Bates College quarterback Brendan Costa was a player to watch last weekend against Bowdoin College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brewster Burns for Bates College)
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
Brendan Costa credited his coaches, but also his teammates for last weekend’s win over rival Bowdoin College. It was what many would describe as a true team victory.
“Our guys did a great job of executing assignments, especially our big guys up front,” said the third-year signal-caller, who threw for a season-best three touchdowns against the Polar Bears.
“The offensive line really paved the way for our skill guys to make plays and the offense as a whole took a big step forward (last) week.”
The win over Bowdoin has seemed to energize both Costa and his Bates College teammates heading into their final game of the 2019 season tomorrow (Saturday, November 9th) against Hamilton College. The hope it seems is for these Bobcats is to duplicate their performance against the Continentals, so they can head into the offseason with some much-needed momentum.
Prior to his team’s final contest, Noontime Sports caught-up with Costa to discuss the program’s first victory since 2017, but also what it meant to provide second-year coach Malik Hall with his initial win at Bates.
How important was it to rebound and score your first win of the 2019 season after falling short to Colby one week earlier?
This was the first game we put together (a full) four quarters. Each phase of football we played at an exceptional level. We couldn’t let the Colby College game (from one week earlier) dictate our performance in the following games so we put it behind us quickly.
I am proud of us as a team to be able to bounce back in the way we did.
What was it like to celebrate Coach Hall’s first win with the program? Did he say anything to you/your teammates after the game concluded?
I was really happy for Coach Hall. He was long overdue for his first win as our coach (of the Bates football program). He works his butt off every day so we can be more successful as a program. Everything he does is for the “B.”
During his post-game speech, he just touched on how proud he was of us for putting together a complete game. You could tell he was just as happy for us, as we were for him.
How will this win help the team heading into the final game of the 2019 season against Hamilton College? Do you sense a different buzz in the air, especially at practice this week?
There has been a different vibe in practice this week. We now know we can do it, so it is our expectation to put together great games from here on out.
Hamilton is a good squad with a lot of great players. This will be a test for our team to get a win on the road and to start stringing wins together heading into 2020. We are up for the challenge.
What would it mean for you (and your teammates) to cap your season with a win? Would it provide momentum (and some additional energy) heading into the 2020 season?
It would mean a lot to close the year on a high note. There is no time for us to take steps back, we need to keep progressing and what better way to do that than grabbing a win on the road and gaining momentum for next year. We need to start taking big strides as a program so why not start now? I am very excited about our future.
With the ninth week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.
Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’ Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week, which can be seen (here on our site) every Tuesday throughout the 2019 season.
Offensive Players of the Week
Michael Bethune, Jr. (Dean College): Bethune, Jr. rushed for a team-high 213 yards on 21 carries – that is 10.1 yards per rush – while catching three passes for 11 yards against Alfred State.
Errol Breaux (Dean College): Against Alfred State, Breaux caught eight passes for 125 yards and five touchdowns.
Jacob Carroll (Tufts University): Carroll completed 14 of 19 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday to lead the Jumbos to a 35-10 win over Colby College.
Alec Coleman (Western New England): Coleman completed 18 of 32 passes for two touchdowns against Endicott College while adding 31 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.
Brendan Costa (Bates College): Costa totaled 275 yards of total offense with 212 passing yards (9 of 17 completions) and 63 rushing yards on eight carries. The third-year signal-caller also tossed three touchdowns as the Bobcats topped the Polar Bears to provide coach Malik Hall with his first win with the program.
Stefano D’Emilia (Bridgewater State): D’Emilia tallied 266 yards of total offense against Plymouth State, including 35 yards on six carries and one touchdown. The senior signal-caller concluded the game 19 of 29 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown.
Luis Gonzalez (UMass Dartmouth): Against Western Connecticut, Gonzalez rushed for 140 yards on 29 carries (4.8 yards) and two touchdowns as the Corsairs captured their sixth contest of the 2019 season.
Tyler Halls (Husson University): Against Nichols College, Halls caught a game-high 11 catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
Tanner Kingsley (Anna Maria College): Kingsley completed 26 of 38 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns against Castleton University this past Saturday.
Steven Lawton (Fitchburg State): Lawton rushed for a game-high 141 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns as the Falcons soared past the Lancers for their initial conference win last Friday.
Bobby Maimaron (Williams College): Against Wesleyan University, the third-year signal-caller completed 8 of 28 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for a game-high 125 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown.
Alex Maldjian (Middlebury College): Against Hamilton College, Maldjian rushed for a game-high 145 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns.
Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University): Against the University of New England, Mauriello rushed for 193 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns.
Jacob McCarthy (Castleton University): Against Anna Maria, McCarthy completed 21 of 30 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Tyler McGovern (Salve Regina University): McGovern completed 10 of 20 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns against the University of New England.
