The Spartans regained their footing this week defeating the Dean College Bulldogs 17-14. Following a crushing loss to the Husson Eagles, Castleton seemed to right the ship.
“It feels good to get back on track,” said senior linebacker, Shane Hurley. “It was a tough one, but we overcame adversity and I’m glad we were able to pull out the W at the end.”
The game started slow. It began with 11 scoreless possessions, five for the Spartans, six for the Bulldogs. However, Dean College’s second failed attempt at a fourth down conversion gave Castleton a much-needed spark. Back-to-back big catches by Jermaine Coggins helped set up the Spartans in enemy territory. Finally, Moe Harris was able to find pay dirt just before the half for the first points of the game.
At halftime, not much could be said for both teams offensively in the first half, with only 184 total yards amassed. The Bulldogs only gained 82 yards, turned the ball over once, and were shut down twice on fourth down. The Spartans didn’t fare much better, gaining 102 total yards, 65 of which came on their scoring drive. Even though Castleton led at the half, it was not as if they had a stranglehold on this game.
The Bulldogs came out hot in the second half, and only burned one minute off the clock before scoring on their first drive. Yet, this proved to be an outlier and scoring continued to be infrequent in this game.
The contest remained tied for the rest of the third quarter. But just before the start of the fourth, Moe Harris must have decided he was not having it. He picked up 13 yards on the final play of the third and carried that momentum with him into the next quarter.
Harris took the phrase “carrying his team” to a whole new level. He rushed for 139 yards in the fourth quarter, while helping to set up a field goal, and scored the go-ahead, game-sealing touchdown in the final minutes of the game. He finished with a stat line of 36 carries for exactly 200 yards (5.5 YPC) and two touchdowns, while adding two receptions for 15 yards.
“My line was getting a good push,” said Harris. “We were in better shape, so we took advantage. The holes just started opening up for me to make big plays for the offense.”
Harris’s fourth quarter explosion is the main reason the Spartans took home the victory in a game that wasn’t exactly pretty, at least offensively. Castleton went 0 for 3 on fourth down conversions and just five for 16 on third down conversions.
“We’ve got to be better on third and fourth down,” said senior tight end, Nick Boles, “The good news is, we played a really good game defensively and won the turnover battle. It was close, but in the end, we got it done.”
The Spartans will now shift their focus to their upcoming road matchup with the SUNY Maritime Privateers on Saturday, Oct. 28.