NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Plymouth State University’s football team drove 80 yards in 11 plays and scored a touchdown with 4:51 to play, breaking a 28-28 tie and defeating the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday afternoon, 35-28, in the New England Football Conference Boyd Division opener for both teams at Cressy Field.
PSU improves to 3-0 overall, its best start to a season since the 1998 squad opened 4-0. UMD drops to 1-3 overall.
The Panthers began their game-winning drive after the Corsairs had driven 80 yards to tie the score on an 18-yard run by senior Bob Sullivan (Dudley, Mass.) with 11:25 remaining. Freshman J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H./Winnacunnet) returned the ensuing kickoff to the PSU 46, quarterback John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) hit tight end Adam Long (Plymouth, Mass.) for 11 yards and a first down on the first play, and PSU then drove the remaining 43 yards in 10 running plays, with senior Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.) scoring from a yard out.
UMass Dartmouth couldn’t move on their next series, but held the Panthers without a first down and had a final chance, getting the ball at their own 14-yard line with 2:10 remaining. But Jim Sestito sacked Corsair junior quarterback Alex Garro (Mattapoisett, Mass.) on first down, and UMass Dartmouth gained 11 yards on the next two plays before Garro’s pass on fourth down and one was tipped and fell incomplete.
Plymouth State began the scoring late in the first quarter after freshman Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn.) returned a punt to the UMD 42 yard line. DeMarco hit freshman Aaron Getz (Palmerton, Pa.) with a 41-yard pass on the second play of the drive, and then scored from a yard out on the next play.
The Corsairs tied the score on the ensuing possession, with junior running back J.T. Harold (North Andover, Mass./Austin Prep) racing to the end zone from 49 yards out to tie the score.
PSU hit another 41-yard pass on their next series, with DeMarco connecting with senior Drew Richardson (Newburgh, Maine) to set the Panthers up at the UMass Dartmouth 13-yard line. Junior Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H.) scored from two yards out to make it 14-7.
The Corsairs were held on their next series, but sophomore kicker George Vasiliadis (Worcester, Mass./St. Peter-Marian HS) had his punt downed at the Panther one line. PSU then drove 99 yards in 12 plays, with DeMarco scoring from six yards out to make it 21-7.
Plymouth State extended its lead later in the first half. DeMarco spotted wide receiver Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H.) streaking down the right sideline, and hit him in stride for a 60-yard touchdown with 3:59 left in the first half, giving the Panthers a 28-7 advantage.
The Corsairs rallied to tie the score. Harold started the comeback by scoring from 22 yards out with 1:02 left in the first half to cut PSU’s lead to 28-14 at the break.
UMD drove 90 yards for a score in the third quarter to cut the deficit to seven points, with Harold scoring from a yard out with 2:50 left in the third quarter. The Corsairs held on their next series, forced another punt, and then began the drive that tied the game.
Harold carried 26 times for 184 yards to lead all rushers, while DeMarco completed nine of 13 passes for 250 yards. Jeff Mack led PSU with 17 carries for 86 yards.
Both teams are back in action next Saturday with road games, the Corsairs visiting MIT and Plymouth State traveling to Western New England College (1:00 p.m.)
(Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth Sports Information)
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