D3 Football Roundup: Springfield Tops Endicott In The NCAA D3 Tournament

Arsen Shtefan and the Springfield College football team won its first postseason contests since 2006 as the Pride topped Endicott College.
Arsen Shtefan powered the Springfield College football team to an exciting 17-14 postseason win on Saturday over Endicott College. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

For the second-straight week, Arsen Shtefan eclipsed the century mark, rushing for a season-high 156 yards and one touchdown as Springfield College raced past Endicott College, 17-14, in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament.

With the win, Springfield clinched its first playoff win since beating Curry College in 2006 to secure a second-round date with Ithaca College next Saturday, November 26.

Ithaca advanced to the second round with a 63-20 win over UMass Dartmouth.

Shtefan’s lone touchdown came midway through the opening session before Springfield tacked on two more scores in the second half to provide the Pride with their ninth win of the season.

Blane Hart rushed for a seven-yard touchdown in the third quarter before Christian Hutra capped his team’s offensive output with a 33-yard field goal with 7:25 remaining in the final stanza.

Endicott’s Clayton Marengi completed 14 of 25 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns with his final score landing in the arms of Jaeden Baxter. Shane Aylward, who caught Marengi’s first touchdown early in the third quarter, led all receivers with three catches for 68 yards.

Saturday marked the first time Endicott and Springfield have squared off on the gridiron – additionally, the three-point win over the Gulls provided coach Mike Cerasuolo with his initial postseason with his alma mater.

Endicott entered the game riding a 10-game winning streak – the Gulls clinched their second-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown two weeks earlier with a win over Salve Regina University before concluding their regular season with a come-from-behind win against Western New England.

Ithaca 63, UMass Dartmouth 20: Max Perry completed five of six passes for 95 yards and one touchdown to go with 83 rushing yards and two scores as the Bombers cruised past the Corsairs in the opening round of the postseason.

Dante Aviles-Santos, who has been the player to watch on the Corsairs this fall, tossed two touchdowns while JP Mason tallied a team-high 15 total tackles.

Saturday’s game marked the second time UMass Dartmouth has competed in the NCAA Tournament.

Plymouth State 21, Husson University 20: Manny Sanchez rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 30 carries and one touchdown as the Panthers rallied to beat the Eagles and win their first-ever New England Bowl.

Husson’s Nic Visser completed 24 of 32 passes for 227 yards to go with a team-high 56 rushing yards and one touchdown. Elijah Garnett rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown.

Bridgewater State 34, Catholic University 24: Quarterback James Cahoon completed 24 of 33 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns while Isaiah Wright added 120 rushing yards on 23 carries as the Bears topped the Cardinals to clinch their second New England Bowl.

Catholic’s Nico Casares completed 25 of 44 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

The 2022 All-Noontime D3 New England Football Team

Phil Lutz concluded his team’s 2022 season with 10 receptions for 237 yards and six touchdowns, which helped Tufts University top Middlebury College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tufts University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Another New England NCAA Division III football regular season has concluded.

As expected, it was another exciting season that needed 11 weeks to determine conference champions.

Before we turn our attention to tomorrow’s postseason contests, along with both New England Bowls, it is time to unveil our end-of-season team, which includes our offensive, defensive, and special teams’ student-athletes of the year.

Noontime’s End-of-Season Awards

Offensive Player of the Year: Phil Lutz (Tufts University): Lutz concluded his senior season by stuffing the stat sheet with 10 catches for 237 yards and six touchdowns against Middlebury College. He broke the single-game record for yards, touchdown receptions, and total touchdowns, and garnered a slew of weekly honors, including the final New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Week award.

The North Caldwell, New Jersey native ended the season by establishing new single-season records in receptions (78), receiving yards (1,221), and touchdowns (14). Lutz’s 1,221 receiving yards is the most any NESCAC receiver has recorded in a single season since Mark Breuler concluded Wesleyan University’s 2017 campaign with 1,172 yards.  

Defensive Player of the Year: Hector Johnson (Endicott College): Johnson concluded his team’s 2022 regular season by tallying a slew of career-highs in solo stops (30), total tackles (46.0), sacks (14.5), and tackles for a loss (21). The 14.5 sacks are the most any Endicott defender has recorded in a single season.  

The Worcester, Massachusetts native was named this year’s Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year after anchoring an Endicott defense that has limited opponents to 6.5 points per game. Johnson recorded at least one sack in eight of 10 contests this fall with his best performance occurring against WPI in week two. Johnson stuffed the stat sheet with six total tackles, including four sacks for a loss of 28 yards, and a blocked field goal.

