Bringing the “Sap Bucket” back was a key goal for Cadets this year

The Norwich University football program ended its 2016 campaign with a 35-27 victory over their archrivals Castleton University in the battle for the Maple Sap Bucket trophy. “We have always had this game circled on our schedule,” said quarterback Nolan Aurelia, a junior business management major from Stratford, Conn.
The rivalry game is beyond an ordinary game for NU football. “It’s a battle for the state of Vermont and determines who holds bragging rights for a whole year,” said defensive end David Heinsohn, a junior international studies major from Lorton, Va, “It is so important to us, it gives the team all the momentum going into next season’s matchup.”
After losing their last two games against Castleton University, the Cadets were eager to end their rival’s win streak. “Losing three years in a row to an archrival … we needed to avoid at all cost,” Aurelia said. “We have all the momentum right now, things are on our side and it is up to us to keep it that way.”
The two previous losses to their rivals was more than enough to drive the team.

In such a passionate sport, “it hurts losing to your rival and the last two years and there were a lot of emotions poured into this year’s game,” said Trystan Colaire, a senior biology major from Pickering, Ontario. “It was an energetic week at practice and you can tell everyone on the team was ready to sell out on game day,” Aurelia said, “[On Saturday] you could tell there was plenty of bottled up emotion that was released, everyone was rearing to go especially the seniors, who knew it was their last time to shine.”
Sending the seniors out with a smiles on their faces was significant in the winning effort. The team will be losing 23 seniors and “sending them out with a victory to end their career at Norwich is something that cannot be overlooked, regardless of how our season went,” Heinsohn said. “I don’t think there is a better feeling than beating a close rival in your last football game ever,” said wide receiver Pierre Noel, a senior criminal justice major from Manchester, N.H.
Norwich University football started out slow but jelled in midseason and won 5 out of 6 of its remaining games to end with a 5-5 record. While it fell short of its ultimate goal of retaining the conference crown over the course of the season, the victory gave the team some compensation. “Beating Castleton is something that is very important to this program, both teams don’t like each other for a good reason, it feels sweet to end my football career at Norwich on such a high note,” said defensive end and team captain Jepthe Soulouque, a senior athletic training major from Everett, Mass., “It is now time for the seniors to pass the torch to the underclassman in terms of the rivalry.”
“I did not know how much this game meant to the program until I experienced it first hand, it was different than any other game we played all year,” said cornerback Brasean Stewart, a freshman business management major from Bronx, N.Y., “The experience is something that will continue into next year’s battle.”
Both teams are sure to have each other circled on their respective schedules. Next season is far away for the Cadets, but “you already know guys are excited to play [Castleton] next year, the game means that much to us,” Aurelia said.



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