DALLAS, Pa. – The Castleton University football team saw an offensive resurgence on Saturday afternoon, though it was not enough as the Spartans dropped their final non-conference battle of the season to Misericordia, 52-33, in front of 1,300 fans at Mangelsdorf Field.
Castleton sits at 1-3 overall on the season and is set to return to Dave Wolk Stadium for the first time in more than a month next weekend, October 6, when it plays host to Anna Maria in its Eastern Collegiate Football Conference opener at 2 p.m. Misericordia now sits at 3-1 on the season.
The Spartans picked up 318 yards offensively, including 270 yards through the air as Jacob McCarthy made his first career start under center. The freshman completed 16 of his 30 pass attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns on the day before exiting the game late in the fourth quarter. Moe Harris was on the receiving end of one of those touchdowns, and also added a rushing touchdown and a kick return touchdown to register a three-touchdown day, accounting for nearly half of Castleton's total points. The kick-return touchdown was the third of his career and his first of the season. Jared Brockway reeled in four targets for 57 yards and a touchdown, while Adnane Adossama pulled in a trio of long catches for 87 yards on the afternoon.
The hosts opened the scoring on the first drive of the game, taking it 61 yards in six plays, the drive ending in a four-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brady Williams. Castleton answered quickly, however, knotting the game up at 7-7 after marching 62 yards in 11 plays as Harris punched it in from one yard out for his first score of the day. Misericordia rattled off a pair of unanswered touchdowns to close out the first quarter, putting the score at 21-7 after 15 minutes of action.
Castleton drew first blood in the second quarter as McCarthy connected with Harris down the seam for a 25-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-14. Misericordia answered back with an 80-yard drive of its own, punctuated by a six-yard rushing score from David Cromwell. With less than four minutes to play in the half, McCarthy tossed his second touchdown of the day, connecting with Brockway on a 31-yard post to narrow the gap back to 28-21.
The potent Cougar offense took the field following Castleton's touchdown and marched 71 yards in just three plays to push its lead back to 35-21 late in the first half. Castleton looked to answer one more time before the halftime horn, but a drive stalled in Misericordia territory gave the Cougars the ball back with 1:16 to play before the break. The Spartan defense forced a quick three-and-out, and came through with a key special teams play as the snap sailed over the punter's head before being recovered in the end zone by Luc Issa, making the score 35-27 at the halfway point.
Both defenses stepped up in the third quarter, as the first score of the second half came with just six minutes remaining on the clock when Williams scored on a rushing touchdown for the second time in the contest, giving the home side a 42-27 lead. The 15-point edge did not last long, as Harris took the ensuing kickoff 91 yards to the house, breaking multiple tackles at his own 30-yard line before beating the kicker and coasting into the end zone.
Misericordia closed out the third quarter with yet another Williams rushing touchdown with just 35 seconds on the clock, and capped the scoring in the game with a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the game its final score of 52-33.
The Cougars outgained Castleton 568-318 including a 244-48 edge in rushing yardage. Misericordia also added 25 first downs to Castleton's 15 while the Spartans were penalized seven times to Misercordia's six. Castleton was just 3-for-12 on third down, while the Cougars converted 9 of 16 third-down opportunities. Both teams scored on each trip to the red zone on the day.