CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University football team closes the 2017 home schedule Saturday, Nov. 4, against Gallaudet University in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) contest at Spartan Stadium scheduled for a 12 noon kickoff.
The game will mark the final appearance on the Spartan Stadium field for 13 Castleton seniors who, with one more victory, will become the first group of seniors to post a winning conference record in all four seasons, as these Spartans are 17-9 (.654) in ECFC competition heading into the final two league games of this season. Overall, they are 22-16 (.579), already surpassing the win total of the Class of 2016 (21-19).
The 13 seniors to be recognized approximately 15-20 minutes before the game are: Joel Antoine, Nick Boles, Bubba Collins, Troy Dane, Eric Decker, Shane Hurley, Matt Lawhorn, Cam McHale, Luke Mullin, Justin Nolan, Chris Oettinger, Ryan Payne, and Jakob Trautwein.
Moe Harris remains second in the ECFC in rushing yards per game (113.1) and rushing touchdowns (11), needing 95 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the second time over the past three seasons. Mitchell Caron reached 1,000 passing yards for the second consecutive season, with Adnane Adossama remaining his top target with 21 receptions for 323 yards, followed by Jermaine Coggins with 19 receptions for 260 yards.
Trautwein remains the leading tackler in the ECFC with 11.5 total tackles per game, 11th in Division III. Trautwein tied with Grant Cummings for the team lead in tackles last Saturday against SUNY Maritime with seven apiece. Cummings is now second on the squad with 48 total tackles, followed by Collins and Nolan with 42 tackles apiece.
Last Saturday, Gallaudet held the ball for 38 minutes and scored 21 unanswered points to defeat Dean College, 28-7, at Hotchkiss Field in Washington, D.C. The Bison took the lead for good with 3:48 left in the second quarter on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Timel Benton to Dylan Mento. The Bison collected 248 net yards rushing, led by 55 yards from Joell Dixon.
Gallaudet has scored at least 20 points in each of the last seven games, including a 73-point outburst against Anna Maria on Oct. 7. Benton has completed 48 percent of his passing attempts for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions, plus he has carried the ball 87 times for 419 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Dixon leads the Bison with 450 rushing yards on 47 carries with four touchdowns. Dixon has also caught 11 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns, while Mento has 17 receptions for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
Louie Akuffo leads the Bison with 46 solo tackles as he is averaging 7.3 tackles per game. Mason Gooch is averaging 6.4 tackles per game, including five tackles for a loss. Jack Gray leads the defensive backfield with four interceptions and two forced fumbles, plus he has three pass breakups. The seven points allowed to Dean last week was by far the best defensive performance of the season for the Bison, as they allowed at least 19 points in every previous contest.
The series between Gallaudet and Castleton is tied at 4-4, but the Bison have won three of the previous four meetings at Spartan Stadium. Castleton shutout Gallaudet in consecutive years: 21-0 in 2014 and 40-0 in 2015, the Spartans' first victory over the Bison in Castleton. Last season, Gallaudet earned its first-ever victory over Castleton in Washington, D.C., a 21-17 win that featured 744 yards of total offense combined. After Gallaudet took the lead with 9:03 remaining in regulation, Castleton twice drove the ball into the red zone, but was stopped both times, the second time at the Bison one-yard line on fourth-and-goal with 29 seconds left on the clock.
After Saturday's game, Castleton concludes the 2017 season with an ECFC contest at Alfred State Saturday, Nov. 11, starting at 1 p.m.