WESTFIELD, Mass. – Plymouth State got 100-yard rushing days from David Hamilton (West Deptford, NJ) and Nick Lancia (Bedford, N.Y.) as the Panthers ground out a 38-13 win over Westfield State University at Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon.
Hamilton finished with 122 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown, while Lancia added 110 yards on 20 carries and another TD for the Panthers, which improve to 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Westfield utilized some lineup changes with success, as senior quarterback Andrew Peltier (Holyoke, Mass.) made his first career start for the Owls and finished with 178 yards passing and a touchdown, while Jake Cassidy (Salem, Mass./Lawrence Academy) who had been the Owls starting QB for the past two seasons, switched sides of the ball this week to bolster the Westfield State secondary. Cassidy finished with 10 tackles (second-most on the team) and forced a fumble at the goal line to stop a Plymouth State drive in the first half.
Plymouth jumped out to a 21-0 lead, capping a 12-play 72-yard drive in the first quarter with a stroke of luck, as Westfield's Naquez Saunders (Norfolk, Va. /Bayside) forced a fumble at the four-yard line, but the ball tumbled into the end zone where offensive lineman Brandt O'Hara (Feeding Hills, Mass./West Springfield, Mass.) dove on the ball for the touchdown recovery. The Panthers added 2-yard run from Hamilton and a 10-yard run from Lancia later in the half.
Westfield cut the lead to 21-6 just before the half as Peltier plunged in from a yard out to cap a 6-play, 62-yard drive just before the half.
The Owls opened the scoring in the second half as they capitalized on their first drive of the half. Peltier fired a deep strike to Evan Garvey (Dalton, Mass./Wahconah) in stride around the 10-yard line, and Garvey beat his man to the pylon for a 39-yard scoring play to cut the margin to 21-13 after Corey Pooler's Middleboro/Mass.) extra point with 11:24 left in the third quarter.
But from that point, Plymouth controlled the action, putting together eight, 15 and 10 play scoring drives to extend the final margin to 38-13 while taking time off the clock. The Panthers held a massive 44:15 to 15:45 advantage in time of possession in the game.
Saunders led the Westfield with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Rashawn Settles (Lowell, Mass) made five stops and recovered a pair of fumbles.
Garvey finished with two catches for 72 yards, while Tod Holloway, Jr. (Ludlow, Mass.) caught four balls for 44 yards. Shane Clark (Bellows Falls, Vt.) led the Owls ground game with 12 carries for 30 yards.
Plymouth State QB Brett Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) finished an efficient 11-15 passing for 108 yards and a TD. Joey Cassella (North Yarmouth, Me./Greeley) made nine tackles and an interception to lead the Panthers defense.
Westfield falls to 0-6, 0-4 in the MASCAC with the loss. The Owls will travel to Western Connecticut for a 4:00 p.m. start next Saturday in Danbury, Conn.