Special Teamer of the Year: Christian Hutra (Springfield College): Hutra concluded the regular season with a career-high 76 points off 10 field goals and 46 extra points while earning his second consecutive New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Special Teams Athlete of the Year award.

The Holmes, New York native converted 10 of 11 field goal attempts, including a career and season-best 46-yard boot in a come-from-behind win over MIT earlier this month. Hutra did not miss a single extra point, connecting on all 46 attempts while concluding the regular season as the leading NEWMAC kicker in various categories, including field goal percentage (91%), extra points made, and points. 


All-Noontime First TeamAll-Noontime Second Team
QB: Michael Berluti (Tufts University)QB: Nic Visser (Husson University)
QB: Dante Aviles-Santos (UMass Dartmouth)QB: Spencer Fetter (Trinity College)
RB: Spencer McMillion (Coast Guard Academy)RB: Devaun Ford (Framingham State)
RB: Chad Blaszky (Western Conn.)RB: Montie Quinn (Curry College)
WR/TE: Phil Lutz (Tufts University)WR/TE: Donovan Wood (Middlebury College)
WR/TE: Angel Sanchez (UMass Dartmouth)WR/TE: Devin Tolbert (Anna Maria College)
WR/TE: Trevor Chase (Norwich University)WR/TE: Quintus Reid (Dean College)
WR/TE: Logan Tomlinson (Wesleyan University)WR/TE: Joshua Vitti (Nichols College)
OL: Tucker Gaudette (Castleton University)OL: Brian Callery (Framingham State)
OL: Lou Cocozza (Springfield College)OL: Eric Langland (University of New England)
OL: Kyle Woodring (Trinity College)OL: John Freeman (Williams College)
OL: Bryan Lawton (Framingham State)OL: Blair Horning (Tufts University)
OL: Teddy Fellows (Plymouth State)OL: Elian Telford (Salve Regina University)
DL: Hector Johnson (Endicott College)DL: Nick Helbig (Wesleyan University)
DL: Hugh Wells (Massachusetts Maritime Academy)DL: Peter Spinale (Westfield State)
DL: Noah Glantz (Trinity College) DL: Josh Lacerte (UMass Dartmouth)
DL: Ian Devine (Williams College)DL: Andrew Genier (Castleton University)
LB: Paul Calvetti (MIT)LB: Julian Young (Colby College)
LB: Tucker Buzzell (Husson University)LB: Zachary Ludemann (Salve Regina University)
LB: Tony Hooks (Bates College)LB: Jake Chiasson (Western New England)  
LB: Steven Silvia (Bridgewater State University)LB: Tyler Cooley (Westfield State)
DB: Derrick Revolus (Nichols College)DB: Noah Peterson (Worcester State)
DB: Finn Muldoon (Middlebury College)DB: Tyler Davis (Endicott College)
DB: Ethan Amburn (Norwich University)DB: Koy Price (Bowdoin College)
DB: Cully Curran (Framingham State)DB: Dre Kidd (Dean College)
K: Christian Hutra (Springfield College)K: Ivan Shuran (Williams College)
P: Loren Diloreto (WPI) P: Jack Mulligan (Mass. Maritime Academy)

Inside The Matchup: Springfield College at Endicott College

Hector Johnson and the Endicott College defense will look to continue their success this fall against Springfield College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Endicott College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Springfield College has competed against multiple New England football teams but has never squared off against Endicott College.

On Saturday, the Pride will visit the Gulls in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Both teams are making their second-straight appearance in the national postseason – Springfield won the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) for the second consecutive season while Endicott claimed another Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown.

Let’s “go inside” this in-state matchup with the victor advancing to next weekend’s second round against the winner of Ithaca College vs. UMass Dartmouth.

Game Time & Location: Springfield will make the trek to Beverly, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 19 to compete against Endicott at 12 p.m.

Endicott College’s 2022 Season Review: The Gulls clinched their first-ever 10-0 season in program history, thanks to a come-from-behind victory last weekend against Western New England.

Endicott has been the team to watch in the CCC this year, thanks to a defense that pitched four shutouts, including a pair at the beginning of the season against St. Lawrence University (27-0) and WPI (24-0).

The Gulls’ defense yielded its first touchdown in week three against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

Endicott’s defense has limited opponents to 6.5 points per game with Western New England’s 21 points being the most the Gulls have yielded in 10 contests.

In addition to its defense, the Gulls’ rushing attack has been impressive – five student-athletes have rushed for at least one touchdown this fall, including quarterback Clayton Marengi, who has located the end zone with his feet eight times.

