It’s that time again when we highlight five teams to watch (and yes, keep an eye on) this weekend in New England NCAA Division III football.
Bowdoin College (0-4, 0-4 NESCAC): The Polar Bears played their best game of the 2021 season last week. However, their effort did not result in a victory against Wesleyan University, but a message was sent to their conference foes: watch out.
From what I saw last weekend (from afar, of course) was a team that certainly could provide problems for opposing offenses and defenses. Additionally, Bowdoin’s quarterback – Andrew Boel – will be a player to watch, as well – he was named this week’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Week.
Boel enjoyed a successful first start with Bowdoin last Saturday by completing 21 of 30 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns.
This week, the Polar Bears host an Amherst College squad that has won three of four matchups but has allowed at least 10 points – sometimes more – in all four meetings.
Endicott College (5-1, 2-0 CCC): The Gulls surprised us last weekend against Western New England.
Not only did Endicott beat the Golden Bears, who put up 41 points one week earlier in its conference opener against Salve Regina University, but also scored on its first five series (four touchdowns, one field goal).
Quarterback Mike Ingraffia and halfback John Kenney combined for six touchdowns while the Endicott defense limited Western New England’s passing attack to a season-low 161 yards.
This week, the Gulls will attempt to continue its midseason momentum when they visit Husson University for an important conference matchup.
The Eagles have won four straight contests and have not lost since their season-opener against UMass Dartmouth.
Springfield College (2-3, 1-0 NEWMAC): The Pride scored their first win at home last week, defeating Coast Guard Academy, 60-0.
This week, Springfield will hit the road with hopes of winning their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup against Norwich University.
The Cadets also beat Coast Guard two weeks earlier in New London, Connecticut.
Springfield enters the seventh week as one of three teams in the NEWMAC with a perfect record in conference play – Catholic University and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) have yet to lose a league matchup, as well.
Keep your eyes on Springfield’s Tim Callahan and Patrick Ladas, who combined four rushing touchdowns last week against the Bears.
Springfield has won all three meetings against Norwich since both teams joined the NEWMAC in 2017.
Western Connecticut (3-3, 2-2 MASCAC): The Colonials are looking to bounce back after seeing their comeback fall short one week ago to the Plymouth State Panthers.
Western Connecticut’s rushing attack was held to a season-low 102 yards on 32 carries while the Plymouth secondary provided a lot of challenges for quarterback John Giller, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 147 yards. Giller did toss two touchdowns in the three-point (16-13) setback to bump his season total to nine but also threw one interception.
This week, the Colonials visit Framingham State, which has yet to lose a conference game this fall. The Rams and Bridgewater State remain the top two teams in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), but a win by Western Connecticut could keep their league title hopes alive.
Western New England (3-3, 1-1 CCC): The Golden Bears are looking for a bounce-back week.
After losing their first conference tilt of the 2021 season, the Blue and Gold will attempt to return to the win column on Saturday when they visit Curry College.
In 2019, the Golden Bears topped the Colonels at home by a score of 49-27, thanks to three touchdowns – two through the air and one on the ground – from Alec Coleman.
Coleman won’t be competing for the Golden Bears on Saturday, but a few members of the 2019 team will, including Erich Keutmann, who led the Western New England defense last week with 11 total tackles.
Despite last week’s loss to Endicott, Western New England is still in the hunt for the conference crown.