New England Football Offseason Notebook: FSU’s Kelley Announces Retirement

10 GAMES WEEK FIVE

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Weeks after guiding his team to a ninth Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title, along with an appearance in the NCAA D-III Football Tournament, Framingham State University football coach Tom Kelley announced his retirement on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020.

Kelley, who is an alum of the program, coached the Rams for 13 seasons. He guided Framingham State to five NCAA Tournaments and four bowl victories, including a 3016 New England Bowl championship.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to have been the head coach of the football program at Framingham State for the past 13 seasons,” Kelley said via Wednesday’s announcement on the Framingham State athletics website.

“As a former player, I could not be more proud of our teams and all the fine student-athletes who have come through the program. I was lucky to be surrounded by great coaches on our staff throughout the years that helped lead our teams to so much success.

“At this point, it is time for me to step away from coaching with the program sitting in a great spot coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.  It’s time to put the horse in the barn.”

Framingham State won 107 games under the direction of Kelley, including 100 games in the last 13 seasons. Kelley has coached two AFCA All-Americans while being named the coach of the year eight times by five different organizations, including the New England Football Writers in 2012 when he led the Rams to a New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship, NEFC Bogan Division title, a MASCAC crown, and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Kelley will remain in his current role as the school’s Director of Athletics while an announcement of a new coach should be coming within the next few weeks.

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Endicott College’s Nick DiCairano will represent the Gulls in The Dream Bowl on Monday, January 21dt, 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nick Grace)

Endicott College senior kicker Nick DiCairano will be representing the Gulls’ football program next Monday, January 21st, 2020 at The Dream Bowl in Salem, Virginia at the Salem Football Stadium, as announced earlier this week on the athletic department’s website.

The Dream Bowl, which started seven years ago, “is a College Football All-Star Showcase of the best FCS, D-II, and D-III players from across the country.”

DiCairano will compete on the 2020 Crusaders team – he will be joined by a few other New England college football players, including Framingham State’s Dwayne Hunter-Parker.

Last month, DiCairano represented Endicott in the National Bowl College All-Star Game after producing an impressive senior season with the Gulls, which included career-bests in field goals (13), extra points made (57) and points (96). His longest field goal of the 2019 season was a 47-yard kick, which he recorded three times against Framingham State, Curry College, and Salve Regina University.

In addition to DiCairano, a few other New England college football players will be competing next Monday at The Dream Bowl, including Sacred Heart wide receiver Kezio Snelling, who was named to the Northeastern Conference (NEC) second team last November.

Also on the Crusaders is Derek Mountain and Corey Stefanik of Holy Cross and Momodou Mbye and Kevin Lawrence of Rhode Island College.

Noontime Rewind: Our Favorite Stories of 2019

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

With 2019 slowly winding down and a new year – and yes, decade, too – upon us, it is time to look back at some of our favorite posts we produced over the past 12 months.

We hope you enjoyed a look back at some of our favorite posts of 2019 – we can’t wait to produce some similar posts in 2020 while trying new ways to share (and highlight) the New England sports scene! 

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Noontime Rewind: The Best New England D-III Football Teams of the 2010s

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Sunday, everyone! And welcome back for yet another Noontime Sports rewind post where we reflect on coverage from both the current year and decade (the twenty-tens!).

This particular post will highlight some of the best teams we covered in New England D-III football – let the debate and conversations begin.

As usual, if you have any thoughts (or inputs) please comment below, but again, thanks for stopping by and reading a brand new rewind – let’s go!


The 2010 Williams College Ephs: Williams secured its third outright title with a perfect 8-0 mark which was capped by an end of season win over Amherst College. Additionally, the Purple and Gold captured the Little Three crown while producing their seventh perfect season in program history.

The 2011 Endicott College Gulls: In 2011, the Gulls captured 10 of 11 contests while averaging 40.5 points per game. The offense, led by quarterback Phil Konopka, was impressive, but the same could be said for the Endicott defense, which limited opponents to 16.5 points per contest. Kevin Eagan, who played just one season for the Gulls at defensive line, tallied 104.0 total tackles in 11 contests, including 55 solo stops and 23 tackles for a loss of 87 yards. Endicott finished the season with back-to-back wins, including an ECAC North Atlantic Bowl victory over Mount Ida College.

The 2012 Framingham State Rams: After finishing their 2011 campaign with a 7-4 mark, these Rams flipped the switch following an opening day loss to Endicott College by winning ten-straight contests, including a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship against Salve Regina University. Salve Regina was projected to win this particular meeting, but the Seahawks struggled to contain FSU halfback Melikke Van Alstyne, who rushed for 96 yards and two scores. James Muirhead concluded the contest with eight total tackles, including six solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble. FSU would advance to the NCAA D-III Tournament but see their bid toward a national title conclude at Cortland State.

