Shea, Cusano, Hersom voted to First Teams
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Five 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 Wednesday.
Senior Matt Shea (Atkinson, N.H.) earned All-MASCAC First Team Defense honors, while seniors Nick Cusano (Wethersfield, Conn.) and DJ Hersom (Farmington, N.H.) were chosen for All-MASCAC First Team Offense recognition. Additionally, seniors Brandt O'Hara (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) garnered All-MASCAC Second Team Offense honors.
The postseason awards come following a 6-4 year under head coach Paul Castonia, who completed his 17th season at Plymouth State. It marks the team's fourth-straight winning season, while PSU's 4-4 MASCAC record left the Panthers tied for fifth in the league. Two of the four losses came by seven points or less, while PSU's scoring defense was top two in the league for the fourth consecutive year.
A 5-8, 176-pound defensive back, Shea wrapped up an impressive career with yet another solid season for the Panthers, leading the team in tackles for the third straight year. Named the Defensive Player of the Week following PSU's 7-3 win over Mass. Maritime on Oct. 26, Shea finished second in the league with a career-high 99 tackles, including 63 solo stops. Also a two-time Weekly Honor Roll honoree, he led the Panthers with two interceptions, two blocked kicks and was second with six pass breakups. Shea earned Second Team honors last fall.
A 5-10, 255-pound offensive lineman, Cusano started all ten games for the Panthers, rotating time between guard and center. At a position not known for accruing statistics, Cusano provided steady protection as Plymouth State introduced a new quarterback this year. It marks his second straight year on the First Team.
A 5-11, 225-pound full back, Hersom's blocking helped pave the way for a PSU running game that averaged 162.0 yards per game, fourth-most in the league. He also rushed six times for 23 yards and caught five balls for 23 yards, while contributing additional protection for the quarterback. This was his first postseason honor.
A 5-10, 261-pound offensive lineman, O'Hara has started every game for the Panthers in each of his four seasons. His blocking helped the Plymouth State offense average 261.6 yards per game, the second highest mark for the team over the last five years. He scored his first, and only, career touchdown in an Oct. 12 win over Westfield State when he recovered a fumble in the end zone. O'Hara was also a Second Team honoree in 2016.
A 5-7, 190-pound running back, Hamilton will go down as one of the top rushers in program history. A four time member of the Weekly Honor Roll, his career-high 923 rushing yards were third most in the conference, while his 92.3 yards per game were the fourth highest. He led the Panthers with 976 all-purpose yards and scored a team-best ten touchdowns, including nine on the ground. His 2,589 career rushing yards are the fourth-most in program history. This marks his first postseason honor.
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