Plymouth State 16, Castleton State 14

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CASTLETON, Vt. — Christian Mulcahy (Norwich, Conn.) kicked a 25-yard field goal with six minutes remaining to lift Plymouth State University to a 16-14 win over Castleton State College in non-conference action at Spartan Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Castleton (0-1) grabbed a 14-13 lead with 11:55 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 70-yard touchdown reception by freshman Mike Patterson (Jackson, N.J.). Castleton quarterback hooked up with Patterson down the right sideline, and Patterson scampered in untouched over the final 30 yards.

The Spartans appeared poised to stop the ensuing Panther drive, but Plymouth State senior quarterback J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H.) converted a huge third-down to keep the game-winning drive going. With the ball just over midfield and the Panthers facing a third-and-twelve situation, Brooks fired a strike that hit John Creamer (Hanover, Mass.) in stride at the Castleton 16 yard line. Creamer was blanketed on the play, but Brooks' pass was on target and Creamer hauled it in for the conversion. After the Spartans held, it was Mulcahy's turn for the big play, kicking the 25-yard field goal which proved to be the game winner.

Castleton marched down the field on the following possession, taking the ball all the way to the Plymouth State 15 yard line. Brozowski hooked up with Patterson for an eight-yard strike, found Evan Cassidy (South Burlington, Vt.) for a 24-yard gain, and completed a pass to Andrew Cavanagh (Brattleboro, Vt.) for 10 yards, before running for nine yards in the impressively orchestrated drive. On the fifth play however, disaster struck for the Spartans as senior Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.) forced a Castleton fumble at the 10-yard line and Plymouth State sophomore Matt Bailey (Tewksbury, Mass.) pounced on the loose ball, ending the Spartan drive.

Plymouth State (1-0) then reeled off four minutes-and-twenty-seconds, taking it all the way to the Spartan 18-yard line before relinquishing possession to Castleton with 41 seconds remaining. Castleton's last-ditch effort at a desperation drive stalled at midfield as senior captain Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn.) batted away Brozowski's Hail-Mary attempt as time expired.

After a scoreless first quarter, Plymouth State got on the board on a Steve Campbell (Northborough, Mass.) touchdown run of two yards. The score was set up after Campbell blocked a Carl Ojala (Pittsford, Vt.) punt and Bailey recovered it down to the 4-yard line. Mulcahy's extra point try was no good for the 6-0 lead.

Castleton answered with a six-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a Tyler Carpenter (Fort Edward, N.Y.) touchdown run of eight yards. Luis Robitaille (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) tacked on the extra point for the 7-6 margin. Brozowski hooked up with Mick Wong (Hartford, Vt.) on a 47-yard screen pass for the big play in the drive.

The Spartans held a 16-15 advantage in first downs, and out-gained the Panther offense by a 361-346 advantage but four Spartan turnovers and the blocked punt proved to be too much to overcome.

Plymouth State's vaunted ground attack provided 251 yards, including a 107-yard performance on 17 carries by sophomore Ty Long (Dover, N.H.). Brooks added 75 yards on 17 carries, while Chris Francher (Weare, N.H.) added 47 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. Brooks was also an efficient 6-for-11 for 95 yards.

Brozowski finished 20-for-34 for 267 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The first Brozowski interception came at the Plymouth State five-yard line on a fantastic play by Ray Boulay (Keene, N.H.). Patterson led the Spartan receiving corps with 83 yards on three catches and a touchdown, while Cavanagh finished with 56 yards on eight catches. Carpenter gained 64 yards on the ground on 20 carries and a touchdown.

Brian Castellucci (Derry, N.H.) led the Panther defense with 11 tackles (two for a loss) and an interception, while Parsons added 10 and forced a fumble.

Dustin Young (Dunnellon, Fla.) led Castleton with 13 tackles, including one for a loss, while Josh Osborne (Island Heights, N.J.) added 10. Freshman Gabriel Aguilar (Orange, Vt.) made nine tackles, including three for a loss and forced a fumble in his debut.

Plymouth State will open its home season next weekend when Mount Ida comes to town for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.

Castleton will also be home in non-conference action, hosting Utica College at 1:00 p.m.