Noontime Sports Football Team Of The Month: Plymouth State Panthers

noontime-team-of-the-month

By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports is proud to announce its first-ever ‘Team of the Month’ award – a monthly honor for a school’s athletic team. And with it being the final day of September, we are pleased to announce that Plymouth State’s football team has earned our initial honor of ‘Team of the Month’ for September.

Under the direction of head coach Paul Castonia; the Panthers have enjoyed a successful start to their 2016 campaign, winning four-straight contests, including a dramatic overtime week two victory against Mount Ida College. Plymouth State’s four-consecutive victories match their start from 2007.

Plymouth State began its campaign with an impressive 20-7 win over Castleton on September 3 – it was the program’s first win in Vermont since September 4, 2010. First-year tailback David Hamilton rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries, along with one touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Zack Edwards completed 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards, while tossing one touchdown. Senior defensive back RJ Ramsden paced the Green and White’s defense with nine total tackles, including seven solo stops – he also recorded an interception.

One week later, the Panthers defense came-up with a critical stop in overtime to defeat Mount Ida by a score of 30-28 (OT). Edwards tossed three touchdowns in the win, first-year wide-out Jacob Szulc hauled in eight catches for 122 yards – he also caught a pair of touchdown passes – and junior defensive back Blair Zentek concluded the game with two pass break-ups, along with five total tackles.

A team effort on offense, defense and special teams helped the Panthers defeat Western Connecticut State University on the road in week three – the win was the program’s first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory of the season. Sophomore tailback Mitch Banuskevich highlighted the team’s rushing attack, tallying 78 yards on 15 carries, while Hamilton registered 33 yards on 14 carries and one score. Senior defensive back Zach Ziemba concluded the game with a season-best 13 solo-stops with one of those tackles being a tackle for a loss of two yards.

Last weekend, the Panthers’ bumped their win total to 4-0 as they defeated UMass Dartmouth at home by a score of 30-14. Hamilton rushed for his third touchdown in the season, while first-year defensive back Matt Shea registered a team-best eight solo stops.

The Panthers begin their October slate on the road tomorrow when they visit Westfield State for a 2:00 p.m. kick-off.

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode Seven (James Bakers | @ITHuddLLe)

Noontime Sports Podcast

By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports the Podcast returned this week as James Baker from @ITHuddLLE joined Matt Noonan to chat about the opening month of NCAA Division III Football, specifically the New England region.

Baker gave his ‘two-cents’ on Western New England, Husson and multiple New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools, while he and Noonan also shared their excitement for Plymouth State, which is off to its best start since 2007.

New England D3 Football Notebook: Plymouth State Improves To 4-0, Matches 2007 Start

Plymouth State's David Hamilton rushed for his third touchdown in his career as the Panthers defeated UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State)

Plymouth State’s David Hamilton rushed for his third touchdown in his career as the Panthers defeated UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been nine years since Plymouth State’s football team commenced its campaign with four-straight wins, but earlier today the Panthers matched their start from 2007 as they defeated UMass Dartmouth, 30-14.

With the win, the Panthers – now 4-0 overall – improve to 2-0 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play.

Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zack Edwards highlighted his team’s fourth consecutive victory, tossing a pair of touchdowns to bump his season total to seven.

First-year tailback David Hamilton reached the end zone for the third time this season – he finished the contest with 64 yards on 15 carries, while junior defensive back Blair Zentek registered a pair of interceptions with one of his picks resulting in a 91-yard touchdown return.

The Panthers return to the gridiron next Saturday, October 1 when they visit Westfield State for a 2:00 p.m. kick-off.

Endicott College snapped its three-game losing streak, defeating Nichols College on Homecoming Weekend by a score of 37-0. Junior fullback Lavante Wiggins rushed for a pair of scores, while senior wide-out Chris Lipscomb caught two touchdown passes – he finished the day with three catches for 88 yards.

Salve Regina bumped its record to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in New England Football Conference (NEFC) play as the Seahawks soared past Coast Guard Academy, 48-10. Senior halfback Sam Pascale rushed for a season-high four touchdowns, along with a season-best 226 yards on 21 carries.

In Amherst, the Purple and White commenced their New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title defense by defeating Hamilton College, 34-0. Senior quarterback Alex Berluti completed 17 of 27 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown, while classmate Devin Boehm hauled in seven catches for 113 yards and one score. Sophomore tailback Jack Hickey rushed for a trio of scores and finished the day with 67 yards on 18 carries.

Also in NESCAC play, Middlebury College commenced its campaign with a 40-3 thrashing against Bowdoin College. Junior quarterback Jared Lebowitz accounted for six touchdowns, including five through the air with two of them landing in the hands of senior wide-out James Burke.

