Panthers fall to co-leaders for second straight week
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Freshman running back Kevin Cook (Hamburg, NJ) ran for a career-high 112 yards on only 11 carries (10.2 avg.) and accounted for three touchdowns Saturday afternoon as Western New England University posted a 49-7 victory over Plymouth State University in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division contest.
The Golden Bears, ranked fourth in New England Division III, ran their winning streak to five games and moved to 7-1 overall, including a perfect 5-0 in the division. The Panthers fall to 4-4 and 2-3 in Boyd action.
Cook rushed for a pair of scores for the third straight week going 51 and five yards as Western New England took a 14-0 lead after the opening period. Senior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) then connected with freshman receiver Kareem Hines (S. Burlington, VT) on scoring passes of 17 and 18 yards as the Golden Bears took a 28-0 advantage at halftime.
Brown then found Cook for a 19-yard touchdown early in the third period to give the hosts a commanding 35-0 margin.
Plymouth State took advantage of a turnover to score its only touchdown on a two-yard run by junior back Andrew Foglia (Montauk, NY) (17 carries, 35 yards) at the 6:44 mark of the third stanza.
Western New England tallied its final two touchdowns on a pair of two-yard runs by senior back JJ Jachym (Milford, CT).
Brown was 10-of-13 passing for 116 yards and three touchdowns with two sacks while rushing for 73 yards on 14 attempts (5.2 avg.). He left the game two plays into the fourth quarter with an injury and didn't return.
PSU used four quarterbacks with junior starter Chris Rigoli (Wantagh, NY) managing to complete only two-of-seven passes for 24 yards. He suffered five of the team's six sacks and had an interception.
Western New England totaled 321 yards and had its best defensive showing of the year holding the Panthers to only 57 yards.
Senior linebacker Joe Cicarella (Guilford, CT) led the Golden Bears with six tackles and a pair of sacks. Junior free safety Nicholas Silvester (Weatogue, CT) added his team-best fifth interception of the season.
Senior cornerback Derek Lussier (Ellington, CT) compiled a game-high eight tackles and had one pass breakup for the Panthers.
PSU is back at home next Saturday, hosting Salve Regina University on Senior Day at Currier Field for the last home game of the season. WNE hosts Boyd Division co-leader Endicott College next Saturday for the divisional championship.
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