CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University football team aims to finish with a winning record when it closes the 2017 season against Alfred State College in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) game Saturday, Nov. 11, starting at 1 p.m.
Castleton clinched its fourth consecutive winning conference mark with a 28-17 victory over Gallaudet last Saturday on Senior Day at Spartan Stadium. A victory over the Pioneers will give the Spartans a 5-2 ECFC record for the third time in the past four seasons as well as a 6-4 overall record, an improvement of two games from 2016.
With a 34-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds remaining against the Bison, recently named the ECFC Play of the Week, junior running back Moe Harris passed the 1,000-yard mark for rushing for the second time in three years. Coming into Saturday's game with 1,033 yards, he needs 33 yards to break his own single-season school record for rushing yards, and he is just one rushing touchdown away from tying the Spartan single-season record of 14 that he tied in 2015 after Tyler Carpenter originally set it in 2011.
Another milestone to watch is on the defensive side of the ball for the Spartans, as senior linebacker Jakob Trautwein needs just three tackles to become the third player in Castleton history to collect 300 career tackles. He also needs just 1.5 tackles for a loss to become the program's career leader in that category.
Alfred State, in its first season as an ECFC member, enters Saturday's game with a 1-8 overall record, including a 1-5 league mark. The Pioneers defeated Mount Ida on Oct. 28 for their first win of the season, 18-8, but lost to Husson last Saturday, 63-0. Alfred State is averaging 11.7 points, 91.4 rushing yards, and 127.8 passing yards per game.
Hunter Evingham has been Alfred State's main quarterback in the past three games, appearing in six games overall with a completion rate of 45.8 percent (66-for-144) for 752 yards and five touchdowns. Reice Woodward leads the Pioneers with 27 receptions, while Jalen Long has accumulated 305 receiving yards, with four of his 14 receptions resulting in touchdowns. In the running game, Kiegan Brown has carried the ball 133 times for 608 yards and seven touchdowns.
Defensively, John Lauretti leads Alfred State with 71 total tackles, including 5.5 sacks as part of 17.5 tackles for a loss. Austin Parker has collected 59 tackles along with an interception and a team-high five pass breakups. Collectively, the Pioneer defense is allowing 34.7 points, 191.7 rushing yards, and 219.4 passing yards per game.
This will be the first meeting between Castleton and Alfred State as conference opponents, but the third meeting overall between the two schools. On Sept. 27, 2014, in Alfred, N.Y., Castleton scored 17 points in the span of five-and-a-half minutes in the second half to defeat Alfred State, 36-23, despite the Pioneers' Rasheed Williams running for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
On Sept. 26, 2015, at Spartan Stadium, Castleton scored 21 points in the first quarter on its way to a 35-20 victory. George Busharis completed 18-of-20 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns, with Soren Pelz-Walsh catching seven passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. A Homecoming crowd of 4,117 came to watch that game, still the largest crowd to see a Castleton football game in Spartan Stadium history.
Saturday's game will be the final collegiate contest for 13 Castleton seniors: 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.