CASTLETON, Vt. – Coming off a victory in its annual rivalry game and a bye week, the Castleton University football team begins the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) schedule Saturday, Sept. 30, at Anna Maria College, with kickoff at AMCAT Field set for 3 p.m.
The Spartans defeated the Norwich Cadets two weeks ago in the Battle for the Maple Sap Bucket, 28-14, holding the Cadets scoreless for the first 57.5 minutes of the game. Moe Harris led the Spartans with 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns, plus he completed a pass for 11 yards, caught a pass for 16 yards, and returned a kickoff for 26 yards, finishing with 191 all-purpose yards.
Harris is now second in the ECFC in rushing yards per game (96.7) and tied for second in the league with three rushing touchdowns. He is 109 rushing yards away from becoming the second player in Castleton history to collect at least 2,000 career rushing yards, joining Tyler Carpenter (2009-12) in that exclusive club. With 128 all-purpose yards, Harris will become the fourth Spartan with at least 3,000 career all-purpose yards, along with Kevin Alberque (2011-14), Carpenter, and Brandon Boyle (2010-13).
On defense, Jakob Trautwein is fifth in the country in tackles per game (14.7) after he collected 14 total tackles against Norwich. Trautwein also leads the ECFC with three sacks, ranking 25th in Division III with 1.0 sacks per game. Bubba Collins is tied for third in the league with two sacks, as he is tied with Grant Cummings for second on the team with 7.0 tackles per game.
Anna Maria is 0-3 after losses to WPI, Nichols, and Curry before last week's bye. The AMCATs are averaging 13.7 points, 169.3 yards of total offense, 77.0 rushing yards, and 92.3 passing yards per game. Anna Maria has allowed 41.0 points, 433.3 yards of total offense, 250.3 rushing yards, and 183.0 passing yards per game.
Trai Weaver is the player to watch on offense for the AMCATs, as the senior wide receiver has 14 receptions for 195 yards and three touchdowns, second in the ECFC in receiving yards per game (65.0) and tied for second in receiving touchdowns. Defensively, Michael Hall leads Anna Maria with 7.3 tackles per game, including three tackles for a loss, while Brian McLean is averaging 5.3 tackles per game, plus he has two sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception.
Both Castleton and Anna Maria began playing football in 2009 and faced each other in both programs' inaugural game on Sept. 5, 2009, a 42-28 Castleton victory at Spartan Stadium. To signify the link between the two programs, a trophy was created featuring the helmets of each team to go to the winner of the now-annual contest.
Castleton holds a 9-1 series advantage over Anna Maria, with the Spartans winning the first six meetings before the AMCATs broke through with a 42-14 victory in 2013. Castleton has won the last three games between the squads, including a come-from-behind 17-14 victory at AMCAT Field on Oct. 31, 2015, capped by a 20-yard field goal by Rob Lineberger with 6:57 remaining in regulation.
Last season at Spartan Stadium, Harris ran for 202 yards on 32 carries and Soren Pelz-Walsh caught six passes for 121 yards to lead Castleton to a 23-13 victory. Trautwein collected 17 total tackles and an interception as the Spartan defense held the AMCATs to just one touchdown, with the second Anna Maria touchdown coming on a fumble recovery and return late in the game.
After Saturday's game, Castleton hosts Mount Ida College Saturday, Oct. 7, at Spartan Stadium for a 1 p.m. kickoff. It is the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game, as volunteers from the American Cancer Society will be on the concourse with information about the fight against breast cancer, including the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk taking place at Castleton University on Sunday, Oct. 22.