Spartans crushed in home opener

Castleton State College’s football team had a 7-6 lead going into the second quarter, but were unable to stop the Endicott offense as the Gulls went on to win 43-7 on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.

“Our effort today was great, credit to our players, coaches and fans,” said head coach Marc Klatt. “We have some things to clean up, offensively and defensively, and we will just keep working hard to clean them up.”

Freshman Tyler Higley saw the most field time out of the three quarterbacks to take snaps for Castleton.

The trio were called into duty with starting quarterback George Busharis having been suspended, along with wide receiver Brandon Boyle and four other yet unnamed players, for their roles in thefts at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rutland. 

Higley went 12 for 25 for 166 yards and threw one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. Junior Kevin Alberque had himself a great game recording 300 all-purpose yards, 152 yards receiving on eight catches and a touchdown to add to 148 yards returning.

“I feel I did well today, but there is always room for improvement,” Alberque said. “You can always do better. There were some balls I should have caught and didn’t, but you can always improve no matter how good of a game you had.”

On the opening drive, the Spartans came out aggressive and were able to stop Endicott with a big sack by Mick Wong and Ethan Macura. The Spartans were not able to get anything going on their first possession either, and Endicott forced Castleton to punt.

Endicott started the scoring off in the next possession by having Dylan Rushe boot a 42-yarder to take the early 3-0 lead. The Spartans would answer quickly, though, after a 30 yard pass to Alberque, which put them in good position. Higley hit Alberque again this time for 46 yards and a touchdown to put the Spartans up 7-3. Endicott answered on their very next possession with Rushe hitting a 27 yard field goal to bring the score to 7-6.

In the second quarter, Endicott was able to grab the lead from the Spartans when Rushe hit another field goal from 25 yards out to take the 9-7 lead. The Gulls scored again a minute and a half later on a 35 yard touchdown pass from Drew Frenette to Greg Dellorco. This increased the margin 16-7. With 1:24 remaining in the half, Rushe hit his fourth field goal of the day from 42 yards out, rounding out the first half scoring at 19-7.

“On defense, when the tackling broke down, they [Endicott] were able to capitalize,” Klatt said. “We strayed from the fundamentals at times, which gave them opportunities.”

In the second half, Endicott continued to move the ball well. Five minutes into the third, Frenette hit Jamison Craft for a 19 yard touchdown reception, which increased the lead to 26-7. Six minutes later, the Gulls were threatening again and gave it to Spencer Walsh, who ran it in from one out to score. This pushed the lead to 33-7.

In the fourth, Rushe was able to hit his fifth field goal of the game. This one was 44 yards out and made the score 36-7. With four minutes left, Steve Wutzer was picked off by Kyle Connolly, who returned it from 22 yards out to bring it to 43-7, where it would stay.

“I am very proud of my team and I stand behind them,” Alberque said. “We came out ready to play, but they [Endicott] were the better team today.”

Mick Wong and Todd Carr both had a game-high 14 tackles, with Wong also recording a sack. Jay Morgan added 12 tackles and both Nick Romeo and Luke Quesnell forced fumbles.

“We have a young squad on defense so we are taking it a step at a time with them,” Wong said. “We keep working hard and getting better every day.”

With the loss, Castleton is now 1-1 on the season and Endicott improved to 1-1 with the win.

Castleton will be back in action next Saturday as the team travels to face RPI at 12 p.m.

“We haven’t lost sight of our team goals; we just got to work hard to get them,” Klatt said.

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