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

NSFINALTOP20POLL

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.

D3 Football: NCAA & New England Bowl Predictions

WNESOCIALNCAAUPDATE

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming NCAA Tournament games tomorrow, along with two New England Bowls.

As usual, Friday’s mean one thing: games to watch and predictions. So, allow me to dish out my picks for the three NCAA Tournament games with New England teams, along with both New England Bowls.

Have a wonderful weekend, stay warm – it is going to be COLD tomorrow – and I’ll do my very best, as usual, to keep you all updated on social media!


NCAA Tournament Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Brockport at Western New England (12 p.m.): This is a very evenly matched contest – it is even a game the Golden Bears could (and should) win. I’ll give the edge to WNE since they are playing at home, but they will need a big day from their offense, as well as a stellar performance by their run defense. PREDICTION: WNE 31, Brockport 28 

Framingham State at Wesley College (12 p.m.): The Rams have never won an NCAA Tournament game, so perhaps this is the contest Framingham State wins. FSU’s offense and defense have been rather impressive the past few weeks, especially against some talented conference foes, which should translate to a one-point (or two-point) victory on Saturday. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Wesley 27 

MIT at Muhlenberg College (12 p.m.): This is a tough draw for the Engineers, who are set to face the fourth-best team in the country, per the latest D3 Football Top 25. MIT has been impressive in their last three outings – they needed to win all three to advance to the postseason – but something tells me the Mules will make a few more plays from the get-go to secure an opening-round win. PREDICTION: Muhlenberg 30, MIT 10 


New England Bowl Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Dean College at Endicott College (12 p.m.): This one is for the seniors. Look for a monstrous game from the seniors on both sides of the ball to send the Gulls into the offseason with some momentum for the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Dean 16 

Western Connecticut at WPI (1 p.m.): After losing to the Engineers of Cambridge earlier this month, WPI has looked unstoppable, winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University by a combined score of 124-35. Look for the Engineers to continue their recent momentum against the Colonials in Worcester. PREDICTION: WPI 38, Western Conn. 14 

NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The Brockport-Western New England Matchup

29955499607_2e8513c90a_k

Alec Coleman and the Western New England football team will host the College of Brockport on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to highlight our final New England D-III football team, which will be competing this weekend in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. And that team is the Western New England Golden Bears, who won their third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title this fall with late-season wins against Becker College and Endicott College. WNE also defeated Husson University in its season finale to conclude its conference slate without a single blemish.

The Golden Bears will face The College of Brockport in the opening round – the Golden Eagles captured their third-straight Empire 8 Conference (E8) title a few weeks ago with a 16-7 win over Alfred State.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


Brockport (8-2) at Western New England (9-1) 

Gametime/Location: Brockport will travel to Western New England on Saturday, November 23rd with kickoff scheduled for 12 p.m. The game will be played in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Rankings: The Golden Eagles are currently receiving votes in the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. Western New England enters its 11th contest of the season unranked or receiving votes.

Conference Affiliation: Brockport competes in the Empire 8 Conference – they finished 5-1 in league play this season. Western New England is a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). The Golden Bears won every conference tilt this fall.

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Brockport advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season following an opening-round win against Framingham State. The Golden Eagles’ season concluded against RPI, which defeated Brockport, 21-13. The loss to the Engineers was the team’s first of the 2018 season.

Western New England advanced to the first round last season but saw their run toward a national championship conclude with a 42-24 setback to Frostburg State. The Golden Bears’ meeting with the Bobcats was the first NCAA Tournament appearance under the direction of coach Jason Lebeau.

Inside the Numbers with Brockport: The Golden Eagles are averaging 29.60 points per contest while limiting opponents to 13.20 points per game … Brockport has recorded 112 rushing first downs this season while yielding just 22 to opponents … The Brockport defense has limited opposing rushing attacks to just 695 yards, which is an average of 28.3 yards per game … Brockport has recorded 40 offensive touchdowns this season while opponents have scored just 18 … Brockport has held the ball for close to two-thirds of every contest this season. They usually have the ball for 34:18 per contest, while opponents are on offense for an average of 25:41.

Inside the Numbers with Western New England: The Golden Bears are 5-0 at home this season – they were also 5-0 in Springfield, Massachusetts last season, too. WNE’s last home setback came against Springfield College on September 2, 2017. Since falling to the Pride, the Golden Bears have won 15 games at home … WNE is averaging 488.2 yards of total offense this season … The Golden Bears are averaging 40.6 points per game while limiting opponents to just 27.1 points per contest … WNE is averaging 290.0 passing yards per game while rushing for 198.2 yards per contest … The Golden Bears’ opponents have averaged 384.3 yards per game, including 230.8 passing yards.

