Norwich wins third straight Maple Sap Bucket by topping Castleton, 28-12

The bucket stays in Northfield.

With a 28-12 win at in-state rival Castleton, the Cadets won their first game of 2021 and won their third straight Maple Sap Bucket, gaining a measure of momentum ahead of their annual Homecoming game.

Norwich (1-2) was effective on both sides of the ball at Dave Wolk Stadium. The offense, which had sputtered in the season’s first two games, scored on its first possession and rolled up 401 yards. The defense, which had ceded 75 points and 10 touchdowns in Norwich’s first two games, yielded just one touchdown and held Castleton (2-1), which had been unbeaten and unscored upon this season, to just 328 yards.

The win moved head coach Mark Murnyack to second on Norwich football’s all-time list with 49 wins.

As Norwich head coach Mark Murnyack told the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, the Maple Sap Bucket game is effectively the Division III Battle for Vermont, given that Middlebury plays only in conference.

Cadets quarterback Mitchell Theal threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns (11 yards to Tristan Johnson, 35 yards to Haleola Thomas and 56 yards to Trevor Chase). Chase and Thomas each had 104 yards receiving. Running backs Nate Parady and Justin Bryant collectively rushed for 113 yards.

parady cadets min
Nate Parady (33) celebrates after scoring a touchdown Saturday in the Maple Sap Bucket Game against Castleton. (Screenshot from video/Northeast Sports Network.)

Defensive back Ethan Amburn led Norwich’s defense with 11 tackles; linebackers  Patrick Keefe and Zev Motew had eight tackles each and defensive lineman Avantaye Salomon had seven tackles.

Castleton quarterback Jacob McCarthy was 20-for-33 for 241 yards and scored his team’s touchdown on a 1-yard fourth-quarter run. Spartans kicker Noah Crossman added field goals of 38 and 25 yards. Chris Rice led Castleton’s defense with 13 tackles.

The win moved Murnyack to second on Norwich football’s all-time list with 49 wins. He trails only Barry Mynter, who guided 75 Cadets wins.

Norwich will play Endicott at 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium during Homecoming weekend. The Cadets open New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference play Oct. 2 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

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