Football drops first game of season, falls to 5-1

(Wide receivers Michael Calicchio (left) and Stephen Beahn (right) celebrate in end zone after a Framingham State touchdown. By Corey McFeeley)

Framingham traveled to Plymouth to take on the Panthers in a MASCAC game on Oct. 14.

Both teams entered Saturday’s game atop the conference standings, meaning the winner would have sole possession of first in the MASCAC.

Both teams started slowly, punting four times and turning the ball over twice in the game’s first six possessions.

Plymouth was the first team to break through. With good field position following a Rams fumble, the Panthers took advantage immediately. Plymouth took one play to get the ball in the end zone. Zack Edwards hooked up with receiver Chris Kelly for a 25-yard touchdown, putting the Panthers up 6-0 after a missed extra point.

The rest of the first half was quiet. Two punts, two missed field goal attempts, and a turnover rounded out the half for both teams.

The second half started with two three and outs, one from each side, but the Rams responded on their next possession.

Framingham drove the ball down the field in seven plays, covering 72 yards. They capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown pass from Zak Walker to Khaneil Bruce. Ryan Clifford converted the PAT to give the Rams their first lead of the day at 7-6.

Plymouth followed up with a seven play scoring drive of their own on the next possession. Kelly again caught a pass from Edwards and ended up in the end zone for his second of the day. This time, it was an eight-yard reception, capping off a seven play, 62-yard drive to put the Panthers up 13-7.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Rams responded. Beginning on their own 40-yard line, Framingham used seven passes and eight runs to drive 60 yards in 15 plays for a touchdown. Walker went four for seven on the drive, biting off chunks of 14 and 21 through the air to Napoleon Miller and Michael Calicchio, setting up Rufus Rushins for the two-yard touchdown rush. Clifford’s extra point attempt got blocked to keep the score tied at 13-13.

Each team got one more try to end the game in regulation, but both teams’ drives ended in turnovers to send the game to overtime.

Framingham got the ball first in overtime. Framingham gained six yards on the first two plays to set up a third-and-four. On third down, Walker completed a pass to Deron Hines, but Hines lost three yards on the play, making it fourth down.

With a fourth-and-seven, the Rams decided to attempt a 40-yard field goal. Clifford’s attempt was again blocked by the Plymouth defense.

With just a field goal needed to win the game, the Panthers started their first overtime possession from the Framingham 25-yard line. On first down, the Panthers picked up a chunk of 14 yards on the ground to set up another first down. Plymouth ran the ball three times in a row, only gaining five yards, setting up a fourth and five.

The Panthers sent kicker Jeremy Martin out to attempt the walk-off field goal from 22 yards.

Martin buried the field goal, giving the Panthers a 16-13 victory in overtime.

The Framingham defense played well in the loss, only allowing 179 total yards. The Panthers gained 100 yards through the air and 79 yards on the ground.

The Rams’ offense put up 366 total yards, with 258 of them coming through the air and 108 of them coming on the ground.

Walker completed 34 passes of the 47 he attempted, throwing for 258 yards and a touchdown.

Quron Wright and Miller led the way for the Rams in the rushing game. Wright rushed nine times for 39 yards while Miller rushed six times for 36 yards.

Calicchio led the Rams in receiving, making 14 catches totaling 116 yards.

Nathan Fleming made 12 tackles for the Rams, 2.5 of which were tackles for a loss. Kenneth Bartolo had one interception for the Rams defense.

The loss ended the Rams’ undefeated season and drops them into second place in the conference. Framingham is now 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the MASCAC.

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