Players to Watch on Brockport: 

  • Jason Hellwig (QB): Hellwig will be under center Saturday after starting seven games this season. He enters the game with 735 passing yards and one touchdown pass.
  • Jala Coad (RB): Coad led all rushers with 822 rushing yards on 186 carries and 16 touchdowns. Coad is averaging 82.20 rushing yards per game.
  • Imhotep Cromer (WR): Cromer leads the receiving core with 30 receptions for 543 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 60.33 receiving yards per game.
  • DaQuan Hubbard (WR): Hubbard is second on the team in receiving yards (469) and is one of four receivers to catch one touchdown.
  • Alex West (LB): West leads the team with 56 total tackles. He has recorded 33 solo stops, 17.0 tackles for a loss of 71 yards, and six quarterback hurries.
  • Lawrence Jenkins (LB): Jenkins is second on the team in tackles for a loss (10 for 64 yards). He has tallied 42 total tackles, including 23 solo stops, four quarterback hurries, and one interception.

Players to Watch on Western New England: 

  • Alec Coleman (QB): The senior signal-caller has completed 146 of 214 passes for 1,994 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 305 yards and nine touchdowns.
  • Jamyre Soberanis (RB): Soberanis has rushed for a team-high 929 yards on 139 carries and 14 touchdowns. He is averaging 92.9 yards per contest.
  • Steven Fedorchak (WR): The third-year receiver is first on the team in receptions (53), receptions per game (5.9), receiving yards (979) and receiving touchdowns (10).
  • Adam Raza (WR): Razza is second on the team in receptions (39), receiving yards (779) and touchdown receptions (five).
  • Kieran Lombard (K): Lombard has recorded 82 points off 52 extra points and 10 field goals. His longest field goal was a 44-yard kick.
  • Erich Keutmann (LB): Keutmann leads the team with 119.0 total tackles, including 60 solo stops, seven tackles for a loss of 27 yards, and three sacks for a loss of 10 yards. He also recorded three pass break-ups.
  • Joshua Salem (LB): Salem is second on the team in total tackles (85.0). He has produced 54 solo stops and three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards while registering two interceptions, one pass break-up, and one block.

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Nov. 16th, 2019)

10GamesWK112019

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Hello, Friday – how are you?

Forgive me for fighting back tears as this is my final ’10 Games to Watch’ post of the New England D-III Football season. But like most weekends, we should be in for some exciting football.

Last Week: I selected eight of ten contests correctly to bump my overall record to 68-32. Let’s see if I can continue that momentum once more! 

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

Also, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes – you will enjoy our hyperlocal sports chatter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


New England D-III Football Week 11 Predictions | Saturday, Nov. 16th, 2019

Rankings based off this week’s Noontime Top 20 Poll 

No. 3 Endicott College at No. 14 Nichols College (12 p.m.): This is an enticing match-up – I could make the case for both teams winning this contest, but in the end, I am expecting the Gulls to cap their regular-season slate with a victory in Dudley. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Nichols 24

Curry College at Salve Regina (12 p.m.): The Seahawks lost a heartbreaker last week against the Eagles of Husson, but should be motivated to cap their campaign with a win to provide the Seahawks with some momentum heading into the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 30, Curry 20 

No. 11 Bridgewater State at No. 18 Mass. Maritime Academy (12 p.m.): The Buccaneers scored an exciting win last week against UMass Dartmouth and should be able to use that momentum to beat the Bears in the 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl. PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 31, Bridgewater State 20 

No. 4 Framingham State at Worcester State (12 p.m.): The Rams are headed back to the postseason, but will look to wrap-up their conference slate with a win against the Lancers. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Worcester State 10 

Merchant Marine at No. 17 Coast Guard Academy (12 p.m.): This is the final game for coach Bill George, who announced his retirement earlier this week. Look for the Bears to deliver their longtime sideline boss a win, along with the Secretaries Cup. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 22, USMMA 21 

No. 2 WPI at No. 16 Norwich University (12 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Engineers of Worcester. WPI can clinch its conference crown with a win over the Cadets and MIT loss to Springfield. PREDICTION: WPI 30, Norwich 17 

No. 7 MIT at No. 6 Springfield College (12p.m.): This is a hard match-up to predict – I keep going back and forth – but I am going to take the Pride in this one to beat the Engineers of Cambridge. Springfield needs to beat MIT and have WPI lose to Norwich to secure the conference crown. PREDICTION: Springfield 28, MIT 20 

No. 12 UMass Dartmouth at Westfield State (12 p.m.): Look for the Corsairs to bounce back from last week’s setback to the Buccaneers with an end of season win against the Owls. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 27, Westfield State 13 

Becker College at University of New England (12 p.m.): The Nor’easters will be motivated to end their season with a victory after falling to Endicott last weekend. PREDICTION: UNE 28, Becker 10 

No. 19 Husson University at No. 1 Western New England (1 p.m.): The Golden Bears are playoff-bound, but can gain some additional momentum heading into the postseason with a season-ending win over the Eagles. PREDICTION: WNE 34, Husson 24