This past Saturday, four Castleton University football players represented the school at the Free Agent Football division three Senior Classic All-star Game.
Wide receiver Tony Martinez, defensive back Cole Preavy-Carrier, and defensive linemen Dustin Rock and Chris Rice were among the Castleton athletes participating in the game.
“It was an awesome experience to compete against some other great players,” Rock said.
The teams were made up of division three players from all around the country that were split into teams by geographical location either north or south.
“It was really cool to play against kids that I have competed against for the last five years at Castleton and to just play football one more time,” Martinez said.
The game was held at Faller Field in Middletown, New York.
Many professional football league scouts were on hand from various leagues including the NFL, CFL and European teams evaluating players for possible contract offers.
The Castleton players were a part of the north squad that pulled out a 17-15 victory over the south.
Rice’s play was indicative of why he was recently selected as the ECFC defensive player of the year and all-new England recognition.
Rice recorded numerous tackles for losses and seemed to always be around the ball.
Martinez, who was a Second Team All-ECFC selection, hauled in two passes on the day, including a late fourth quarter catch that cemented the win for the north.
Preavy-Carrier, the Richmond, Vermont native, recorded one tackle and a pass breakup on the day.
And Rock, a First Team All-ECFC selection, recorded a sack in the game.
“It was great to also share the experience with some of my teammates that I’ve been playing with for the last five years,” Rock said.
Free Agent Football hosted the inaugural Senior Bowl game after the Senior Classic, which Rock and Rice also participated in.
Rice was again a force to be reckoned with, constantly around the ball carrier or the quarterback’s face.
There were a lot of great plays throughout the day, but the best might have come in the second quarter of the latter game.
The quarterback dropped back, threw the ball that got tipped at the line of scrimmage, popped into the air, and Rock laid out full extension to record an interception.
Something you don’t see every day
“That interception gave me some reassurance that I belonged there and will be a great football memory for me,” Rock said.
It was a great play that really settled Rock down.
“I was nervous going into the weekend, especially having mono towards the end of the year causing me to miss my last two games as a Spartan,” Rock said.
Having some of his teammates and family there supporting him was what made the experience more fun than he expected.
Martinez along with the others echoed the nerves leading up to the game but looking back realizing how much fun it was.
“It was a lot more fun than I expected it to be,” Martinez said.
For Preavy-Carrier and Martinez, the game was their last collegiate contest.
Rock and Rice will play in the National Bowl in Daytona Beach, Florida on Saturday and can be watched by streaming online at flofootball.com.