CASTLETON, Vt. - Shane Brozowski (Rensselaer, N.Y.) scored on a 16-yard keeper up the middle with 32 seconds remaining to propel Castleton State College to a 38-34 win over Mount Ida College in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium. Brozowski's score capped a beautifully orchestrated 10-play, 97-yard drive that spanned one minute and 11 seconds after the Spartans stopped Mount Ida at the three yard line on fourth-down-and-two.
Mount Ida (2-2, 1-1 ECFC) took a 34-24 lead with six minutes and 29 seconds remaining on a 14-yard touchdown run from Johrone Bunch (Meriden, Conn.). But, Castleton (2-2, 2-0 ECFC) reeled off 14 unanswered points to grab the win in front of 3,445 on alumni/homecoming weekend.
Mick Wong (Hartford, Vt.) capped an eight-play 51-yard drive with a touchdown catch out of the backfield to cut the lead to 34-31 after Luis Robitaille (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) booted the extra-point. After a failed onside-kick attempt, Mount Ida took over four minutes remaining at the Castleton 39 yard line. Bunch and quarterback Scott Drosendahl (East Aurora, N.Y.) each picked up first downs on the ground to keep the clock moving, but Castleton came up with four key stops from their 11-yard line to set up the game-winning drive. Dustin Young (Dunnellon, Fla.) made a pair of tackles during the series, while Gabriel Aguilar (Orange, Vt.) and Adam Chicoine (Burlington, Vt.) converged on fourth down to stop Bunch at the Castleton three yard line.
After a Mustang five-yard penalty moved the Spartans out of the shadow of their goal post, Brozowski took over. The sophomore quarterback from Evan Cassidy (South Burlington, Vt.) for an 11 yard gain, and followed up with a pair of 18-yard strikes to Michael Patterson (Jackson, N.J.) to break into Mustang territory. A second down pass interference tacked on 15 yards and another Spartan first down, before Brozowski connected with Andrew Cavanagh (Brattleboro, Vt.) for 15 yards down to the Mustang 16 yard line. After an incomplete pass to Patterson, the Spartan offense dialed up a quarterback draw that worked to perfection, freeing Brozowski for the winning touchdown.
On the ensuing possession Castleton once again kicked it short, giving the Mustangs the ball on the Spartan 43 yard line with 29 seconds remaining. Drosendahl then hooked up with Nick Lynch (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) for a pair of receptions, including a hook-and-ladder attempt with Lynch and Bunch that was snuffed out by the Spartan secondary at the Castleton 12 yard line with six seconds remaining. Drosendahl looked for Lynch in the back corner of the end zone, but Isiaih Jackson (Fair Haven, Vt.) broke up the attempt with less than a second remaining. Drosendahl's next attempt at a game-winner appeared headed for an open Matt Valentini (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) in the right corner, but Brandon Bergeron (Hartford, Vt.) dove and deflected the ball away as time expired.
Castleton jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter, as Carl Ojala (Pittsford, Vt.) and the Spartan special teams unit proved vital in the early going. Ojala netted a 19-yard field goal on the opening Spartan possession, and booted a 42-yard punt on the second possession, pinning the Mustangs at their own seven-yard line, to set up a safety for the Castleton defense. Brozowski hooked up with Cassidy late in the quarter for a 40-yard touchdown pass, but Ojala's point after hit the upright and the score remained 11-0.
Bunch answered with the first of his three touchdowns on the ensuing drive. Bunch accounted for all 57 yards on the five-play drive, capping it off with a 25-yard rush, barreling over would-be tacklers in the process. Castleton came right back with a touchdown drive of its own, as Brozowski scored from 14 yards out to push the lead to 18-11 after Ojala's point after.
A Mustang punt gave Castleton the ball at the 20-yard line, but on the opening play of the drive Azim Carter (East Hartford, Conn.) broke through the line on a Brozowski rush attempt, forcing a fumble. EJ Murray (New Haven, Conn.) scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 17 yards for the score. Billy Beauzile's (Brooklyn, N.Y.) point after try was blocked and Casleton led 18-13.
The two teams once again traded scores, as Castleton Tyler Carpenter (Fort Edward, N.Y.) scored from three-yards out and Bunch answered from 20.
Both teams had chances to create some distance from the other, with Mount Ida having an 84-yard Bunch touchdown called back by a hold, as well as a Bunch red-zone fumble that was recovered by Castleton's Chris Mooney (Hazlet, N.J.). Castleton also turned the ball over twice in the red zone, with Carpenter losing it at the 10, and Brozowski losing it out of the back of the end zone on what looked to be a sure touchdown scamper.
Bunch and Brozowski ruled the day for the offense, with the former gaining 340 yards on the ground on 49 carries, and the latter accounting for 461 yards through the air, completing 30-of-50 attempts and two touchdowns. Brozowski also grossed 97 yards on the ground, losing a large portion on six Mustang sacks.
The Mustang defensive front seven harassed Brozowski all day, led by ECFC Defensive Player of the Week AJ Knibbs (Spotswood, N.J.) who had two-and-a-half sacks and four quarterback hurries to go along with four tackles. Murray led the defense with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and the fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Drosendahl threw for 179 yards on 15-for-29 and two interceptions, to go along with one touchdown. Lynch proved to be his favorite target, hauling in nine balls for 128 yards and a score.
Seven different receivers caught passes for the Spartans, led by Patterson's eight catches for 123 yards. Cassidy caught six for 73 yards and a touchdown, while Cavanagh and Wong each had four catches for 91 and 74 yards respectively.
Cameron Laundry (Hartford, Vt.) led the defensive front for Castleton, racking up 11 tackles, a sack and an interception. Mooney added 12 tackles and a fumble recovery while Bergeron added nine tackles to a pair of pass break ups and an interception in the end zone that ended the first half.
Castleton will play host to SUNY-Maritime next Saturday at 12 noon, while the Mustangs play host to Becker at 1 pm. Both are ECFC match-ups, and Castleton's game pits the only 2-0 teams in the conference against each other.