Tag: Anna Maria College

Five New England D3 Football Teams to Watch In 2022

Alex Cohen and the Anna Maria College football team will be a squad to watch in 2022. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s time to kick off our preseason football coverage – are you ready for some football?

Yes, we know the Boston Celtics are occupying our attention while writing this post, but while we anxiously wait for the fourth game of the NBA Finals to tip off tomorrow evening, let’s highlight five teams New England NCAA Division III football fans should watch this fall.  

Anna Maria College: Quarterback Alex Cohen is back, along with some key members of last year’s squad, which captured its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title.

Cohen will certainly be a player to watch this fall after concluding the 2021 season with career-highs in passing yards (3,087) and touchdown passes (23).

Wide receiver Hayden Braga returns for another season, as well, along with Alvin Martin (linebacker) and Armstrong Antoine (defensive back) – all three student-athletes, along with Cohen, should help the AMCATs contend for their second-straight conference crown.

Anna Maria is scheduled to face some challenging conference foes in September, beginning with their season-opener against UMass Dartmouth.

Colby College: Coach Jack Cosgrove has the Mules heading in the right direction.

Last year, Colby won four games for the first time since finishing 4-4 in 2013. The Mules scored some important early and mid-season wins over Amherst College and Middlebury College while providing some challenges for Hamilton College and Tufts University.

Halfback Keon Smart will be a player to watch on offense – the sophomore tailback finished his initial season with the Mules last fall with 248 rushing yards on 69 carries and three touchdowns.

Colby will commence its 2022 season at home against Williams College.   

Curry College: A new era of Colonels football has begun with the hiring of first-year coach Todd Parsons.

Parsons, who oversaw the Endicott College offense last fall, inherits a squad that finished 3-6 last season, including 1-5 in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC).

Michael Sims will be a player to watch on the Colonels after concluding his initial season with the Purple and White with 49 total tackles, including 26 solo stops to go with one fumble recovery, one interception, and one pass break-up.

Sims played high school football in Connecticut and was a two-way player for Griswold High School. He played fullback on offense and linebacker on defense. Maybe we could see him play fullback this fall?

Curry will begin its 2022 season at home against MIT.

Dean College: Like Curry, Dean will have a new leader of its football program with Andrae Murphy returning to his alma mater to coach a Bulldogs squad that won just two games last fall.

Errol Breaux, the team’s leading wide receiver, was a player to watch last fall as he led the receiving core in catches (75), receiving yards (1,215), and touchdowns (eight). Quintus Reid was also a player to watch on offense as the New Haven, Connecticut native concluded his junior season with 52 receptions and six touchdowns.

It’s likely Murphy’s signal-caller will be David Curry, who was spotted under center every game last fall. He completed 196 of 351 passes for 2,585 yards and 18 touchdowns. Curry also led the rushing attack with 627 yards and six touchdowns.

Dean will travel to Fitchburg State for its season-opener.

University of New England: For the second time in program history, the Nor’easters concluded its campaign with four wins (they won a program-record four wins in 2019 after capping their inaugural campaign one year earlier with just two victories).

Last fall, UNE gained our attention by scoring an impressive early-season win against Bridgewater State, which saw the Blue and White outscore the hosts, 14-0, in the second half to set up a game-winning field goal by Ruelas Villasen in overtime.

In addition to their come-from-behind win against the Bears of Bridgewater, they also provided some challenges for Endicott and Western New England down the stretch. They capped their 2021 campaign with a wild victory over Curry.

The team’s late-season win over the Colonels, which was highlighted by five passing touchdowns by Jarrett Henault should provide the Nor’easters with some momentum heading into four this season in program history.

UNE will begin its season on the road at Coast Guard Academy.

Steve Croce Named The Next Head Coach of Anna Maria College Football

Steve Croce, who has over 30 years of experience coaching high school football in Connecticut, has been named the next head coach at Anna Maria College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo Peter Hvizdak/GametimeCT.com)

By Matt Noonan

A new era for the Anna Maria College football team officially began on the final day of January as Steve Croce was introduced as the fourth head coach in program history.

Croce, who was both an assistant coach and offensive coordinator with the AMCATs last season, takes over for Dan Mulrooney, who recently accepted the head coaching job with Lock Haven University.

“I am truly honored to assume the head coaching duties for this amazing team,” Croce said, via GoAMCATS.com.

Named the 2021 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Assistant Coach of the Year, Croce will oversee an AMCATs squad that enjoyed its best season in program history last fall, which included a league title and trip to the NCAA Division III postseason.

