CASTLETON, Vt. – For the first time since 2012, the Castleton University football team will play under the lights at Spartan Stadium, as three home night games are included in the 2017 football schedule, recently finalized by the Castleton athletics department.
After opening the season at Plymouth State Sept. 2, the Spartans will host Fitchburg State in the home opener Sept. 9, starting at 6 p.m. It is the first home night game for Castleton since Oct. 13, 2012, a 45-13 victory over Becker.
Castleton remains at home the next week for Homecoming, welcoming Norwich to Spartan Stadium for the annual Maple Sap Bucket Trophy game Sept. 16, also starting at 6 p.m. Although this is no longer a league game with Norwich moving to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference, the Spartans will still look forward to the contest as they attempt to win back the trophy after losing it to the Cadets in Northfield, Vt., last November.
After a bye week, the Spartans begin Eastern Collegiate Football Conference action Sept. 30 at Anna Maria College starting at 2 p.m. The first home conference game takes place Oct. 7 against Mount Ida at 1 p.m., followed by a trip to Bangor, Maine, to take on defending ECFC champion Husson Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.
The third and final night game of the season at Spartan Stadium sees Castleton face conference newcomer Dean College Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. The Spartans travel to SUNY Maritime Oct. 28 for a 1 p.m. contest before closing the home schedule against Gallaudet Nov. 4 beginning at 12 noon.
Castleton finishes the 2017 regular season with a trip to Alfred, N.Y., to take on ECFC newcomer Alfred State Nov. 11 beginning at 1 p.m. The additions of Dean and Alfred State helped the ECFC maintain an eight-team league after the departures of Becker, now in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, and Norwich.
Castleton finished 4-3 in the ECFC in 2016, the third straight year in which the Spartans posted a winning conference record. Season tickets for the 2017 season will go on sale in mid-August.