PAXTON, Mass. – Moe Harris posted the second-highest single-game rushing total in Castleton football history, compiling 209 yards on the ground and scoring three touchdowns to lead the Spartans to a 27-14 victory over the Anna Maria College AMCATs Saturday afternoon in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) contest at AMCAT Field.
Harris's 209 yards is a career high, passing the 202-yard effort he put together against the AMCATs at Spartan Stadium one year ago. He set a Castleton single-game record with 39 carries, became the second player in program history to score at least three rushing touchdowns in a single game more than once in a career, and passed both the 2,000-rushing yard and 3,000-all-purpose yard marks in his Spartan tenure.
Anna Maria (0-4, 0-1 ECFC) went three-and-out on its opening possession, and then Luc Issa blocked Camden Brown's punt, allowing the Spartans to take over on the AMCAT 23-yard line. Harris ate up all 23 yards on three carries, including a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
The AMCATs responded on their next drive, as Jayson Wallace found Daniel Green for an 85-yard touchdown pass, and the successful PAT allowed Anna Maria to pull ahead, 7-6. That lead would not last long, as an AMCAT penalty affected the kickoff and gave the Spartans possession in Anna Maria territory. After running 28 yards down to the AMCAT two-yard line, Harris punched it in to put Castleton back on top, 13-7.
After another Anna Maria three-and-out, Castleton once again started its drive in AMCAT territory, and Mitchell Caron hooked up with Tyler Hall for a 32-yard touchdown pass, increasing the Spartan lead to 20-7 halfway through the opening quarter.
That would be the end of the scoring until the final quarter, as neither team came close to scoring during the rest of the first half. Castleton put together an impressive drive to open the second half, including a 27-yard completion from Caron to Ryan Barry to advance deep into Anna Maria territory. After stalling at the AMCAT seven-yard line, the snap on the field goal attempt was high, and the AMCATs were able to recover the ball at their own 40-yard line.
Anna Maria entered Castleton territory midway through the third quarter, but Owen Tretter intercepted a Wallace pass to end the AMCAT scoring opportunity. The Spartans put together a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:30, with Harris doing the vast majority of the work, including a five-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter to extend the Castleton advantage to 27-7.
The AMCATs responded with a 12-play, 74-yard drive, culminating with a five-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to Trai Weaver. Anna Maria recovered an onside kick, but could not convert one first down, turning the ball over.
Castleton put the game away by taking 6:05 off the clock on its next drive, with Harris rushing for 27 yards during that drive. Anna Maria took over on downs with 2:15 left in regulation, but once again could not earn even one first down, and the Spartans were able to run the final minute off the clock.
The Spartans earned 22 first downs while holding the AMCATs to 11 first downs during the afternoon. Castleton compiled a season-high 318 yards of total offense, including 194 rushing yards, and held the ball for 36:41, also a season best.
Defensively, Jakob Trautwein again led the way with 11 total tackles, including seven solo tackles, while Tretter finished with four solo tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception. The Spartans held the AMCATs to just 38 net yards rushing, and Castleton punter Mike Morgan continually gave Anna Maria long fields to work with, averaging 36.2 yards per punt and seeing four of his six punts downed inside the 20 yard line.
Castleton (2-2, 1-0 ECFC) hosts Mount Ida College next Saturday, Oct. 7, at Spartan Stadium for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Mustangs are also 1-0 within the conference after a 28-21 victory over Gallaudet Saturday afternoon.