Croce, a former high school football coach in Connecticut, joined Mulrooney shortly after he was introduced as Anna Maria’s third head coach in December 2016. He has experience as both a head coach and offensive coordinator and has been a full-time firefighter in Waterbury, Connecticut for 30 years.

“Dan and the entire coaching staff built a close-knit football family at Anna Maria College … I will continue to expand on our winning formula as we move forward,” said Croce.  

Mulrooney Named The Next Head Coach At Lock Haven University

Dan Mulrooney, who coached Anna Maria College from 2016 to 2021, has been named the next head coach of Lock Haven University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Telegram & Gazette/Michelle Sheppard)

By NoontimeSports.com

Dan Mulrooney promised to start a “new culture” with the Anna Maria College football program when he was hired on December 14, 2016. And indeed, he did.

Mulrooney, a former defensive coordinator with WPI, guided the AMCATs to 11 wins in four seasons, along with its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title this past fall. Anna Maria competed in the NCAA Division III postseason for the first time in school history last November but saw its bid for a national title conclude with a 62-10 setback to Delaware Valley in the opening round.

Two months after Anna Maria’s best season in program history concluded, Mulrooney accepted the head coaching role with Lock Haven University, an NCAA Division II squad that posted a 1-10 record last fall.

Mulrooney replaces John Kelling, who was let go from the program last month.

“It is with great pride that I accept the head football coaching position at Lock Haven University … I am ready to build LHU football into a program with a championship culture. A culture that our entire university community, alumni, and our entire fanbase will be proud to support,” Mulrooney said, via GoLHU.com.

Mulrooney certainly transformed the Anna Maria program into a squad to watch, especially in his third season when the AMCATs concluded its 2019 campaign by matching the 2013 team with two wins. Anna Maria’s 2-3 conference record resulted in a four-way tie for third place.

Two years later, Anna Maria produced its most wins in program history with seven victories, including five league wins.

Following the conclusion of the 2021 season, Mulrooney was named the ECFC Coach of the Year, while Steve Croce was tabbed the league’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Croce, who was the team’s offensive coordinator last fall, has been named the next head coach of the AMCATs.  

“It has been an honor of a lifetime to be able to serve as the head football coach at Anna Maria College. Thank you to President Retelle and the administration for giving me the opportunity and resources to lead and positively impact a great group of student-athletes,” Mulrooney said, via GoAMCATs.com.

Revisiting Our Top Stories from 2021

The Williams College football team’s 2021 season was one of many stories we highlighted and covered this year. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

With 2022 quickly approaching, I thought we could do one more look back — maybe a reflection? — of some of our most read and viewed stories from 2021.

The biggest story in my opinion was the return to the field for so many colleges and high schools in the New England region — yes, I know some teams or programs competed during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic — but there was a euphoric sense from so many seeing their local teams back on the field or in the gymnasium.

Let’s share some other stories we enjoyed producing over the last 12 months.

  • At the conclusion of the 2021 small college football season — New England NCAA Division III, to be exact — we created (and shared) our first-ever All-Noontime Sports Team. Our fans enjoyed it — well, we enjoyed producing it! — and look forward to doing more of these in the future. (We also created a preseason team, too!)

  • In late June, I, along with many in this region, was eager for the college football season to begin. So, I decided to produce our Way Too Early Top 20 D3 Poll, which had Williams College in the top spot.

    Perhaps I knew this year’s squad would finish 9-0?

  • Speaking of Williams — yes, I know the Ephs were mentioned above! — but they finished their 2021 campaign by completing a perfect season with an end-of-season win over Amherst College. Their 24-19 victory clinched their first-ever 9-0 record in program history.

  • A new piece of content we created was ‘Inside the Matchup,’ which highlighted a few NCAA Division III playoff games. And one of our most-read playoff previews, according to our stats, was Endicott College hosting RPI in the opening round of the national tournament.

  • Sometimes, a sound bite — yes, a quote or a few words — can be used to create a post.

    In early June, I produced a short piece about Chris Hogan telling NBC‘s Paul Burmeister that he thought Paul Rabil could compete in the National Football League (NFL).

    Rabil, a long-time and well-respected lacrosse player, retired at the conclusion of the 2021 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), but apparently did ponder the idea of playing football when he was 23.
  • Speaking of Chris Hogan, did you know the former New England Patriots wide receiver competed for the Cannons Lacrosse Club earlier this year?

    Indeed, he did — the Cannons, who used to play outside of Boston, were one of the newest members of the PLL.

  • Let’s go back to football where not one, but two Northeast football teams — the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) and UMass Dartmouthcaptured their respective New England Bowls.

