The Castleton State College football team capped off their season at home against the Norwich Cadets for the annual Maple sap bucket trophy Saturday afternoon. Last year, the Spartans won the bucket for the first time and were looking forward to keeping the trophy here at Spartan Stadium.
The Spartans were off to a strong start, but were outscored 24-0 in the second half and were forced to return the precious sap bucket to the Cadets after the 31-13 loss.
Castleton’s offense looked impressive in the first half and after a 1-yard run from quarterback Tyler Higley and a 27-yard field goal from Robert Lineberger, they went into halftime leading 13-7.
Higley connected with his receivers 20 times for a total of 208 yards, but was intercepted four times, two for touchdowns.
Junior Kevin Alberque was the top receiver for the Spartans hauling in six passes for 69 yards. The Spartan offense finished the day with 344 yards total as they fell to a 1-9 record on the season.
Defensively, the Spartans were sound and kept opposing quarterback Keyen Foley to under 50 yards passing. Foley managed to scramble his way out of the pocket to 159 yards rushing on 22 attempts.
Todd Carr spearheaded the Spartan defense with a team high 13 tackles, which gave the senior defender the honor of the program record for 308 career tackles. Linebackers Nick Romeo and Leo Audy added 12 tackles each while Audy also recovered a fumble.
Norwich’s Andy Mangin crippled the Spartan comeback late in the fourth quarter with a pair of interceptions that he returned for touchdowns. Norwich advances to 7-3 on the year and is tied for first in the ECFC with Gallaudet.
After the game, head coach Marc Klatt thanked his team for the hard work they put in and for never giving up hope this season.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys, proud of our effort and the way they hung in and battled,” he said.
At the end of what some would call a “rebuilding year,” the Spartans are looking forward to improving for next season. The young program has already proved it can be a competitor in the conference and Klatt can’t wait to start preparations for the upcoming year.
“We’re excited to wrap up the season and start getting ready for the next,” he said. “It comes down to recruiting and where we have needs on our team. We’re excited as we move forward because when you have a year like this, there’s nowhere to go but up.”