Mass. College Football: Camping With American International College (AIC) Football

By Matt Noonan

American International College (AIC) enters the 2015 season projected to be the runner-up in the Northeast-10 Conference, but that prediction isn’t what head coach Art Wilkins is focused on at this time.

AIC Football commences its season on Saturday, September 5 with a non-conference game against Bryant University (Photo Credit: SportsLogos.net)
AIC Football commences its season on Saturday, September 5 with a non-conference game against Bryant University (Photo Credit: SportsLogos.net)

Instead, the legendary head coach, who enters his 21st season with AIC, is focused on preparing the Yellow Jackets for its week one opponent: Bryant University.

“I think Mr. (Bill) Belichick has the right approach (to a new season),” said Wilkins, “one game at a time.”

AIC will travel to Rhode Island this Saturday (Sept. 5) to face a Bulldogs squad that was picked to capture the Northeast Conference. Bryant garnered four first-place votes and is coming off an impressive campaign that included eight victories, which tied a program record for wins.

“(We have) a one game season right now and after (we play Bryant) there will be another one (game season), but it is a one game season,” said Wilkins.

Quarterback Kevin Arduino has graduated after a very impressive four-year career, but is expected to assist the team as an assistant coach.

“You (can) never replace a great player (like Kevin), but we’re doing the second best thing. Since he can’t play anymore, we’re going to let him coach and see if some of the magic dust (helps),” said Wilkins.

The Yellow Jackets have five quarterbacks on its roster, including sophomore Shawn Brathwaite, who completed four passes last season and tossed a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards and one score.

Another quarterback to keep an eye on is senior Adam Salvador, who competed in nine games last season, but did not register a single pass. Instead, the senior signal caller rushed for 137 yards on 43 attempts and averaged 15.2 yards per game.

At tailback, expect the Yellow Jackets to rotate five or six players, including junior Marcel DePina, who hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts. DePina registered one touchdown last season on 19 carries, while rushing for 133 yards. He also returned a pair of punts for 34 yards.

“DePina has looked great,” said Wilkins. “I think he is going to be an exceptional player. He is the one we’re counting on right now (at halfback).”

Similar to tailback, the wide receiving core will rely on five or six players to assist the offense. Junior Evan Graham – a Springfield, Massachusetts native – is back after finishing second on the team in receptions (41). Graham, who competed in 11 games, was second on the team in touchdowns (five) and receiving yards (655).

“We think (our receiving core) is the best position on offense right, so we’ll see how it comes together during the first several games,” Wilkins said. “This is an exciting bunch.”

On defense, the Yellow Jackets will count on senior linebacker Demetrius Steed – a Boston native that competed for Bedford High School. Steed ranked third on the team in total tackles (72), but recorded 38 solo stops, four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and a trio of pass-breakups.

“He’s the guy that leads by example and has a high energy level and (can) translate that to his teammates,” said Wilkins. “He is everything you could want.”

AIC also returns seniors Andrew Justice (defensive end), Danny Omoregie (defensive line) and Daquan Holmes (defensive back). Sophomore Rob Hansen returns after leading all freshmen defenders with five total tackles and three solo stops.

Following the Yellow Jackets’ season-opener against the Bulldogs, AIC will commence conference play with a home contest against Southern Connecticut University on Saturday, September 12. The Yellow Jackets will then travel to University of New Haven on Saturday, September 19 before concluding the first month of play with a 1:00 p.m. kick-off against Saint Anselm College at home.

AIC and LIU Post, which competed in the conference’s championship last season, will meet in Springfield on Saturday, October 3 for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. LIU Post was picked to capture the NE-10 crown for the second consecutive season.

Mass. College Football: Husson Picked To Capture Eastern Collegiate Football Conference

Husson University's football team was picked first in the preseason coaches poll. (Photo Credit: Husson University Athletics)
Husson University’s football team was picked first in the preseason coaches poll. (Photo Credit: Husson University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Husson University Eagles – the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) champions last season – were picked to defend their crown this fall, as noted in the conference’s season preview.

Husson was the unanimous preseason pick to win the league – the Eagles garnered eight first-place votes for 64 points. Norwich University was selected to finish second, while Castleton State College was tabbed third. Mount Ida College and SUNY Maritime College rounded out the top five, earning fourth and fifth place projections, respectively.

