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!
Last Saturday was an exciting day for wide receiver Steven Fedorchak.
The Guilderland, New York native became the all-time leader in Western New England’s football program history in touchdown receptions during the Golden Bear’s 41-3 victory over Salve Regina University.
“It means a lot to me,” said Fedorchak, who has caught 23 touchdowns in four seasons with the Golden Bears. “But ultimately, it shows how successful our offense has been since my first season with the team in 2017.
“The coaches have done a great job with putting me in the best position to be successful – we also have another great receiver, Adam Razza, who helps us challenge opposing defensive secondaries.”
Fedorchak concluded last week’s initial conference tilt with the Seahawks by catching six passes for 87 yards and one touchdown. He has caught one touchdown in four of five contests this season while producing a season-high seven receptions for 90 yards in a non-conference setback to Utica College last month (he also caught seven passes for 89 yards two weeks ago against Salisbury University).
This week, Fedorchak and the Golden Bears will look to earn their second conference win of the 2021 season when they visit Endicott College on Saturday, October 9 with kickoff scheduled for 12 p.m.
Noontime Sports recently caught up with Steven Fedorchak to discuss his record-breaking day against the Seahawks, as well as what he and the team must do to win their second-straight league tilt against the Gulls.
Did you ever imagine when you joined the Western New England football program that you would break the touchdown reception record?
I had the opportunity to play under Mark Dietrich as a freshman and watch him break the original record with 22 touchdowns in 2017. I learned a lot from him and strive to be the best receiver I can be so I can match his effort with what he did with the Western New England football program.
It sounds cliché, but you have been fortunate to compete with some talented quarterbacks over the past few seasons. How have each of the previous (and yes, current) signal-callers helped you improve as a wide receiver?
Anthony Service, Alec Coleman, and Bryce Karstetter are all talented quarterbacks. I credit Anthony for helping me during my sophomore season as the receiver’s coach. I had always thought about my routes from the perspective of a receiver, but he opened my eyes and taught both myself and other receivers how to think like a quarterback.
Alec was the best leader I have ever had the honor of playing with – he always made the right read and put us in the best position to be successful. He set the standard in my eyes for what a leader should be.
Bryce is quickly developing into a great quarterback. We have developed a good rapport, and his calm demeanor has helped both me and my teammates in various situations this season. Additionally, he has improved every week and has done a great job with overseeing our offense.
I know it has been a few days, but how important was it for you and the team to score that first conference win last weekend against Salve Regina?
Earning our first conference win was a great way to begin Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) play, but we have a big game tomorrow against Endicott College. Our goal as a team is always to win the conference, but to achieve that goal we are always looking ahead to what’s next and not becoming complacent with our past wins.
What must the offense do to continue its recent success on Saturday against Endicott College?
We have to keep running the ball and giving Bryce the time he needs to go through his progressions so he can be successful in the passing game. Every week we continue to grow as an offense, but also find ways to put points on the board.
Outside of football, you are majoring in accounting. What interested you in pursuing an accounting degree? Also, what do you plan to do with it after graduation?
Currently, I am attempting to get my Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) from Western New England and am working at Complete Payroll Solutions in the tax department. The company’s atmosphere is a great one, and I have really enjoyed my time with this company thus far.
Welcome to the opening week of the New England (and Northeast) college football season — yes, we know some teams have already competed on Wednesday and Thursday, but we’ll highlight (and pick) ten games to watch today and tomorrow (and maybe Sunday?).
Anywho, we’re excited for a busy slate of games and hope you are, as well — let’s dish out and share some picks!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
FEATURED GAME: St. Lawrence Univ. at Endicott College (Saturday, September 4 @ 12 p.m.): We’ll be in Beverly tomorrow to see the Gulls and Saints square-off in what should be an exciting week one tilt — make sure to check out our preview of the game, which was posted earlier today. We think Endicott will find a way to squeak out an exciting win with a last-minute touchdown drive. Prediction: Endicott 28, St. Lawrence 27
Westfield State at Nichols College (Friday, September 3 @ 6 p.m.): The Bison are a team to watch this fall, both in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) and New England, and should be able to pick up an opening night win against an Owls squad that might surprise some this fall. Prediction: Nichols 30, Westfield State 13
Salve Regina at Norwich University (Friday, September 3 @ 6 p.m.): Both teams are expected to be in the mix for their respective conference crown, but look for the Seahawks to lean on its running game — well, hand the ball off to Joey Mauriello a few times to squeak out an important road win. Prediction: Salve Regina 24, Norwich 20
Worcester State at WPI (Friday, September 3 @ 7 p.m.): When we last saw the Engineers of Worcester, they produced a 10 win season, which is the most wins they have tallied since winning nine games in 2017. This squad is a mix of first-years and veterans but look for Lou Duh (defensive line) and Phillip Durgin (fullback) to lead WPI to an opening night win. Prediction: WPI 24, Worcester State 10
Merchant Marine at FDU-Florham (Friday, September 3 @ 7 p.m.): The Mariners won their only game of 2020 — they beat their rival Coast Guard Academy last November — and returned some key pieces from that squad, including quarterback Ian Blankenship, who will be a player to watch this fall. Prediction: USMMA 28, FDU-Florham 14
Brockport at Framingham State (Saturday, Sept. 4 @ 12 p.m.): The Golden Eagles are 2-0 all-time against the Rams — they enter the 2021 season as one of the best teams in NCAA Division III and will certainly provide some challenges for Tom Kelley’s unit. Prediction: Brockport 35, Framingham State 14
Fitchburg State at Dean College (Saturday, September 4 @ 12 p.m.): Scott Sperone has waited quite some time to coach his first game since being named the new head coach at Fitchburg State in 2020. So Saturday’s contest with the Bulldogs will be a special day for the second-year coach, who is keeping the focus on building a culture with the Falcons. Dean is the favorite in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) and may have the edge being at home. PREDICTION: Dean 29, Fitchburg State 26
Springfield College at Western New England (Saturday, September 4 @ 1 p.m.): Bragging rights for the City of Springfield are on the lines when these two local rivals square off on Saturday. The Golden Bears return some key pieces from its 2019 squad, including wide receivers Steven Fedorchak and Adam Razza while Bailey Devine-Scott and Erich Keutmann are back to oversee a defensive unit that limited the Pride to 17 points in their previous meeting. Prediction: WNE 30, Springfield 16
Bridgewater State at Ithaca College (Saturday, September 4 @ 1 p.m.): The Bears are one of four teams — maybe five? — that we expect will be in the mix for the conference crown. And the same could be said for the Bombers of Ithaca, who compete in the Liberty League (LL). Both squads welcome some new members to their offense, defense, and special teams, which makes this contest a toss-up. Prediction: Ithaca 29, Bridgewater State 24
UMass Dartmouth at Husson (Saturday, September 4 @ 1 p.m.): On paper, this has the making for a really intriguing non-conference clash that should result in a back and forth affair. We believe the Corsairs have the edge in this one, but don’t be surprised if the Eagles score an exciting opening day victory. Prediction: UMass Dartmouth 30, Husson 28
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.