Springfield College’s 2022 Season Review: For the second-straight season, the Pride overcame a slow start – well, more a 1-2 start, to be exact, by winning its last seven contests.

In a way, Springfield has been in “playoff mode” for the last three weeks, needing to beat Merchant Marine, MIT, and Catholic University to secure its third NEWMAC crown since 2017.

As expected, the Pride have leaned on its rushing attack to score some important wins this fall, along with senior quarterback Armando Torres, who stepped in for David Wells last week to guide the Pride to an end-of-season win against the Cardinals.

Torres operated the team’s triple-option offense quite well against Catholic – he completed two of three passes for 17 yards and one touchdown to go with 62 rushing yards on seven carries and one score.

Springfield’s win against Catholic, along with their come-from-behind victory against MIT, could provide the Maroon and White with enough momentum to win its first national postseason contest in 16 years (the Pride’s last postseason win came in 2006 when they beat Curry College in the opening round).

Common Foes: Endicott and Springfield both scored wins this fall against Husson University, Norwich University, Western New England, and WPI.

The Matchup within the Matchup: The biggest question heading into Saturday’s contest is will Endicott’s rushing defense be able to stop Springfield’s triple-option offense?

Endicott has limited opposing rushing attacks to 81.9 yards per game but will need to find a way to stop a Springfield rushing attack that is averaging 357 yards per game.

Additionally, Springfield’s offense has been on the field for an average of 35:02, which is something to watch, as well – what happens if the offense is on the field for less than 35 minutes on Saturday? Does that mean Endicott will win this matchup?

With the way Endicott’s defense has been playing these last few weeks, don’t be surprised if this turns into a low-scoring affair.

Players to Watch on Endicott: Clayton Marengi (QB), Tyler Bridge (RB), Anthony Caggianelli (RB), Yavier Cosme-Diaz (RB), Anthony Bracamonte (WR), Shane Aylward (WR), Everett Knowlton III (TE), Quinten Fox (P), Matthew Licciardi (LB), Jackson DeAngelo (LB), Tyler Davis (DB), Colin Meropoulos (DL), and Hector Johnson (DL).      

Players to Watch on Springfield: David Wells (QB), Armando Torres (QB), Joseph Cannizzaro (FB), Arsen Shtefan (FB), Dante Vasquez (HB), Jacob Silvester (HB), Noah Wagnblas (WR), Christian Hutra (K), DJ Brown (LB), Tyler Pohlman (DB), Billy Carr (LB), and Aiden Lewin (LB).         

Inside The Matchup: UMass Dartmouth at Ithaca College

Matt DeSimpliciis and the Ithaca College defense will be tasked with slowing down a high-powered UMass Dartmouth offense on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Rich Barnes)

By NoontimeSports.com

We’re two days away from the opening round of the NCAA Division III postseason.

UMass Dartmouth is scheduled to compete against Ithaca College on Saturday, November 19 with the winner advancing to next week’s second round.

Like we did yesterday with our New England Bowl previews, it’s time “go inside” our first NCAA matchup, which could see both teams produce a slew of points in 60 minutes.

Game Time & Location: UMass Dartmouth will make the trek to Ithaca, New York on Saturday, November 19 to compete against the Bombers at Butterfield Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Ithaca’s 2022 Season Review: The Bombers were certainly the team to watch in the Liberty League (LL) this fall.

Ithaca clinched its first perfect season since 1986 last Saturday with a 34-17 win over SUNY Cortland in the 63rd Cortaca Jug Game, which was played at Yankee Stadium.

Prior to their win over the Red Dragons, the Bombers celebrated their first-ever Liberty League championship with a hard-fought 31-28 victory over Union College after scoring a 13-10 win over RPI one week earlier. RPI won the league last fall.

Ithaca boasts an impressive offense that is averaging a little more than five touchdowns per game while its defense is limiting foes to 9.90 points per game.

Saturday will mark the first time Ithaca will host an NCAA Tournament game since 2013.

UMass Dartmouth’s 2022 Season Review: It took the Corsairs 20 years to return to the national postseason.

UMass Dartmouth captured its first-ever Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown last Saturday with a 46-21 victory over Plymouth State.  

The Corsairs return to the postseason with a great deal of momentum – the Blue and Gold have won eight-straight contests since falling to Anna Maria College in early September.

Quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos has been one of many players to watch on the Corsairs this fall. The junior signal-caller from Cumberland, Rhode Island turned in an impressive second season by concluding the regular season with a slew of career bests in multiple categories, including passing yards (2,940) and touchdown passes (26).

Like Ithaca, the Corsairs’ offense has produced a slew of points this fall – 423 points, to be exact – to go with 5,458 yards on 722 plays.

