Courtesy Castleton Sports Information
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Castleton defense didn’t allow an offensive touchdown and held Plymouth St. scoreless over the final 43:33 of the contest to secure a 21-10 season-opening victory on the road Saturday at Currier Field.
The Spartans allowed just 89 yards in the first half and 222 overall while holding the Panthers to nine first downs in the contest. The defense also recorded three sacks and three interceptions. Offensively, Castleton recorded 302 yards of offense, including 280 through the air while picking up 17 first downs.
Senior George Busharis finished the contest 26-for-42 for 280 and two touchdowns while also tossing a pair of interceptions. His main target was Soren Pelz-Walsh, who caught eight passes for a career-high 154 yards and one score. Corey Brimmer led the rushing attack with 23 yards on 16 attempts with a touchdown.
For Plymouth, freshman Zack Edwards went 15-for-25 for 140 yards while getting picked off by three different Spartans. He did add 20 yards rushing as the team finished with 82 yards on the ground. Jake Becker caught two passed for 46 yards.
Senior Brett Denning was a force up front with one sack, 2.0 tackles for a loss and five overall. Classmate Derek McAdoo added four tackles and an interception while Tony Argillander also recorded a pick, the first of his career, while making two tackles from his linebacker position.
Plymouth St. started the scoring, blocking a Bobby Lineberger punt and returning it five yards for the touchdown just 45 seconds into the contest for the early 7-0 lead.
The Spartans offense finally found its groove in their third drive of the afternoon. On a third down at the Panther 47-yard line, Busharis found Pelz-Walsh down the seem for a 44-yard pass to the three-yard line. Three plays later Busharis connected with Anthony Porcelli in the endzone to tie the game 7-7.
Plymouth St. was poised to score with a first down at the 11-yard line to the start the second quarter, however, the defense was solid as the Panthers eventually settled for a 25-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead with 13:33 left.
Castleton took back the lead midway through the second, following another Busharis pass to Pelz-Walsh. With the ball at the two-yard line, Brimmer went through the middle to give the Spartans a 14-10 advantage.
The Spartans had a blocked field goal and fumbled inside the Plymouth St. 10-yard line to settle for a 14-10 lead at the half.
On the team’s first drive of the third, Castleton used seven plays to go 62 yards, capped off by a three-yard touchdown catch from Pelz-Walsh. The score pushed the lead to 21-10 with 9:17 left in the third quarter.
The final 20 minutes were a defensive battle as neither offense could generate substantial drives. Plymouth did have the ball inside the Castleton 25-yard line twice in the fourth quarter but came away empty-handed both times.
On a fourth and one from the 21, the Spartans recovered a fumble in the backfield and then with just 7:00 minutes left, Argillander picked off Edwards at the five-yard line and returned it 14 yards out of red zone. Junior Mark Alberque added an interception late to secure the victory.
The Spartans move to 1-0 and return to action on Sept. 19 when they travel to face Salve Regina for a 12 pm contest. This marks the third consecutive season-opening win for Castleton over Plymouth St.