Tag: Bob Ritter

Noontime’s D3 Football Teams To Watch Heading Into Week Three

Trinity College’s Seamus Lambert has the Bantams in position for another NESCAC crown. (PHOTO COURTESY: Trinity College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Another week of New England NCAA Division III football is quickly approaching, which means it is time to highlight five teams to watch this week (and yes, this weekend, too).

In case you missed it, make sure to check out this week’s Noontime Sports Top 20 New England D-III Poll, which found Western New England in the top spot followed by Endicott College (second) and UMass Dartmouth (third).

Middlebury College: The Panthers’ title defense officially begins this Saturday, September 18 when they visit Williams College in what might be the game of the weekend. 

A slew of players from the 2019 squad is back, including quarterback Will Jernigan, halfback LeeCharles McNeil, wide receiver Greg Livingston, and linebacker Jack Pistorius.

Of course, there are others, as well, along with 26 first-years that should help coach Bob Ritter’s squad contend for the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown. 

Two years ago, the Panthers scored an opening day win over the Ephs — the game was played in Vermont — but a win on Saturday would certainly be the ideal start for Middlebury’s title defense.  

Trinity College: Two years after producing just five wins, many, including myself, believe these Bantams will bounce back and be in the mix for the NESCAC crown this fall. 

Yet, for Trinity to begin its quest for its initial title since 2018, they must find a way to top — or outlast — Tufts University, which also enters the 2021 season with hopes of contending for a league title, too.

The Jumbos topped the Bantams in 2019 while Trinity beat Tufts, 38-24, on their home turf in 2018. 

Keep your eyes on quarterback Seamus Lambert, who was the 2018 Co-NESCAC Rookie of the Year, and linebacker Brian Casagrande, who led the Bantams in tackles during the 2019 season. 

Coast Guard Academy: After starting its season with a 16-0 victory over the University of New England, the Bears took a step back last Saturday, falling to Curry College by a score of 21-18.

Saturday’s clash against Nichols College will mark the Bears’ first home game in 672 days — crazy, right? — so scoring a win in New London would certainly help the team regain its week one momentum. 

The Bears defense has been a unit to watch thus far, limiting opponents to just 10.5 points per game, along with 297 yards of total offense.

Coast Guard’s defense will be tasked with slowing down an offense that is led by quarterback Logan Sawyer, who tossed three touchdowns last Saturday in the Bison’s come-from-behind win over Anna Maria College

A player to watch on Saturday is linebacker Connor Healy, who leads the Coast Guard defense with 20 total tackles, including 16 solo stops. He has also recorded one sack (for a loss of two yards), and one pass breakup this season. 

Anna Maria College: Credit is due to Dan Mulrooney’s AMCATs, who almost knocked Nichols College last Saturday in their 2021 season-opener. 

For most of last Saturday’s non-conference clash, Anna Maria was in control. However, they struggled to stop a Bison’s offense during the second half, which rallied to beat the AMCATs for a hard-fought win.  

While the setback might still sting (or be on the team’s mind?), Anna Maria proved they are a team to watch this fall, including this weekend in another non-conference clash with Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

From a quick look at last Saturday’s box score, Anna Maria finished the game with 353 total yards of offense, which was 23 yards more than Nichols. Additionally, quarterback Alex Cohen threw for a game-high 270 yards while Swavaughn Small paced the defense with nine total tackles, including eight solo stops and two tackles for a loss of seven yards. 

Husson University: The Eagles will host Dean College on Friday evening — both teams enter the non-conference clash with identical 1-1 records.

Husson enters the third week of the season as an interesting team to watch — sure, they could be 2-0, but the Eagles’ one-point advantage disappeared down the stretch against UMass Dartmouth in their season-opener. 

Last week, they needed a late touchdown drive to beat Plymouth State in a hard-fought — and yes, somewhat of a throwback — 10-7 win. 

A win over the Bulldogs is certainly possible, but the Eagles defense will need to slow down a passing attack led by quarterback David Curry, who has thrown 607 yards and eight touchdowns.

Husson’s Tucker Buzzell and Kaleb Caron will be players to watch on defense. 

Noontime Rewind: The Best New England D-III Football Teams of the 2010s

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Sunday, everyone! And welcome back for yet another Noontime Sports rewind post where we reflect on coverage from both the current year and decade (the twenty-tens!).

