New England Football League Panthers Give Wardogs First Loss | New England Football League
New England Football League

Panthers Give Wardogs First Loss

Jason Manson threw five touchdown passes against the Wardogs

MERIDEN, CT- “This game lived up to all the hype,” said NEFL Representative Bernie Armstrong. “Easily the best game I’ve seen this season.” Jason Manson threw five touchdown passes in the Panthers 47-35 victory over the once undefeated Wardogs. The two teams combined for over 800 yards of offense in what could be a preview of the AAA Championship game.

Receiving the opening kickoff, the Wardogs Jeff Costa went 4 for 4 culminating in a 13 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Mena. “Their opening drive was perfect. They went right down the field and scored with little resistance.” The Panthers first possession saw defender Marquim Moore take a completion out of the hand of receiver Markey Desruisseaux and race 80 yards for a score. On their next possession, Manson errand pass was picked off by Jared Coyle and returned 22 yards for a second defensive score and a commanding 20-0 lead in the first quarter.

“Most of the team stayed calm,” said Panthers receiver Kevin Sylvester. “Coach Welch called everyone over and got us going.” In the next series, Manson finds Desruisseaux for the Panthers first score of the night. Later in the second quarter Manson found LJ Colon for a perfect 42 yard pass and catch to cut the lead to only 6. “You could see the momentum was shifting; we knew the game was turning in our favor.” On the following kick return, a Panthers defender punched the ball out of Marquim Moore’s hand and had it recovered by Keith Hunter. Three plays later running back Kevin Woolfolk finished the drive with a 3 yard scoring plunge which gave the Panthers a 21-20 lead heading into the half.

The Panthers defense turned up the heat in the second half. You could see Connecticut’s defensive line starting to wear down the Wardogs front. Tackle Moose Welch (2 sacks) and end Akwon Shabazz (2 sacks) started to pressure Costa and forced incompletions from the NEFL’s top rated passer. “We just started to get to the quarterback,” said Welch. “We deflected balls and sacked Costa when we got in their backfield.”

The second half saw Manson continue his hot streak as he connected with Colon, Desruisseaux, and Jamie Bryant for additional scoring passes. “I can’t explain how great it is to have a quarterback of his caliber on this team,” said Bryant. “Even after throwing two picks in a row we all knew he would get it together.” Manson has now thrown at least 2 touchdown passes in each of the Panthers four wins.

Keith Hunter (55) recovers a game changing fumble in the first half of play

“The guys played their butts off tonight,” said Coach Mark Welch. “These are the games that can define our season.” Prior to their win last week against the Southern Maine Raging Bulls, the Panthers had only defeated the winless Bearcats in their home and away matchup. “This shows we can hang with the big boys in our league.”

The defeat brings back nightmarish memories for the Wardogs who squandered a similar 20 point lead in last season’s championship game. “They are a quality football team that I think should have another great playoff run and could potentially return to the championship game in the end of the year,” said Armstrong. “They just need to figure out how to close these games out.”

Markey Desruisseaux (12) and Kevin Woolfolk (42) had season high performances against the Markey Desruisseaux (12) and Kevin Woolfolk (42) had season high performances against the Wardogs

The season continues as the Panthers will travel up north and take on the North Shore Generals while the Wardogs try to get back on track as they matchup with the host Western Mass Armor. The Generals held on to beat the Armor last weekend 23-20. “Again, there are few easy weekends for AAA teams this season. “We will see who will lock in a playoff spot next weekend”.

The Panthers and Wardogs combined for over 800 yards of offense

BOXSCORE

TEAMS 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q FINAL
Wardogs 20 0 3 12 35
Panthers 0 21 13 13 47

 

RHODE ISLAND WARDOGS

PASSING Completions Attempts Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
Jeff Costa 18 29 245 2 0

 

RECEIVING Catch Yards TD’s Catch Yards TD’s
James Suber 7 95 0 Marquim Moore 5 66 0
Antonio Mena 3 43 2 Chris Walshy 2 28 0
Keenan Thompson 1 13 0

 

RUSHING Rush Yards TD’s Rush Yards TD’s
John Anderson 11 63 1 Jeff Costa 2 12 0

 

DEFENSIVE STAND OUTS Tackles Sacks INT Misc.
Marquim Moore 2 1 80 yard Interception return-TD
Jared Coyle 4 1 22 yard Interception return-TD

 

SPECIAL TEAMS
Francesco Giusti 43 yard field goal

 

  

CONNECTICUT PANTHERS

PASSING Completions Attempts Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
Jason Manson 18 26 318 5 2

 

RECEIVING Catch Yards TD’s Catch Yards TD’s
Kareem Robinson 2 44 0 Jamie Bryant 4 81 1
Marky Desruisseaux 6 81 2 LJ Colon 4 85 2
Kevin Sylvester 1 12 0 Paris McDougal 1 15 0

 

RUSHING Rush Yards TD’s Rush Yards TD’s
Jamie Bryant 1 26 1 Kevin Woolfolk 13 92 1
Eric Brainard 5 42 0 Jason Manson 3 18 0

 

DEFENSIVE STAND OUTS Tackles Sacks INT Misc.
Moose Welch 3 2 0
Akwon Shabazz 4 2 0 Forced Fumble
John Manning 3 0 0 3 pass deflections

 

SPECIAL TEAMS
Luigi Liovi 5/7 PAT

 

TOTAL OFFENSE

OFFENSE Rush Plays Rush Yards Passing Plays Passing Yards TOTAL OFFENSE
Wardogs 13 75 29 245 42 plays/ 320 yards
Panthers 22 178 26 318 48 plays/ 496 yards

 

PENALTIES

Wardogs 40 yards Panthers 65 yards


 

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