The Last Meeting: Ithaca scored its only win against UMass Dartmouth in 2004 when the Bombers beat the Corsairs, 36-19, in the ECAC Northwest Championship.

The game was played in Ithaca and was highlighted by Jamie Donovan, who led the Bombers’ rushing attack with 165 net yards and three touchdowns. Bryan Marion paced the UMass Dartmouth receiving core with seven receptions for 70 yards.

Inside the Numbers: The Corsairs enter the opening round of the NCAA Tournament with an offense that ranks second in total offense (5,458). They are currently 10th in yards per game (7.07), which is one spot below Tufts University (7.10).

Ithaca’s defense is one of the top units in NCAA Division III – they are currently tied for ninth in defensive touchdowns with four scores (three interceptions and one fumble).

Players to Watch on Ithaca: A.J. Wingfield (QB), Jake Williams (RB), Michael Anderson (WR), Julien Deumaga (WR), Michael Roumes (P/DB), Matt DeSimpliciis (LB), and Jason Haber (LB).  

Players to Watch on UMass Dartmouth: Dante Aviles-Santos (QB), Jalyn Aponte (RB), Richarno Hylton (RB), Angel Sanchez (WR), Keenan Little (WR), Javien Delgado (LB), JP Mason (DB), and Sam Alicea (LB).     

Inside The Matchup: Plymouth State at Husson University

Quarterback Braden Lynn and the Plymouth State Panthers will compete against Husson University on Saturday in the New England Bowl. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Kilmer/Plymouth State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Our small college football postseason coverage rolls on with “going inside” another New England Bowl matchup: Plymouth State at Husson University.

Game Time & Location: Plymouth State will make the trek to Husson for the second time this fall on Saturday, November 19 with kickoff scheduled for 12 p.m. (LIVE STATS || VIDEO)

Husson’s 2022 Season Review: For the third consecutive season, the Eagles won four of six Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) contests to go with a non-league win against Alfred State.

Husson concluded its regular season slate with five wins, matching its total from 2013 when the Eagles competed in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

The Eagles scored some exciting wins this fall, including a 27-17 victory over Western New England last month, which provided Husson with its first-ever win against the Golden Bears.  

Quarterback Nic Visser was recently named the CCC Offensive Player of the Year after ending the regular season with 14 passing touchdowns to go with a league-best 2,200 passing yards.

Plymouth State’s 2022 Season Review: The Panthers’ regular season concluded with a disappointing setback last Saturday to UMass Dartmouth in a win-or-go-home matchup.

Despite losing to the Corsairs, Plymouth State enjoyed a successful season, producing eight wins in 10 contests, which was one less than the Green and White produced in 2017 when they shared the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with Framingham State.

The Panthers began their campaign with four-straight wins, including a week two victory over Husson. Manny Sanchez highlighted the win, rushing for a game-high 131 yards on 21 carries while quarterback Braden Lynn completed 12 of 17 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.

New England Bowl History (for both teams): Saturday’s clash between the Eagles and Panthers will be the first time either school competed in the New England Bowl.

Series History: Plymouth State has won three of its five meetings with Husson, dating back to the first contest between the Panthers and Eagles in 2004. Husson beat Plymouth State in 2018 and 2021.

Husson’s Last Postseason Appearance: It’s been four years since the Eagles last appeared in a postseason (or a bowl) contest – Husson lost to RPI in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament.

Prior to their meeting with the Engineers, Husson competed in five NCAA Tournament games, along with two Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Bowl games.

Their lone postseason win occurred in 2017 when they beat Springfield College in the opening round of the national postseason.

Plymouth State’s Last Postseason Appearance: The Panthers previously advanced to the opening round of the national postseason in 2017 where they lost to Brockport by a score of 66-0.

The Green and White have competed in the postseason six times in program history, dating back to their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1984 (Plymouth lost to Union College in the quarterfinals by a score of 26-14).

Plymouth State’s lone postseason win occurred in 1994 when the Panthers edged Merchant Marine, 19-18, in the first round.

Players to Watch on Husson: Nic Visser (QB), Elijah Garnett (RB), Jon Bell (WR), Russ Walker (WR), Tucker Buzzell (LB), Adam Bertrand (LB), Alex Brown (DB), and Sean Savage (LB).       

Players to Watch on Plymouth State: Braden Lynn (QB), Manny Sanchez (RB), Willie Lombard (RB), Jake Donahue (WR), Conner Sheehan (K/P), Evan Wilson (LB), Quinn Girard (DB), Bryce Wronski (LB), and Luc Normandeau (DB).