This particular post will highlight some of the best teams we covered in New England D-III football – let the debate and conversations begin.

As usual, if you have any thoughts (or inputs) please comment below, but again, thanks for stopping by and reading a brand new rewind – let’s go!


The 2010 Williams College Ephs: Williams secured its third outright title with a perfect 8-0 mark which was capped by an end of season win over Amherst College. Additionally, the Purple and Gold captured the Little Three crown while producing their seventh perfect season in program history.

The 2011 Endicott College Gulls: In 2011, the Gulls captured 10 of 11 contests while averaging 40.5 points per game. The offense, led by quarterback Phil Konopka, was impressive, but the same could be said for the Endicott defense, which limited opponents to 16.5 points per contest. Kevin Eagan, who played just one season for the Gulls at defensive line, tallied 104.0 total tackles in 11 contests, including 55 solo stops and 23 tackles for a loss of 87 yards. Endicott finished the season with back-to-back wins, including an ECAC North Atlantic Bowl victory over Mount Ida College.

The 2012 Framingham State Rams: After finishing their 2011 campaign with a 7-4 mark, these Rams flipped the switch following an opening day loss to Endicott College by winning ten-straight contests, including a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship against Salve Regina University. Salve Regina was projected to win this particular meeting, but the Seahawks struggled to contain FSU halfback Melikke Van Alstyne, who rushed for 96 yards and two scores. James Muirhead concluded the contest with eight total tackles, including six solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble. FSU would advance to the NCAA D-III Tournament but see their bid toward a national title conclude at Cortland State.

The 2013 Endicott College Gulls: Drew FrenetteSpencer Walsh, and Nate Lewis, along with the Endicott defense highlighted an exciting end of season win over Salve Regina to secure the program’s second NEFC crown in four seasons, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Endicott recorded its first shutout of the season and finished 2013 with an 8-3 record. The Gulls entered the postseason with a seven-game winning streak after starting its 2013 campaign with a 2-2 record.

The 2014 MIT Engineers: MIT advanced to the postseason for the first time in school history and won an exciting opening round contest against Husson University before falling to Wesley College in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The Engineers finished 10-1 in 2014 – they scored some exciting wins over Western New EnglandEndicott College, and Coast Guard Academy to secure their initial New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship in program history. MIT averaged 446.8 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per contest.

The 2015 Western New England Golden Bears: Western New England captured 10 of 11 contests in 2015, including a pair of conference victories against Endicott and Salve Regina. The Golden Bears produced 40 points or more in five contests and secured a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament in late November.

The 2016 Western New England Golden Bears: Despite ending their season with a six-point setback to Alfred in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament, the 2016 Golden Bears were very impressive, winning 11 of 12 contests by an average score of 39.8 to 19.0. WNE averaged 460.1 yards of total offense in 12 contests and limited opposing offenses to just 110.1 yards on the ground per game. They scored impressive wins over Springfield CollegeUnion College, and Endicott College before beating Husson University in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The 2017 Husson University Eagles: Coach Gabby Price led the Eagles to not just an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown in 2017, but also an upset win over Springfield College in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. Husson beat a very impressive Springfield team, which entered the postseason on a ten-game winning streak. Halfback John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two touchdowns while Elvin Suazo and the defense limited the Pride to a season-low 264 yards of total offense.

The 2018 Trinity College Bantams: The Bantams concluded their 2018 campaign not just with a 9-0 win over rival Wesleyan University, but also with their third consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. Trinity won eight of nine contests and was able to win their ninth conference crown due to a 27-16 win earlier in the season against Amherst College. Trinity averaged 464.3 yards of total offense and 36.0 points per game while limiting opposing defenses to 67.7 rushing yards and 10.0 points.

The 2019 Middlebury College Panthers: Coach Bob Ritter led the Panthers to their first-ever 9-0 season in program history, along with a 2019 NESCAC championship. The team averaged 410.6 yards of total offense, including 227.4 passing yards while limiting opponents to 108.0 rushing yards per game. Middlebury scored some exciting wins this fall, along with some nail-bitters against Amherst College and Colby College. They scored 45 points against Wesleyan University in late October before producing 47 points one week later against Bowdoin College.