The Spartans were in a two-minute drill, down by one point, and facing a winless Becker defense hungry for its first W. Quarterback Shane Brozowski had been perfect in the fourth quarter completing all four attempted passes, his fifth attempt was completed for the game-winning touchdown.
Castleton survived the back and forth battle going ahead 49-44 in the last minute of the game, and held on to earn its first ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference win.
On the seven play, 60-yard game winning drive, the Spartan offense had a no quit mentality as they converted crucial passes and executed play calls to perfection. On a fake bubble screen freshman wideout Adam Farmer dove to catch a Shane Brozowski throw that set the Spartans up at the Becker 12-yard line.
“Our offense scored touchdowns on the final four possessions,” said head coach Rich Alercio proudly.
The Spartan offense was fueled by Brozowski’s efficiency through the air, as he went 18 for 32 for 241 yards with three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.
Freshman running back Tyler Carpenter held down the running game with a 298-yard and three-touchdown performance. Carpenter scored on runs from seven, 22, 25 yards from the line scrimmage.
“He’s unstoppable, he broke away from people today,” said Alercio. “He was running the ball with three guys on his back.”
The game started out in Castleton’s favor, as the Spartans jumped out to an a 14-0 first quarter lead after a 12 yard touchdown pass by Brozowski and a 25 yard run by Carpenter. But Becker turned it back into a contest when the Hawks scored three straight touchdowns and going up 21-14 on the Spartans. Castleton rebutted back to even the score at 21, but Becker was able to kick a go ahead field goal before halftime.
The Hawks were ahead of the Spartans 31-28 entering the fourth quarter. After Carpenter’s third touchdown run of the game, Castleton found itself back on top 35-31, but gave up the lead two minutes later. Brozowski ran a quarterback sneak to give the Spartans the advantage with seven minutes left to play. Becker went on an eight play, 55 yard drive to punch in the game tying touchdown, then kicked the go ahead extra point.
“I was just thinking we needed to get into field goal range,” Carpenter said of the Spartans exciting game winning drive. “We were only down by one so a field would have won it, but we were driving the ball downfield all game.”
After Brozowski and Farmer hooked up on a 33-yard pass play the Spartans were in the Becker red zone. The Spartans went to Carpenter twice before calling a timeout on third down. On a third and four situation Brozowski connected with freshman receiver Anthony Simms for the game-winning touchdown.
“Honestly, I’ve never played football before. I have never felt this kind of excitement in any of the three sports I played in high school,” said Simms.
A week before the Spartans saw how mistakes could let a game slip away when they lost on big plays to Husson, but Carpenter said they have been conditioned to forget their mistakes on the field.
“Coach Alercio told us, if you’re driving on the highway looking in the rear view mirror you’re going to crash,” Carpenter said of Alercio’s
Castleton will close out its inaugural season with instate rival Norwich. The Spartans are 1-2 at home this season, and realize the challenge Norwich will bring into Spartan Stadium.
“Norwich is at a whole ‘nother level,” Alercio said, “we need to play a perfect game to be able to hang with those guys, but the great thing is our players have the confidence to go out and play like that.