Gallaudet University was selected to finish sixth, Becker College seventh and Anna Maria College eighth.

Last season, the Eagles won every conference game before defeating Mount Ida, 41-21, to clam the program’s initial ECFC Championship and NCAA berth.

Husson returns nine starters from last season’s team on defense, including junior Ellis Throckmorton, who led the Eagles with 90 total tackles, including 56 solo stops. Senior Bryant Wade returns for his final season and will attempt to duplicate his production of 45 total tackles, 30 solo stops, a trio of fumble recoveries, a pair of forced fumbles and one sack.

On offense, senior quarterback Joe Seccareccia returns following an impressive junior campaign, which saw him complete 122-of-245 attempts for 1,490 yards – the most passing yards by any quarterback in the ECFC last fall. He was first in the league in completions and second in touchdown passes (14).

Husson also returns the conference’s leading rusher, sophomore John Smith, who registered 1,408 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns. Smith also caught two passes for 13 yards.

The Eagles begin its title defense on Saturday, September 5 when they host Alfred University for a 12:00 p.m. kick-off. On Saturday, October 3, Husson will begin league play when they host Castleton.

Mass. College Football: Camping With Merrimack College Football

By Matt Noonan

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Merrimack College head coach Dan Curran enters his third season with the Warriors this fall and is optimistic about the 2015 campaign.

“Competition breeds success,” said the third-year head coach following his team’s practice last week.

Last season, the Warriors were hampered by injuries on both sides of the ball as Merrimack limped to a 4-7 overall record.

Merrimack College's football team looks to utilize experience from last year for success this season. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
Merrimack College’s football team looks to utilize experience from last year for success this season. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

This season, the squad returns a number of key players that sustained injuries last year, including red-shirt senior Brian Hurley – a Wilmington, Massachusetts native – and sophomore Joe Loubier. Both players are expected to be apart of the offensive line.

“We had to play some other guys a little bit earlier, (but) the benefit of that is some guys got a lot of experience,” said Curran. “Having (Joe and Brian) back (provides) more competition (at the line), and we now have seven or eight guys competing for five spots.”

While the Warriors determine the five players that will make-up its line, the coaches are also focused on finding a signal caller. Juniors Nick Laspada and Nick Davis are back, along with sophomore Joe Capobianco and freshman Brendan McInnis.

“We’re going to need all of camp to decide (who our quarterback) is going to be,” said Curran. “I do tell these guys (quite often) that we’re always evaluating, so if (all four quarterbacks) are close in competition then it will hopefully make them better.”

At running back, second-year senior Andrew Mayes is expected to earn the top spot on the depth chart. Last season, he rushed for 325 yards on 70 carries and hauled in 14 receptions for 146 yards. Mayes concluded the 2014 season with four rushing touchdowns.

Providing relief for Mayes will be sophomore Derrick Villard, who rushed for a season-high 61 yards on 17 carries in his team’s 35-7 victory over Southern Connecticut State.

“We expect him to be a bell-cow,” Curran said of Villard. “We expect him to be an all-conference kid. He is as fast any kid we have on this team.”

On defense, the Warriors return a pair of seniors, including Jon Hooper – a Pembroke, Massachusetts native that led the unit with 63 total tackles last season – and classmate Kristian Jackson – a Shrewsbury, Massachusetts native that ranked second on the team with 57 total tackles. Additionally, junior Carey Wells-Jower is back at linebacker and will look to continue his success from last season, which included 52 total tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries and pass-breakups.

Merrimack begins its 2015 season at home on Saturday, September 5 when they host Bowie State for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. After their non-conference clash, the Warriors will open Northeast-10 Conference play against Stonehill College on Friday, September 11.

“I think we’re a more well-rounded program and I think the experience we went through last year helped us,” said Curran. “The challenge for us is to be more consistent and do it every week.”

Boston 13s Prepares For USA Rugby League Championship (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

BOSTON, Mass. – The Boston 13s rugby team clinched a spot in the upcoming USA Rugby League Championship, which will take place on Saturday, August 29 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Boston defeated Philadelphia, 20-12, en route to a North Conference championship, and will play Atlanta – a team that is currently in its second year of competition. Atlanta defeated the CFL Warriors, 32-28, to capture the South Championship.

