The saying “saving the best for last” was certainly evident in Lucas Morse’s final football game as a Castleton University Spartan.
Morse, a graduate student running back from Whitehall, racked up a whopping 247 yards and two touchdowns in an epic 31-30 victory in the rain over the Bison of Gallaudet University on Nov. 13 at Dave Wolk Stadium in Castleton, Vermont.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” Morse said. “I was excited just to get the win.”
Morse’s season stat-line finished at 521 total rushing yards and five touchdowns on 86 carries.
The farewell game for Morse featured the second most individual rushing yards in a single game by a Spartan, and the most total rushing yards (333) in a game in program history.
Both scores for Morse came in the fourth quarter, the second being the most crucial as it was the go-ahead and game-winning touchdown with 42 seconds to play. He credits it to a cleat change at halftime.
With the weather not complying, Morse said his cleats were very wet and heavy. For one last time, Morse laced up his gray Jordan 11 cleats that he played his first college game in and scored his first college touchdown in and took off.
A tipped 34-yard field goal by Gallaudet’s kicker, Jonathon Waterman, went wide right, capping off Castleton’s first above .500 season (6-4) since 2017.
Morse said the culmination of his football career starting in third or fourth grade sank in when he was taking off his shoulder pads for the final time in the locker room.
“Everybody was going to the tailgate and I started to tear up,” he said. “I was one of the last people in there and I didn’t want to leave.”
The Whitehall native recalls being a three-sport athlete for the Railroaders in football, wrestling and baseball, as he scored numerous touchdowns on the gridiron, recorded more than 100 career wins on the mat and had fun experimenting on the baseball diamond.
“Coming out of high school, I didn’t really think about college at all,” Morse said. “I got hounded enough to where I said, ‘okay, let’s go!’”
During the offseason for this football season, Morse said he would work out daily at 3 a.m. to instill a hardworking demeanor and the perseverance to succeed.
“I like to better myself,” he said. “There’s always something to get better at, physically, mentally. Learning something new every day is really important to me too.”
Senior offensive lineman Thomas Donovan, of Schuylerville, said the effort Morse put into being the best he could was very evident. It was an action that radiated amongst the Spartan unit.
“Morse at his highest potential was a workhorse,” Donovan said. “Playing with him was fun and he made life as an offensive lineman simple. He would take what he could get and read our blocks very well and he wasn’t afraid to put a shoulder down and get nasty for an extra yard or two… Morse understands hard work. He understands that aspirations to do great things doesn’t come without sacrifice and dedication to the task at hand to be successful.”
Morse said the “big fellas” in the trenches were vital to his success this season and in his last game.
“It’s a testament to how hard we work,” Morse said. “They (the offensive line) just worked their butts off in the spring and the fall… we had a feeling of being special.”
Donovan said he is grateful for his friendship with Morse and is sad to not be able to block for him in Donovan’s graduate student season.
“I’m glad that up front, we were able to set him up to have a career day in his last game in the 343 Green,” Donovan said.
As he was informed of the potential of Whitehall and Granville merging football programs in 2022, Morse had mixed emotions.
“You see, I wouldn’t want them (Whitehall) to merge with Granville because we were competitive rivals. But these kids need something,” Morse said. “They need some kind of outlet to let out some anger, have fun and build friendships… I would definitely say merge.”
Morse concluded by passing along advice to future Railroaders and Spartans.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “You don’t know when your last game, your last match is going to be.”
Morse received his bachelor’s degree double majoring in Business Administration and Marketing this year and looks to earn his MBA with a concentration in Media and Communication in 2022. Upon graduation, Morse aims to move to Virginia and work for a business or marketing company before branching out on his own.