Plymouth, N.H. (September 6) -- Saint Anselm came up short on Saturday afternoon in a battle of New Hampshire rivals as Plymouth State defeated the Hawks by a 36-28 final at Currier Field. The win was the first for the Panthers in the series as the teams met for the third time ever.
The Panthers got on the board just three plays into the game as standout running back Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.) took the ball in from 38 yards out for an early 7-0 lead just 1:10 in. On Plymouth's next possession, the Panthers converted a fourth and one at the 36-yard line and on the following play it was John Creamer (Abington, Mass.) hauling in a 31-yard touchdown from quarterback John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) for the 14-0 advantage.
Saint Anselm got on the board with 3:47 left in the first quarter as Marc Wilson (Farmington, Conn.) found sophomore transfer Bryant Lane (Norwood, Mass.) in the corner of the end zone for an eight-yard scoring strike. The score cut the lead to 14-6 as the Hawks missed the extra point try. Lane's touchdown catch came on a fourth down and goal attempt.
Plymouth State answered back less than two minutes later on a quarterback keeper for touchdown by DeMarco for a 21-6 advantage. The score was set up by a 46-yard reception by Aaron Getz (Palmerton, Pa.) that got the Panthers down to the eight yard line.
Wilson and the Hawks bounced back with 10:03 left in the second quarter as he faked a pass and took the ball in for a 15-yard touchdown run. Wilson also added the two-point conversion to cut the Panther lead to 21-14. Wilson finished the first half with 83 yards on the ground to lead the Hawk offense.
The third quarter began with neither team putting together a solid offensive drive until the Panthers mounted a 10-play, 50-yard drive that was capped off by a three-yard touchdown dive by Mack. The Panthers converted the two-point conversion as well to take a 29-14 lead with 30.3 seconds left in the period. Saint Anselm answered back with 12:23 left in the fourth as Joe Tran (Quincy, Mass.) scampered in from17 yards out for his first touchdown of the season. The extra point try hit the left upright and bounced out to make the score 29-20 Panthers.
After Plymouth State came up empty on the next possession, the Hawks drove deep in Panther territory, led by a 44-yard dash by Tran. Wilson was intercepted on the next play though as his pass was tipped and landed in the hands of Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.). His return, along with two personal foul penalties on the Hawks, brought the ball down deep into Saint Anselm territory as the Panthers started the drive on the Saint Anselm 33 yard line. The drive was capped off by a one-yard quarterback keeper from DeMarco on fourth down for a 36-20 lead with just 5:37 remaining.
Saint Anselm wasn't going away quietly though as junior Luke St. Marie (Mill Creek, Wash.) rumbled into the end zone from nine yards out and Wilson converted the two-point conversion to cut the edge to 36-28. The Hawks' onside kick attempt was no good and the Panthers ran out the clock to win their home opener for the third straight season.
Wilson finished with with 122 yards rushing on 26 attempts, along with a rushing and passing touchdown strike. It was Tran who led the way with 139 yards and a rushing score. Lane was the leading receiver with four catches for 34 yards. Defensively, the team was led by Bill Fletcher (Gardner, Mass.) as he finished with double-digit tackles and had one sack.
The Panthers were led by Mack with 204 yards on 27 attempts and two touchdowns, while DeMarco also had a pair of rushing TD's.
With the loss, the Hawks now stand at 0-2 overall, while Plymouth State improves to 1-0 on the season. Saint Anselm has a bye next week, but returns to action on Saturday, September 20th as the team plays host to Pace University at Grappone Stadium. The home opener is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff.