Football Falls to Mount Ida 37-19
Castleton forced four Mustang turnovers on the afternoon but gave the ball away five times as they dropped to 1-4 on the season and 0-2 in the ECFC. Mount Ida improved to 1-1 in the conference with the win and 2-3 overall.
The Mustangs picked off four Spartan passes and recovered one fumble as they totaled 428 yards of offense, with 177 coming on the ground and 251 through the air. Castleton forced three fumbles and picked off a pass inside the red zone on defense while finishing with 323 yards of total offense, including 250 passing yards.
Melquan Pinkney paced the Mount Ida offense with 129 yards rushing on 17 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Jawad Yatim was solid behind center, going 15-for-27 for 251 yards and three touchdowns. His primary target on the day was Chandler McCoy, who caught five passes for 67 yards and a score.
Junior Kevin Alberque was all over the field for the Spartans, catching seven passes for 114 yards to go with 120 return yards for 234 total yards on the afternoon. Tyler Higley finished the day 16-for-34 for 234 yards and a touchdown, but did throw four interceptions. He did lead the ground attack with 33 yards as the team totaled 73 rushing yards.
The Spartans kicked off and caught a break on Mount Ida's opening drive as the team's snap on a fourth-down punt went over the punter's head and Castleton picked up the ball on the Mustang 23-yard line. However, two plays later Higley threw a pick to end Castleton's hope of scoring less than three minutes into the contest.
Neither team was able to score until Mount Ida received the ball on its own 43-yard line with 4:56 left in the first. The Mustangs drove seven plays in 57 yards, capped off with a five-yard run by Pinkney to take a 7-0 advantage with 1:22 left in the first.
Castleton responded on its next drive as it moved from its own 28-yard line to the Mount Ida 46 in just four plays. Higley then found Alberque for a 29-yard catch and run down to the Mustang 16. Three Elias LaCount rushes later, the senior reached paydirt to make it 7-6. The extra point to tie was blocked and returned by Frank Greene for a defensive PAT, giving Mount Ida a 9-6 lead.
The Mustangs took the kickoff and drove into Castleton territory but Leo Audy stuffed McCoy on a fourth down rushing attempt to give the Spartans back on the ball on the team's 34-yard line.
Castleton drove into Mount Ida territory and all the way down to the 13-yard line before Higley's third-down pass fell incomplete. However, Robert Lineberger's field goal from 30 yards was good to tie the game 9-9 with 5:10 left.
Mount Ida added one score before the half as Yatim found Matt Greenman for a 34-yard touchdown with just seven seconds left to make it 15-9. Greenman's extra point attempt failed and the Mustangs went into the half with a 15-9 lead.
Castleton received the second-half kickoff and Alberque brought it back out to the 28-yard line. Following a seven-yard rush by LaCount, Higley found Tyler Combs for a 28-yard reception to get inside Ida territory at the 37. On the next play Higley hit Makai Hawkins on a quick screen and he made a few moves, winding around defenders across the field on his way to his first career touchdown. Lineberger made the extra point to give the Spartans a 16-15 lead.
Neither team did much of anything on its next drive, but Yatim eventually came through, hitting McCoy for a 33-yard touchdown to make it 21-16 Mount Ida. The team's two-point conversion failed with 9:05 left in the third.
Castleton came back within three later in the quarter. The Spartans' drive stalled on the eight-yard line but Lineberger was good from 26 yards to cut the deficit to two, 21-19 with 4:34 remaining in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was all Mount Ida as they picked off two Higley passes and totaled 128 yards of offense while outscoring the Spartans 16-0. Yatim tossed his third touchdown pass with 12:02 and then with 6:34 remaining the Mustang defense sacked Higley in the endzone for a safety. Pinkney ended scoring with a rushing touchdown at 4:53 to provide 37-19 final.
Jay Morgan led the defense with ten tackles and one sack, while Mick Wong added nine tackles and one interception. Nick Romeo finished with eight tackles and two for a loss along with a pair of fumble recoveries.
Jon Proto led the defense with nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks for a loss of eight yards and 2.5 tackles for a loss. D'Andre Smith added six tackles as well.
Castleton returns to action next Saturday when the Spartans host Gallaudet at noon during Homecoming weekend.