September 14, 2012

Marines Set for Home Opener: Plymouth State (0-2) at Maine Maritime (0-1)

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Today's Game: Plymouth State (0-2) at Maine Maritime (0-1)

Series History: Today's contest marks the 29th time Plymouth State and Maine Maritime will meet on the gridiron. The Panthers own a 21-7 lead in the series, which has only been renewed once since the world survived Y2K. The only post-millennial meeting was the 2008 New England Football Conference Championship tilt, won by Plymouth State. It was the fifth win for the Panthers in as many clashes. Maine Maritime has won six of the 15 meetings played on Ritchie Field. The last Mariners victory came at home on October 16, 1993.

The Last Meeting: Plymouth State University scored 32 unanswered points to run away from Maine Maritime Academy, 46-16, in the 2008 NEFC Championship game at Ritchie Stadium. Jeff Mack led the way for the Panthers, rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns, earning the William J. Mottola Most Valuable Player Award. John DeMarco and Steve Campbell also ran for two touchdowns apiece for the Panthers, DeMarco rushing for 74 yards on 12 carries and Campbell adding 44 yards on five carries. Plymouth State captured its 10th NEFC championship with that win. It was the Panthers' first since winning nine titles in 10 years between 1981-90.

Plymouth State's Last Game: Scott Drosendahl completed 11-of-13 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores to lift Mount Ida to a 22-12 victory over Plymouth State. Drosendahl's first rushing touchdown came early in the third quarter following a Panther turnover in its own territory, giving the Mustangs their first lead of the day, 15-12.  The second and final score came in the final two minutes of the game after the Mustangs intercepted a Panther pass inside the Plymouth State five-yard line, ending PSU's comeback attempt.

Maine Maritime's Last Game: Santino Simone rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 184 yards and an additional score to lead Anna Maria to a 34-14 win over Maine Maritime. The AMCATS (1-1) picked up their first win of the season and first victory over the Mariners (0-1) in the series. Trailing 7-0 midway through the second quarter, Simone and company took over on the Mariners' side of the field following a fumble. It took Anna Maria nine plays to finally break into the end zone, with Simone covering the last seven yards of the 40-yard drive over land to knot it at 7-7. Simone's touchdown marked the first points in a 34-point surge.

NEFC Honorees: Maine Maritime's Joel Chadbourne was named to the NEFC Defensive Honor Roll for his efforts in the Mariners' contest at Anna Maria. The senior linebacker recorded 10 tackles, including a sack. Plymouth State saw senior defensive end Matt Fiore named to the Defensive Honor Roll after posting 13 tackles, including two sacks. His classmate, running back Andrew Foglia, rushed his way onto the Offensive Honor Roll picking up by gaining 118 yards on 16 attempts, averaging 7.4 yards per touch.

The Coaches: Chris McKenney is in his 12th season at the helm in Castine. The most victorious coach in the Academy's history, McKeney picked up his 50th win in the 2011. Under McKenney's direction, the Mariners have med three postseason appearances, including the Academy's first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in the wake of the 2009 NEFC Championship. That season, McKenney was named the New England Football Writers Coach of the Year for Divisions II & III. In 2005, he was named the NEFC Coach of the Year. He had earned Bogan Division Coach of the Year honors in 2006 and 2008. McKenney enters today's game with a record of 53-53.

PSU's Coach: Now is his 10th year at Plymouth State, Paul Castonia has turned the program around since taking over the staff. After a winless first season in 2003 and a 9-19 record over the next three years, Castonia guided the team to four straight winning seasons with a combined record of 33-10 and three straight post-season berths from 2007-09.  Castonia has a combined record of 46-47 at Plymouth State and a 47-76 head coaching record.

The Home Opener: In the Chris McKenny era, Maine Maritime is 6-5 in the first game of the season at Ritchie Field. McKenny's Mariners have won the home opener in four consecutive seasons and five out of the last six played.

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