After suffering a disappointing 40-7 loss to conference rival Husson University last Saturday in Maine, the Castleton football team (2-2) returned home to welcome the Mount Ida Mustangs (1-3), who came into Spartan Stadium after a victory over ECFC opponent Gallaudet.
With yet another rowdy Spartan crowd on hand and with not a cloud in the sky, Castleton came out of the locker room determined, on a mission, and were never really threatened by the Mustangs as the team collected its first conference victory in a must-win game Saturday afternoon by a score of 34-14.
The Spartans were able to control and maintain a comfortable lead throughout the first three quarters of the contest and held Mount Ida scoreless until late into the fourth quarter. Brent Denning and junior Tyler Higley stood out defensively for the Spartans with Denning recording six tackles and Higley, who was making his first career start at cornerback filling in for the injured senior Derek Mcadoo, recorded two interceptions and knocked down a few big passing attempts by the Mustangs.
“The defense as a whole did their job and the pass rush really helped me be successful,” Higley said. “We were just excited to have a shot at getting back on track after last week and we knew it would be a great atmosphere, because it always is at Spartan Stadium.”
Castleton on offense marched down the field with help from their two-headed rushing attack made up of junior running back Corey Brimmer, who had rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown, and freshman phenom and ECFC Rookie of the Week Moe Harris, who rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
“Mo is a great running back and we work well together as a one-two punch,” Brimmer said. “We plan to win out the rest of the season, but we are going to focus on our next opponent and take it from there.”
Castleton not only got a huge contribution from their ground game and defense, but also from senior Soren Pelz-Walsh, who was once again impactful in the receiving game this week. Pelz-Walsh hauled in six catches for 65 yards and a score. Makai Hawkins also had six catches for 56 yards on the day for the Spartans. Pelz-Walsh seemed relieved to just be able to move on from last week’s loss and move forward with his talented Castleton team.
“We had a great week of practice and were just excited to flush last week and move on,” Pelz-Walsh said. “Offensively we did a better job than last week and we still have a lot to work on, but the O-line did a good job opening up the holes for our run game and gave George enough time to throw.”
“It was good to see us work hard and have a good mindset coming in to this game which allowed us to be successful. We want to focus and be prepared every time we step on the field. We have some tough opponents coming up and we want to compete in all phases of the game and fly around. We love this game and have the opportunity to do great things with this program,” he said.
Castleton improved its record to (3-2) while the Mustangs fell to (1-4) on the season. The Spartans will stay home this week and welcome in Gallaudet (0-4), which is looking for its first win of the season this Saturday at noon at Spartan Stadium.