With the 2021 NCAA New England Division III season slowly winding down, it is time to unveil our end-of-season team that features a slew of student-athletes from all five conferences. Some of these student-athletes appeared on our preseason team — in case you missed it, feel free to jump back in time to see who made our D3 preseason squad! — but in the meantime, congratulations to everyone on another exciting season, and best of luck to the seniors and graduate students that competed for the final time this fall!
It’s that time of the week when we highlight five teams to watch this weekend in New England Division III. And with the tenth week quickly approaching, that means we better press the publish button … NOW!
Amherst College (5-2, 5-2 NESCAC): The Mammoths head into their final road game of the 2021 season with a great deal of momentum.
Last weekend, Amherst overcame a two-score deficit to edge Wesleyan University in four overtimes.
Can they continue that momentum this week against Trinity College? We think so.
Amherst has won two of their last five meetings with the Bantams, who have captured back-to-back contests in 2018 (27-16) and 2019 (21-7). When Amherst has beaten Trinity, it has been by at least a touchdown — in some games, it has been eight or nine points.
Like Wesleyan, Amherst is a resilient bunch — they bounced back from a 21-14 setback last month to Bowdoin College by scoring a pair of wins over Hamilton College and Wesleyan to put themselves in a position to conclude their 2021 campaign with possibly six or seven wins.
Trinity will enter Saturday’s contest looking to bounce back from a 42-3 setback to Williams College.
Anna Maria College (5-2, 3-1 ECFC): For the past few weeks, the AMCATs of Anna Maria appeared destined to win their first-ever conference crown. But after seeing their five-game winning streak was snapped last weekend to Castleton University, their hopes of winning an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title were somewhat derailed — well, at least for one day.
The AMCATs head into the final two weeks of the regular season in a four-way tie for first place in the conference. And this week’s contest with Gallaudet University is an important one as the Bison are also in the position to win the ECFC crown.
Under the direction of coach Dan Mulrooney, the AMCATs have beaten the Bison once when they ended their 2019 campaign with a 53-14 victory.
A win against the Bison would keep the team’s conference title hopes alive while a loss would result in some scoreboard watching next weekend.
Bridgewater State (5-3, 5-1 MASCAC): Despite losing to UMass Dartmouth last weekend, the Bears of Bridgewater State are still in the mix for the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown. However, for the Red and White to win their first title since 2016, they will need to score two more wins against Framingham State and Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Wins against the Rams and Buccaneers are possible, but coach Joe Verria’s squad needs to play their best football, both this week and next week. Additionally, the Bears will need to lean on halfback Adam Couch, who leads the conference with 125.4 rushing yards per game.
Couch recently became the ninth running back in Bridgewater State’s program history to eclipse 1,000 yards last weekend — he has currently rushed for 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight contests.
Bridgewater State has won four of six contests this fall when Couch rushes for 100 yards or more.
Castleton University (5-3, 3-1 ECFC): The Spartans head into their final two contests with a great deal of momentum, thanks to three-straight wins, including an impressive 38-31 victory last Saturday against Anna Maria.
Like the AMCATs, the Spartans are one of four teams in first place with hopes of winning the conference crown.
This week, the Green and White will head to New York to compete against an Alfred State squad that has also won three of four conference matchups this season. For Castleton to be successful, they will need to find a way to slow down quarterback Aaron Jenkins, who rushed for three touchdowns last weekend against Keystone College while completing 8 of 12 passes for 126 yards.
Castleton should be able to come away with a hard-fought win to keep momentum on their side for next week’s home date with Gallaudet.
Salve Regina University (8-1, 4-1 CCC): The Seahawks are one win away from matching their 9-2 record from 2012 when they captured the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division crown and competed in the league’s final championship game against Framingham State.
If the Seahawks are going to enter their upcoming bye week with nine wins, then they must play perhaps their best football of the season against a Husson University squad that outlasted them in their previous meeting in 2019.
Like Salve Regina, Husson is in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title but needs to win their last two contests against the Seahawks and Western New England. Neither matchup is going to be easy, but these Eagles must find a way to contain an impressive Salve Regina passing attack that produced five touchdowns last weekend against Curry College. In addition to an impressive showing by quarterback Jack Maguire, Nicholas Lane rushed for a season-high 102 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown.
