Seniors Come Through in Clutch as Football Downs Alfred State in Season Finale

Seniors Come Through in Clutch as Football Downs Alfred State in Season Finale

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University football team capped the 2018 campaign with a victory on Saturday afternoon, ousting Alfred State by a final score of 21-3 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference action on a breezy fall day at Dave Wolk Stadium.

Castleton (2-8, 1-5 ECFC) honored its 16 graduating seniors in a ceremony prior to kickoff in front of a crowd of nearly 2,000 people. Moe Harris capped his record-setting career with the longest run in program history—a 92-yard touchdown scamper—late in the second quarter, finishing the day with 184 rushing yards on 20 carries. Mitchell Caron added a one-yard rushing touchdown to open the scoring early in the second quarter, while Jared Brockway capped the scoring with a 13-yard score on a reverse in the fourt quarter.

Caron finished the day 9-of-14 passing for 68 yards, while Ryan Barry was on the receiving end of three passes for 24 yards. Adnane Adossama caught two balls for 24 yards, and Damon Burgess hauled in one catch for 10 yards. John Vita IV carried the ball three times for 16 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Grant Cummings registered eight tackles, broke up two passes and had an interception in his final game for the Spartans, while Seth Gewanter forced and recovered a fumble on special teams. Chris Rice piled up 11 total tackles and 4.0 tackles for a loss to tie Jakob Trautwein for the most career tackles for a loss in program history, with 28.0. The sophomore finished the season with 22.5 tackles for a loss, ranking him inside the nation's top 10 in the category this season. Owen Tretter and Ethan Sherwood each tallied two pass breakups in their final career games as the Spartans broke up eight passes as a defense.

Kiegan Brown shouldered the load for the Pioneers (1-9, 1-5 ECFC) offensively, carrying the ball 23 times for 77 yards. Ronnie Clark totaled 52 yards on 10 carries, while Carter Harman went 10-for-26 throwing the ball. Harman amassed 139 yards through the air and was picked off once, while Jalen Long was his top target with seven catches for 103 yards.

John Lauretti was a defensive force for Alfred State, racking up 16 tackles, including 4.0 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks on the day. Brandon Davis had eight tackles, while Mike Zimmerman chipped in with six stops for the Pioneer defense.

After a scoreless opening frame, Castleton punched in in from one yard out on the first play of the second quarter as Caron pushed his way through the pile and into the end zone to give Castleton its first lead of the game following a nine-play, 56-yard drive.

Alfred State threated to answer right back as it marched down the field 67 yards in 12 plays, but its drive stalled out after a negative run play and an incomplete pass before Ryan Shipherd missed a 25-yard field goal attempt wide left.

After a pair of empty possessions by both teams, Castleton took over with its back on its own goal line at the 8-yard line with 2:35 to play before halftime. On the first play of the drive Harris took the handoff right and bounced outside. After breaking a tackle near the 15-yard line, he took off down the right sideline for a 92-yard touchdown run, pushing Castleton's lead to 14-0 heading into the break.

The Pioneers put together another long drive to open the third quarter, taking nearly six minutes off the clock as they went 47 yards down the field in 12 plays. Alfred State had the ball 1st-and-10 at the Castleton 12-yard line, but two rushes that went nowhere and an incomplete pass quickly brought up a 4th-and-long. The Pioneers settled for another field goal try, and this time Shipherd connected from 33 yards to get Alfred State on the board, 14-3.

Neither side got on the board again until the fourth quarter, when Castleton forced its second turnover of the game on a crucial special teams play. Facing a 4th-and-2, Castleton elected to punt from the Alfred State 46-yard line. With Mike Morgan looking to pin the Pioneers deep, he sent the ball to the 12-yard line, where Austin Parker looked to return it. Parker started towards the right sideline, but was met by Gewanter, who knocked it loose and fell on it to give Castleton possession and a fresh set of downs at the 15-yard line. After Harris carried it up the middle for two yards, Brockway took a reverse handoff from Harris 13 yards to the corner of the endzone, giving Castleton its third touchdown of the afternoon and making it a 21-3 game.

The Pioneers would not go away, however, marching the ball deep into Spartan territory once more, working the ball all the way down inside the 10-yard line. With a 2nd-and-5 from the Castleton 6-yard line, Harman uncorked three consecutive incomplete passes in the direction of Long and Castleton took over on downs with 5:56 to play.

The Spartans chewed up every second left on the clock, running nine plays that spanned 51 yards, capped off with a kneel down to end the contest.