KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Freshman quarterback Dan Circelli (New Hartford, NY) completed 19 of 28 passes for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday, leading the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point) to a 25-19 Freedom Football Conference victory over Plymouth State College at Captain Tomb Field.
The victory, Kings Point’s second straight, improves the Mariners to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the FFC, while PSC, which surrendered a 19-6 lead, drops its second in a row to fall to 2-3 and 1-2.
Junior WR Jay DeBruhl (Camden, SC) was on the receiving end of eight of Circelli’s passes, racking up 137 yards and one touchdown.
“Defensively, every time we had them third and long, we gave up a big play,” said PSC head coach Chris Rorke. “They killed us all day long with screen passes.”
The Panthers, who were missing five injured starters on offense (four linemen and starting halfback Russ Massahos (Windham, NH), managed to accumulate 295 yards on offense. A bright spot for the PSC offense was sophomore RB Jason Bordas (Elmore, VT), who made the most of his first career start in place of Massahos. Bordas rushed 17 times for 89 yards and one touchdown, and he caught a team-high four passes for 64 yards and another score.
Rorke experimented with a new system at quarterback, rotating sophomore Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine) and junior Zach Matthews (Sanford, Maine). Simpson finished 6-of-14 for 126 yards, 1 TD and no interceptions, while Matthews was 6-of-23 for 110 yards and one INT.
Linebackers Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, NH) and Brian Chaplain (Hooksett, NH) led the Panther defensive effort with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Each team scored a first quarter touchdown, DeBruhl hauling in a 32 yard pass from Circelli for Kings Point and Matthews going in from one yard out for PSC. Bordas scored both of his touchdowns in the second quarter for the Panthers, giving the visitors a 19-6 lead.
The Mariners came back with a Tori Fredericks (New Canaan, Conn.) touchdown late in the second quarter, then added one score in the third and fourth quarters to seal the victory.
PSC had several chances in the second half, but were unable to put together a scoring drive.
“We came out and played very well at the start of the game, and made some big plays to get the momentum going our way,” said Rorke. “Then later on, when they started to pressure us, our inexperience showed. We had opportunities to make something happen in the second half, but we couldn’t make a play when we needed to.”
Plymouth State has another tough test next Saturday (Oct. 14) when it travels to Springfield College for a 1:30 p.m. FFC encounter.