Tim Callahan rushed for a team-high 137 yards and one score – his lone touchdown with 10:39 remaining in the third quarter proved to be the difference as Springfield College outlasted the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), 28-23, to secure the inside track to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title.
Springfield, which moves to 5-3 overall and 4-0 against league foes, snapped the Mariners’ seven-game winning streak that included some impressive conference victories against Catholic University and MIT, two teams the Pride will face next month.
USMMA’s Ian Blankenship produced 313 yards of total offense, including 178 yards on the ground on 23 carries.
Springfield’s Patrick Ladas and David Wells combined for 148 yards and three rushing touchdowns while DJ Brown led the Pride’s defense with 10 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one fumble recovery.
The Pride will visit MIT next Saturday, November 6 – the Engineers will enter the game on a two-game winning streak, thanks to a 21-7 victory against Coast Guard Academy.
WPI snapped a six-game losing streak with a 28-2 victory over Norwich University for the team’s first conference win since November 16, 2019 (their last conference win was also against the Cadets).
Brendan Olexa completed 15 of 25 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns while Brandon Winn and Zachary Levy each located the end zone once while combining for 90 yards rushing.
UMass Dartmouth snapped a six-game losing streak to Bridgewater State with a 26-20 victory to become the first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) squad to win seven games this season.
Dante Aviles-Santos tossed four touchdowns in the win, including the go-head score with 13:58 remaining in the final stanza when he located Douglas Machado for an 18-yard strike.
Bridgewater State led UMass Dartmouth, 20-14, at the break, thanks to a 25-yard touchdown run by Adam Couch, who became the ninth halfback in program history to record 1,000 yards or more in a single-season.
Despite the loss, the Bears remain in contention for the conference crown, but need to win their final two contests, including next week’s matchup with Framingham State.
The Rams inched closer to securing the conference crown by defeating Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 23-14, in Buzzards Bay. Devaun Ford recorded two touchdowns in the win, including a 75-yard rushing touchdown with 8:55 remaining in the third quarter that provided the visitors with the lead for good.
Amherst College forced overtime and then beat Wesleyan University in the fourth extra session, 16-14, thanks Brad Breckenridge, who threw for 170 yards and one touchdown.
Breckenridge’s lone touchdown pass to PJ Clementi with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter sent the game to extra sessions where the Mammoths were able to convert a two-point conversion in the fourth overtime.
Wesleyan entered the ninth week of the season with a perfect record – the same could be said for Trinity College and Williams College. The Ephs rolled past the Bantams, 42-3, in Williamstown to secure the top spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Other outcomes to note from a very busy Saturday: Castleton University outlasted Anna Maria College, 38-31, Colby College beat Bates College, 10-2, and Plymouth State topped Westfield State, 17-7.
Bentley University and the University of New Haven both scored important Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) wins this afternoon as the Falcons soared past Franklin Pierce University while the Chargers topped Assumption College, 16-10.
Both teams will meet next weekend in New Haven, Connecticut with the top spot in the NE10 up for grabs.
The eighth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season is quickly approaching, which means it is time to highlight five teams to watch this weekend.
Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC): The AMCATs have been quite a story this fall, winning four straight contests, including a pair of Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) victories to keep them in the hunt with Gallaudet University for the league title.
This week, the AMCATs return home after three straight road games to host Dean College, which captured the ECFC crown in 2019.
Dean returned to the win column last week with a 39-36 victory over Keystone College – the Bulldogs defense held off a late rally by the Giants, who finished the final frame with three touchdowns.
At 1-2, Dean is not entirely out of the conference mix but would need to win this game to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Quarterback Alex Cohen was instrumental in his team’s last win over Alfred State – expect the veteran signal-caller to continue his success this week against the Bulldogs.
Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC): Last Saturday was a special day for the Polar Bears as Bowdoin snapped a 14-game losing streak to Amherst College with a 21-14 victory.
The seven-point win over the Mammoths should provide the Polar Bears with some momentum heading into this week’s clash with Tufts University.
Quarterback Andrew Boel has been a player to watch these last two weeks – against Amherst, he completed 22 of 28 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
Boel connected with eight different receivers, including Colton Fahey who caught a pair of touchdowns while finishing with a game-high 112 yards on five grabs.
