PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Castleton University football team fell to Plymouth State University, 31-7, in the 2017 opener for both squads Saturday afternoon at Currier Field.
Moe Harris led the Spartan offense with 122 total yards and the team's lone touchdown of the day, while Adnane Adossama paced the Castleton receivers with five catches for 52 yards. Defensively, Jakob Trautwein picked up right where he left off when he set the Castleton single-season tackles record last year, leading all players with 12 total tackles.
After two scoreless drives for each team, Plymouth State put together the first scoring drive of the day, including a 21-yard run by Mitch Banuskevich that brought the ball into Castleton territory. On a third down play, Zack Edwards found Jacob Szulc for a 36-yard touchdown pass to give the Panthers a 7-0 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, Edwards connected with Banuskevich for a 65-yard completion down to the Spartan five-yard line. However, the Castleton defense buckled down and held the Panthers out of the end zone, as the home team settled for a 21-yard field goal by Jeff Madden.
After a Castleton three-and-out, Plymouth State started the next drive in Spartan territory and again used the big play for success, as Edwards completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Szulc with 2:41 remaining in the first half to extend the Panther lead to 17-0, which would be the halftime score.
Castleton earned one first down on the opening drive of the third quarter before punting it away, and Plymouth State would take advantage, as Edwards found Chris Kelly for a 46-yard touchdown pass, making the score 24-0 in the Panthers' favor.
Plymouth State (1-0) finally made a mistake, fumbling the ball in its own territory to give Castleton its best field position of the game. The Spartans took advantage, as Mitchell Caron completed back-to-back passes to Jermaine Coggins totaling 27 yards to advance the ball inside the Panther five-yard line. Harris turned the right corner of the offensive line and found the end zone to put points on the board for Castleton.
The Panthers put the game away on the ensuing drive with an 11-play, 81-yard series that took 6:28 off the clock. Plymouth State was successful on three third down conversions during the drive, capped by a 36-yard touchdown run by David Hamilton on third-and-one.
Edwards finished the day 15-of-23 for 226 yards and three touchdowns, with Szulc catching four passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Hamilton led the Panther rushing attack with 14 carries for 81 yards, while Matt Adamik led the defense with six total tackles.
Caron ended up 15-of-33 for 151 yards and one interception. As a team, Castleton finished with 216 yards of total offense and 11 first downs, but the Spartans were just 3-for-14 on third down conversions while the Panthers were 10-of-18 on third down conversions as they compiled 368 total yards of offense.
Castleton (0-1) opens the home schedule Saturday, Sept. 9, against Fitchburg State beginning at 6 p.m., the first night game for the Spartans at Spartan Stadium since 2012.