Castleton Falls to Plymouth State 28-20 in Season Opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Brandon Boyle (Springfield, Vt.) caught eight passes for a career-high 139 yards, but Plymouth State University piled up 299 yards on the ground to defeat Castleton State College 28-20 in the season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon.
Both teams took their respective opening drives of the season for touchdowns, but it was the Panthers who took the early advantage, converting on three-straight for a 21-7 halftime lead.
Ray Boulay (Keene, N.H.) took the opening kick-off 50 yards down to the Castleton 33 yard line to set up the Panthers with a short field right out of the gate. Six plays later junior Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) raced into the end zone from 10-yards out for the early 7-0 lead.
A pair of Tyler Carpenter (Fort Edward, N.Y.) rushes, sandwiched around an Ernie Bragg (Williston, Vt.) strike to Boyle gave Castleton a first down and the ball inside Plymouth State territory. Facing second-down-and-11 the Spartans employed some trickery as Carpenter took a pitch from Bragg and threw to Boyle for a 40-yard touchdown.
Foglia ripped off a 43 yard run on the ensuing Panther drive, setting up a Chris Riogli (Wantagh, N.Y.) to Justin Kane (Exeter, N.H.) 12-yard touchdown pass. Foglia figured into the scoring once again for the Panthers on the next drive, plunging into the end zone from two yards out to push the lead to 21-7 after an 11-play, 63-yard drive that spanned more than six minutes.
Plymouth State hd a chance to push it to a three-touchdown lead before halftime, but the Spartan defense came up with four stops inside their own 10-yard line to keep the game within reach. Colton Barber (Schuylerville, N.Y.) and Ethan Macura (Granville, N.Y.) combined to stop Dustin Matthews (Eliot, Maine) from one-yard out on third down, while Dustin Young (Dunnellon, Fla.) and Josh Osborne (Island Heights, N.J.) stuffed Foglia on fourth-and-goal.
After Castleton opened the second half with a three-and-out, Plymouth State was able to push the lead to 28-7, this time on a Matthews touchdown from four yards out, capping a nine-play, 72-yard drive.
A Bragg-to-Boyle 48-yard touchdown cut the lead to 28-14 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, but after trading three-and-outs on the next two possessions Plymouth State took possession into the fourth with a two-score lead.
Castleton made things interesting with just under six minutes remaining in the contest as Bragg connected with Zack Waitkus (Stafford Springs, Conn.) for a 10-yard touchdown, after orchestrating an 11-play, 70-yard drive. After the point after touchdown try failed, Castleton trailed 28-20.
The Spartans received another chance on the offensive side, after Chris Mooney (Hazlet, N.J.) forced a fumble and Cody TanCreti (Hartland, Vt.) pounced on the loose ball at the Castleton 36. Bragg led the offense inside Plymouth State territory, but the drive stalled at the Panther 36 with under two minutes remaining.
Bragg finished 25-37 with 204 yards and two touchdowns in his first collegiate start. Adam Farmer (South Burlington, Vt.) caught six passes for 32 yards and Allen White (North Clarendon, Vt.) caught five passes for 36 yards to follow Boyle on the stat sheet.
Foglia finished with 151 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns to lead the Panther ground game, while Matthews racked up 79 yards on 19 attempts and Rigoli finished with 53 yards on 16 rushes. Rigoli also threw for 90 yards, connecting on 7-of-13 passes.
Osborne had a team-high 11 tackles, while Young and Marco Ferraro (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) each had nine. Ferraro also chipped in a sack, while Mooney ended the game with eight tackles (seven solo).
Derek Lussier (Ellington, Conn.) led the Panthers with 10 tackles.
Castleton will spend next week idle, while Plymouth State travels to Mount Ida for a 1 pm kick-off on Saturday.