Halfback Nathaniel Larkins rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns with his second score providing the visitors with their first and only lead of the game, which grew to a two-score advantage with 5:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Bentley quarterback Stephen Sturm completed 8 of 18 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown while adding 103 rushing yards on 14 carries.
AIC, which concluded the contest with 405 yards of total offense, was led by quarterback Jayson DeMild, who accounted for 298 yards of total offense, including 265 passing yards and three touchdowns. DeMild tossed two scores in the opening frame to Tommy Smith and Jaxon Ramsay before connecting with Jaheim McGuire in the fourth quarter to bring his team within one score (28-21) with 9:19 remaining.
Bentley’s Cole McCubrey intercepted DeMild on his team’s ensuing possession for a 45-yard touchdown return to provide the Falcons with a 35-21 lead with 5:17 remaining.
McCubrey concluded the game with a team-high eight total tackles, including three solo stops ad one forced fumble.
With the win, Bentley has now beaten AIC in six of their last seven meetings to bump their all-time series advantage to 15-12.
Bentley will look to continue its early-season momentum next Saturday, October 2 when they visit Saint Anselm College for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
AIC, which was competing at home for the first time since November 9, 2019, will look to bounce back next Friday, October 1 when they travel to Southern Connecticut State University for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The first week of the New England NCAA D-II college football season has officially arrived, which means it is time to unveil our first-ever Top Five Poll, which features teams from the Northeast-10 Conference. And speaking of the NE10, make sure to check out our New England D-II preseason team — there are quite a few Massachusetts and New England natives on our squad.
Best of luck to all teams competing, both later this week and weekend, and make sure to stop by for more New England college football content over the next few days.
Noontime’s New England D-II Top Five Poll (Week No. 1 | August 30, 2021)
Univ. ofNew Haven (7-3, 6-2 in 2019): Picked to finish first in the preseason coaches poll, the Chargers, who begin their 2021 campaign at home against Franklin Pierce University on Saturday, will certainly be a team to watch in the conference this fall — keep your eyes on halfback Shamar Logan, who was one of two running backs named to our inagural preseason team, along with a defense that won’t make things easy on opposing offenses.
Bentley University (6-4, 6-2 in 2019): The defending conference champions from 2019 will open their title defense against a West Chester University Rams squad that was picked to finish second in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) preseason poll on Friday in Waltham. Quarterback Stephen Sturm returns for his final season with the Falcons — he was certainly a player to watch in 2019, recording career-bests in passing yards (2,221), touchdown passes (14), rushing yards (297), and rushing touchdowns (four).
Stonehill College (6-4, 5-3 in 2019): Halfback Justin Felder is back — the Springfield Gardens, New York native garnered a slew of postseason honors in 2019, including the NE10’s MVP award, and will certainly provide some challenges for Bloomsburg University on Saturday.
Assumption College (6-4, 5-3 in 2019): The Greyhounds offense was explosive in 2019, averaging 34.3 points per game, which was the most by any NE10 squad, along with 202.4 rushing yards. Assumption will be led by a few Massachusetts natives this fall, including defensive end Trenton Wright, who enjoyed his best season on defese.
Saint Anselm College (4-7, 4-4 in 2019): Despite finishing with just four wins in 2019, the Hawks provided some serious challenges for some of the top teams in the league, including New Haven and Southern Connecticut State. The Hawks return some key pieces from their squad two years ago, including two members of the o-line — Michael Boucher and Brian Kosicki — that appeared on our preseason squad.
If you’re craving some local college hockey this winter – well, more later this month – then you’re in luck as the Bentley University men’s ice hockey program unveiled its 2020-21 schedule yesterday with its initial contest scheduled for Friday, November 27 against Holy Cross.
Bentley is a member of the Atlantic Hockey, which announced its return to play last month, and will compete in three home-and-home series over the next few weeks againstHoly Cross, Army West Point, and American International College (AIC).
Lawson arrives in Boston, Massachusetts after a successful assistant coaching stint last winter with the Endicott College men’s basketball team. He helped coach Kevin Bettencourt and the Gulls to a 19-9 record, as well as a return trip to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship against Nichols College.
No stranger to New England basketball, Lawson played at Lexington High School before continuing his career at nearby Bentley University where he guided the Falcons to an impressive 101-27 record in four years, which included a number one and two national rankings, along with an NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2007) and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance (2005).
Since graduating Bentley, Lawson has enjoyed a great deal of success in the basketball world, working for numerous programs at all three levels in the college world, while assisting the Boston Celtics during their 2008 NBA Championship run.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Lawson to discuss his excitement for the upcoming season with the Emmanuel men’s basketball team.
What interested you in becoming the program’s third head coach? And just to confirm, this is your first-time head coaching position, right?
When the job opened up, I was very excited to apply. Being from the Boston area, I knew a little bit about the history of Emmanuel’s academics and how it is has really exploded as an institution within the last decade. To me, it represented a college with great leadership and continuity. Combined with a tremendous location in the city of Boston – we are next to Fenway Park – I felt it could be a great opportunity for student-athletes academically, athletically and socially. Also, it certainly has always been a goal of mine throughout my coaching career to run my own program.
