FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Castleton University football team jumped out to a 10-0 lead at halftime on Saturday afternoon, but was unable to hang on as Dean College rattled off 19 unanswered points en route to a 19-17 final score in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Action.
Moe Harris became Castleton's all-time leader in all-purpose yardage, collecting 154 total yards in the contest to bring his career total to 5,555 yards. He surpasses Kevin Alberque, who totaled 5,473 yards from 2011 through 2014, and is ranked fourth in the nation in career all-purpose yardage among active players. Harris collected 102 yards on the ground, the fifth time this season he has topped the 100-yard mark rushing the football.
Mitchell Caron completed 20-of-38 pass attempts on the day for a total of 227 yards, but was picked off three times by the Dean defense. Anthony Martinez and Harris each hauled in six passes from Caron, with Martinez totaling 79 yards through the air.
Seth Gewanter and Grant Cummings led the team with eight tackles apiece and combined for four tackles for a loss. Chris Rice had 2.5 tackles for a loss in the contest as part of a seven-tackle day, while the Spartan defense totaled 12 tackles for a loss for the second time this season and the fourth time in program history.
Dean's offense was led by a 16-for-27 day passing by Terrell Watts as he racked up 275 yards passing despite the wind and rain. He threw for one touchdown, while DeAndre Grange rushed for a pair of touchdowns on 27 carries. Errol Breaux piled up 127 yards receiving on just five catches with a touchdown.
The Spartans (1-8, 0-5 ECFC) had an opportunity to win the game late, scoring with less than three minutes remaining to make it a one-score game before getting the ball back with 1:33 to play. Caron opened the drive with four consecutive completions to advance the ball 45 yards downfield into Bulldog territory. A five-yard rush followed by a completion to Harris put Castleton at the 25-yard line before an incompletion stopped the clock. Caron picked up eight yards with a rush on the next play, but the Spartans were unable to get another play off as the clock expired, sending the game to its final score. After a scoreless first quarter, the Spartans cracked the scoreboard first as Andy Kenosh knocked home a 27-yard field goal to give his squad a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. Castleton extended that edge to 10-0 with less than a minute to play in the half as Harris capped off a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown before Kenosh converted the extra point.
Dean struck first in the second half of action, as Watts found Breaux for 44 yards down to the four-yard line. Grange punched it in one play later, cutting the deficit to just four points at 10-6. The Bulldogs went for two, but came up short as Grange was unable to convert.
On their following drive, Dean marched down the field once more, covering 70 yards in 10 plays, eating nearly eight minutes of game time before Grange tallied his second touchdown of the contest from three yards out. The two-point conversion failed once again though Dean had its first lead of the game at 12-10.
The Bulldogs added to that lead in the midway through the final quarter after taking over deep in Castleton territory following an interception. On the second play of the drive, Watts found Breaux once again for a 30-yard touchdown, stretching the lead to 18-10. The Bulldogs opted for the point-after attempt, which was converted by Jacob Bisson, making it 19-10 in favor of the home side.
After Cummings forced a fumble that gave Castleton possession deep in Bulldog territory, Harris took off for 20 yards before being brought down at the one-yard line. Caron finished the job on the ensuing play, pushing the pile for a one-yard touchdown run and cutting the deficit to just two points, 19-17.
Kenosh's onside kick following the touchdown was recovered by Dean, but the Castleton defense stood tall and forced a three-and-out and a Bulldog punt. After Quintus Reid's punt landed in the end zone for a touchback, Caron and the Spartans went to work in search of a game-winning drive, but came up empty after running nine plays in the final 1:33 of regulation before the clock expired.
Castleton returns to action next week for its final game of the season as it hosts Alfred State for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Dave Wolk Stadium in Castleton.