PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Freedom Football Conference announced its 1998 All-Star Team Tuesday, and eight members of the Plymouth State College squad were recognized for their efforts by the league’s head coaches.
Three Panther players were selected FFC All-Stars on offense, four others on defense, and one as a specialist. Five of the PSC selections were First Team All-Stars.
Senior wide receiver Joel Carey (South Pomfret, VT) was PSC’s only First Team selection on offense, and junior center Chris Belmont (Campton, NH) and sophomore tailback Jeff Parker (Norwich, NY) were Second Team picks on offense. Three juniors — safety Colt Meredith (Saugus, MA), cornerback John McLaughlin (East Bridgewater, MA) and end Sean Murphy (Eliot, ME) were First Team choices on defense, and senior Kevin Hebert (Somersworth, NH) was a Second Team defensive end. Junior Brent Bardellini (Milford, MA) was named a First Team Specialist as a kick returner, and a Second Team Specialist as a punt returner.
The eight players were leaders on a Plymouth State squad that finished 4-2 in FFC games to tie for second place with Kings Point. Springfield went a perfect 6-0 in conference games to capture the league title.
The season is not over for the Panthers, who completed their second straight 7-3 regular season under head coach Mike Kemp. PSC travels to Newport, R.I., this Saturday (Nov. 21) to face Salve Regina in the ECAC Northeast Championship game (1:30 p.m.).
Carey was PSC’s leading receiver this season with 33 catches for 522 yards (15.8 avg.) and three touchdowns. His third TD, a 29-yard reception, came with 2:49 remaining last Saturday and provided the margin of victory in PSC’s 25-20 win over WPI. Carey finished sixth in the FFC in receptions (3.3/gm) and receiving yards (52.2/gm).
Belmont anchored an offensive line that helped block for Parker and fellow backs Russ Massahos (Windham, NH), Matt Botz (West Islip, NY) and Bryan Sinatro (West Hartford, CT), who combined to rush for 1,334 yards and 20 touchdowns. Parker led the way with 585 yards rushing and nine TDs, along with 14 receptions for 91 yards, despite missing a couple of games with injuries.
Meredith and McLaughlin led a strong PSC defensive backfield. Meredith made a team-high 84 tackles (47 solo), including two sacks and 11 tackles for lost yardage. He also registered three pass break-ups, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two blocked kicks. McLaughlin finished third in the FFC with five interceptions, and he added 33 tackles, one sack, two pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.
Murphy and Hebert were the top players on PSC’s defensive line, combining for nine sacks this fall. Murphy had four sacks among his 35 tackles, along with nine tackles for loss and two pass break-ups. Hebert finished with 37 tackles, including five sacks, seven tackles for loss, one break-up, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Bardellini led the FFC in all-purpose yards with an average of 118.9 yards per game. He finished second in the conference in both punt returns (9.5 avg.) and kick-off returns (26.8 avg., 1 TD), while catching 14 passes for 273 yards and one TD. Bardellini also carried the ball eight times, mostly on fake punt attempts, and was the holder for PSC’s kicking game. He was the FFC Special Teams Player of the Year in 1997.