Behind new quarterback Mitchell Caron, Castleton looked to earn their first win of the season on Homecoming weekend. After a close first half, the Salve Regina Seahawks scored 28 unanswered points in route to a 49-19 win over the Spartans.
Caron, a sophomore out of Augusta, Maine, completed 18 out of his 27 passes for 300 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also added a rushing touchdown.
“We were looking for answers, and I think we got the answers we were looking for,” said Castleton Head Coach Tony Volpone when asked about Caron’s play. “I am excited about the way he played and his future.”
Soren Pelz-Walsh caught six passes for a total of 123 yards, including both of Caron’s touchdown throws. The linebacker tandem of Darren Callan and Jakob Trautwein tallied 19 and 14 tackles, respectively, for the Spartans. Sam Pascale and James Dawson of Salve Regina combined for 264 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in their victory. Pascale also recorded a touchdown catch. Brandon Basil went 14 of 23 with 244 passing yards and a pair of scores for the visitors.
Salve Regina started with the ball first, and took eight plays and three and a half minutes to go 76 yards and take an early lead. Basil threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Pascale to put the Seahawks up 7-0.
After both teams went three and out, Caron and Pelz-Walsh gave the home fans something to cheer about. On a third down, Caron threw a strike to Pelz-Walsh, who then outraced the defense to record an 80-yard touchdown and make the score 7-6. Ryan Payne’s extra point attempt was blocked by Dave Mavilia and the score remained 7-6.
The visitors answered quickly, however, as Dawson scored his first of three touchdowns on a nine-yard run the next drive. His second score would come early in the second quarter, as he made the game 21-6 on a one-yard run.
The Spartans would take momentum later in the half, by scoring on their last two drive before intermission. Caron scored on a three-yard keeper midway through the second, and threw a three-yard score to Pelz-Walsh with 22 seconds left in the half to pull within two, 21-19.
This would be as close as Castleton would get. The Seahawks’ defense would hold the Spartans scoreless through the second half, and would score twice in each of the remaining quarters to run away with the win.
“We always feel like we are a second half team, and I think today we really started to wear them down,” Salve Regina Head Coach Kevin Gilmartin said postgame. Volpone attributed his team’s struggles to, “fatigue” and “lack of depth, especially along the defensive line”. The defensive line suffered a blow when Justin Nolan went down with what appeared to be a knee injury at the end of the first quarter. He did not return.
The Spartans return to action Saturday Oct. 1 when they take on conference opponent Anna Maria at 1pm at Spartan Stadium.