Published September 22, 2012 in the Rutland Herald
Castleton wide receiver Brandon Boyle makes a great diving catch against RPI last Saturday. He caught a school-record 17 passes in that game.
Photo: Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Former Springfield teammates White, Boyle in key games
Grant White’s career at Springfield High School was storybook. Yes, it is a sappy, maudlin tag we put on athletes and events far too often; like every time there is a buzzer-beating, game-winning basket or walk-off home run.
But White’s high school career was the real deal. What else would you call it when a quarterback throws 26 touchdown passes and runs for 16 more scores to lead his high school to the 2008 state title, the program’s first since 1947. Plus he averaged 26.7 points and 12.4 rebounds per game and then had the game of his life on the biggest stage to lead the Cosmos to the state title at the Barre Auditorium in basketball, ending another long drought for the program?
Today, he comes back to Vermont as the starting quarterback for Bowdoin College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference opener against Middlebury.
Middlebury coach Bob Ritter just hopes it’s not another chapter in the storybook.
“He’s a dual threat. He can hurt you throwing or running,” Ritter said.
Middlebury has its own prolific quarterback in McCallum Foote, who threw for 2,420 yards and 20 touchdowns in just seven games last year for the 4-4 Panthers. He led the nation in completions per game.
The Brown transfer could be even better this year with the added experience of running this offense.
“It’s Mac’s second year in our system. He and receivers Billy Chapman and Zach Driscoll have been on the same page in the preseason,” Ritter said.
And he will be protected by a seasoned offensive line led by two-time All-NESCAC performer Ryan Moores.
“It’s pretty unbelievable how many times they have kept me off the ground,” Foote said.
“His confidence in his offensive line makes him a lot better quarterback,” Ritter said.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Moores has been getting some attention from the NFL.
“I think we have got a good offensive line this year. We have a lot of guys coming back and we have so much chemistry,” Moores said.
White suffered a shoulder injury last year and only played four games for the Polar Bears.
Ritter believes his return will make Bowdoin much harder to defend.
But Ritter also like his defense this year and believes being in the same scheme for a second season will make a significant difference.
“Our guys are more comfortable with the defense this year,” he said. “The defense played well in our scrimmage with Dartmouth. We tackled well and did things much better than last year.”
Special teams is a question. The kicking game is solid, but Ritter said he is still looking for a punter.
“Jake Feury has a very strong leg,” he said of his field goal kicker.
The Panthers won three of their final four games in 2011.
“I think that gave us some good momentum for this season,” Ritter said.
While White is just launching his season, one of his favorite receivers at Springfield High is well into his. Brandon Boyle and the Castleton State College Spartans take a 1-2 record into today’s home game against SUNY-Maritime.
Boyle, who also played on that 2008 Springfield championship team, was honored last week by being named to the D3football.com National Team of the Week, along with teammate Denny Wilhelm. Boyle caught a school record 17 passes in last week’s loss to RPI, two of them for touchdowns. Wilhelm, a big tight end, had 10 receptions and most of them were very big: two for touchdowns and four for first downs.
Castleton quarterback Shane Brozowski also had a monster day, the fifth time in his career he has thrown for 400 yards and four touchdowns in the same game.
But the focus for the Spartans today is the defense and the challenge of stopping SUNY-Maritime’s Flexbone. That is what much of the practices have been about this week.
“We can simulate everything about their offense except the speed,” Castleton coach Marc Klatt said. “Usually it takes a team two or three series to adjust to the speed. We are fortunate in that we see it twice with Gallaudet in our league. The key is get them to play out of their rhythm.”
Coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes has built the Privateers into an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference contender and they secured an at-large berth in the NCAA playoffs in 2010.
They come into Spartan Stadium at 1-1 after having been in two close games, a win over Massachusetts Maritime and a loss to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
“They will have plenty of motivation coming off a loss,” Klatt said.
There’s plenty of motivation for this one anyway. It is the ECFC opener.
Klatt feels there is plenty to build on from last week’s 56-35 loss to RPI.
“I think we take a lot of positives from that game,” Klatt said. “It was a one-score game in the fourth quarter against a team that controlled us last year.”
Middle linebacker Todd Carr, the team’s leading tackler with 34, had a very special week. He thought he was just going to a team meeting when he was presented an ROTC scholarship in front of his teammates.
Carr began at Castleton, left to play baseball for a year at Division II power Franklin Pierce, and returned to Castleton. He knew Klatt had a military background and asked him about getting in the ROTC program.
“Todd was really touched by his team’s reaction,” Klatt said.
“He is an excellent leader. As individual as the award was, Todd is one of the most selfless players on the team. He is the epitome of who we want to get here for the middle linebacker spot.”
The second-leading tackler on the Spartans is Hartford’s Mick Wong, making his conversion this year from running back to linebacker an unequivocal success.
QUICK KICKS: Norwich is off this week, but there was still plenty of excitement in Northfield with the news that Sabine Field will be torn down after the final game and the much anticipated new model will be built and ready for the 2013 campaign. ... Kickoff time at both Castleton and Middlebury is 1 p.m. ... There was an attempt to bring back the Little Army-Navy Game between Norwich and Coast Guard next year, but it was unsuccessful. Coast Guard is only allowed to play nine games. ... The other NESCAC openers have Trinity hosting Bates, Hamilton going to Amherst, Wesleyan making the trip to Tufts and Williams hosting Colby.