Bucket stays at Norwich

Evan Keegan gives a first down gesture after a catch.

Car, trucks, and RVs began to fill up the Hoff Hall parking lot hours before the homecoming game kickoff between the Castleton Spartans and the Norwich Cadets.

Nearly 4,000 fans were tailgating before the biggest sporting event of the year at Castleton University.

Unfortunately, the hometown Spartans fell to the Cadets in a 28-12 effort falling to 2-1 on the season.

The Spartans stout defense was tested by the Cadets 401 total yards of offense. The Spartans senior quarterback Jacob McCarthy moved the ball through the air for 241 yards, but the Cadets had the slight edge through the air with 288 yards.

The Cadets also outrushed the Spartans offense 113 yards to 87 yards.

“We made too many silly mental mistakes from a discipline standpoint, we talked about it as a team. We had 162 yards that were accountable to penalties, mostly of the dead ball foul nature, personal fouls, late hit, unsportsmanlike misconduct, unnecessary roughness, and we’ve never played that way. We may have had one or two in a game here or there but to have seven was totally uncharacteristic of us. We dealt with it, we talked about it and hopefully we’ve learned from it,” said Castleton head coach Tony Volpone.

The Spartans tallied a total of nine penalties in the contest compared to the Cadets seven. However, the Cadets had only 64 yards lost due to penalties compared to the 162 yards that Volpone had mentioned previously.

Wide receiver Tony Martinez also spoke about the penalties.

“As far as the game, there’s not much to say other than we beat ourselves. Even when most people thought the game was over, we made multiple big plays that could’ve changed the momentum of the game, but we would shoot ourselves in the foot with a 15-yard penalty which ultimately stalls the drive,” said the senior receiver who hauled in seven catches for 105 yards. “We had 2-3 opportunities to score from within the 5-yard line that penalties took away from us,” said Martinez.

The homecoming game against Norwich was also the Maple Sap Bucket Game. The Cadets took the Maple Sap Bucket for the third consecutive season.

On a brighter side, the game marked the first homecoming since COVID began, with last year’s being cancelled.

“Last year, with the pandemic there was a lot of adversity for a lot of different people in many different aspects. For me it was the first fall since I was 7 years old that I didn’t get to suit up and play football, so it was definitely different for me. I am just so glad to be back on the field playing in front of the people that support us and love watching us play and just being able to play for them,” said McCarthy.

Martinez also commented about being back on the field.

“The atmosphere was amazing, and it felt good seeing the old alumni surrounding the field and to see former teammates their waiting for us at the entrance of the field. You could definitely tell there were more fans at homecoming versus the opening week against Plymouth. I’ll definitely miss taking the field for homecoming more than anything,” said Martinez.

The Castleton Spartans took on St. Lawrence Saints on Sept. 26 and the games ended with a score of 55-3. The Spartans are back in action on Oct. 2 against Maritime College.

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