By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)
The Western New England Golden Bears’ football team was picked to capture the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league this fall, according to the conference’s release this afternoon.
WNE, which captured the final season of the New England Football Conference (NEFC) last fall, secured five of the six first-place votes. Endicott College, which checked-in third overall in this year’s preseason poll, collected one first-place vote.
Salve Regina, which was the runner-up last season in the NEFC, was picked to finish second, while Curry College, Nichols College and Becker College rounded out the final three spots, checking-in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The Hawks of Becker spent the past few season competing in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).
WNE captured 11 of 12 games last fall, including a pair of important league tilts against Endicott and Salve Regina. They captured the program’s initial NCAA Division III Tournament win with a 44-27 win over Husson University in the opening round before falling to Alfred University one round later.
The Golden Bears welcome back 15 of 24 starters from last season, including all five members of the team’s o-line, along with quarterback Anthony Service. Also back this season for the Blue and Yellow is Dante Aiken (running back), Dillon Martin (o-line), Sam Edouard (d-line) and Sam Olsson (safety).
WNE begins its campaign against cross-town rival Springfield College on Saturday, September 2 before visiting Westfield State six days later on Friday, September 8. The Golden Bears will conclude its non-conference slate with a visit to RPI before hosting Husson and St. Lawrence.
Prior to being picked to capture the first-ever season of CCC Football, the Golden Bears checked-in 24th overall in the D3Football.com Preseason Poll, which was posted earlier this summer.