GAME #2: Plymouth State University (0-1) at U.S. Coast Guard Academy (0-1)
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006, 1:00 p.m., Cadet Memorial Field, New London, Conn.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University and the Coast Guard Academy will both be looking for their first win of the season this Saturday when the two schools meet on the gridiron at Cadet Memorial Field in New London, Conn.
The two programs have a lot in common besides 0-1 overall records to start the season. Plymouth State and Coast Guard are former members of the now-defunct Freedom Football Conference (1992-2003), and both are the new entries in the New England Football Conference for the 2006 campaign (PSU is in the Boyd Division, CGA the Bogan Division). The teams will play a home-and-home series this year and next as part of the standard NEFC schedule.
This week’s game can be heard live on the internet at www.sportsjuice.com.
Plymouth State gave Mount Ida all it could handle in the season opener last Saturday in Newton, Mass., but the Mustangs held on for a 19-14 victory. PSU rallied from a 19-7 halftime deficit to pull to within one score, and had a fourth-and-goal at the Mount Ida one-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, but got stopped in what was a pivotal play. The Panthers threatened again in the final seconds but time ran out with PSU driving at the Mustangs’ 25-yard line. Mount Ida avenged the 31-20 setback to Plymouth State in the final game of the 2005 season.
Coast Guard dropped its opener last Saturday at Kings Point in the 26th annual Secretaries’ Cup Championship, 21-7. The Bears were down 7-0 at halftime and trailed 14-0 before scoring on a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Coast Guard finished 2-7 overall last season when it was a member of the Liberty League, and is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak dating back to last September.
PSU has an 8-5 advantage in the career series against CGA. The Bears won by one point in 2002 (34-33) and by 37 points in 2003 (49-12), the last two times the team met., but PSU had won the previous four in a row. The first career meeting was in an ECAC Championship game in 1988, won by Coast Guard, 28-19.
It will be NEFC divisional games the rest of the way for Plymouth State. PSU faces the seven Boyd Division opponents the next seven weeks — UMass Dartmouth, Western New England College, Endicott College, Nichols College, Curry College, MIT, and Salve Regina University. The home opener at Currier Field is Sept. 23 vs. UMass Dartmouth.
LAST WEEK: Sophomore FB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H./Milford) turned in a solid performance for PSU against Mount Ida, rushing for 100 yards on 18 carries and earning a spot on the NEFC Weekly Honor Roll. Senior QB Tye Seastedt (Danville, N.H./Timberlane) completed 11-of-20 for 112 yards with two interceptions, while rushing 16 times for 64 yards and both Plymouth State touchdowns. He scored on runs of 10 and five yards. Junior DT Jeff Ethier (North Attleboro, Mass./Bishop Feehan) led the defense with six tackles.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: Senior SS Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H./Central), the team’s leading tackler the past three years, earned Football Gazette Pre-Season All-America honors in 2006. The 2003 Freedom Football Conference Rookie of the Year after a 72-tackle season, Fallon has recorded back-to-back 77-tackle seasons, collecting four interceptions and five fumble recoveries along the way.
NEFC: The NEFC has 16 teams in two divisions in 2006. The regular season includes one game against each member of its own division and one contest against a team in the other division. PSU and Coast Guard play each other in the cross over game in 2006 and 2007. The NEFC concludes the regular season with a championship game between the first-place teams from each division, this year on Nov. 11, with the winner receiving an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
PSU IN THE NEFC: After beginning its football program in 1970, Plymouth State was a member of the NEFC from 1971-91, winning or sharing nine titles in those 21 seasons. The Panthers won or shared eight straight NEFC championships from 1981-88. PSU entered the 2006 season with the 11th-highest career winning percentage (.633) among all NCAA Division III programs.
CO-CAPTAINS: The Panthers have four co-captains this season — senior LB John DiPasquale (Wilmington, Mass.), junior DL Jeff Ethier (North Attleboro, Mass./Bishop Feehan), senior DB Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H./Central), and senior OL Joe Fellini (Walpole, Mass.) DiPasquale, Fallon and Fellini were also captains last season.
COACHING STAFF: PSU head coach Paul Castonia is in his fourth season in charge of the Panthers, and he has five veteran assistants returning – Lou Desloges (defensive line), Mike McLaughlin (Def. Coordinator/Def. Backs), Tom Pabst (Offensive Line), Jeremy Roberts (Running Backs) and Devin Zeman (Linebackers/Special Teams). The new members of the staff include Paul Hickey (Defensive Line Assst.) and Jason McDermott (Receivers).
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