According to Atlanta’s team page, this will be the initial meeting between the two teams. Last season, Atlanta earned a spot in the USARL Final, but fell to Philadelphia, 30-18.

Boston’s last appearance in the championship occurred in 2012, however, the squad was unable to capture the league crown.

For more information on the Boston 13s rugby team – HOP HERE

For more information on USA Rugby League – HOP HERE

Mass. College Football: Camping With MIT Football

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After capturing the program’s initial New England Football Conference (NEFC) crown last season, as well as advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship, the MIT football team has begun preparations for its upcoming season, which begins next Friday, September 4 against WPI.

The Engineers return a majority of its championship team, including a fast, athletic defense that maybe the best unit head coach Chad Martinovich has coached during his time in Cambridge.

MIT, however, will need to fill the voids of Peter WilliamsBrad Goldsberry and Justin Wallace, but luckily the Cardinal and Gray have depth at the quarterback and running back position, respectively.

Senior wide-out Seve Esparrago returns – he is very optimistic about the offensive unit (noted in the video above) – along with classmate Nathan Varady.

After the Engineers visit WPI in week one, they will travel to Becker College (Sat. Sept. 12) and RPI (Sept. 19) before competing in front of the home crowd on Saturday, September 26 against Maine Maritime Academy – MIT’s initial conference clash.

MIT was picked to capture the NEFC, garnering six first-place votes, while Western New England was picked to finish second – the Golden Bears collected a pair of first-place votes.

For more information on the Engineers’ football team — HOP HERE   

Mass. College Football: Camping With Framingham State University Football

By Matt Noonan 

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – After capturing its fifth consecutive Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season crown last season, the Framingham State University football team returned to practice one week ago with high hopes its 2015 season.

The Rams kick-off its season next Saturday, September 5 when they travel to Endicott College for a non-conference clash with the Gulls before competing in Framingham one week later against SUNY Cortland on Saturday, September 12. It will be the first time the Rams compete in front of its home crowd since clinching an exciting 42-36 overtime victory against RPI in the ECAC North Atlantic Bowl.

Framingham State returns a slew of returners on both sides of the ball, including senior Matt Mangano on defense and classmate Nick Stanfield on offense. Additionally, senior Matt Silva is back at quarterback, junior Jalen Green returns at tailback and sophomore Svenn Jacobson – the conference’s Defensive Rookie of the Year – will be spotted at linebacker.

On Monday, we traveled to Framingham to chat with Head Coach Tom Kelley, Mangano and Stanfield to discuss the upcoming season.

For more information on the Framingham State University football team — HOP HERE

 

Mass. College Football: Camping With Bentley University Football

Bentley University football is roughly one week away from beginning another season. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth/NoontimeSports.com)
Bentley University football is roughly one week away from beginning another season. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth/NoontimeSports.com)

By Brian Willwerth 

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bill Kavanaugh is starting his second season as the head coach at Bentley University, and is looking to keep the momentum going from a team that won four of its last five games in 2014. On Tuesday, we caught up with the coach after practice.

First and foremost, there is a quarterback competition going on in Waltham. Matt Montalto and C.J. Scarpa are vying for the starting job.

“Both kids, we have confidence, can lead our team,” said Kavanaugh. “So we feel really good about that. But we’re just not sure which way we’re going to lean.”

Kavanaugh has his leading rusher returning this season, Martin Bannerman, who scored five touchdowns in 2014. The coach also feels good about his depth on the offensive line and at the wide receiver position. Offensive lineman Matt Biscardi has been named a co-captain.

The defensive line consists of four seniors – Jeff Amell, Quincy Giles, Paul Norris and Bob Richman. The latter three are co-captains.

“As they go, our team will go. We know they’re going to be working as hard and competing as hard as anybody across the country,” said Kavanaugh.

In the secondary, the coach is happy to see some young guys stepping in at linebacker. There is also some experience at the defensive back position.

Bentley opens the season on Saturday, September 5 at Mercyhurst.

“The guys are ready to get into the groove and play a football game. They’re tired of seeing each other, and we’re tired of seeing them against each other,” said Kavanaugh.