but the extra point attempt sailed left as both kickers battled a stiff wind all afternoon.
- After the Colonials evened the game on a one-yard run from senior Devon Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) with under three minutes left in the half, PSU answered right back as Hamilton cashed in from a yard out to cap a nine-play, 65-yard drive in just 1:53 for a 20-13 halftime lead.
- Freshman Dan Carey (Plymouth, N.H.) booted a career-high 34-yard field goal 4:30 into the second half to push the Panthers' lead to 23-13, but those would be the last Plymouth points of the day.
- Smith found the end zone on a two-yard run midway through the third quarter to pull the hosts to within three, 23-20, then added a one-yard score on the ground with 10:36 left to play, though a missed extra point kept the PSU deficit within three, 26-23.
- Lancia returned the ensuing kickoff 26 yards and Hamilton ripped off a 15-yard run to set up the drive. Sophomore quarterback Brett Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) converted on third-and-seven with a nine yard pass to junior Zac Hunter (Upton, Mass.), and a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball all the way to the WestConn 18-yard line.
- On third-and-seven from the 15-yard line, a bad snap over the head of Lavanchy pushed the Panthers out of field goal range, and forced to go for it on fourth down, the Colonials' defense came up with a huge sack.
- WestConn chewed up most of the remaining clock on the next drive, ultimately giving the ball back on the PSU 25-yard line with just 31 seconds to play and the Panthers were unable to rally.
Inside the Numbers:
- Hamilton carried the ball 20 times for his 115 yards (5.8 avg) and recorded his 24th and 25th career rushing TDs. He was also the Panthers' top receiver, picking up 34 yards through the air.
- Lancia added 46 yards on 10 carries and a score, while Lavanchy finished 7-of-21 for 91 yards.
- James went 30-of-39 for 294 yards and a TD for the Colonials.
- Senior Matt Shea (Atkinson, N.H.) and junior Matt Tosone (Walpole, Mass.) combined for 29 tackles for the Panthers, with Shea registering a game-high 18, including 13 solo stops.
- WestConn outgained the Panthers by a 419-223 margin and was able to convert on five-of-nine (56%) fourth down attempts.
** With contributions from WestConn Sports Information **
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