What did you know prior to accepting to the head coaching position about the Emmanuel men’s basketball program?
I knew the program was relatively new since the college went co-ed in 2001. The athletic administration structure and support was very evident and crucial for me (throughout the interview process). Also, the program enjoyed success in the early-to-mid 2000s, winning between 17-to-20 games each season. As I prepared for my interviews, I saw the roster was filled with some talented and young student-athletes, which will be returning this upcoming season. Throughout the interview process I also gained a lot of valuable information about the character of our returning players that are eager to be successful.
You were an integral part of Endicott College’s run to the CCC Championship last winter, so what were some things you learned from that experience, whih will help you in your new role with the Saints?
I got to work alongside three excellent coaches and close friends in Kevin Bettencourt, Luke Richards and Lance Greene. I have known all three coaches for quite some time – I grew up and played basketball with Kevin, competing on the same AAU team since seventh grade. All three coaches helped me gain an understanding of the D3 landscape, including what it takes to coach at this level to recruiting. I had only coached in Division 1 and 2 levels, so last year’s experience was really instrumental in gaining an understanding of D3 basketball, but also how to be successful at this level, too. The group of players I had a chance to coach at Endicott was a really special group that made my experience at Endicott a lot of fun.
It sounds cliche, but looking back to both your playing career (at Bentley) and other stops, both in college and with the Boston Celtics, who have been some of the coaches and people that have molded you into the coach you are today?
Like most coaches, I’ve been molded by every coach that I have played and worked for, beginning with my high school coach at Lexington, Bob Farias. Coach Farias had a legendary hall of fame career – he was the best motivator and developer of confidence that I have ever experienced.
Certainly the biggest influence has been my father, Jay Lawson. It is indescribable how much of an impact he has made on my coaching career, specifically in teaching and leading players.
I was fortunate to work for Jim Ferry for seven seasons – he is the former head coach at Duquesne, LIU Brooklyn, Adelphi and Plymouth State. The various opportunities he provided helped me become the coach I am today.
Jack Perri, who I worked with at LIU-Brooklyn – he would eventually become the team’s head coach and lead them to the NCAA Tournament. Jack was one of my assistant coaches when I played at Bentley and is someone I consider a true mentor.
I also spent a great season learning under Steve Evans at LeMoyne College. Steve had a lot of success at LeMoyne from a recruiting and coaching – he is one of the best teachers of the zone defense.
Finally, my season with the Boston Celtics was about as great first basketball coaching experience. Learning and watching from guys like Doc Rivers, Tom Thibodeau, Danny Ainge, Mike Longabardi and Ryan McDonough, as well as the players really helped shape my daily work ethic and approach.
Speaking of the Celtics, you were a member of the team’s 17th championship run, so how much do you think about that experience and being able to celebrate a title with a group that certainly seemed to buy-in from the get-go?
I was very fortunate to be a part of the Celtics organization during their 17th championship season. To say it was an unbelievable experience would probably be an understatement. One of the biggest things I took away from the experience was how important an unselfish mentality and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of the team is to a program’s success. Boston’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen only cared about winning. They became totally invested in the team’s success right from the start when the team began its season training in Italy. And they had a great veteran bench presence combined with some young talent, as well. They also had a high level coaching staff and management team, but it all just came together at the right time and at the right point in their careers. It was really special.
Are you a Celtics fan or root for another team?
Yes, absolutely. I grew up here and have always been a Celtics fan.
What does a new coach need to do to get prepared for a new season with a new program? How will you use the next few weeks and months to make sure the team will be ready to go come mid-October?
Obviously there are a million things you need to accomplish when you take over a new program, but my focus this summer is all about building relationships, beginning with the current players in our program. Additionally, I look forward to meeting and building relationships on campus with other coaches, administrators, faculty and staff, too. I’m currently working on hiring the rest of our coaching staff for the upcoming season, while building and fostering recruiting relationships, as well. I am also working on completing and finalizing our game and practice schedule, while establishing our program’s identity.
Talk about building relationships with your players – how important is to begin those relationships now?
It’s huge (and) has definitely been a primary focus for me the last two weeks. I have been able to meet with about half the team in-person, while conversing multiple times by phone or text with others. We need to build that mutual trust and respect on both sides, and then we can get on the court.
What is your all-time favorite basketball (or sports) movie?
“Above the Rim” is definitely my favorite. I like others, as well, including “Blue Chips,” “Hoop Dreams” and more. “Above The Rim” was ahead of its time with Kyle Lee Watson, Tommy Shepard, Birdie, and a lot of great actors and characters.
Finally, when you were growing up, who was a player or two that you idled? What did you like about their game?
Like most people my age, I was a big Michael Jordan guy growing up. Also, Larry Bird, too. I loved their skill packages and competitiveness, as well as Bird’s passing ability, too.
Lacrosse season has officially begun – well, technically it started in December with the National Lacrosse League (NLL) – but below are some news and notes from the Lax World, which you should know about or may want to know now that one of my favorite sports is back in action!