Noontime 2017 Year In Review: Revisiting The New England D3 Football Season

2017 Football Rewind

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Earlier this season, we unveiled our Noontime Sports 2017 Team of the Year, but now it is time to re-visit the New England Division III season once more!

That’s right, it’s time for a Noontime 2017 Rewind as we look back on the past few months of coverage, while slowly looking ahead to what we can expect from the New England Division III Football world in 2018.

It was a great year of coverage and we certainly look forward to doing it again next season, so stay tuned, New England Division III football fans and friends!

Teams of the YearFor starters, we must begin with Husson University, which was led by senior tailback John Smith, who rushed for 31 touchdowns this season and 2,242 yards on 340 carries.

Smith, who was tabbed our Offensive Player of the Year, guided the Eagles to an exciting postseason victory over Springfield College before putting a scare into Delaware Valley in round two – the win over the Pride was the Eagles’ first-ever playoff win.

Despite falling short to the Aggies, the Eagles left a serious impression on us for the upcoming season and will certainly be one of our top teams to watch in 2018.

Springfield College also enjoyed an impressive 2017 campaign, winning 10-straight regular season contests, as well as the first-ever New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride scored an exciting opening day win against Western New England, which was followed-up with another impressive victory against Kean (28-8) in week two.

The Pride concluded their season with an impressive 435.2 rushing yards per game, while the defense held opponents to roughly 12 points per game. Senior halfback Jordan Wilcox was one of four nominees for this year’s Gagliardi Trophy.

Trinity College and Williams College are two other schools that deserve this particular honor – the Bantams captured another New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown this fall, while the Ephs enjoyed a bounce-back season under second-year coach Mark Raymond. The Ephs received a boost from first-year (and NESCAC Rookie of the Year) quarterback Bobby Maimaron, who led the Purple and Gold past Amherst College in the final game of the year – it was an overtime thriller!

Let’s not forget about Curry College or Framingham State – both teams met in the New England Bowl last month and will certainly be teams to watch in 2018. Additionally, we cannot overlook WPI, which won its first-ever postseason game against SUNY Maritime in the New England Bowl, too. The Engineers could certainly be a team that challenges the Pride for the top seed in the NEWMAC last year, so let the countdown to Springfield-WPI begin! Another team to watch in the NEWMAC next season … MIT!

Finally, a tip of the cap is due to Plymouth State, which again enjoyed another winning season – the Panthers captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown en route to a first-round playoff match-up against Brockport.

The NESCAC Nine Game Schedule was … AWESOMEThe nine-game schedule in the NESCAC this season was awesome … seriously, we really enjoyed it!

Every week was must-see, must-follow and must-watch football – everyone had a chance to contend for the crown and a new storyline always unfolded after the final game concluded.

Trinity College may have been the team to beat again this season, but watching Amherst CollegeMiddlebury College and Williams College compete with them for the top spot was extremely exciting. Additionally, let’s not overlook Tufts University and Wesleyan University, which also provided the Bantams with some challenges along the way to another league crown, too.

Outside the race for the crown, it was awesome to see the Maine triangle (Bates CollegeBowdoin College and Colby College) continue their CBB rivalry.

We are really excited to see what happens next year, but all in all, the nine-game schedule was awesome!

The Football Friday PodcastAs sports media evolves, so does Noontime Sports and it seems like our weekly – and yes, sometimes bi-weekly – podcast on New England Division III football worked, so thank you all for tuning in/listening to our various conversations with coaches, student-athletes and media members.

We’ll continue it again next season, but certainly open to additional ideas or thoughts – maybe we should do a special segment like a ‘lightening round?’ Luckily, we have time to figure out some additional content ideas before a new season kicks-off, so keep your eyes out for season two of Football Friday, which will most likely begin next August.

ESPN D3 Coverage … MORE PLEASE: It was great to see the Coast Guard-Merchant Marine game streamed on ESPN3 last month – we need to see more games like this one on the four-letter network next year and beyond. Perhaps we could see more Division III (and some Division II games, too) on a new streaming service/platform, which ESPN plans to roll out next year? It is possible, so let’s see what happens, but that would be a great place for fans to go to watch and stream games.

Closing ThoughtsIt was a great season – seriously, it was a tremendous year with some great stories and outcomes, which means 2018 should be even more exciting. We’re counting down the days to camp – yep, the clock is ticking in our office – and will look forward to bringing you coverage of New England Division III Football in 2018, so see you all on the gridiron soon!