Frank Roche (Tufts University): Roche caught a game-high eight catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the Jumbos topped Colby College in Maine.
Jamyre Soberanis (Western New England): Soberanis rushed for a game-high 140 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
Terrell Watts (Dean College): Watts completed 18 of 29 passes for 260 yards and seven touchdowns while adding six yards on five carries in his team’s exciting win over Alfred State.
Defensive Players of the Week
Hunter Atwood (Curry College): Against Becker College, Atwood recorded nine total tackles, including seven solo stops. Additionally, he recorded one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 12 yards, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble.
Sam Cantrell (MIT): Cantrell paced the Engineers’ defense against WPI last Saturday with 11 total tackles (Be Delhees also finished with 11 total stops, too). Four the 11 stops were solo tackles, while two were tackles for a loss of eight yards. Cantrell also recorded one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Anthony Casparriello (Worcester State): Against Fitchburg State last Friday evening, Casparriello tallied 12 total tackles, including three solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of six yards. Additionally, he posted one quarterback hurry, too.
Noah Clack (Bowdoin College): Clack stuffed the stat sheet last Saturday against Bates College with seven total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one sack for a loss of six yards. He also recorded one forced fumble.
Chris Gemayel (Bridgewater State): Gemayel tallied seven total tackles, including three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards and one sack for a loss of three yards, which helped the Bears celebrate Senior Day with a victory against Plymouth State.
Pete Huggins (Middlebury College): Huggins tallied seven total tackles, including three solo stops and one tackle for a loss of seven yards, while recording one pass break-up and one fumble recovery as the Panthers beat Hamilton College, 14-7.
Erich Keutmann (Western New England): Keutmann recorded 23 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one tackle for a loss, along with one pass
Robert Levine (Trinity College): Levine was one of two Bantams that posted 10.0 total tackles against Amherst College. He concluded the game with eight solo stops, including one tackle for a loss of five yards and one quarterback hurry.
Colin McCabe (Mass. Maritime Academy): McCabe recorded 11 total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of six yards. McCabe also forced two fumbles, while recovering one fumble during a 16-6 setback to Framingham State.
David Redmond (Husson University): Redmond stuffed the stat sheet against Nichols with six total tackles, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 12 yards and one forced fumble. Four of the six stops were solo tackles.
Chris Rice (Castleton University): Against Anna Maria last Saturday, Rice stuffed the stat sheet with five total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 15 yards and one sack for a loss of 12 yards. Additionally, Rice recorded one quarterback hurry and one interception.
Tony Slaughter (UMass Dartmouth): Slaughter total 13 total tackles, including 12 solo stops against Western Connecticut. Three of the 13 tackles for were stops for a loss of 11 yards.
Jack Sullivan (Framingham State): Sullivan paced the Rams defense against Massachusetts Maritime Academy with nine total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 14 yards and one sack for a loss of nine yards. Seven of the 11 tackles were solo stops.
Special Teamers of the Week
Henry Atkeson (Amherst College): Against Trinity College, Atkeson converted one extra point, while tallying 139 yards on three punts – all three kicks landed inside the Bantams’ 20-yard line. Atkeson also recorded two kickoffs of 111 yards.
Gabriel DeSouza (Curry College): DeSouza recorded four punts against Becker College with three kicks landing inside the Hawks’ 20-yard line.
Nick DiCairano (Endicott College): DiCairano connected on five kicks against the University of New England, including a 30-yard field goal.
Angelo DiSanto (Salve Regina Univ.): Against the University of New England, DiSanto converted two of three field goals (longest was a 30-yard kick) and five of seven extra points. He recorded one punt for 44-yards, which landed inside the UNE 20-yard line. He also recorded nine kickoffs for 491 yards with one touchback.
Quintus Reid (Dean College): Reid punted the ball four times against Alfred State for 125 yards. One of the punts resulted in a touchback, while another punt landed inside the Pioneers’ 20-yard line. In addition to his punting duties, Reid also caught four passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
Mark Wright (MIT): Wright tallied eight points off two extra points and a pair of field goals. He drilled a season-long 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, which was followed by a game-tying 41-yard kick that sent the game to overtime.
The sixth week of the New England Division III football season is set to commence this evening when Bridgewater State visits Worcester State for an important conference clash. That game, along with nine other intriguing match-ups are highlighted below in a brand new edition of 10 Games to Watch.
Last week, I picked eight of ten contests correctly to bump my overall picks record to 32-18. Let’s see if I can keep my recent prediction momentum going this week – fingers crossed!
