By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ college football coverage resumes with a closer look at the Nichols College Bison, who begin their season on Friday, September 6th when they visit Dean College for a 7 p.m. kick-off.
The Bison’s 2018 Season: Nichols enjoyed its best season since 2016 by finishing with a 5-5 mark, including a 4-2 record in Dudley, Massachusetts.
The Bison won three of six Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) games while scoring non-conference wins against Anna Maria College and Alfred State.
Nichols ended its campaign with a 39-29 win over Curry College, which seemed to provide the unit with some momentum and excitement for the upcoming season.
Hunter Ferreira, who was a first-year wide-out last season, ended the season by recording a career-high 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his team’s win over Curry. His impressive effort resulted in him being tabbed the conference’s offensive player of the week.
Coach Dale Olmsted was named the Worcester Area Football Association Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, while seven Bison were named to the 2018 squad.
The 2019 Outlook: The Bison graduated 11 student-athletes from last year’s squad, including halfback Jacob Duffrene, who led the rushing attack with 794 yards on 103 carries and nine touchdowns.
McCoy Scott also graduated after enjoying an impressive final season with the Bison by tallying 99.0 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Scott also forced two fumbles, recovering one, while recording one interception.
But despite some graduation losses, the Bison will return some key pieces of last year’s squad, including quarterback Michael Pina, wide receiver Hunter Ferreira, and linebackers Christopher Lawrence, Michael Spraulding, and Sean McGuigan.
Additionally, Jared Abbruzzese returns in the secondary, while Patrick Porter will be spotted up front on the defensive line.
Sam Gallant returns to the offensive line for his final season – he was named to Worcester Area Football Association team last fall, while also being honored by the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Gallant has been a leader for the Bison’s offense the past few seasons and will certainly be counted on this fall with helping the team continue its winning ways.
Nichols’ Schedule: The Bison will be challenged immediately by a trio of non-conference squads, including Dean, a team to keep an eye on in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Games against Coast Guard Academy and Anna Maria won’t be easy, as well.
Nichols hops into conference play during the final weekend of September when they host Salve Regina before traveling to Western New England.
Weeks later, the Bison will close out their schedule with two marquee contests against Husson University (November 2nd) and Endicott College (November 16th).
Players to Watch: Michael Pina (Quarterback/Brockton, Mass.), Hunter Ferreira (Wide Receiver/Mansfield, Mass.), Daniel Espinosa (Kicker/Tamarac, Fla.), Sam Gallant (Offensive Line/Gardner, Mass.), Christopher Lawrence (Linebacker/Newport, N.H.), Michael Spraulding (Linebacker/Lithonia, Ga.), Sean McGuigan (Linebacker/Charlton, Mass.), Jared Abbruzzese (Defensive Back/Natick, Mass.), and Patrick Porter (Defensive Line/Natick, Mass.).
Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.