Football Notebook: What Are The Best New England D3 Football Rivalries?

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By Matt Noonan | @MattNoonan11

What are some of the best New England D3 Football rivalries?

That is a tough one, eh?

You know the list includes a fair number of contests, including Amherst-Williams to Framingham State-Bridgewater State to Endicott-WNE.

But are there others? Of course!

Here are some of my favorite New England D3 Football rivalries (below!) – let me know what you think of my list by sending either a tweet to @MattNoonan11 or an email to MattNoonan@NoontimeSports.com.


Amherst vs. Williams: This has to be atop the list, right? This is one of the games to circle, no matter each team’s record. Last season, we saw the Ephs score an exciting win in overtime, thanks to an 11-yard burst by quarterback Bobby Maimaron. Amherst forced the extra session midway through the fourth quarter by scoring a pair of touchdowns in a span of 25 seconds. Both teams enjoyed successful 2017 campaigns, which means this year’s game in Amherst will be one to follow.

Framingham State vs. Endicott: This game has always been my welcome back to college football contest. Sure, they’re two different teams that are headed in different directions at the moment, but you know this is a game both players circle when schedules are released. Framingham State has dominated the series most recently, but this year could be different with Paul McGonagle pacing the Endicott sidelines.

Framingham State vs. Bridgewater State: This is has always been a go-to game in the MASCAC. A lot of the players on both rosters played either with or against each other in high school. So there is some bragging rights on the line. Bridgewater State needed some late heroics in 2016 to beat Framingham State – the win provided the Bears with the conference crown, along with an automatic invite into the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Jaquan Harris clinched the victory for the Rams with a late fourth quarter interception. Framingham State escaped Bridgewater with a six-point (19-13) win.

MIT-WPI: This has become a classic NEWMAC matchup – crazy to think it is a young rivalry, but it keeps getting better every season. Last fall, WPI managed to recover a crucial onside kick with with 20 seconds remaining to secure a 24-21 win over MIT. In 2016, Blaine Bursey kicked a 19-yard game-winning field goal in overtime to send WPI past the Engineers of MIT, 37-34. Bursey was also the difference in 2015 when the two teams met in Worcester as he booted a 26-yard field goal midway through the fourth to provide WPI with a 31-28 win.

Springfield-Western New England: Who will win this year’s Pynchon SAW? Springfield captured it last season, downing Western New England, 35-21. Perhaps this year’s game will be different – it is scheduled for Friday evening of Labor Day Weekend. Both programs are expected to be in the hunt for their respective conference crowns, so this is a great way to begin a new campaign with a solid win against a talented opponent.

Trinity vs. Wesleyan: It’s the battle of Connecticut! These two teams will once again be in the mix for a NESCAC crown this fall, so you know how important this game is, especially since it is the final contest for both squads. Trinity scored a convincing 28-3 victory last fall, so you have to wonder how the Cardinals of Wesleyan will respond this November.


Other Rivalries to Watch in New England D3 Football 

  • Salve Regina-Western New England: This game has often decided the conference championship.
  • Husson-Western New England: The Eagles of Husson proved they are a team to keep an eye on in New England last year with an impressive win over Springfield. These two teams met last year with WNE winning the game by a touchdown (21-14)
  • Becker-Nichols: If you’re looking for another ‘battle of Worcester’ then look no further than Becker-Nichols.
  • Bates-Bowdoin, Bates-Colby & Bowdoin-Colby (CBB Trophy): Bates captured last season’s CBB (Colby, Bates & Bowdoin) trophy with victories over Bowdoin and Colby. Can they do it against this fall?
  • Castleton-Norwich: It’s the battle for the Sap Bucket! Castleton won it last season, so can Norwich win it this year?
  • Coast Guard-Merchant Marine: This game was on ESPN last year and will continue to be a game to circle with both teams playing in the NEWMAC.
  • Fitchburg State-Worcester State: Looking for another Worcester rivalry? Then look no further than Falcons-Lancers.

Stay connected with our Noontime Sports Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

New England Football: Players To Watch In 2018 Coming Soon!

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By Noontime Sports | @NoontimeSports 

It maybe early July, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about football, right?

As we inch closer toward a brand new season of New England college football, Noontime Sports will begin to generate a list of players and teams to watch for the upcoming season, as well as our first of many Top 10 polls, too (our first poll will be a preseason poll, which will be posted later next month).

So, consider this an early plug for our 2018 preseason football coverage – yes, we are eager for football to return, but are enjoying some down time before camps and games officially commence.

If you do crave some football then make sure to check out our Football Friday Podcast – we do have a few new podcast interviews, including a recent conversation with the new Bates College coach Malik Hall and Western New England‘s Jason Lebeau.

Additionally, you can click FOLLOW to our new football Twitter handle, as well: @Noontime_FB. Trust us, you will want to follow this handle as we inch closer to football season – we will be producing some fun content that you won’t want to miss.