As usual, make sure to stay connected with @Noontime_FB for updates, news, scores, and more, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to hear my weekly Sunday breakdown.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
New England D-III Football | Games to Watch (Week Six)
Bridgewater State at Worcester State (Friday, Oct. 11th at 7 p.m.): The Bears have bounced back after losing to Western Connecticut a few weeks ago. They need to win this game to keep their conference championship hopes alive. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 30, Worcester State 21
Merchant Marine at No. 7 Norwich University (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): The Mariners pulled out an important extra session win one week ago against MIT, while Norwich suffered its initial setback of the season to Springfield College. Merchant Marine may have the edge in this one – since losing in week one, the Mariners offense has been tough to stop and could provide challenges for the Cadets defense. PREDICTION: Merchant Marine 30, Norwich 22
No. 20 Curry College at Husson University (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): Both teams enter this contest with identical 1-0 conference marks. It is an important game for both teams as they need a win to keep pace with Endicott College and Western New England. Something tells me the Eagles will make a few more plays down the stretch to secure their second conference win. PREDICTION: Husson 28, Curry 21
SUNY Maritime at Dean College (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): On paper, this has the potential to be a shootout. Both teams have offenses that can put up points, but in the end, look for the Bulldogs defense to make few plays to secure an important conference win. PREDICTION: Dean 28, SUNY Maritime 24
No. 13 Trinity College at Bates College (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): The Bantams will attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time this season against a Bobcats squad that provided Tufts University with some challenges last weekend. Look for some second-half adjustments to help Trinity score its third win of the season. PREDICTION: Trinity 30, Bates 18
Colby College at No. 5 Middlebury College (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): This has the feel of a possible let-down game, but don’t expect the Panthers to lose their momentum from a week ago when they snuck past Amherst College in overtime. PREDICTION: Middlebury 28, Colby 14
Bowdoin College at No. 6 Amherst College (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): The Polar Bears did not make things easy for the Cardinals of Wesleyan last week, so look for Bowdoin to provide similar challenges to Amherst. PREDICTION: Amherst 28, Bowdoin 14
No. 12 Springfield College at No. 8 Coast Guard Academy (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 1 p.m.): The Pride kept their conference title hopes alive last week with an important win against Norwich. Look for that momentum to continue this week against Coast Guard Academy. PREDICTION: Springfield 21, Coast Guard 15
No. 18 Mass. Maritime at No. 4 Western Connecticut (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 5 p.m.): The Buccaneers enter Saturday’s clash with a lot of momentum – their defense has been fun to watch these past few weeks, but this will be their toughest tests of the season. If the defense from one week ago shows up in Danbury, Connecticut then the Colonials offense could be in for a long day. PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 38, Western Conn. 31
Tufts University at No. 17 Wesleyan University (Saturday, Oct. 12th at 6 p.m.): I love that this game is being played under the lights – it is a great tradition that these two squads started a few years ago. The Cardinals have been an impressive story thus far, thanks to its seniors, who will once again be counted on to lead Wesleyan to an important conference win. PREDICTION: Wesleyan 23, Tufts 17
Happy Friday, everyone – hope you’re ready for a great weekend of New England Division III football!
Last week, I went a perfect 10-for-10 in picks – yes, I picked all 10 contests correct to bump my overall picks record to 16-14.
My hope is to continue this trend in week four – we have some intriguing match-ups to follow, so make sure to get out and enjoy one of these 10 games highlighted below because it sounds like Saturday is going to be a gorgeous day (weather-wise) in New England.
New England D-III Football | Games to Watch (Week Four)
Bridgewater State at Fitchburg State (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 12 p.m.): The Bears were competitive last week against Western Connecticut, but struggled to make the necessary plays down the stretch to squeak out what would have been an important conference win. Bridgewater must play a complete 60 minutes this week to take down a 1-2 Falcons squads. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 23, Fitchburg State 16
No. 15 Salve Regina at No. 17 Nichols College (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 1 p.m.): The Seahawks finally cracked the win column last week with an important win against Dean College. Look for Salve to deploy its rushing attack again this week against the Bison. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 27, Nichols 20
No. 4 Western New England at No. 19 University of New England (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 1 p.m.): UNE quarterback Brian Peters believes his team has played well through three games, but said, “I think we have yet to play our best game.” Perhaps Saturday is the day the Nor’easters play their best game of the 2019 season. PREDICTION: UNE 20, Western New England 17
No. 5 Trinity College at No. 13 Middlebury College (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 1 p.m.): Middlebury quarterback Will Jernigan feels more comfortable running the Panthers offense this season but knows the unit will be tested by a defense that allowed just seven points last week. Trinity rebounded from a six-point setback to Tufts University with an offensive showcase against Bowdoin College. PREDICTION: Middlebury 21, Trinity 18
