College Football: Spartans Take Care of Alfred State 35-20

Courtesy Castleton Sports Information

CASTLETON – The Spartans jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a record-setting crowd on Saturday afternoon during homecoming weekend at Spartan Stadium.

A raucous crowd of 4117 set a new attendance record, just edging out the previous mark of 4030 set during Castleton’s first-ever game back in 2009. The fans were treated to an offensive showcase as the two teams combined for 815 total yards of offense.

Castleton had the more balanced offense on the day, rushing for 236 yards and passing for 239 more to total 475 yards as the team improved to 2-1. The Spartans also went 5-for-10 on third down while averaging 7.5 yards per play. The Pioneers totaled 340 yards with 306 through the air and just 34 rushing yards on 37 attempts as they dropped to 0-4 on the year.

Senior George Busharis was a model of consistency completing 18 of 20 passes for 239 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. His primary target was Soren Pelz-Walsh, who caught seven passes for 180 yards and program-record tying three touchdowns. Moe Harris was a force on the ground once again, rushing for 101 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts.

Defensively the Spartans dominated the line of scrimmage, recording four sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and two interceptions. Jakob Trautwein had a career game as he total 3.0 tackles for a loss, including one sack and six tackles overall. Leo Audy and Darren Callan tied for the team lead with ten tackles.

For Alfred State, Ben Wilkerson threw for a season-high 306 yards, going 23-for-42 while tossing three touchdowns and two interceptions. Josh Ashley caught nine passes for 111 yards while Khris Greggs had six receptions for 123 yards and one score.

Defensively, Kenneth Nelson led his team with 12 tackles while John Garbowski has 11 stops, one tackle for a loss and one forced fumble. Donnell Scott recorded the team’s lone interception and had four tackles.

On Castleton’s second drive of the game they received the ball on their own 21-yard line and needed just six plays to march to the Pioneer 21-yard line. On 4th-and-7, Busharis tossed a fade to the back of the endzone where Soren Pelz-Walsh out-jumped the defender and got a foot down before going out of bounds for the score at 9:37.

The Spartans extended their lead to 14-0 seven minutes later on a 2nd-and-11 from the Castleton 31. Busharis threw a quick slant to Pelz-Walsh and he broke one tackle before outracing the defense for the 69-yard score.

Just before the end of the first quarter, Castleton extended its lead to 21-0 after an Eric Mimnaugh forced fumble gave the Spartans the ball on the Alfred State 35-yard line. Four rushes later Harris went through the middle of the line for the 21-0 lead with 1:00 minute led.

The Pioneers finally got on the board with 14:11 left in the half on a touchdown pass to Dante Jordan from the nine-yard line on third down.

Neither team could find the endzone until the end of the period. Castleton marched 65 yards in just 1:35 before Busharis connected with Jordan Goodrich in the back of the endzone for a 28-6 lead.

In the second half the Spartans added to their lead at 10:55. Pelz-Walsh slipped behind the defense and Busharis hit him in stride for a 51-yard score for the 35-6 advantage.

Alfred State put a pair of touchdowns on the board in the final 16 minutes of action for a 35-20 final; with Wilkerson throwing touchdown passes of 80 and 18 yards.

The Spartans return to action next Saturday when they travel to face Husson at 1 pm to open conference play.

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