New England D3 Football Notebook: Quick Takes And Thoughts On 2016 Season

Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

It is never too early to start thinking about New England Division III football.

The countdown to training camp – and the first game – is on!

Below are some quick pre-season takes on each conference. As the season gets closer, we’ll have team and conference previews, so stay tuned!

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): After a successful 7-3 campaign last season, Becker will be a team to watch this fall. Can they continue their success under first-year head coach Frank Forcucci?

Absolutely, but they will need to play their best football against Husson, Norwich and Castleton State.

Keep an eye on Castleton State – the Spartans ended their season by capturing the Maple Sap Bucket Trophy with a 31-13 win over the Cadets. Rising sophomore Moe Harris will be one of many players to watch this season after he concluded his initial season with the Green and White by leading the rushing attack in yards (1,065), touchdowns (14) and yards per game (106.5).

Liberty League (Springfield & WPI): The Engineers of WPI enjoyed one of their best seasons under head coach Chris Robertson, finishing 7-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play.

WPI earned some impressive wins, defeating MIT (31-28), Norwich (27-10) and Springfield (19-17). They will look to keep their momentum going this season, but the biggest question facing the squad is who will be their number one halfback? Zach Grasis graduated, so that could open the door for rising sophomore Connor Sakowich.

Springfield will have a new head coach this season as Mike Cerasuolo was tabbed the program’s head coach earlier this year. A former player, Cerasuolo will look to continue his former head coach Mike DeLong’s success. DeLong retired last fall after an impressive 32-year run with the Pride.

Cerasuolo has been the program’s offensive coordinator for the past 15 seasons.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State will remain the favorite, but don’t overlook Bridgewater State and Fitchburg State.

The Bears won five of their final seven contests last season, including a 64-42 win over Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 37th Annual Cranberry Bowl. Rising junior Alex McLaughlin will look lead the rushing attack – he rushed for 16 touchdowns last season – while rising senior Danny Higgins should navigate the unit’s air attack after tossing 13 touchdowns.

Fitchburg State graduated some key defensive players, but return rising seniors Mamour Samb (linebacker) and Ousame Samb (cornerback). Mamour Samb finished second on the team in total tackles (67) and tackles per game (7.4), while Ousame Samb led the unit with eight pass breakups. Rising senior Garrett Dellechiaie is back under center after an impressive junior season, which saw him toss 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high four touchdowns, too.

Framingham State graduates some key pieces, including quarterback Matt Silva, but again, don’t overlook a Rams team that has depth on both sides of the ball.

 New England Football Conference (NEFC): The Golden Bears won 10 consecutive regular season games last fall thanks to an impressive defensive unit that registered 22 sacks (third in NEFC), 15 interceptions (first in NEFC) and 282.2 yards per game (first in NEFC).

The Golden Bears maybe the favorite heading into the 2016 season, but don’t overlook Endicott, MIT, Salve Regina or U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Seahawks capped their season by defeating Husson in the ECAC Clayton Chapman Bowl Championship thanks to an impressive performance by quarterback Brandon Basil, who tossed five touchdowns, while completing 25 of 49 passes for 421 yards.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Amherst College will certainly be the favorite heading into the 2016 season, but let’s not forget about Tufts, which finished its 2015 campaign 6-2 following a 31-28 win over Middlebury.

The Jumbos return a pair of rising seniors – quarterback Alex Snyder and running back Chance Brady – while rising junior Steve DiCenzo and rising senior Shane Thomas should lead the defense.

Other teams to watch in the NESCAC include Middlebury and Trinity – the Bantams finished second last season and yielded the second fewest points in the conference (81 points).

Amherst’s 17-7 win last fall over Williams marked the second straight season the Purple and White finished their campaign undefeated (8-0). Can they make it three years in a row? We’ll find out!

Mass. College Football: Week Eight Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the eighth week of the college football season in the books, it is now time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Michael Pruneau (Harvard) – In his second straight start, the sophomore signal caller tossed three touchdowns and finished 17-of-29 for 263 yards.

Paul Stanton Jr. (Harvard) – The sophomore tailback rushed for 113 yards on 21 carries and two scores, as well as caught one pass for six yards in Harvard’s 35-16 win against Lafayette.

