Stepping up to solidify Castleton's success

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Leadership in football is best shown by what you do on the field, not just by what you say. Moe Harris (above) and Jakob Trautwein (below) give Castleton their all in a game.
Castleton athletics photo

By Tom Haley

All good running backs run hard all the time. The great ones have another gear when their team needs them the most.

How else do you explain that Castleton's Moe Harris had 133 of his 200 yards in the fourth quarter alone in helping the Spartans come back to beat Dean 17-14?

Harris got loose for a 44-yard touchdown dash with 2:34 left for the winning score.

Harris had a season he had just as soon forget last fall as a sophomore. He missed a couple of games due to a disciplinary measure.

This year he has been the model teammate and is flashing the form of his freshman season after adhering to a rigorous summer workout regimen and returning to campus with a terrific attitude.

Dean is one of the region's top defensive teams, but the Bulldogs had no answer for Harris. He got a block from 6-foot-4, 320-ound Eric Decker and cut outside on the way to his winning touchdown sprint.

"Eric pushed the guy to the left, and I saw a lot of green," Harris said.

Just as the top running backs have another gear when the game is on the line, leaders elevate their role when the situation calls for it.

Castleton middle linebacker Jakob Trautwein is acknowledged as the leader of not only the defense but of the team. When Gene Baisden plucked a blocked punt out of the air and sped 55 yards to the end zone to put Dean in front 14-10 with only 7:34 remaining, Trautwein knew it was time to don the leader's mantle.

"Jakob Trautwein brought us all together and told us to start playing like Spartans. It was time to make plays," defensive back Nick Reca said.

Harris and Decker made a big one, but so did Reca. When Dean was making its last-ditch drive after Harris's touchdown, the Spartans tipped a pass behind the line of scrimmage and Reca made a diving interception, corralling the ball just before it hit the turf.

The Spartans mobbed one another including the littlest Spartan in the motorized wheelchair. Nate Cosgrove is a youngster afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who has been a part of the Spartan football family since 2014.

"There's the No. 1 man," Castleton defensive coordinator Blaise Zambrano said, pointing to Nate.

"Let me give you a big sweaty hug," Decker said before embracing Nate.

It was a day of victory and perspective in Spartan Stadium.

First wins

Anna Maria and Norwich broke through for their first wins. It was also the first win for Anna Maria's Dan Mulrooney as a head coach.

Before the season, Mulrooney said the plan called for maximizing Trae Weaver's big-play potential. Weaver caught four passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns in he 36-34 win over Alfred State.

Norwich defeated Maine Maritime 24-22. Clyde Tamburro's 36-yard field goal provided the difference. Steve Cuqua rushed for 137 yards and a score and Cahan Quinn made 17 tackles and forced a fumble.

MASCAC madness

Plymouth State, Framingham State and Western Connecticut kept pace with one another in the wild MASCAC race where each has one loss.

Plymouth went to 7-1 with Zach Edwards throwing and running for a touchdown. The Panthers keep finding all kinds of ways to score. Prince Gbaley returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown and Brad Rhoades returned a punt for a touchdown.

Framingham picked off four passes in its 29-14 win over Westfield State. Nathan Fleming returned one of those for a touchdown and also made a team-high eight tackles.

Quinn Fleeting threw for three scores as Western Connecticut did its part. Devon Smith had six tackles and an interception.

NESCAC thriller

It was an eventful day in the NESCAC with Amherst pulling a win out with a late touchdown and Trinity waltzing to its 15th straight win.

Hasani Figueroa's 51 yard-touchdown run with 1:27 remaining lifting Amherst to a 21-17 win over Wesleyan.

Trinity extended its winning streak to 15 and went to 6-0 by beating Bowdoin 63-14 as Colin Beaulieu scored his first two career touchdowns.

Ryan McDonald passed for 336 yards and a score as Tufts edged Williams 21-13.

Hamilton edged Colby 27-24 with Kenny Gray throwing three touchdown passes.

Quick kicks: SUNY Maritime went to 6-1 as Thomas Wright threw for a score and ran for another in a 21-13 win over Mount Ida. ... It was business as usual for Husson's John Smith. He ran for 186 yards and four touchdowns in the 6-1 Eagles' 48-21 win at Gallaudet. ... Alex Corvese threw four touchdown passes to lead 6-1 Curry to a 46-16 win over Nichols. ... Noah Brum passed for 379 yards and four touchdowns for Worcester State in a 45-40 shootout win over UMass-Dartmouth. Jacob Martin added 189 receiving yards with two touchdown catches and Theo Bryant had 15 tackles and a pick for the Lancers. ... Springfield went to 7-0 by whipping Catholic 68-20 as the Pride put up 674 yards of total offense. Jordan Wilcox rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries. ... MIT went to 6-1 with John Robertson rushing for 153 yards and three touchdowns. ... Blake Rice fired four touchdown passes in WPI's 41-7 win over Merchant Marine.

The big games

The Commonwealth Coast Conference has its biggest game yet as Salve Regina and Western New England match 2-0 league records in Springfield, Mass.

Curry is the other team sharing first place at 2-0.

Salve did its part to set the stage by beating Endicott 41-14 with Danny McDermott throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

McDermott, a senior, has been waiting his turn.

"He has been chomping at the bit," Salve Regina coach Kevin Gilmartin said.

This past week Endicott was determined to stop the run, making it the first time McDermott really had to throw and he passed the test.

It should be an outstanding atmosphere at WNE as the Salve fan base travels very well.

"There have been away games where I have looked up and seen more blue in the stands than the opposing colors," Gilmartin said.

Salve will have to contend with Anthony Service, the newly minted record holder for career TD passes at Western New England. He eclipsed the record of 39 this past week when he threw two TD passes in the 45-0 win over Becker.

That challenge of the Seahawk defensive unit will be led by defensive ends John Salute and Brandon O'Neill.

"They are being doubled every game so they don't have the big stats, but they influence the outcome," Gilmartin said.

"It has become a great rivalry," WNE coach Keith Emery said. "We have a lot of respect for Kevin and what they are doing there."

The Golden Bears have not lost two games by this juncture in recent seasons but Emery has toughened the non-conference schedule and he likes the makeup of this team.

"We might not have quite as much talent as recent teams but this team has more fight," he said.

There will be plenty of "fight" on the field in the CCC's biggest game of the season so far.

There is also a key game in the NESCAC where one-loss Middlebury hosts unbeaten Trinity. The Panthers will be trying to throw the league into a scramble.

The Maine NESCAC teams are winless but they have each other and the quest for the CBB Championship begins this week when Colby hosts Bates.

SUNY Maritime and Castleton each have one loss in the ECFC and they meet in the Bronx.

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Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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