D3 Football: Renzi’s Late Boot Sends Brockport To NCAA D3 Semifinals

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The Brockport Golden Eagles is headed to the NCAA Division III Football Semifinals! (PHOTO CREDIT: Brockport Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Brett Renzi connected on five of six kicks this afternoon, including the game-winning 33-yard field goal as time expired, which helped Brockport defeat Delaware Valley, 31-28, in the 2017 NCAA Division III Football Tournament Quarterfinals at James Work Memorial Stadium in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.

The win – the Golden Eagles’ 13th straight – secures the Green and Gold a spot in next weekend’s national semifinals against top-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Mary Hardin-Baylor, which has also won 13 consecutive games this season, defeated St. Thomas, 24-10, in its quarterfinal match-up earlier today. Mount Union and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh also clinched spots in next weekend’s semifinals by capturing their respective contests, too.

Per the Brockport Athletics’ Twitter handle, this is the first-time in program history that the Golden Eagles have reached the national semifinals.

Brockport quarterback Joe Germinerio accounted for a trio of scores, including two rushing touchdowns, while Tyree Brown concluded the contest with 23 yards on five carries and one score, along with a reception for 16 yards.

The Golden Eagles led the Aggies, 21-7, at the break and 28-7 after three quarters before DelVal rallied with three consecutive fourth quarter touchdowns, including a pair of strikes from Dashawn Darden to Marquis Ellis, which evened the score at 28-28.

DelVal attempted to take the lead on its next two possessions, but saw both drives conclude with a punt from Stephen Adams.

Brockport would take over with 55 seconds remaining – they started their drive at the DelVal 48 – and would reach the 16 before sending in Renzi for the game-winning boot.

The loss snaps DelVal’s 12-game winning streak, which included a pair of postseason victories over Husson University and Western New England.

Brockport has now won three-straight postseason games, including a second round victory over Wesley. The Golden Eagles began their quest for a national championship by defeating Plymouth State, 66-0, in the opening round.

D3 Football: Brockport, DelVal Advance To NCAA Quarterfinals

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Brockport’s winning way continued on Saturday as they defeated Wesley in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brockport Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Brockport secured a date with Delaware Valley next weekend in the NCAA Division III Football quarterfinals with a convincing 49-28 victory over Wesley on Saturday afternoon in New York.

Joe Germinerio tossed three touchdowns, while completing 30 of 38 passes for 292 yards, while Tyree Brown hauled in a game-high 118 yards on 11 catches – he also caught a touchdown, too.

Nathaniel Keith III led the Golden Eagles’ defense with 10 total stops, including seven solo tackles, while scooping a fumble. Julius Mizro concluded the contest with one sack for a loss of 21 yards, one forced fumble, one pass break-up, one interception (four yards) and six total tackles (one solo stop).

Brockport’s defense limited Wesley tailback E.J. Lee to just 82 yards on 23 carries – he did rush for a touchdown, though. Alex Kemp recorded three grabs for 94 yards and one touchdown reception, while quarterback Khaaliq Burroughs concluded the afternoon 16 of 35 for 233 yards and one touchdown.

Both teams entered the break tied at 21-21, but a three-score third quarter, jumpstarted by a Joseph Ortiz touchdown reception helped the Golden Eagles push ahead for good.

Brockport led 42-28 after three quarters before scoring their final touchdown midway through the final session with 9:01 remaining.

Wesley concludes its season 10-2 overall, while the Golden Eagles picked-up their 12th consecutive victory of the season.

Delaware Valley 37, Husson 15One week after stunning the NCAA Division III Football world with their first-ever postseason victory, the Husson Eagles saw their run toward the ultimate prize conclude in Pennsylvania as the Aggies rolled to their 12th straight win, thanks to four touchdowns from Dashawn Darden (three through the air, one on the ground).

Darden accounted for three first half touchdowns, which helped the hosts secure a 19-0 advantage at the break, but Husson responded early in the third quarter with a nine-yard touchdown run by John Smith. Smith’s score capped an eight play, 71 yard drive, which brought the visitors with 12 points of the Aggies with 10:50 remaining in the third.

DelVal would counter on the ensuing possession with a two-yard plunge by LaQuille Nesbitt, which helped the Aggies push ahead for good.

Smith concluded the contest with a game-high 161 yards on 32 carries, while Devauntay Ellis led the Aggies’ rushing attack with 100 yards on 18 carries.

