The Early Outlook: New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference

Brian Bubna and the MIT football team have represented the NEWMAC in the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2018 and 2019. (PHOTO COURTESY: Paul Rutherford)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early season/preseason college football coverage has begun — you may have seen our initial post on the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), but now, it is time to turn our attention to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

NEWMAC Teams:

  • Catholic
  • Coast Guard Academy
  • Merchant Marine Academy
  • MIT
  • Norwich
  • Springfield
  • WPI

2019 Conference Refresh: For the second-straight season, Brian Bubna and the MIT Engineers secured the league crown — the Engineers of Cambridge shared the title with the Engineers of Worcester (WPI).

MIT represented the conference in the NCAA Division III playoffs, but saw their bid for a national title conclude in the opening round against Muhlenberg College, which advanced to the national semifinals against North Central. The Cardinals edged the Mules before rolling past University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to secure the national championship.

WPI ended its 2019 campaign with a 9-1 record, along with a 35-6 victory over Western Connecticut in the New England Bowl.

Both teams are expected to be in the mix for the conference crown this fall — the same could be said for Merchant Marine and Springfield College. And perhaps a few more?

Merchant Marine outlasts Coast Guard in lone 2020 contest: The Mariners captured their 16th Secretaries Cup last November with a 24-14 win over Coast Guard, thanks to a game-high 151 rushing yards and one touchdown from Ian Blakenship.

Blakenship will be back under center this fall when the Mariners begin their 2021 campaign at FDU-Florham on Friday, September 3 at 7 p.m. The senior signal-caller from McRae, Georgia has rushed for six touchdowns in three seasons, including four during his team’s 2019 campaign, and has tallied 451 rushing yards in 11 contests. He will certainly be a player to watch for the Mariners this fall — the same could be said fullback Ceaser Gonzalez (103 rushing yards and one touchdowns against Coast Guard last November), Eric Davidson (linebacker) and Joshua King (linebacker).

Last November’s contest also provided us a glimpse of a few Coast Guard players to watch this year, which include Jared Colletti (wide receiver), Finnegan Hall (kicker), and Michael Palermo (linebacker).

Catholic will play six home games this fall: For the first time since 2014, the Catholic Cardinals will compete on their home turf six this time this season, including three times in September against McDaniel College (Sept. 4), Endicott College (Sept. 18), and Christopher Newport (Sept. 25).

Coach Mike Gutelius and the Cardinals did compete once this spring when Catholic outlasted Wilkes University, 27-22. The game was highlighted by an impressive 65-yard touchdown pass from Brady Berger to Preston Jeffrey.

Berger graduated this past spring after being named the Jone Dowd Role Model Award Winner. Jeffrey will be back for his final season with the Cardinals after recording career-highs in games played (eight), receptions (12), receiving yards (205), and touchdown receptions (two) during the 2019 season.

From a local angle, keep your eyes on three Massachusetts natives that will be competing this fall for the Cardinals: Mark Cheffers (wide receiver/Winchendon), Austin Haggerty (defensive back/Westford), and Griffin Renzella (linebacker/Wellesley).

Our Early-Season Favorite(s): It was just one game last November, but the Mariners of Merchant Marine should certainly be in the mix for the NEWMAC title — the same could be said for MIT, Springfield, and WPI.

There are certainly some unknowns when it comes to MIT, Springfield, and WPI, but all three programs have been in the mix in the past, which makes us think it could be a four or possibly five-team race for the top spot.

Coast Guard and Catholic could also be in the mix, and perhaps the dark horse is Norwich, which will begin its 2021 campaign against Salve Regina University, a team that should certainly content for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.

Similar to the ECFC, there are some early-season favorites, but also some teams that could surprise us.

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