By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
The first official week of the New England D3 Football season is in the books. And it was certainly an exciting first week.
Springfield College’s second half surge, including a 28-point effort in the third quarter, highlighted the opening week as the Pride defeated Western New England for the first time since 2013.
Jordan Wilcox highlighted the Pride’s comeback effort, rushing for a game-high 148 yards on 30 carries, while Jake Eglintine recorded a trio of scores on the ground, including the go-ahead touchdown late in the third.
In addition to the Springfield rushing attack, the team’s defense did its job by recording three sacks and one interception. Christian Zotti also forced and recovered fumble late in the fourth quarter – the recovery resulted in the game’s final touchdown.
This was a game that I picked Springfield to win – a victory over the Golden Bears could result in a new position for the Pride on Monday’s Noontime Top 10 Week Two poll. The Pride entered the week as one of the top five teams in the New England region, according to our week one poll.
Finally, one other statistic to note from this particular contest: Springfield won the time of possession by holding the ball for 40:31. Western New England occupied the ball for 19:29.
Springfield will face Kean next week – the Cougars were idle this weekend, so next week marks their initial contest of the 2017 season. Western New England will visit Westfield State on Friday, September 8. The Owls fell to Nichols College on Friday by a score of 19-13.
John Smith and the Husson University Eagles captured their first season-opener in 10 seasons as they defeated Union College by a score of 20-7. Smith accounted for two of his team’s three touchdowns – both scores occurred during the final frame – while Elvis Suazo Jr. recorded nine total stops, including one tackle for a loss of three yards.
Coach Gabby Price told the Bangor Daily News that Saturday’s win “is a good win.” As noted in the BDN recap, the 13-point victory over the Dutchmen was the program’s first season-opening victory since beating Pace University, 25-13, on August, 31, 2007. Pace is a Division 2 squad that competes in a very competitive Northeast-10 Conference.
Husson will visit Dean College next week for an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) clash – the two teams met last season with the Eagles claiming a 43-23 win over the Bulldogs. John Smith rushed for a season-high four scores in his team’s 20-point victory.
Framingham State picked-up its initial win of the season by defeating Endicott College, 41-10, in Beverly, Massachusetts. Saturday’s win over the Gulls marked the Rams’ fifth-straight season-opening win over Endicott – the Gulls’ last win against Framingham State came in 2012.
Quarterbacks Adam Wojenski and Zakery Walker combined for three touchdown passes and 233 passing yards. Two of those touchdown strikes were received by Michael Calicchio, who concluded the contest with five receptions for 101 yards.
As noted in the Rams’ release from yesterday, Framingham State racked up 502 yards of total offense, while the defense limited the Gulls’ offense to just 262 yards of offense, including 42 net yards rushing. Endicott’s Lavante Wiggins accounted for 22 of those 42 net yards on the ground – he scored his team’s lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Said Coach Tom Kelley following his team’s opening day win, “We have a lot to clean up and we certainly have a long way to go, and we’re going to really be tested next week once Cortland (State) comes to (Framingham).
“Defensively I think we got better and offensively we saw that we have some weapons, but we’re certainly going to answer some questions next week.”
One of the big takeaways from yesterday’s win was Framingham State’s defense coming-up with key third and fourth down stops. And one of those big stops occurred early in the contest when the Rams stopped Endicott on its second drive by limiting Wiggins to one yard, not two on a pivotal 4th and 2 from the Framingham State 14.
“I think we were aggressive defensively and I think we went after them, and I think that was the difference in the game,” said Kelley when asked about his team’s third and fourth down stops.
Defense will be the key for the Rams in week two against a talented Cortland squad, which defeated Framingham State last season by a score of 49-21. Endicott will visit Bridgewater State next Saturday. Both games are scheduled to commence at 12 p.m.
- Speaking of the Bears, Bridgewater State saw its five-point advantage (19-14) disappear late in the fourth quarter to Buffalo State, which capped a five-play, 44 yard drive with Kyle Hoppy touchdown pass to Ricky Bailey to secure a 20-19 victory.
- Salve Regina won its eighth-straight season-opener yesterday by defeating Worcester State, 35-28. James Dawson highlighted the contest by rushing for 116 yards and one touchdown.
- Plymouth State won its season-opener for the second-straight season by defeating Castleton University, 31-7. Zack Edwards tossed three touchdowns in the win, while David Hamilton rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries and one score.
- We will be posting our second Noontime Top 10 poll on Monday for week two, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, which is where it will be posted.
- Starting this week, Noontime Sports will unveil our first Honor Roll of the season, so make sure to submit student-athletes for the list by emailing us at NoontimeSports@gmail.com.