In every football player’s career, there comes a day where it all comes to end.
No more putting the pads on, strapping on helmets, practices, games or road trips with your teammates.
As a player, you reminisce about all the memories and think about the first time you stepped onto a field or into a stadium.
That was the hard truth that many Castleton football seniors faced when they hosted Anna Maria at Dave Wolk Stadium for their senior game.
It would be the last time they ever played at home and for some, the last time they’d step into a competitive football game.
Senior offensive lineman Austin Crosier felt the final moments as a reward from the long journey.
“My last snaps were so fulfilling. After all of the ups and downs from the last two years, to be able to be on the field for the first play and final plays of my senior day at Castleton were so memorable,” said Crosier with a smile.
It has been a long and grueling season for the Spartans as they went into their senior day with a record of 0-7.
But on that nice Saturday afternoon the CU football team went in on a mission and they didn’t stray from it. The Spartans capped off a beautiful first win of the season defeating Anna Maria 33-19 out playing them on every side of the ball.
They would taste the win column again the next week with an upset victory over undefeated Dean College 38-20.
Castleton senior cornerback Nick Reca said the first win and the season as a whole was a lesson in life.
“The win felt earned. Everyone has been working really hard all season and to see it pay off felt great. Losing makes you appreciate the wins, in life and in football,” Reca said.
Many of the seniors have experienced snaps in varsity games throughout their careers at Castleton, but for one senior in particular, Saturday was his first time out there.
Senior quarterback Kyle Lynch took his first snaps under center for the Spartans.
“Getting out there for my first snap, there were many mixed emotions, it hit me hard that this was my last time stepping on that field as a Spartan and I had to take in the reality. I had all the support of my teammates and coaches. Having my parents seeing me out there was a real special moment,” Lynch said.
As the final seconds on the clock ticked away many players would be walking off Dave Wolk Stadium for the final time as a Spartan, but these careers started long before CU and have endless memories and lessons that will last a lifetime.
“Football and my time throughout my four years of Castleton football taught me that no matter the record, the rings or anything else, the amount of lifelong friendships and memories I made while playing football I will never forget,” said Lynch with pride.
For Crosier things haven’t really settled in yet.
“I’m still processing the fact that I’m never going to play football again to be honest with you. After our game against Dean College, I think that’s when everything is going to sink in. I’m definitely going to be emotional. Seventeen years of playing football flew by just like that,” he said.
“I went from being a kid from Upstate, N.Y. who wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue football to an experienced leader who went through adversity and now mentors future Spartans,” Crosier said.
The game of football like many sports is a tool that takes individuals extremely far not only in their careers but in life.
Reca again finds himself comparing the game of football to his future.
“I’ve learned to play the next play. In life and in football if something doesn’t go your way you have to be able to move past it as quickly as possible. In life I feel confident that no matter what happens I will be able to overcome it,” he said.