As a team, Bowdoin registered 421 yards of total offense compared to Amherst, which finished with 340. Additionally, they converted seven of 12 third-down attempts.
Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC): The Bears return from their bye with hopes of extending their current winning streak to five games.
In their last outing against Worcester State, the Bears leaned on halfback Adam Couch, who rushed for a game-high 190 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns. Brendan Albert led the defensive with a game-high 13 total tackles, including five solo stops, one pass break-up, and one fumble recovery.
Look for their momentum prior to their bye week to continue Saturday against Westfield State.
MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC): After starting their season by winning two of three contests, the Engineers have dropped their last two outings, including a 56-34 setback last Saturday against the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA), which saw wide receiver Ben Dwyer record a career-best 224 receiving yards on nine grabs to go with one touchdown.
Dwyer, along with the Engineers will look to avenge their last two conference losses when they host Norwich University on Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.
The Cadets will arrive in Cambridge with one conference win, but a victory against Norwich means MIT could gain some much-needed momentum heading into their final three contests against Coast Guard Academy, Springfield College, and WPI.
Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC): The Seahawks have rebounded quite well since dropping their initial conference clash with Western New England by scoring back-to-back wins against Nichols College (35-20) and the University of New England (48-6).
This week, their season is somewhat on the line as they must beat Endicott College to remain in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.
Endicott beat Salve Regina in their last meeting in 2019 – the game was held in Newport, Rhode Island – while the Seahawks beat the Gulls on their home turf one year later.
Look for Salve Regina to lean on its ground game like they did last week against Nichols, which saw halfback Joey Mauriello rush for a game-high 203 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns (all three scores occurred in the third quarter last week against the Bison).
Quarterback Mike Ingraffia completed 20 of 25 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns while halfback John Kenney rushed for three scores as Endicott College defeated Western New England, 45-21, to secure the top spot in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league.
Saturday’s win marks the second time in three years that the Gulls have beaten the Golden Bears on their home field.
Endicott capitalized on its first five series, scoring a touchdown on four straight drives before ending their fifth with a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Smith.
Western New England trimmed the deficit twice in the second quarter with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Karstetter to Steven Fedorchak and a one-yard rushing score by EJ Dudley to pull within 17 points (31-14) at the break.
Ingraffia tossed his final touchdown in the third quarter to Kobe Gaudette – the two connected for a 58-yard strike down the nearside before Kenney registered his final score with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter by capping a four-play, 36-yard drive with a 14-yard rushing score.
Tim Russell led the Endicott defense with 10 total tackles to go with one pass breakup while Tyler Davis tallied eight stops, including three solo tackles.
The Gulls, who have won five of six contests this fall, will visit Husson University next Saturday, October 16.
Husson scored its first league victory of the season this afternoon by defeating Curry College, 21-14, thanks to three touchdown passes by Nic Visser, who concluded the game with 271 passing yards.
Adam Couch rushed for a game-high 190 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns while James Cahoon completed 9 of 16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns as Bridgewater State rolled past Worcester State, 49-13, to improve to 4-2 overall and 4-0 against Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) teams.
Framingham State also won its fourth-straight conference game as the Rams blanked Fitchburg State, 35-0. Devaun Ford recorded 142 yards of total offense, including 92 receiving yards, and three touchdowns (two on the ground, one through the air).
Gavin Moody rushed for the go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) touchdown with 3:17 remaining as PlymouthState outlasted Western Connecticut, 16-13, in Danbury, Connecticut.
Moody concluded the game with 21 yards on two carries while Manny Sanchez led all rushers with 136 yards on 26 carries.
Quin Girard led the Panthers’ defense with nine total tackles, including four solo stops.
Tim Callahan and Patrick Ladas each rushed for two touchdowns as Springfield College rolled past Coast Guard Academy, 60-0, in their first home game of the 2021 season.
Springfield is one of three teams with a perfect mark in conference play, joining the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA) and Catholic University.
Trinity College, Williams College, and Wesleyan University all moved to 4-0 in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play while Bates College scored their first win against Tufts University since 2013 as the Bobcats roared past the Jumbos by a score of 33-10.
We’ll have more on the sixth week of the New England D-III (and yes, some thoughts on D-II) later this weekend!