SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield College, the nation’s Division III leader in rushing and scoring offense, had three players gain over 100 yards on the ground Saturday and went on to defeat Plymouth State College in a Freedom Football Conference game at Benedum Field.
The Pride, ranked 16th in Division III and No. 1 in New England, improved its record to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the FFC. PSC gained 383 yards on offense, but couldn’t contain the Springfield option running game and dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference.
Springfield, which gained 463 of its 564 total yards on the ground, was led by junior HB Bob Sedlor (Yonkers, NY), senior FB Jay Miller (Marlboro, Mass.) and senior HB Demetrius Dunn (Brick, NJ). Sedlor recorded 136 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown, Miller registered 133 yards on 24 carries and three TDs, and Dunn added 105 yards on 10 carries. Senior QB Kevin Cahill (New York Mills, NY) chipped in with 85 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
“We played a lot better than we’ve been playing,” said PSC head coach Chris Rorke. “We got a lot of our injured players back, but we still have two freshmen on the offensive line. We gave up some sacks in the first half that hurt us, but I thought we played very hard in the second half.”
The Pride took a 21-0 second-quarter lead before PSC could get on the scoreboard, thanks to rushing touchdowns by Miller, Sedlor and Cahill. The Panthers broke through on a 21-yard pass play from junior QB Zach Matthews (Sanford, Maine) to junior TB Russ Massahos (Windham, NH). Massahos, who returned to the starting line-up after missing last week’s game with an injury, finished with 129 yards and two TDs from scrimmage, including 59 yards rushing and 70 yards receiving on a team-high eight catches.
Miller scored again for Springfield just before the half to make it a 28-6 margin at the intermission.
“Defensively, we made some adjustments at halftime on the perimeter, to help out on the pitch man” said Rorke, “Offensively, we came out throwing. We protected better in the second half, and had receivers open, and the quarterbacks made better reads. If we could’ve gotten one more score in the first half, it could’ve been a different game.”
The Panther offense showed improvement in the second half, gaining 274 of its 383 yards and scoring three touchowns. Junior TE John Walters (Wells, Maine) caught a 11-yard score from sophomore QB Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine), senior Bydrow Williams (Ledyard, Conn.) was on the receiving end of a 40 yard scoring play from Matthews, and Massahos closed out the scoring with a two-yard plunge.
Despite surrending over 500 yards on defense, the Panthers got outstanding play from junior LB Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, NH) and safeties Mike Pelletier (Concord, NH) and Jason Marcell (Stoughton, Mass.). Kelliher registered a PSC-season-high 20 tackles and recovered a fumble, Pelletier added 13 tackles, and Marcell contributed 12 tackles, a forced fumble and two pass break-ups.
Rorke continued his pattern of rotating quarterbacks. Simpson finished 14-of-28 for 138 yards, one TD and two interceptions, and Matthews was 9-of-19 for 200 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.
“We still made mistakes,” added Rorke, “but we played much better than we’ve been playing.”
The Panthers, who have been on the road the last three weeks, return to Currier Field next Saturday (Oct. 21) for the Homecoming game against Bentley College. The non-conference affair begins at 12 noon, and will be televised live on WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H.