CASTINE, Maine – Sophomore Zach Matthews (Sanford, ME) completed 14 of 19 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to lead Plymouth State College’s football team to a 37-3 victory over Maine Maritime Academy Saturday in the season opener for both schools.
Matthews, making his first career start, connected on a 24-yard scoring pass to senior Sam Carey (Hooksett, NH) in the third quarter and a 63-yard TD play to senior Joel Carey (South Pomfret, VT) in the fourth quarter.
“I was very happy with our young quarterback,” said PSC head coach Mike Kemp. “He made some mistakes, but he also made some big plays, especially in the second half. He’s an intelligent kid, and he, along with our running backs, showed a lot of potential. He answered our biggest question mark, and he’ll get better with game experience.”
“We expect to make big plays,” said Joel Carey. “We have four receivers who can make a lot of things happen, and this win gives us a lot of confidence.”
The Panthers also got rushing touchdowns from senior fullback Bryan Sinatro (West Hartford, CT) from one yard out and sophomore Russ Massahos (Windham, NH) from 15 yards out. Sophomore kicker Todd Waldrop (Greenville, RI), in his varsity debut, connected on 3-of-4 field goals, hitting from 25, 37, and 35 yards.
Maine Maritime actually took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 29-yard field goal by senior Keith Beaulieu (Beverly, MA), which was set up by a 29-yard pass play from Ben Larrabee (Beverly, MA) to Steve Tardif (Biddeford, ME). Tardif, an All-New England back last season, finished with 78 yards rushing and 48 yards receiving, but a strong Panther defense kept the Mariners off the scoreboard.
“After the first drive, the defense began to make plays,” said Kemp. “Once we got a series under our belts and got a chance to adjust, I thought our defense played superb.”
The PSC defense was led by junior Eric Taylor (Saratoga Springs, NY), who made two interceptions, one of which set up PSC’s first touchdown. Linebacker Sans Millbury (Danvers, MA) made a team-high eight tackles, and senior Leo Turner (Millbury, MA) made seven tackles, including two sacks.
“All of our defensive backs had their receivers covered, and both times the receiver tipped the ball and I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said Taylor. “We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we want to make things happen. Today we did.”
After Waldrop’s first field goal knotted the score at 3-3 after one quarter, Sinatro scored from one yard out to put PSC ahead for good. Waldrop added his second field goal to make it 13-3 at the half.
PSC extended its lead to 27-3 in the third quarter on Sam Carey’s 24-yard TD reception and Massahos’ 15-yard burst, then closed out the scoring is the fourth quarter with Joel Carey’s 63-yard score and Waldrop’s fourth field goal. But it was the Panther defense that limited MMA to 158 yards of total offense.
“Once we settled down and got focused, we played very well,” said defensive captain Kevin Hebert (Somersworth, NH), who also registered a sack and two other tackles in the MMA backfield. “It’s been tough to simulate game speed without a scrimmage. Once we got going, we did a better job of wrapping up and tackling. We’ll put this one behind us, and look forward to next week.”
Plymouth State, 1-0, plays its home opener Saturday (Sept. 19) against Brockport State at Currier Field (1:00 p.m.). Maine Maritime, 0-1, hits the road next Saturday at Curry College (1:00 p.m.).