LEICESTER, Mass.- Becker College fell to Castleton University 23-22 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference action Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field. The win lifts the Spartans record to 4-5 (4-2 ECFC) while Hawks slide to 2-7 (1-5 ECFC).
Becker jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 8:24 remaining in the first half when Jacob Holmes (Worcester, Mass.) took a handoff 87 yards down the near sideline for the touchdown.
Castleton would tie the game on their next possession. Spartan quarterback Mitchell Caron (Augusta, Maine) tossed up a jump ball in the middle of the end zone for Soren Pelz-Walsh (Dummerston, Vt.), who reached over Becker defensive back Davin Collins (Far Rockaway, N.Y.) for the touchdown.
The Spartans would open the second quarter scoring with a 29 yard field goal from Ryan Payne (Andover, Mass.) to take a 10-7 advantage.
After both teams went three and out on their next possessions, Becker put together a ten play, 77 yard drive for a touchdown. Quarterback Mitchell Driscoll (Rutland, Mass.) capped the drive with a one yard quarterback keeper to give the Hawks a 14-10 lead with 5:28 remaining in the half.
Once again the Spartans countered the Becker score with a touchdown on their next possession, going 61 yards on six plays. A Moe Harris (Pine Hill, N.J.) two yard rush up the middle gave Castleton a 16-14 lead.
Becker took the lead back in the third quarter when Driscoll connected with Brandon Mulling (Naples, Fla.) for a 68 yard touchdown strike. Becker converted the two-point conversion attempt when Driscoll hit Michael Caban (Lawrence, Mass.) with short pass, putting the Hawks up 22-16.
The two teams played the field position game for the remainder of the third quarter and most of the fourth.
With 6:48 remaining in regulation, Castleton's Mitchell Caron found Anthony Porcelli (Brooklyn, N.Y.) for a 53 yard completion down to the Becker 32 yard line. On the next play, Becker defensive back Cheolices Shannon (Staten Island, N.Y.) made an acrobatic interception at the 11 yard line, preserving the Hawks lead.
Caron got redemption on the Spartans next drive when he delivered a 51 yard touchdown strike down the middle of the field to Anthony Porcelli to tie game at 22-22. Ryan Payne's extra point attempt squeaked over the crossbar to give Castleton a 23-22 lead with just 3:45 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Becker's Brandon Mulling took the return all the way to midfield, setting the Hawks up with good field position. Becker was able to work their way down to the Castleton 15 yard line before the drive stalled. Becker lined up for a 32 yard field goal attempt with 40 seconds remaining, but the kick sailed wide left as the Spartans held on for the 23-22 victory.
Moe Harris finished the day with a game high 113 rushing yards for Spartans. Anthony Pocelli hauled in two catches for a team-high 104 yards, while Soren Pelz-Walsh caught six passes for 97 yards. Mitchell Caron was 17 of 32 passing for 276 yards.
Defensively, the Spartans were led by Kakob Trautwein (Middlebury, Vt.) with a game high 13 tackles, including for take downs for a loss. Darren Callan (Fairfield, Vt.) chipped in with six tackles and an interception.
The Becker offense was led by receiver Brandon Mulling who had six grabs for a 110 yards. Michael Caban made big plays for the Hawks throughout the game as freshman finished with five catches for 55 yards. Jacob Holmes rushed for a season high 103 yards on 11 carries.
Angel Flores (Azusa, Calif.) led the Becker defense with 12 tackles and one and a half tackles for a loss. Cheolices Shannon and Shane Padeni (Leicester, Mass.) each reached double digits in tackles, while Daniel Whittenburg (Eastford, Conn.), Joseph Linnehan (Dedham, Mass.), Anthony Shakes (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Richardson Marseille (West Palm Beach, Fla.) registered sacks.
Both teams will wrap up their seasons next Saturday, November 12th. Becker will host cross-town rival Anna Maria College at noon while Castleton travels to Norwich University for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.