Husson concludes its season at 10-2 after claiming its second-straight Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown earlier this month when they defeated Alfred State in Maine.

D3 Football: Husson Stuns Springfield, Brockport Rolls Past Plymouth State

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John Smith and the Husson Eagles defeated Springfield in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Monty Rand Photography/Husson University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and two scores as Husson stunned Springfield, 23-21, in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Stagg Field.

Smith reached the end zone twice – once in the second quarter and once in the third – while quarterback Cory Brandon got the visitors on the board with a second quarter touchdown strike to Kyle Gaudet (36-yard reception).

Husson led Springfield, 14-6, at the break, and 20-14 after three quarters of play before Devin Pickett extended the visitors’ advantage to 23-14 with a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Springfield trimmed the deficit with a Hunter Belzo 52-yard touchdown run to pull within two-points (23-21), but that would be the closest the Pride would get to the Eagles.

Brandon completed the contest with 209 yards and one touchdown pass, connecting on 20 of 30 passes, while Kyree Calli led all receivers with 64 yards on seven reception.

Husson’s defense limited the top-ranked rushing offense to just 264 yards. Belzo paced the Pride’s rushing attack by tallying 113 yards on nine carries, while Jordan Wilcox rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries and two scores.

The win extends the Eagles’ campaign to next weekend where they’ll face Delaware Valley in the second round, while Springfield concludes a historic season at 10-1 overall.

Husson, which captured the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown this fall, will face Delaware Valley next weekend in the second round of the tournament. The Aggies secured a date with the Eagles by defeating Western New England, 35-0.

Saturday’s win marked the first time an ECFC team has won a postseason contest.

Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0: Sammy Mohr clinched an opening round win for the Aggies with a 100-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the final session as DelVal earned its 11th consecutive win of the season. Aaron Nelson led DelVal and all receivers with 121 yards on two receptions and one score, while WNE’s Dante Aiken rushed for a game-high 98 yards on 21 carries. WNE concludes its season at 8-3 – the Golden Bears captured the first-ever Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown a few weeks ago when they defeated Curry College, 42-28.

Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0: Joe Germinerio accounted for four touchdowns, including three through the air, as the Golden Eagles soared past the ‘Mountain Men’ of Plymouth State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Germinerio completed 19 of 27 passes for 316 yards, while Tyree Brown rushed for a game-high 156 yards on eight carries and one score. The Panthers conclude their season with a 9-2 overall record – Plymouth State also captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown this year, too.

Framingham State 48, Curry 14: Adam Wojenski tossed five touchdowns, while completing 19 of 28 passes for 246 yards as the Rams won their second New England Bowl at Bowditch Field in Framingham. Quron Wright led all rushers with 60 yards on 16 carries, while Curry’s Nick Villanueva hauled in a game-high 92 yards on four receptions. Framingham State’s Joshua Onujiogu led all defenders with a pair of sacks for 13 yards, while concluding the game with a pass break-up and four total tackles, including a trio of solo stops. The Rams conclude their season with a 10-1 overall ledger, while Curry finished 8-3.

WPI 17, SUNY Maritime 3Sean McAllen and Lain Zembekeach rushed for one touchdown, while Spencer Herrington booted a 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which helped WPI defeat SUNY Maritime, 17-3, in the New England Bowl on Saturday evening at Alumni Stadium in Worcester. SUNY Maritime’s Matthew Murphy trimmed the deficit mid-way through the fourth with a field goal, but that was the closest the Privateers would get to the Engineers. WPI concludes its season on a seven-game winning streak, while matching the 1992 team for nine wins, which is the most victories recorded by any Engineers squad in a single-season. SUNY Maritime ends its season with a 9-2 overall ledger, too.

D3 Football: NCAA Tournament (First Round) & New England Bowl Picks

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Springfield College looks to keep on rolling this weekend when they host Husson University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Roy Chambers)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

It’s PLAYOFF time, which means it is time to dish out some picks for this weekend’s NCAA Division III first-round tournament – all east region games, by the way! – and both New England Bowls.

Best of luck to all teams competing and make sure to circle back throughout the weekend for updates on all six games!