Our preseason football coverage will officially begin in a few weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy these long, summer days – the weather is pretty nice today in Boston!

Catching Up With Curry College Men’s Basketball Coach Joe Busacca

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Joe Busacca was recently named the new men’s basketball coach at Curry College. (PHOTO CREDIT: Curry College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Last month, Curry College announced Joe Busacca will be taking over the Colonels men’s basketball program.

Busacca, who played college basketball at Misericordia, arrives to the Milton, Massachusetts campus following a two-year stint with the Manhattanville men’s basketball team.

At Manhattanville, Busacca was instrumental in helping Knights first-year Sean Smith become this past winter’s MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with the new coach of the Colonels to discuss his excitement for the upcoming 2018-19 season, which begins on Saturday, Nov. 10 when Curry hosts Rivier with tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m.

What interested you in becoming the next head coach of the Curry men’s basketball team? 

The biggest draw for me was the culture and the atmosphere that surround the school and the athletic department. I fell in love with the people and the facilities when I initially stepped on campus. The facilities here are at Curry, in my eyes, are one of the best in D3 athletics. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Curry College and I am extremely fortunate to be attached to this community

What do you know about Curry or the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)? 

I have become pretty familiar with the CCC, specifically the competitive nature of the conference. I have had the pleasure of seeing Nichols, Roger Williams and Western New England play during my two years at Manhattanville College. Having a nationally ranked team like Nichols in our conference is incredible. There is nothing like conference play and I’m excited to go up against some great coaches and teams in this conference.

It may sound cliche, but what got you into coaching? Also, who has helped shape/mold you into the coach you are currently?

I would say it was two things: playing basketball at Misericordia and being around my former head coach Trevor Woodruff. I did not know how much time and effort went into the daily grind, but I absolutely love it. From in-depth scouting reports to practice plans to skill and development session to watching film helped me realize how much I wanted to stay involved with the game of basketball.

Coach Woodruff demanded perfection from all of us, but he was extremely approachable when it came to dealing with any issue, both on or off the court. Coach Woodruff is still someone that I stay connected with and my hope is if I can become half of the coach he is, then I know I am doing something right.

Being from New York, what do you know about New England basketball?

New England basketball has some extremely smart the players. Their IQ is on another level and it is something that I absolutely fell in love with while recruiting prospective players to Manhattanville. I am really looking forward to centering my recruiting classes around the six New England states.

What is the biggest priority for a new basketball coach with taking over a program?

Developing relationships. It is so important to develop relationships with the athletic department, the college’s administration and alumni, along with high school and AAU coaches, too. Additionally, I look forward to building relationships with parents and prospective student-athletes, as well. And by building these relationships, it will help elevate our program to new heights.

What is one of the biggest goals for both you/the team between now and mid-October, so you can get off and running?

I hate to sound redundant, but my biggest goal is to develop relationships with each members of our program.  It’s so important for me to gain these guys’ trust and show them I care for them outside of the gym. Without built-in trust, the season can become long, as well as be seen as more of a job than something that should be fun. If we have that built-in trust by mid-October then we will be in for a very special year.

Being from New York, how do you feel about being in Boston sports territory? Will you eventually become a Boston/New England sports fan?

I think the correct answer to this question is yes, of course I will embrace the teams out here in Boston. But being a life-long New York KnicksNew York Jets and St. John’s fan, I am not sure if I am ready to switch allegiances. Perhaps I can be persuaded to become a fan of the Boston Bruins or Boston Red Sox, though.

All-time favorite basketball movie is …?

Through the Fire. Being from New York, I was enamored with Sebastian Telfair; he was one of the best high school basketball players ever to play in my home state. His story from high school to the NBA was incredible.

Finally, who is your all-time favorite basketball player and why?

LeBron James. I know this answer may not be popular in the New England or Boston, but the way he goes about the game is incredible. The way he is able to take over a game in more than one way is a truly special gift. In a world where athletes’ mistakes are blasted all over the news, you never seem to hear any bad publicity attached to his name. I love the fact that he married his high school girlfriend, goes to his sons’ travel basketball games, and sends kids to colleges through his foundation.


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops

Football Friday Notebook: 10 Weeks Away From A Brand New D3 Football Season

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By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Welcome to Football Friday Notebook, fans and friends!

As see on Twitter earlier today, our good friends from In The (D3FB) Huddle tweeted that we are 10 weeks away from some major week one games.

What games are we most excited for? Hmm … well everyone, duh! We actually dished out some games to watch the first week earlier this month. And yes, we included one of our favorite Labor Day Weekend games between Springfield College and Western New England, along with Endicott College and Framingham State.

Yesterday, the National Football Foundation tweeted Maine Maritime Academy‘s Cody O’Brien was the NFF Scholar-Athlete of the Day. As noted in the tweet, O’Brien is a marine engineering technology major. Way to go, Cody!

