Special teams errors costly for CU

The Castleton defense, led by Jakob Trautwein, second from right, looks to make a stop in opponent territory. Photo by Olivia Maher. 

It’s been 1,796 days since the lights last shined down on the green jerseys of the Castleton football team, but the Spartans were on the losing side of last Saturday’s night game at Spartan Stadium falling to Fitchburg St. 31-10.

Herbert Acosta was the standout for the Falcons. Acosta tallied 155 yards on eight catches with one touchdown and was the go to receiver for quarterback Nelson Valerio. Valerio was solid all night completing 19 of 26 pass attempts for 289 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jevon Brown-Simpson carried the ball 16 times for 49 yards

With 5:17 left in the second quarter Acosta was able to beat his man on the left sideline and Valerio found him from 26 yards out to put the Falcons up 10-0 going into halftime.

“It looked like they were playing cover two, but we knew the safety wouldn’t come over and help on the short fade and we’ve been practicing that all year,” Acosta said about his touchdown.

Moe Harris was the primary source of offense for the Spartans rushing for 89 yards on 22 carries. Mitchell Caron completed 7 of 20 pass attempts for 37 yards and one interception.

Coming off a 31-7 loss against Plymouth St. in week one the Castleton run defense proved tough, limiting the Fitchburg St. rushing attack to only 1.5 yards per carry. Jakob Trautwein tied his career high for tackles in a single game with 18, just three shy of the program record.

“I’m more concerned about us as team; us as a whole. I’m not really too impressed with the individual stats. It’s always cool to get your name in the paper… but the only stat I’m worried about is in the win-loss column,” Trautwein said.

Although a close game for most of the night, the Falcons were able to pull away in the fourth quarter scoring three times in the last 10 minutes through the air.

“We came in with a game plan to kind of run the ball. They did a great job of taking the run away and really loading the box and bringing pressure off the edge and really stifling the running game,” said Fitchburg St. head coach Pat Haverty.

Castleton head coach Tony Volpone thought his defense played well, but struggled to make plays on special teams. A bobbled snap in the third quarter caused kicker Ryan Payne to hit the cross bar from 22 yards out, then in the fourth quarter a dropped punt was recovered by the Falcons who were able to score and regain the lead. Not giving it up again.

“Playing hard is great, but you have to execute in all three phases of the game when it’s time to execute,” Volpone said.

Castleton will only have to wait 7 more days to play under the lights again when they battle Norwich for the Sap Bucket at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 16 at 6pm.

“I haven’t played under lights since high school,” Trautwein said. “The crowd was pumped everyone was getting rowdy and I just really love that atmosphere.”

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