LEICESTER, Mass. – The Castleton defense put on arguably the most impressive performance in school history, with a dominant 24-0 victory over Becker on the road at Alumni field on Saturday.
The Spartan defense was all over the place in helping the team record the first shutout in program history and set a school record with seven sacks in the contest. Castleton also picked off three passes while allowing just 149 yards of total offense. For the Hawks, 56 of those yards came on the first play from scrimmage, meaning Becker totaled just 93 total yards on its final 70 plays of the game.
Sophomore Darren Callan shone brightest among an impressive group of defensive players. The linebacker had eight tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 17 yards and three tackles for a loss. He also added a fumble recovery, an interception and two pass breakups. Juniors Mitch Boutonadded seven tackles and two sacks while Derek McAdoo picked off a pair of passes.
Offensively, Corey Brimmer put on the best performance of his early career with 20 rushes for 120 yards and his first touchdown. Kevin Alberque and Matt Rafus both added rushing touchdowns as the team ran the ball a program-record 52 times for 196 total yards. Quarterback Tyler Higley was an efficient 10 of 18 for 118 yards and one interception. Alberque led the team with four receptions for 54 yards.
The Hawks received the ball to open the game and used just five plays to drive all the way to the Castleton nine-yard line for a third and two. However, Becker gained just a yard and elected to kick a field goal, which went wide left to keep the game scoreless.
Castleton was unable to do anything offensively on its next two possessions but the defense held the Hawks to -25 yards on their next two possessions and then broke up a punt attempt on fourth down to take over possession on the Becker one-yard line. Rafus capitalized on the great defensive play with touchdown run for the 7-0 lead just 8:21 into the contest.
The Spartans drove 58 yards on their next possession, with Higley finding Anthony Porcelli for a nine-yard gain on third and 12 to advance to the 12-yard line. Castleton went for the field goal butBobby Lineberger's kick went wide left.
Neither offense was able to generate anything for the rest of the quarter. In the second, Becker used an 18-play drive spanning over nine minute to drive down to the Castleton 22-yard line. Bouton earned a sack to drive the Hawks back three yards and on fourth down Callan recorded a sack to earn the turnover on downs.
Castleton came back with its best drive of the day, going from its own 34-yard line to the Becker eight-yard line with just over 2:30 left. The Spartans then earned a first and goal from the four-yard line but was unable to punch it in as they settled for a 20-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead with 1:21 left.
The Hawks took over and with less than a minute left fumbled the ball. Jeremy Stevens recovered for Castleton and on the team's next play Kevin Alberque scored on a 19-yard run put the Spartans in front 17-0 with 30 seconds left.
Castleton wasn't able to generate any offense in the third quarter but the defense held Becker to just 15 yards of total offense. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Callan intercepted Dylan McGuire to give the Spartans the ball on Hawks' 34-yard line. Castleton kept the ball on the ground with four rushes to drive to the ten-yard line. Brimmer then scampered up the middle ten yards for the score to push the lead to 24-0 with 12:43 in regulation.
The defense did the rest in keeping the shutout, forcing Becker into a turnover on downs on its next drive and then McAdoo picked off McGuire on the following possession. The Hawks did get 35 yards rushing on its final drive before time ran out with Castleton playing its backups.
Becker finished the game with 85 yards passing while rushing the ball 45 times for 64 yards. Nasir Sinkfield-Shelton finished 6-for-12 for a team-high 74 yards passing while Brandon Mulling led the team with 35 yards rushing on just four attempts.
Ryan Stanek led the defense with nine tackles on the day while Brett Denning added seven solo stops from his defensive line position, along with a sack. Jay Morgan and Andy Hale also added one sack each.
The Spartans look to improve to 4-1 when they host Anna Maria on Saturday at 1 pm.