CASTLETON, Vt. - Kris Sabourin (Georgia, Vt.) set the tone early for Norwich, taking the opening play from scrimmage 63-yards for a touchdown, en route to a game-high 229 yards in the Cadets' 40-21 win over Castleton in the annual "Battle for the Bucket" at Spartan Stadium.
The Sap Bucket Trophy remains in Northfield for the third-straight season of this budding rivalry, but more importantly, Norwich improved to 3-0 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play.
After Sabourin's opening touchdown run, Castleton's first drive stalled early in Norwich territory forcing a punt, resulting in a touchback. Sabourin then orchestrated an 11-play, 80-yard drive the culminated with an Andrew Fulford (Gloucester, Mass.) touchdown from 18 yards out.
Another Stew Quinn (Newton, N.J.) punt pinned the Cadets at their own eight-yard line, and a delay of game penalty backed them up to their own four. Once again, it was Sabourin to the rescue. After a Derrick Pitts (Schenectady, N.Y.) six-yard rush put the Cadets at their own 10, the reigning ECFC Offesnice Co-Player of the Year, faked an inside hand off to Fulford, broke a tackle and raced 90-yards for his second touchdown. A Long Ding (Qing Dao, China) extra point made it 21-0 with four minutes remaining in the first period.
After a Spartan three-and-out, Norwich strung together 18 plays, using Pitts, Fulford and Danny Triplett (Haverill, Mass.) to methodically grind away yardage. After 10 minutes and 67 yards, the Spartans were able to keep Norwich out of the end zone, forcing Ding to convert a 25-yard field goal to make it 24-0.
The Spartans answered with their first scoring drive of the afternoon, going seven plays and 70 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Shane Brozowski (Rensselaer, N.Y.), the other half of Sabourin's Offensive Co-Player of the Year award, completed six-of-seven passes on the drive and Tyler Carpenter (Fort Edward, N.Y.) powered in from the six-yard line to make it 24-7.
Norwich tacked on two more touchdowns before halftime, pushing the lead to 37-7 at the interval. Fulford broke free for a 50-yard run, and Sabourin found the end zone for the third time in the half on a two-yard bootleg.
The Spartans cut the deficit to 37-14 on a one-yard touchdown plunge from Carpenter to open the scoring in the second half, capping a 13-play, 95-yard drive. Brozowski found Mike Patterson (Jackson, N.J.) for a pair of key receptions on the drive, one to for nine yards to convert on a fourth-and-eight, and another that went for 30 yards down to the Norwich three yard line.
Castleton's defense limited the Cadets to just three points in the second half on a 41-yard field goal from Ding that easily would have split the uprights from 50-yards plus on the following possession.
Brozowski found Adam Farmer (South Burlington, Vt.) with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.
Fulford followed Sabourin in the rushing column, running for 153 yards and two scores on 18 attempts. Pitts and Triplett rounded out the potent Cadet ground attack with 68 and 66 yards respectively as Norwich rolled up 527 yards on 60 attempts.
Brozowski finished 37-for-59 with 329 yards and a touchdown through the air, while Carpenter ended up with 55 yards on nine attempts and two scores on the ground.
Farmer posted a career-high 11 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Patterson added a game-high 99 yards receiving on five catches.
Colby Leclerc (Raynham, Mass.) led the Cadet defense with 10 tackles, including two-and-a-half for loss. Sean Stone (Wilder, Vt.) followed with nine tackles (two for loss) while Matt Simonelli (Scituate, R.I.), Dan Gogan (Keansbury, N.J.), Oliver Aurelia (Stratford, Conn.) each added a sack.
Todd Carr (Ticonderoga, N.Y.) recorded 15 tackles to lead Castleton, while Brandon Bergeron (Hartford, Vt.) added eight.
Castleton, now 1-4, 1-2 will travel to Becker next Saturday for a 4 pm ECFC contest, while Norwich will puts its 3-3, 3-0 mark on the line with Gallaudet, which up its ECFC mark to 2-0 today, next Saturday at 1 pm.