The 2013 Endicott College Gulls: Drew FrenetteSpencer Walsh, and Nate Lewis, along with the Endicott defense highlighted an exciting end of season win over Salve Regina to secure the program’s second NEFC crown in four seasons, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Endicott recorded its first shutout of the season and finished 2013 with an 8-3 record. The Gulls entered the postseason with a seven-game winning streak after starting its 2013 campaign with a 2-2 record.

The 2014 MIT Engineers: MIT advanced to the postseason for the first time in school history and won an exciting opening round contest against Husson University before falling to Wesley College in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The Engineers finished 10-1 in 2014 – they scored some exciting wins over Western New EnglandEndicott College, and Coast Guard Academy to secure their initial New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship in program history. MIT averaged 446.8 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per contest.

The 2015 Western New England Golden Bears: Western New England captured 10 of 11 contests in 2015, including a pair of conference victories against Endicott and Salve Regina. The Golden Bears produced 40 points or more in five contests and secured a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament in late November.

The 2016 Western New England Golden Bears: Despite ending their season with a six-point setback to Alfred in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament, the 2016 Golden Bears were very impressive, winning 11 of 12 contests by an average score of 39.8 to 19.0. WNE averaged 460.1 yards of total offense in 12 contests and limited opposing offenses to just 110.1 yards on the ground per game. They scored impressive wins over Springfield CollegeUnion College, and Endicott College before beating Husson University in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The 2017 Husson University Eagles: Coach Gabby Price led the Eagles to not just an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown in 2017, but also an upset win over Springfield College in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. Husson beat a very impressive Springfield team, which entered the postseason on a ten-game winning streak. Halfback John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two touchdowns while Elvin Suazo and the defense limited the Pride to a season-low 264 yards of total offense.

The 2018 Trinity College Bantams: The Bantams concluded their 2018 campaign not just with a 9-0 win over rival Wesleyan University, but also with their third consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. Trinity won eight of nine contests and was able to win their ninth conference crown due to a 27-16 win earlier in the season against Amherst College. Trinity averaged 464.3 yards of total offense and 36.0 points per game while limiting opposing defenses to 67.7 rushing yards and 10.0 points.

The 2019 Middlebury College Panthers: Coach Bob Ritter led the Panthers to their first-ever 9-0 season in program history, along with a 2019 NESCAC championship. The team averaged 410.6 yards of total offense, including 227.4 passing yards while limiting opponents to 108.0 rushing yards per game. Middlebury scored some exciting wins this fall, along with some nail-bitters against Amherst College and Colby College. They scored 45 points against Wesleyan University in late October before producing 47 points one week later against Bowdoin College.

D3 Football: The Final Noontime Top 20 Poll (Nov. 25th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to unveil our final New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll of the 2019 season.

The 2019 season was an exciting one, filled with some new storylines, along with some teams that will certainly be on our radar next fall.

Thanks for a great season and enjoy our final poll (and breakdown, too).


1. Western New England (9-2, 7-0 CCC): The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) champions may have fallen short to The College of Brockport last Saturday in the NCAA Tournament, but did not lose to a single game to a D-III squad this season.

2. WPI (10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers of Worcester were impressive in all three phases this year, but will certainly miss their senior class next fall.

3. Endicott College (9-2, 6-1 CCC): Despite falling short to the Golden Bears a few weeks ago, these Gulls proved they can compete with some of the best teams, both in and outside the region. Endicott finished its season with nine wins for the first time since 2012.

4. Middlebury College (9-0, 9-0 NESCAC): These Panthers found ways to win some hard-fought (and dramatic) games this fall and will certainly be on our radar going forward.

5. Framingham State (8-3, 8-0 MASCAC): After starting their season with back-to-back losses, Framingham State ripped off eight-straight wins to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

6. MIT (7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers’ improbable run to the postseason was impressive with some hard-fought (and important) wins over Coast Guard AcademySpringfield College, and WPI.

7. Springfield College (6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC): Losing to MIT was not an ideal way to end a season. Springfield overcame a 1-3 start to position themselves for a potential national playoff run, thanks to some key wins down the stretch.

8. Wesleyan University (8-1, 8-1 NESCAC): The Cardinals were one of the biggest surprises this season. Despite a lopsided loss to Middlebury a few weeks ago, Wesleyan proved they are (and will continue to be) one of the top teams in the conference going forward.

9. UMass Dartmouth (7-3, 5-3 MASCAC): The Corsairs enjoyed one of their best seasons, matching the 2004 squad with seven victories. UMass Dartmouth was impressive from the get-go and should certainly be in the mix for a conference crown in 2020.

10. Western Connecticut (8-3, 6-2 MASCAC): For the second-straight season, the Colonials ended their campaign with eight wins. Western Connecticut may have not been the juggernaut from last season (or past seasons), but should once again be in the mix for a conference title next season.