  • We know football has been a major theme of this post, so why not share our first high school football story from early September, which saw Malden Catholic roll past Weymouth in its season-opener. And you can watch our interviews and highlights from our initial high school football coverage below:
  • Another great story from 2021: Anna Maria College captured its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown.

    The AMCATs crusied to an impressive 31-7 victory over SUNY Maritime to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

    Anna Maria will certainly be a team to watch in 2022 — can they win their conference again? We’ll have to wait and see!

  • We conclude this post with one more historical memory from New England: the Holy Cross football team won its first-ever postseason game by rallying to beat Sacred Heart University, 13-10.

    The three-point win over the Pioneers was certainly an exciting one — sadly, it did not translate into additional postseason wins, but it certainly provided the team with some momentum heading into the offseason. And like Anna Maria, Holy Cross will also be a team to watch in 2022.

Thanks for a great year, everyone — we wish all our fans, friends, and readers a very Happy New Year!

The 2021 New England College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins, along with a trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England college football — and yes, preps and high schools, too — are slowly ending. But the 2021 season is still on my mind.

After not seeing so many local teams compete last fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an amazing feeling to pace the sidelines these last few months and watch numerous student-athletes compete on the gridiron.

The 2021 New England football season will be one we will all remember — in my opinion, it was worth the wait. (And you can revisit some of our favorite memories from the sidelines by watching our end-of-season highlights on YouTube!).

There were some of the “usual suspects” that either won or were in the mix for their respective conference title to some new teams, especially in NCAA Division III that deserve our attention going forward.

Before we officially say so long and farewell to a fun season of coverage, allow me to revisit a few stories that I certainly will remember from this season.

  • Holy Cross not only won its third-straight Patriot League title, including two in the same year, thanks to a shortened spring season to go with their first postseason victory in program history. And despite losing on Friday in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs to the University of Villanova, the future is very bright for coach Bob Chesney’s squad.  
  • Harvard University captured their 137th meeting with Yale University last month, thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Luke Emge to Kym Wimberly. The 34-31 victory by the Crimson clinched their first eight-win season since 2015. 

  • Sacred Heart University made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament, but came up short to Holy Cross, which edged the Pioneers in the opening round by a score of 13-10. The Red and White will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, but will attempt to win their third-straight Northeast Conference crown next fall.

  • Bentley University and the University of New Haven were two teams to watch in New England NCAA Division II.

    Both teams met twice last month, including in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Two weeks earlier, the Falcons and Chargers squared-off in an early November contest with New Haven not only winning the game, but also securing their first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012.

    The Chargers lost to Kutztown University last weekend in the second round of the playoffs, but they will certainly be a team to watch next season — the same could be said for the Falcons.

  • Bentley’s Stephen Sturm was one of a few NE10 signal-callers to watch this fall as he concluded the season with a league-high 23 touchdown passes.

    Saint Anselm’s Drew Willoughby, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, threw for a league-high 2,803 passing yards to go with 22 touchdowns. He averaged 311.4 passing yards per game.

  • Anna Maria College won its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title with seven wins, which is the most victories any AMCATs squad has recorded in a single season. And despite losing to Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Dan Mulrooney’s squad will certainly be a team to watch next fall, both in and outside of the ECFC.

  • The 2021 Williams College football team made history by becoming the first squad to win nine games in a single season.

    The Ephs capped their campaign with three impressive wins over Amherst College (24-19), Trinity College (42-3), and Wesleyan University (25-0) to clinch a 9-0 record, their first perfect season since 2010.

  • Colby College could be a team to watch next fall as they matched their 2013 squad with four wins.

    The Mules captured their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown with a pair of victories over Bates College (10-2) and Bowdoin College (21-10).  

  • Tom Kelley and the Framingham State University football team won their third-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown outright. The Rams concluded their season with an 8-3 overall record for the third consecutive season, as well as posted a perfect 8-0 league mark for the second-straight year.

    The Rams will continue to be the team to watch (and yes, follow) in 2022, but will certainly be challenged by a slew of teams in the MASCAC.

  • Endicott College captured its first conference crown since 2013, as well as hosted its first-ever NCAA playoff game.

    Coach Paul McGonagle’s Gulls will certainly be a team to watch next fall — the Green and White are young and will return a slew of talent from this year’s squad on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Mike Ingraffia and wide receiver Shane Aylward.

  • After starting its season with a 1-3 record, Springfield College bounced back with six-straight wins to capture its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride ended their season with three important wins against Catholic University (28-14), MIT (17-7), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (28-23).

  • NCAA D-III Football Teams to Watch in 2022: Bridgewater State, Husson University, Salve Regina University, Plymouth State, Trinity College, Tufts University,  UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, and Western Connecticut.