Castleton football stars reunite in Germany

Tony Martinez and Moe Harris are two of the most decorated athletes to come through the Castleton University football program.

Dismantling defenses over the course of five years, both players have landed spots in the Castleton history books. Harris, the running back, leads the rushing yards category with 3,838 yards and all-purpose yards with 5,744 yards

Martinez, the wide receiver, lands fourth in reception yards and touchdowns at 1,830 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Now, the duo is playing together again, and getting paid for it – in Germany

Harris has played professionally for two years in France, but Martinez hasn’t strapped on a helmet since he graduated in 2021. And he has Harris to thank for the opportunity.

Harris, debating on playing overseas again this year, was called up by a coach from the Dusseldorf Panthers asking him to play for their team. He said he wanted to take the opportunity, but only if Martinez would be given an opportunity as well.

Martinez immediately sent film to the coaches and began conversations with the team.

The Panthers responded by offering both Harris and Martinez an opportunity to play for their team in back-to-back Instagram posts

The duo was now reunited in Germany.

Martinez said he was struggling with life after football and had talked to Harris about it before Harris made the pitch to sign him as well.

“I’m excited to literally just put on a helmet and shoulder pads and practice,” Martinez said when asked about the opportunity. “I’m not even looking forward to the games yet.”

Harris, now looking to start his third year playing overseas, said the change wasn’t that tough, though playing professionally does add a different element.

“Now that I’m being paid to play, I know that I must perform. I must make sure that I’m doing what’s needed of me to make our team successful,” he says.

The duo first became teammates in 2017 as Harris entered his junior year and Martinez came in as a freshman. Martinez recalled moving in and seeing his new teammate from across the hall and introduced himself.

He said they formed a connection early on when Martinez was sidelined due to an injury. He remembers having long talks about life and working out, which got them much closer and shaped him as a player and a man. They eventually played alongside each other for the first time in 2017.

You rarely see this professional opportunity unfold for Division III players, but Castleton University Head Coach Tony Volpone said he’s excited about their opportunity.

“Harris and Martinez pushed each other when they were players at Castleton and it’s only fitting to see them continue their careers together,” he said.

Last year, Harris played for the Solingen Paladins and rushed for 1,800 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. With his success, he wanted to pass the opportunity to someone else.

It was always a dream of Martinez to follow in Harris’ footsteps, but he had basically given up hopes of playing again and last year, served as Castleton’s wide receiver’s coach.

Harris and Martinez both share a connection on and off the field and the ability to come together has them motivated to get back to work.

Both said they are excited to see what they can do on the field together again.

But it almost wasn’t.

Harris said he was talking about retirement to Martinez and saw that he had been struggling adjusting his drive to another part of life than football.

He wanted to do everything in his power to “pass the torch” and give an opportunity to another individual that was given to him.

Now, Harris said he wants to build on what he accomplished in France and Martinez said he wants to make big plays in big moments just like he did in CU.

And both said they’re ready to get to work.

“They say all men are created equal so just work harder in the preseason and I believe in that,” Harris said.

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