PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Freedom Football Conference announced the 2001 All-Star Teams on Tuesday, and nine Plymouth State College players were recognized in the voting by the league’s seven head coaches.
Five Panther seniors — RB Russ Massahos (Windham, N.H.), TE John Walters (Wells, Maine), OL Chad Zibolis (Nashua, N.H.), LB Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, N.H.) and S Mike Pelletier (Concord, N.H.) were named to the All-FFC First Team. Junior QB Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine) and sophomores OL Chad Cleary (South Glastonbury, Conn.) and DT Shawn McGowan (Londonderry, N.H.) were Second Team picks, and senior Bobby Maylone (Manchester, N.H.) was a Second Team selection at both safety and punter.
PSC’s offensive selections helped the Panthers to the top offense in the conference, as PSC led the FFC in scoring offense (26.5 points/game), passing offense (215.6 yards/game), pass efficiency (116.5 rating), and total offense (391.6 yards/game). Zibolis and Cleary anchored the offense line, Massahos led the ground game with 912 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, and the Simpson-to-Walters connection was PSC’s top aerial weapon.
Kelliher, who topped the league with 102 tackles, was the leader of a group of five Panther senior linebackers that anchored the Panther defense. Pelletier, who was among the conference leaders with four interceptions, and Maylone, were veteran hard hitters in the PSC defensive backfield, while McGowan led a young interior line unit. Maylone was also key as PSC finished second in the league in net punting.
Panther co-captains Massahos and Kelliher, as well as Zibolis, earned All-FFC honors for the third time in their careers. Walters earned post-season honors for the second time, and all the others were first-time recipients.
The Panthers, 7-3 overall under third-year head coach Chris Rorke, finished as co-champions of the FFC with Western Connecticut, both with 5-1 league records. PSC’s three losses came to schools which are a combined 24-3, including NCAA Division III Tournament-bound teams Rensselaer (8-0) and Western Connecticut (7-1) and Northeast-10 Conference finalist Bentley College (9-2).