New England D3 Football 2018 Predictions

Preseason Predictions

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the first New England D3 football game scheduled for Thursday, August 30th – University of New England will travel to New London, Connecticut to play its first-ever varsity contest against Coast Guard Academy – it is time to unveil our Noontime Sports 2018 Season Projections, which includes our five picks to win each conference, along with teams to watch and dark horses.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)

Projected Conference Winner 

Western New England: A new era has officially begun at WNE with Jason Lebeau taking over for Keith Emery. The Golden Bears are certainly the favorite in this conference, but do have some questions heading into a new season. However, we expect WNE to celebrate another CCC title, but they could encounter some challenges along the way. Look for junior tailback Peter Hoff to lead the offense, while senior linebacker Mike Chirco will oversee the defense.

Team to Watch

Curry College: Sure, the Colonels may have graduated some key pieces from last year’s squad, but there seems to be some early season excitement surrounding the Purple and White. Once again, coach Skip Bandini will ask everyone to step-up, especially when the game is on the line.

Dark Horse   

Endicott College: Similar to WNE, Endicott will be under new leadership this fall with first-year coach Paul McGonagle returning to the Beverly campus to lead a squad that certainly has potential to make 2018 an exciting fall. They have solid pieces on both sides of the ball and will certainly provide challenges to both their conference and non-conference foes.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) 

Projected Conference Winner 

Husson University: The John Smith era may have ended last November, but don’t overlook these Eagles, who will once again be a team to watch in New England. Senior quarterback Cory Brandon returns and should be in for a solid final season with the Green and Gold – look for him to target classmate and wide out Kyle Gaudet and junior Quintarian Brown. On defense, senior linebacker Elvin Suazo will lead a unit that limited opposing offenses to an average of two touchdowns per game last season. Classmate and defensive lineman Tarik Smith is back, as well, and will certainly be a player to watch up front.

Team to Watch 

SUNY Maritime: The Privateers certainly have what it takes to challenge the Eagles for the top spot – they also have what it takes to make another postseason appearance after finishing its 2017 campaign 9-2 overall, as well. Senior quarterback Thomas Wright has some of his favorite targets back from last season, so look for him to connect with classmates Brandonn Drumgole and Curtis Smith. Wright should have enough time to go through the motions with two key members of last year’s line back this fall: seniors Nick Acevedo and Dean Lynch. Junior linebacker Liam Bailey will lead the Privateers defense – he will receive some help from classmate and defensive end Payton Campbell. SUNY Maritime will be under new leadership this season as Vincent DiGaetano returns to Throggs Neck, New York – he was with the program from 2005-2015.

Dark Horse 

Gallaudet University:  The Bison could surprise some folks this fall – they were picked to finish fifth in the ECFC Coaches Preseason Poll, but could perhaps finish maybe a spot or two higher by the conclusion of the 2018 season. Look for senior Dylan Mento (wide receiver) and junior Timel Benton (quarterback) to power the offense, while senior Louie Akuffo (linebacker) lead the defense after recording a career-best 55 solo stops last fall.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Projected Conference Winner 

Framingham State: It’s hard to pick against these Rams, who graduated some key pieces of last year’s squad. However, the same determination from a year ago remains with this team – they are coming off back-to-back New England Bowl championships and hope to return to the NCAA Tournament in mid-November. Senior halfback Quron Wright should lead the offense once again – look for sophomore wide-out Shaq Joseph to become a familiar target for junior quarterback Adam Wojenski. Junior defensive end Joshua Onujiogu returns – he will be tasked with leading a unit that does have some question marks heading into a new campaign, but should definitely improve as the season progresses.

Team to Watch 

Plymouth State: Picked to finish second in this summer’s MASCAC Preseason Coaches Poll, the Panthers welcome back a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, which should once again keep them in the mix for a conference crown. Offensively, the team returns most of its returners (and contributors) from last season, including senior quarterback Zack Edwards and junior wide-out Jacob Szulc. Senior halfback Mitch Banuskevich is also back, as well – he led the team’s rushing attack last fall with 668 yards on 166 carries. Defensively, the Panthers graduated some key players, but do return junior defensive back Matt Shea.

Dark Horse 

Worcester State: Keep an eye on the offensive combo of senior quarterback Noah Brum and junior tight end Jacob Maher. These two will be tasked with leading the Lancers offense, along with senior halfbacks Dexter Andrews and Hunter Paupaw. Sophomore linebacker Mike Quinn enjoyed a successful first season with the Lancers – he led all defenders with 100 total tackles, and will certainly be the player to watch on defense.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Projected Winner 

Trinity College: The Bantams return 14 starters from last season, including senior  running back Max Chipouras, who will certainly be a player to watch this fall. Chipouras should be the focal point of the Bantams’ offense as quarterback Sonny Puzzo graduated – they will also have to make up for the loss of two-time All-American Chris Simmons on the line, as well. Senior defensive end Corey Jean Jacques should anchor one of the best defenses in both the NESCAC and New England.

Team to Watch 

Amherst College: Don’t overlook this Mammoths squad, which on paper looks like a team that could contend for some NESCAC hardware this season. Junior quarterback OIlie Eberth is back and will have a few familiar targets to throw to, including classmate James O’Regan and senior Bo Berluti. On defense, look no further than senior Andrew Yamin, who will  once again provide nightmares for opposing offenses.

Dark Horse 

Williams College: Coach Mark Raymond led the Ephs to an impressive 6-3 mark last fall, which included a season finale win over rival Amherst College. The win over the Mammoths could be the momentum Williams needs to contend for a NESCAC crown this season. Sophomore quarterback Bobby Maimaron was extremely impressive in his first season – he will once again be a player to watch on offense this fall.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) 

Projected Winner 

Springfield College: Sure, some pieces from last year’s unit graduated, but that won’t slow down the Pride’s momentum, which should certainly continue this season. Junior tailback Hunter Belzo will be tasked with carrying the load – the same could be said for classmate and quarterback Chad Shade. And the good news is both Belzo and Shade will be able to run behind junior center Nick Bainter, who will be tasked with anchoring Springfield’s o-line. Senior Nick Giorgio will be the player to watch on defense for the Pride – he should receive some help from classmates Josh Corporan (linebacker), Marlowe Scott (defensive back) and Johnny Bianchi (strong safety).

Team to Watch 

WPI: This Engineers squad seems extremely determined to challenge Springfield College for the top spot in the NEWMAC. A good chunk of last year’s team returns, including junior halfbacks Sean McAllen and Connor Field, seniors Luca Cerasani (d-line) and Sam Malafronte (linebacker), along with junior Nick Ostrowski (linebacker). WPI also returns place kicker and punter Spencer Herrington – he will be ready for the big kick when his number is called.

Dark Horse 

Merchant Marine: Sure, the Mariners will look a tad bit different this fall than last year – and the year before, too – but this young squad could provide some challenges on both sides of the ball when they enter NEWMAC play in a few weeks. Senior fullbacks Wiley Martin and Joseph Bellomo will be tasked with leading an offense that will be without quarterback Bryce Moorse, who graduated in the spring. Senior defensive back Brooks Cannell will be a player to watch on defense this fall, as well.

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