Spartans shine under the lights

The Castleton football team had their first game of conference play under the lights against the Dean Bulldogs. 

Castleton hasn’t had a night game in five years. 

The Spartans started strong in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference by taking an easy 39-0 win in that game Dean.  

The last time the Spartans played a night game was back in 2017, also against Dean, with that game ending in a 17-14 Spartan victory. 

The only players to be a part of this game are now coaching this year’s team. Coaches Lukas Carlson and Gordon Brown were listed on the roster, while Tyler Higley was coaching for his first year as a graduate assistant.  

Night games always have a different environment compared to afternoon games. 

There are many factors leading into game day that make it different, but most players are excited for such an environment.  

Captain Tom Donovan talks briefly about being pumped to play under the lights. 

“Everyone plays with a little more edge when the sun goes down and it’s a lot more fun and intense.” 

Wide receiver Wyatt Jackson talks about the atmosphere bringing students and faculty together for a campus event. 

“It’s something different in terms of what we usually do on Saturday. Students, faculty and fans will come together and bring the juice!”  

Most players on this years team will not remember playing in the last night game. 

This was a clean slate for present players to put on a show for the home crowd! 

Players like quarterback Evan Smith excelled in the atmosphere, going 18-of-24 passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for two touchdowns. 

His performance earned him ECFC Offensive Player of the Week for tearing into the Bulldog defense. 

Sophomore wide receiver Jackson Brand also caught fire, adding another touchdown to his season as he’s scored in each of the first five contests for the Spartans. 

Scoring five touchdowns in five games and his consistent high level of play earned him ECFC Rookie of the Week honors. 

On the defensive side, a team effort helped hold the bulldogs from getting into the end zone. 

Linebacker Kevin McDoungh lead the team in tackles alongside defensive back Damiyr Martinez with eight tackles. 

The defensive line wreaked havoc as defensive tackle Robert Guerin had three tackles for loss. 

Andrew Genier added two more tackles for loss and a sack as the front had a dominant performance. 

To continue with the success, the team has to continue doing their job in all phases of the game. 

Offensive lineman Mitchell Gunther preaches starting off strong and keeping that same momentum throughout each week. 

“[We] need to be physically and mentally stronger than the other team in order to continue our success.”   

Donovan treats each conference matchup as another playoff game. 

“We can’t overlook anyone, and we have to prepare each week. That will allow us to be successful if we want to meet our goal. Win a championship. There is simply no option.”

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