Western New England (8-2) at Delaware Valley (10-0) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Tough draw for the Golden Bears against the top seed of the east region. DelVal is one of the top four seeds in the entire tournament, too. DelVal can score on offense and defense, so the Bears will have to be patient and not beat themselves with turnovers. WNE always surprises us, but the Aggies are just too tough to beat. PREDICTION: DelVal 48, WNE 21

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): The win over St. Lawrence weeks ago saved WNE’s season, but against DelVal, the Golden Bears must be patient and protect the ball on offense. PREDICTION: DelVal 45, WNE 25 


Husson (9-1) at Springfield (10-0) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Featuring two of the best running backs in the nation, this game will go by fast – bring your track shoes, football fans! Often overlooked, the Pride’s defense has done a great job this season, allowing less than 88 rushing yards per game and 10.9 points per game, too. Husson halfback John Smith will get his carries, but it’ll be Springfield that wins and moves onto the next round. PREDICTION: Springfield 24, Husson 14

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): As James and I have discussed numerous times this season, the Pride’s defense is legit, and yes, this unit has been overlooked by some in the D3 Football world. They’ll have their way against a talented Husson offense led by halfback John Smith, while the Springfield offense will rush by the Eagles’ defense for a few scores. Big game for Jordan WilcoxPREDICTION: Springfield 35, Hudson 16


Plymouth State (9-1) at Brockport (10-0) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): The ‘Mountain Men’ have a long trip to Western New York to face off against a Golden Eagles team that dominated the Empire 8 most of this season. This game should be relatively low scoring to start, and will depend on how well the Panthers o-line handles Brockport’s 3-3 stack, one of the tougher defenses to block. The first half should be competitive, but the athletes on the Golden Eagles will pull away in the second half. PREDICTION: Brockport 35, Plymouth State 13

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): The ‘Mountain Men’ have been a great story, both this year and last year, but their storybook campaign will sadly concludes in Western New York on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are just too good and will certainly be a team to watch in this particular region going forward. Maybe they have what it takes to make the ‘Final Four?’ PREDICTION: Brockport 31, Plymouth State 17


RPI (8-2) at Wesley (9-1) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m.

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): The Wolverines have been slow starters and RPI likes to grind, leaning on their defense to force the opposition into making mistakes. Wesley’s EJ Lee could be the difference in this one. PREDICTION: Wesley 35, RPI 24

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): Sure, I would love to say RPI’s season will continue beyond this weekend, but not against a talented and tough Wolverines squad, which won’t be an easy out in this particular region of the bracket. PREDICTION: Wesley 41, RPI 22


Curry College (8-2) at Framingham State (9-1) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m.

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Curry’s Alex Corvese was recently named the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) Offensive Player of the Year, and his team will need both his arm and legs to get past a tough (and talented) Rams defense. Framingham has a strong quarterback in Adam Wojenski, so expect a lot of offense in this particular contest. The Rams will benefit from home field advantage, and perhaps kicker Ryan Clifford may be the student-athlete that decides this particular outcome. PREDICTION: Framingham State 38, Curry 35

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): Framingham State running back Quron Wright is going to be the difference in this one. Wright’s o-line should have their way with Curry’s front four (and may front seven) en route to a second-straight New England Bowl victory. PREDICTION: Framingham State 35, Curry 28


SUNY Maritime (9-1) at WPI (8-2) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 6 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Thomas Wright and the Privateers have enjoyed a 9-1 run this season, but they haven’t faced a team as strong as the Engineers this fall.  Dereck Pacheco and the WPI defense will give Wright some trouble, while the Engineers’ two-headed running attack of Sean McAllen and Connor Field will be tough for SUNY-Maritime to slow down. PREDICTION: WPI 42, SUNY Maritime 21

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): SUNY Maritime has been another great story this fall, but this will be perhaps their biggest challenge of the season. WPI’s defense has rebounded since their setback to Springfield and will provide Thomas Wright and the Privateers’ offense with a lot of challenges. Expect another big game from WPI halfback Sean McAllen, who will score at least two touchdowns in this one. PREDICTION: WPI 45, SUNY Maritime 21

Matt Falkenbury (Play-By-Play Voice of SUNY Maritime): The Privateers are a vastly different team on the road this season than they were at home. Playing this game on the road – considering they either had to come-from-behind to win or lost in all five of those games – is a bit concerning. Quarterback Thomas Wright struggled on the road the last three games and it’s something to watch for in this one. The defense will have to come up big for them to pull this out. My heart says Maritime wins, but my head says WPI wins it on a late field goal. PREDICTION: WPI 31, SUNY Maritime 28.