Bates College at No. 20 Wesleyan University (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 1 p.m.): As we learned this week on a brand new ‘Football Friday Podcast,’ it has been the senior leadership of the Cardinals, which has helped Wesleyan enjoy its first 2-0 start in five seasons. Look for the seniors to once again lead the Cardinals past the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon. PREDICTION: Wesleyan 28, Bates 10
Curry College at No. 8 Coast Guard Academy (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 1:30 p.m.): The Bears defense recorded four interceptions last week against Norwich despite falling to the Cadets, 17-14. Look for the defense to jumpstart the Bears offense against Curry on Saturday. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 25, Curry 14
No. 16 Plymouth State at No. 11 UMass Dartmouth (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 2 p.m.): The Corsairs relied on its air attack in the first two weeks before turning to its defense to help them beat Fitchburg State last week. Tony Slaughter and the UMass Dartmouth defense will be tasked with slowing down Plymouth State halfback David Hamilton on Saturday afternoon. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 28, Plymouth State 24
Mass. Maritime at Westfield State (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 2 p.m.): The Buccaneers will look to improve to 3-0 on Saturday when they visit an Owls team that struggled to contain Framingham State’s offense and defense one week ago. PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 30, Westfield State 14
No. 7 Norwich University at Castleton University (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 3 p.m.): After capturing the ‘Mug’ last week against Coast Guard Academy, the Cadets look to win the ‘Battle for the Maple Sap Bucket’ against the Spartans. PREDICTION: Norwich 28, Castleton 14
No. 1 WPI at No. 9 Springfield College (Saturday, Sept. 28th at 3 p.m.): The Engineers enter Saturday’s conference clash with a great deal of momentum, but certainly know the Pride’s offense will challenge the WPI defense. In the end, look for this game to be decided by a touchdown or maybe a field goal. PREDICTION: WPI 20, Springfield 14
Jernigan and the Panthers set the tone early against the Bobcats by capping their first drive with a touchdown.
“We strung together some pretty big plays and I believe there may have some penalty yards included (on the first drive, too), but it was just everyone executing,” said Jernigan when discussing his team’s initial series against Bates last Saturday.
“The line was blocking well, I made the right reads, (our receivers ran) good routes and a great series of play calls set the tone for the rest of the game and gave us some confidence and rhythm. And we kept that going all four quarters.”
That confidence and rhythm will certainly be tested this Saturday, September 28th when Middlebury hosts Trinity College, which won its first game of the season last week against Bowdoin College.
Trinity has won the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) the last three seasons and hasn’t lost to Middlebury since 2014.
For Middlebury to be successful against Trinity, Jernigan says the team “must bring the same energy level to each practice” from the past few weeks.
Noontime Sports recently spoke with Jernigan about his progression as a quarterback from last season to now, as well as how run-pass options are becoming the new norm in college football.
Do you feel last year’s experience as a starter has helped you feel more comfortable running the offense/under center?
“I would agree. When I came in, I played in eight games (as a freshman), but as a sophomore, I really started to get a handle of the offense before coming in this year with complete control. I knew where (I would) be throughout this season, (and we) returned a lot of guys that I am close with, so for me especially I am feeling a lot more confident with the system and the players who are around me.”
Middlebury College’s Will Jernigan has recorded five touchdowns through two contests this season, including one on the ground. (PHOTO COURTESY: Will Costello)
It is just two games, but your team is enjoying a successful start to the 2019 season. How do you feel the team is doing thus far and do you feel this year’s squad has what it takes to contend for a conference title?
“We have the players this year and the collective confidence that has translated onto the field.
“This week against Trinity, we have a huge opportunity at home. It is ‘Fall Family Weekend,’ so everyone is chomping at the bit (to get ready for Saturday’s game).
“We haven’t played well against Trinity in the past, but we feel that this year we are (starting to) hit our stride and we’re chomping at the bit to get after it this week.”
How did Jared Lebowitz, who played quarterback when you were a freshman, help you enjoy a smooth transition from high school to college?
“Having him as a senior (when I was a) freshman (was very helpful). He was able to explain things easier, I was able to watch him (from the sidelines and) we watched a lot of film together, too. We are good friends and he is excited about this season (thus far), and he definitely paved the way (for me to become a starter). He was a really smart quarterback that I was able to learn from.”
It appears as if the run-pass option offense is becoming the new norm in college football, including the NESCAC. What do you enjoy most about this style of offense?
“That is a good observation. A lot of plays people think are run-pass options, but sometimes they are just a pass-option attached (to the play call).
“We have just started to install RPO’s in the past two years, so it is very cool to be a part of because it is kind of the next step in football in general, not just at the collegiate level (or Division III).
“It is pervasive in all facets of the game, so it is definitely cool to be a part of and it is really fun to run.”
Finally, did you run an RPO offense in high school?
“No. I ran three different systems in my last three years of high school, which were triple-option, spread-option, and traditional spread. RPO’s were never a thing (we ran), but we would have some run fakes or tradition play-action styles.