On Tuesday evening, Matt Noonan was joined by James Baker – one of the co-hosts for ‘In The HuddLLe’ (yes, there is an extra ‘L’) to talk about the first week of the NCAA Division III Football season for the fifth episode of Noontime Sports The Podcast.
Baker, who co-hosts a weekly D3 Football podcast with Frank Rossi, provided his ‘two-cents’ on the various New England teams and conferences, including Framingham State, Endicott College, WPI, Springfield, Husson and various New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools.
Make sure to stay connected with Baker (and Rossi) throughout the entire season on Twitter (@ITHuddLLe) and check-out their week one/season preview podcast – HOP HERE.
Framingham State Football head coach Tom Kelley says the Rams have started a new era. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
“It’s a new era,” Framingham State football head coach Tom Kelley said. “We just can’t roll out the footballs anymore.”
Kelley – the successful sideline boss of a Framingham State football program, which has won three straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) titles – knows the road to a fourth consecutive crown won’t be easy.
Unlike past seasons where the Rams have entered a new campaign with some household names like Matt Silva, Matt Mangano, Nick Stanfield, Kevin Donahue, Pat McGrath and Melikke Van Alstyne, Framingham State’s current roster features a plethora of young players.
“They’re working hard,” Kelley said of his first and second-year players. “They are not cutting corners, but it certainly is going to be an interesting year.”
Framingham State graduated 22 players from last season’s squad, including Silva, Mangano and Stanfield, but Kelley is confident his returners will fill the void.
“Out of the 22 guys (that graduated this past spring), we like the guys behind them,” said Kelley, “and now it’s their turn to step-up.”
Some of the returners Kelley and his coaching staff will ask to ‘step-up’ are seniors Chris Dagg (linebacker/safety), Jalen Wingard (defensive back), and juniors Jalen Green (halfback), Svenn Jacobson (linebacker) and Joe Wilder (offensive line).
Framingham State will conclude its training camp this weekend with a scrimmage before turning the page to their initial game of the season against Endicott College at home on Saturday, September 3.
Following a visit from the Gulls, Framingham State hits the road two important games, including a visit to Cortland State – both teams played last season and combined for 110 points and 1,071 yards of total offense.
The Rams’ final game of the month is against Western Connecticut State at home (Homecoming & Family Weekend) – the Colonials were picked third in the conference’s preseason poll.
“Our first four games will be tough,” said Kelley.
Bridgewater State collected the final first-place vote, checking in fourth overall.
Behind the Rams is Fitchburg State and Western Connecticut State, while Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Worcester State tied for fifth. UMass Dartmouth, Westfield State and Plymouth State rounded out the final three spots, checking in seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
Eight of the nine teams are in action next Friday or Saturday, while Massachusetts Maritime Academy kicks-off its 2016 campaign on Friday, September 9 when they visit Maritime (N.Y.) for the Ninth-Annual Chowder Bowl.
Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
It’s never too early to start marking the calendar with Division III football games, especially with the opening kickoff just two weeks away.
In anticipation of the first kickoff of the 2016 season, which happens to be two weeks from today – Anna Maria vs. Coast Guard Academy – we have provided a list (and some quick thoughts) on what games you should keep an eye on (or attend) in week one.
Thursday, Sept. 1 – Coast Guard Academy at Anna Maria, 7 p.m. – We have been counting the days and weeks for this game, so when the Bears and AMCATs take the field, it will mean a new season of college football has begun. Keep an eye on Coast Guard Academy senior co-captain and quarterback Derek Victory, who enjoyed an impressive junior season under center.
Friday, Sept. 2 – UMass Dartmouth at Mount Ida, 6 p.m. – This is always a must-see game, according to Mount Ida head coach Michael Landers. Keep an eye on Mount Ida sophomore quarterback Jack Sheehan, who enjoyed an impressive first season, while also watching UMass Dartmouth junior linebacker Brandon Miller. Miller should be a focal point of the Corsairs’ defense this season.
Friday, Sept. 2 – Western New England at Springfield College, 7 p.m. – This has become a true rivalry game – basically, the winner becomes the so-called king of Springfield. The Golden Bears were picked to capture the New England Football Conference (NEFC) crown, but will be tested by a new-look Pride squad, which will be led by first-year head coach Mike Cerasuolo.
Friday, Sept. 2 – WPI at MIT, 7 p.m. – Both schools are rivals in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), so this game will certainly live up to its hype. WPI escaped last year’s meeting thanks to a fourth quarter field goal by senior Blaine Bursey.
Friday, Sept. 2 – Bridgewater State at Curry, 7 p.m. – A new era has begun in Bridgewater as long-time assistant and defensive coordinator Joe Verria will lead the Bears as the program’s interim head coach. The Bears beat Curry last year in their season opener, but the Colonels rebounded, capping their 2015 campaign by winning three of five contests.
Friday, Sept. 2 – Fitchburg State at Becker, 7 p.m. – After an impressive 7-3 campaign, the Hawks of Becker will look to prove 2015 wasn’t a fluke. First-year head coach Frank Forcucci, who spent the previous three seasons as the program’s Associate Head Coach and defensive coordinator, will lead Becker this fall. Fitchburg State – on the other hand – has high aspirations for this season and will be led by senior quarterback Garrett Dellechiaie, who tossed 26 touchdowns for the second-straight season.
Friday, Sept. 2 – Salve Regina at Worcester St., 7 p.m. – The Seahawks of Salve Regina were picked to finish second the New England Football Conference (NEFC). They also appeared in our Noontime Sports Top 10 Preseason poll, too. Worcester State is one of our ‘Teams on the Rise,’ and this has always been an intriguing matchup, especially when each offense gets into a groove.
Saturday, Sept. 3 – Endicott at Framingham State, 12 p.m. – Under second year head coach Kevin DeWall, the Gulls of Endicott will look to commence their season with an opening day road win against a Framingham State squad that will feature some new names on both sides of the ball. The Rams won last season’s opener in Beverly, defeating Endicott, 42-6. Endicott’s last win in Framingham came in 2012 with the Gulls claiming a 34-7 victory.
Saturday, Sept. 3 – Plymouth State at Castleton, 1 p.m. – Castleton sophomore Mitchell Caron is expected to be spotted under center in the Spartans’ season opener. Quarterback George Busharis graduated this past spring, so it will be fun to watch Caron lead the Spartans. As for Plymouth State, they enter 2016 a year older and with more experience.
Saturday, Sept. 3 – Hartwick at West Conn., 5 p.m. – Senior halfback Michael Nicol will be expected to carry the load this year, and help Western Connecticut State kick-off its season with a win against a talented Hartwick squad. Nicol will be one of many players to watch on Joe Loth’s squad, especially if they want to make a run toward winning the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown.
For the fourth episode of Noontime Sports the Podcast, Matt Noonan caught up with a former Noontime Sports blogger – yes, he did contribute back in the day! – Trevor Paul (T.H. Paul) to chat about his new book: The Legacy Chronicle: The Sword.
In addition to learning more about the book and Paul’s writing process, Noonan and Paul also talked some sports – yes, we had to throw some sports talk in, right? – discussing what it is like to coach prep school athletics, as well as Maine hockey (and some NESCAC hockey, too).