LEICESTER, Mass. - Castleton scored the final 28 points of the game, including three touchdowns from Tyler Carpenter (Fort Edward, N.Y.), to turn a 28-28 contest midway through the third quarter into a 56-28 blowout victory over Becker at Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon.
Carpenter ran around and through the Hawks' defense, finishing with 171 rushing yards on 26 carries and a career-high four rushing touchdowns. The junior also caught a touchdown pass as the Spartans tied their highest scoring output of the season and improved to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.
Becker dropped to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the ECFC after being victimized by a Castleton offense which ran for 245 yards, passed for 244 and an opportunistic defense that forced three turnovers.
Junior Shane Brozowski (Rensselaer, N.Y.) was poised in the pocket for Castleton, going 18-for-36 for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Zach Waitkus led the receiving corps with six catches for 80 yards and was one of five players to haul in at least two passes.
The game actually got off to a rocky start for the Spartans as Becker's Kyle Gregg (Charlotte, N.C.) took the opening kickoff at the 13-yard line and weaved his way through the Castleton defense for the 87-yard kickoff return for the touchdown and the early 7-0 lead.
Following a short kickoff return, the Spartans started their first drive at the 36. They promptly marched 64 yards in just 2:04 for the game-tying touchdown, with the final 23 yards coming through the air on a pass from Brozowski to senior tight end Adam Farmer (So. Burlington, Vt.).
On the Hawks next drive, the Castleton defense forced a three and out and fair-caught the punt on their 47-yard line. The Spartans gained 23 yards on their first two plays of the drive and only needed seven plays total to get into the endzone as Carpenter caught an 18-yard pass from Brozowski for the score.
Trailing 14-7, Becker received the ball on the 20 after a touchback. Their offense grinded out a 12-play, 80-yard drive that spanned 7:28 and culminated in a 29-yard pass from William Ramirez (Bethel, Conn.) to Asante Harris (Charlotte, N.C.) to tie up the contest.
The Spartans went back on offense with two minutes remaining in the first quarter and made quick work of the Hawks defense. Castleton drove 64 yards in just three plays, helped by a 15-yard Becker penalty, to bring the team within two yards of the endzone. Carpenter took the handoff on the next play and burst through the line for the score. The extra point put visitors in front 21-14 with 31 seconds remaining in the first.
The Hawks and Spartans were each forced to punt on their next drives and Becker ended up with the ball on its own 47 with 11:09 remaining in the first half. The Hawks fumbled on first down and the ball was recovered by defensive end Cameron Laundry (Hartland, Vt.).
Castleton appeared ready to capitalize on the turnover as the offense drove the ball to the two-yard line on four rushes by Carpenter and a pass by Brozowski. However, the Spartans turned the ball over four plays later as Carpenter was stuffed on fourth down attempt from the two-yard line.
Becker's next drive took the remaining 8:21 of the first half and culminated in a missed 25-yard field goal to give Castleton the 21-14 lead heading into the break.
The Spartans stalled on their first drive of the second half but Stew Quinn's (Newton, N.J.) punt pinned the Hawks back at their own one-yard line. On first down, Robert Baker (Monroe, Conn.) hit Corinthian Bostic (Jacksonville, Fla.) for a 99-yard touchdown reception to tie the score up at 21 just 1:23 into the third quarter.
Castleton opened its next drive at the 50 following a 32-yard kickoff return by Kevin Alberque (Ridgefield Park, N.J.). Four plays later Mick Wong (Hartford, Vt.) ran in his first touchdown of the year from five yards out to give the Spartans the lead, 28-21.
Following a pair of failed drives for both teams, Becker orchestrated a seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, culminating in a five-yard pass from Baker to Luis Sanchez (Springfield, Mass.) to tie the score at 28 with 4:08 remaining in the quarter.
Carpenter put Castleton back in front less than two minutes later as he rumbled in for his second rushing touchdown from the one, at the 2:13 mark in the third. His rush capped a 10-play 64-yard drive for the offense.
The Spartans got the ball back at their own 39-yard line after a Becker three-and-out and mixed the rush with the pass until Carpenter once again found paydirt, scoring from two yards out this time to finish the eight-play drive. The score and extra point put the visitors up 42-28 with 14:09 remain in the game.
Castleton's defense got in on the action in the Hawks' next series, forcing a fumble on fourth down inside their own territory. The Becker offense recovered the ball at the 11, but the turnover on downs gave the Spartans a short field on which to operate. Two rushes later Carpenter was in the endzone for his fourth touchdown of the afternoon and a convincing 49-28 lead.
Looking to cut into the lead, the Hawks got the ball on their own 49 with just over 11 minutes left. However, junior Brandon Bergeron (Hartford, Vt.) picked off the first-down pass at the Spartan 30 and returned it 30 yards to the Becker 40. Four plays later Brozowski tossed a 12-yard scoring strike to sophomore Brandon Boyle (Springfield, Vt.) and the extra point made it 56-28 with 10:08 remaining in the contest.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the way as Castleton held on for the victory.
Safety Cody TanCreti (Hartland, Vt.) and linebacker Dustin Young (Dunnellon, Fla.) led the defense with seven tackles apiece and TanCreti added a late fourth-quarter interception as well.
The Spartans return to the field on Saturday, Oct. 22 when they take on the AMCATS of Anna Maria at 5 p.m.