The Spartans suffered a 49-0 defeat on the road this past Saturday against the Husson Eagles. Despite riding high after a three game stretch, Castleton’s win streak was abruptly halted. This matchup was expected to be difficult, but nobody could have predicted the Spartans would be shutout after averaging 30 points per game these past three weeks.
“We knew it was going to be a tough one,” said senior linebacker turned fullback, Chris Oettinger, “Husson was the best team in the conference coming into this game and they always give us a hard time when we play them. That being said, I expected us to play a lot better than we did.”
The first quarter could not have gone worse for the Spartans as they turned the ball over twice, gave up 21 points, and lost powerhouse running back Moe Harris for the game after he appeared to suffer a concussion. Tests later came back negative but the coaching staff elected to hold him out of the rest of the game regardless.
“I felt helpless,” said Harris, “There’s nothing like watching your brothers go to war knowing you cant do anything but watch it happen. It’s like my hands were tied behind my back. There’s nothing I wanted to do more than go out, play, and help them keep going and put some points up.”
After Husson scored on their first drive, it was evident from the Eagles confidence and the Spartans body language that this was going to be an uphill battle. But this was just as much a story of Husson playing exceptionally well, as it was a story of Castleton playing bad.
The Eagles seemed to be asserting their will on almost every play, as well as playing lights out on defense (150 total yards allowed). They forced 6 three and outs and racked up 42 points in the first half against a clearly outmatched Spartans team.
“Their offensive line played really well,” said senior linebacker Cam McHale, “It obviously helps when you have an outstanding player like John Smith who has the speed and vision to bounce runs to the outside like he was.”
Eagles star running back John Smith rushed 18 times for 96 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. He went over 1,000 rush yards for the season in this game, which is particularly impressive considering this was just Husson’s sixth game of the season.
Eagles quarterback Corey Brandon had more touchdown passes than he did incomplete passes (4 to 2) and as a result sat most of the second half. Meanwhile, Spartans quarterback Mitch Caron had a much less fruitful evening. He followed up his best game of the season with possibly his ugliest career performance (6-19, 53 yards, 3 interceptions, 0 touchdowns). Roughly 65% of Castleton’s total yards came from their rushing offense. The Spartans were clearly convinced they could not beat the Eagles through the air. They attempted just seven pass plays in the second half as opposed to nineteen rush attempts.
On a positive note, the Spartans defense allowed just 7 points in the second half. McHale cited personnel changes, for Husson as well as Castleton, as one of the major reasons the Spartans were able to slow the Eagles scoring onslaught.
“It definitely helped for us to get some fresh legs in the game. I mean, we were playing against their second team offense for most of the second half, but I still think we did a good job not allowing them to score or move the ball very much.”
The Spartans will look to get back on track Saturday as they host the Dean College Bulldogs.
“These things happen,” said Oettinger, “All we can do now is look forward to next week.”