11. Williams College (7-2, 7-2 NESCAC): Despite losing a heartbreaking to Middlebury in their season-opener, Williams proved they are (and will continue to be) one of the top teams in the conference. The squad returns some impressive talent next season, which should help the Ephs contend for a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown.

12. Bridgewater State (6-4, 6-2 MASCAC): The Bears were tough to gauge this season, especially with so many seniors back from last year’s eight-win squad. BSU had a chance to win the conference and compete in the postseason, but saw their playoff hopes dashed with a week ten setback to the Rams of Framingham State.

13. Trinity College (5-4, 5-4 NESCAC): The Bantams’ four-peat never happened, but they did end their season winning three of their final five contests. It will be interesting to see how Trinity rebounds from a five-win season.

14. Nichols College (6-4, 4-3 CCC): The Bison won six games for the first time since 2003. They scored some exciting wins over Salve Regina and the University of New England and should be back in the mix for the conference crown next fall.

15. Amherst College (4-5, 4-5 NESCAC): The Mammoths entered the 2019 season with hopes of winning a conference crown. Instead, they ended their campaign with four-straight setbacks, including a heartbreaking defeat to Hamilton College. Amherst won just four games in 2016 before rebounding with back-to-back winning seasons in 2017 and 2018.

16. Norwich University (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): The Cadets began their season with four-straight wins. And for a moment it appeared as if the Maroon and Gold would be the team to beat in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). But unfortunately, the team’s winning ways concluded over the next few weeks as the Cadets mustered just one victory in its final six contests.

17. Husson University (4-6, 4-3 CCC): The Eagles may have finished with four wins – all four victories came against conference opponents – but they looked pretty impressive against Nichols and Salve Regina.

18. Coast Guard Academy (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): Afer starting their season with a 4-1 mark, the Bears mustered just one win during their final five contests. The defense was impressive but struggled down the stretch against Merchant Marine and WPI.

19. Mass. Maritime Academy (6-4, 4-4 MASCAC): After a successful start to their 2019 campaign, the Buccaneers struggled to maintain their momentum by seesawing between the win and loss columns. The Bucs lost three of their final four contests but did score an impressive win on the road at UMass Dartmouth.

20. Salve Regina University (4-6, 3-4 CCC): The Seahawks may have finished with four wins this fall, but proved they are (and will continue to be) a team to watch every season in the CCC. They provided challenges for both Endicott and WNE before ending their season with wins over Curry College and UNE, which should provide the unit with some momentum heading into the 2020 season.

On The Rise: Dean College (4-6, 4-1 ECFC) and University of New England (4-6, 2-5 CCC). 

Saturday Round-Up: Second Half Surge Sends Brockport Past WNE

SATURDAY ROUNDUP

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Jala Coad scored two second-half touchdowns while converting a key fourth down late in the fourth quarter, which helped The College of Brockport hang onto defeat Western New England, 33-28, in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Football Tournament.

With the win, the Golden Eagles advance to next Saturday’s (Nov. 30th) second-round where they will face Muhlenberg College, which defeated MIT in its opening-round contest.

Coad concluded Saturday’s affair between the Golden Eagles and Golden Bears with a game-high 152 yards on 29 carries, while quarterback Freddy June completed 16 of 26 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns while adding 64 yards on 16 carries and one score. June’s lone rushing score came late in the fourth quarter following a fake handoff, which provided the visitors with a 33-21 advantage.

Western New England countered on its ensuing possession with a two-yard touchdown strike from Brendan Smith to Adam Razza to bring the hosts within five points (33-28).

Brockport would run out the clock on the ensuing possession and rely on Coad to extend the drive with a two-yard rush on a fourth down play that helped the visitors secure their ninth win of the season.

Western New England led Brockport, 14-12, at the break, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Smith to Steven Fedorchak.

The Golden Bears, who hosted their first postseason contest since 2016, conclude their 2019 campaign with a 9-2 record, including a 7-0 conference mark. WNE captured its third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown this fall, thanks to late-season wins over Endicott College and Becker College.

Muhlenberg 38, MIT 0: Michael Hnatkowsky threw for three touchdowns, while Nick DeLucas and Mark Riggio each rushed for one score as the Mules of Muhlenberg defeated the Engineers of MIT in their opening-round contest. Will Exson paced the MIT defense with 10 total tackles.

Wesley College 58, Framingham State 21: The Wolverines jumped out to a 27-7 lead after one quarter and never looked back as Wesley rolled past the Rams of Framingham State in their opening-round contest. Drew Fry completed 24 of 28 passes for 345 yards and five touchdowns in the win, while Framingham State’s Elijah Nichols concluded the game with seven receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown. FSU quarterback Adam Wojenski completed 15 of 42 passes for 295 yards and one touchdown.