Good news from Pro Football Talk regarding Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. As noted in this morning’s blog post, the former Bills signal-caller is doing well following his latest surgery, per an Instagram post. Jim’s wife Jill Kelly wrote that he is doing well under the circumstances.

Kelly announced five years ago that he had been diagnosed with cancer in his jaw, but has undergone numerous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We wish the best for both Jim and Jill, as well as their families – stay strong, Jim!


New England D3 Football Posts from earlier this week: 

Malik Grove to join the Amherst College football coaching staff as their running backs coach. 

Malik Hall tabbed the next coach at Bates College


We’re still a few weeks away from the start of New England Patriots Training Camp, but Patriots Wire has a few blockbuster trades the team could do to shake-up the roster for the upcoming season. One of the potential trades includes sending Rob Gronkowski to another team like the Houston Texans or San Francisco 49ers for two first-round picks.

As noted in the New Canaan AdvertisersZach Allen of Boston College was named to to Athlon’s Preseason All-America teams on Tuesday. Allen, who is from Connecticut, decided to forgo this year’s NFL Draft to stay with the Eagles for his senior season.

In addition to Allen, AJ DillonLukas DenisChris Lindstrom and Michael Walker were also named to the Athlon’s Preseason All-America teams. Dillon was selected to the second team – he will certainly be a running back to watch this fall.

Speaking of the Eagles’ football team, they recently announced their theme days for the 2018 season, which includes Senior Day, Youth & High School Football Day when they host Syracuse University on Saturday, November 24th.

Finally, Sports Illustrated highlighted five true freshmen that could make an impact this fall, including Georgia‘s James Cook.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage by following us at @Noontime_FB

Football Notebook: Early Thoughts On What Games To Watch In Week One In D3

NS Football Notebook LogoBy Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

A few days ago, some of the major sports outlets announced a few marquee college football games they will be broadcasting during weeks one, two and three.

Awful Announcing did a solid breakdown of who has the best and worst games – make sure to check it out!

So, that had me thinking the following question: what games will I be eyeballing come week one of the D3 football season?

Well, here are a few ideas – again, mind you this is a June post, so you can certainly expect more in-depth thought as we inch closer to the start of the 2018 season.


*  Season two of Football Friday the Podcast officially began last week with myself and James Baker discussing some offseason D3 football topics. 

Want more D3 football offseason interviews and analysis? Then check-out the In The (D3fB) Huddle offseason show, featuring Baker and Frank Rossi


Week One Games To Watch 

UNE at Coast Guard Academy (Aug. 30th): UNE will play its first-ever NCAA Division III football game on the road against a Bears squad that will look to be in the mix for a NEWMAC crown this fall.

Frostburg State at Stevenson (Aug. 30th): The Bobcats will attempt to win at least 10 games (or more!) again this season – if they accomplish that feat it would be three-straight seasons of winning 10 games or more. They registered 33 points last year in their opener against Stevenson.

Western New England at Springfield (Aug. 31st): Always a must-see game in the Springfield area. Plus, this year’s rivalry game marks a new era for the Golden Bears, who will be led by first-year coach (and alum) Jason Lebeau.

Delaware Valley at Wesley (Aug. 31st): Two of the best teams in the East Region will meet on a Friday evening to kick-off the season. Make sure to add this game to your calendar now!

Endicott at Framingham State (Sept. 1st): This has always been my ‘welcome back to football’ game every season. I will be on the PA mic for this game and will be keeping an eye on two storylines: Can the Rams get off to a strong start and what does the new era of Gulls football look like under first-year coach Paul McGonagle?

Hobart at Brockport (Sept. 1st): The Golden Eagles will once again be a team to watch this fall – can they make a return trip to the national semifinals? They kick-off their 2018 campaign against a Hobart squad that will be led by an alum named Kevin DeWall.

Plymouth State at Castleton (Sept. 1st): The Panthers captured the MASCAC crown, thanks to a dramatic win over Framingham State. They will look to commence a new campaign with by winning its season-opener for the third-straight year against Castleton.

SUNY Cortland at Fitchburg State (Sept. 1st): The Red Dragons will play back-to-back MASCAC games to start the season – do they begin their 2018 season with a win over the Falcons?

Husson at Union (Sept. 1st): The Eagles made believers out of all of us last season with an impressive win over Springfield in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Their postseason run concluded the following weekend against DelVal, however, they did score 15 points against them. The post-John Smith era will begin in New York – I will be keeping an eye on this game.

McDaniel at Catholic (Sept. 1st): The Cardinals will look to commence its new season with its second win over McDaniel in three years. Last year, Catholic fell to McDaniel, 30-10, but the Cardinals managed to overcome the early setback with back-to-back wins over Randolph-Macon and Utica.

Rochester at Case Western (Sept. 1st): The Yellow Jackets begin a new era as first-year coach Chad Martinovich takes over a Yellow Jackets squad that will look to be in the mix for a Liberty League (LL) crown this fall.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports Football by following us at @Noontime_FB on Twitter!