Peter Pujals (Holy Cross) – The first-year signal caller amassed 287 yards of total offense against Colgate. He finished 25-of-40 for 232 yards and one touchdown, and rushed for 55 yards on 14 carries.

Kevin Arduino (AIC) – Against Bentley, the junior quarterback rushed for four touchdowns and tossed another in the Yellow Jackets’ 42-14 victory. Ardunio finished with 222 yards through the air and 129 yards on the ground.

Sterry Codrington (Stonehill) – The junior defensive back matched his career-high with 10 tackles, seven solo stops, blocked two kicks and had a sack for a loss of 12 yards. He also recorded a pass break-up in the Skyhawks’ dramatic 29-26 victory against New Haven.

Jon Wozney (Assumption) – The senior linebacker registered 10 total tackles in his team’s win against Southern Connecticut.

Jeff Hill (Bentley) – The junior wide receiver hauled in a career-best nine receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown against AIC.

Joe Clancy (Merrimack) – The senior gunslinger completed 38-of-56 passes for 441 yards and six touchdowns, which helped the Warriors top St. A’s.

Brian Harrington (Stonehill) – The junior linebacker recorded a career-high 17 total tackles and eight solo stops against New Haven.

Colin Markus (Stonehill) – It was a career day for the sophomore halfback, who finished Saturday’s game with a career-high 255 all-purpose yards. He rushed for a career-best 172 yards on a career-high 23 carries and one score. Markus also caught the two-point conversion at the end of the game, which pushed Stonehill ahead by three points.

Logan Meyer (Stonehill) – The senior quarterback tossed two of his three touchdowns during the final 15 minutes, which helped Stonehill defeat New Haven. Meyer completed 22-of-41 passes for 288 yards.

Robert Small (Anna Maria) – The senior halfback rushed for a game-best 136 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns against Mount Ida.

William Ricard (Anna Maria) – The sophomore wide receiver recorded a season-best 199 yards receiving and two touchdowns against Mount Ida.

EJ Isom (Mount Ida) – The first-year running back rushed for 108 yards on nine carries and two scores in the Mustangs’ 56-34 win against Anna Maria.

Jordan Hyman (Mount Ida) – The senior wide-out caught eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

Kalyn Smithson (Mount Ida) – The junior linebacker registered eight total stops, five solo tackles, three tackles for a loss of 11 yards, one sack for a loss of five yards, one block and one pass break-up.

Robert Baker (Becker) – The senior quarterback tossed two touchdowns and completed 17-of-33 passes for 210 yards against Husson.

Melvin Booker (Becker) – The senior linebacker registered a game-best 14 total tackles, seven solo tackles, and half a tackle for a loss.

E.J. Bennett (Mass. Maritime) – The junior wide receiver shattered the single game receiving record with 274 receiving yards. Bennett hauled in 15 passes and scored three touchdowns against Westfield State.

Richard Ford (Mass. Maritime) – The junior linebacker finish his team’s contest against the Owls with seven total tackles, four solo stops and two sacks for a loss of 12 yards.

Mike McCarthy (Bridgewater State) – The senior quarterback recorded 386 yards of total offense and registered seven touchdowns in the Bears’ 56-28 victory against Plymouth State. McCarthy completed 18-of-29 passes for a career-high 276 yards and tied the school record with five touchdown passes.

Davon Fuller (UMass Dartmouth) – The first-year defensive back recorded four interceptions, one shy of the NCAA Division III record, which helped the Corsairs top Worcester State. Fuller also had four tackles and three solo stops.

Tucker Cheyne (MIT) – The first-year kicker broke his own school record for points in a game by a kicker with 12 points against Nichols College.

John Krafick (WNE) – The senior co-captain recorded a season-high 304 passing yards, as well as tossed three touchdowns in the Golden Bears’ double-overtime win against Union College.

Justin Wallace (MIT) – The junior running back rushed for 167 yards and a career-best tying three touchdowns.

Alex Snyder (Tufts) – The first-year quarterback led the Jumbos to its most points since November 2010, according to Sunday’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Football Weekly Release. Snyder completed 22-of-46 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns. The four touchdowns were the most by a Tufts quarterback since November 2010.