New England D3 Football: It’s All About Having A Great Day At Amherst College

Amherst College's football team is focused on having a great day every day. (Photo Credit: Amherst College)

Amherst College’s football team is focused on having a great day every day. (Photo Credit: Amherst College)

By Matt Noonan 

E.J. Mills has one goal for his Amherst College football team: have a great day.

Having a ‘great day’ maybe the rallying cry behind the Purple and White’s recent success as Amherst has won a quartet of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crowns since 2009.

In 2013, the Purple and White shared the crown with Middlebury College and Wesleyan University.

Two years later – last season to be exact – Amherst clinched its seventh perfect season in program history, finishing its slate 8-0 for the second consecutive season. Their win against rival Williams College – a 17-7 victory – extended the Purple and White’s winning streak to 19 games, which dates back to October 26, 2013.

“The biggest goal (for us) is to win the day and if we spend time worrying about Hamilton or Trinity (College) … that won’t help us, so we just have to stay focused and have a great day,” said Mills, who is a three-time NESCAC Coach of the Year honoree.

Mills and his staff have been hard at work since their final contest of 2015 and eager to lead the Purple and White onto the field this Saturday when they host Hamilton College for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.

Amherst and Hamilton last met in 2013 with the Purple and White claiming a 23-7 win in Clinton, New York. Amherst defeated Hamilton one year earlier at home behind a pair of touchdown passes by Max Lippe.

If the Purple and White are going to be successful this season, they’ll need to lean on their defense, which limited opponents to roughly 10 points per game last fall.

Additionally, Amherst will need its rushing attack to be at its best too.

Last season, the Purple and White led the conference in rushing yards (1,612), thanks to Kenny Adinkra, who caped his four-year career with a career-best 504 yards on the ground.

Sophomore Jack Hickey enjoyed an impressive first-season at tailback, rushing for 319 yards on 47 carries and two touchdowns.

In front of Hickey and the halfbacks will be senior quarterback Alex Berluti, who will be tasked with leading an offense that converted 27 of 31 red zone opportunities last fall. Berluti appeared in one game last season, but has tossed four touchdowns in his career, while rushing for one score during his initial season in 2013.

“Alex has worked hard,” said Mills. “I have seen tremendous growth (since he arrived on campus) and I think he’s going to take advantage of this opportunity.

“The ball has been thrown in his court and I am confident that he will be able to do to lead this football team.”

One of Berluti’s top targets this season could be his brother Bo Berluti, who appeared in four games last season.

In addition to Bo, keep an eye on senior wide-out Devin Boehm, who led the Purple and White last season in receptions (41) and yards (555).

On defense, Amherst returns five of their front seven from a year ago, including seniors Evan Boynton (56 total tackles, 33 solo stops, 4.5 sacks and eight tackles for a loss) and Parker Chapman (44 total tackles, 24 solo stops, one sack and one tackle for a loss.).

Behind the front seven will be a young secondary, however, Mills anticipates his linemen and linebackers should assist them, especially with getting to the quarterback, stopping the run or dropping back in coverage.

“I think we have a chance to be pretty good back there,” Mills said of his secondary. “They’re just going to be young, so hopefully those guys up front can take some of the pressure off the guys on the back end … Our philosophy is don’t bend, don’t break and don’t give up big plays.”

While Mills knows every player on both sides of the ball will need to execute properly to help Amherst contend for a NESCAC title, he also believes everyone must have a great day too.

“That is really the consistent message,” Mills said of his team’s so-called rallying cry. “We have preached it around here (for a while) and the kids have bought into it.”

So, what exactly is Mills’ outlook for today?

“Today is all about Thursday,” said Mills, “so let’s have a great Thursday.”

Noontime Minute: King To Set-Up GoFundMe Page For Horse-Collar Tackle

Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King plans to set-up a GoFundMe page for his horse-collar tackle from this past Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King plans to set-up a GoFundMe page for his horse-collar tackle from this past Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan

The Noontime Minute is a short blog post on one topic that should be read in 60 seconds or less.

If it takes more than 60 seconds, our apology!

We’ll have more of these posts over the next few days, weeks and months, so enjoy the first of many Noontime Minutes.

As noted in various publications over the past 24 hours – maybe 15-20 hours to be exact – Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King is planning to set-up a GoFundMe page following his horse-collar tackle on Sunday, which stopped Eric Weems and the Atlanta Falcons from registering a touchdown late in the second quarter.

The result of the play was a penalty – obviously, because it was a horse-collar tackle – and instead of scoring a touchdown on the ensuing possession, the Falcons settled for a Matt Bryant field goal.

No fine has been handed as of this morning, but that won’t stop King from setting-up a GoFundMe page so he can receive some assistance from Raider Nation.

I am not entirely sure King will need a great deal of assistance from his fans, especially since he recently inked his name on a five-year, $16.5 million contract.

If you do decide to pitch-in (or help King with his fine), please let us know!