Tag: Brandon Miller

New England D3 Football Notebook: MASCAC Teams Shine In First Week

West. Conn. State scored a dramatic win on Saturday to defeat Hartwick, 35-31. (Photo Credit: Western Connecticut State University Athletics)
West. Conn. State scored a dramatic win on Saturday to defeat Hartwick, 35-31. (Photo Credit: Western Connecticut State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

It was an exciting first week of Division III New England football.

We saw some interesting outcomes, along with some impressive individual and team efforts to secure opening-day wins.

Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the week was Plymouth State earning its first win at Castleton since September 2010. It was also the Panthers’ first opening day victory since September 2011.

Plymouth State overcame a one-point (7-6) deficit at the break to secure a 20-7 win over the Spartans.

“We knew we had to win the third and fourth quarters,” Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zach Edwards told the Rutland Herald.

Edwards helped the Panthers secure the lead for good when he connected with junior wide receive Chris Kelly on a 37-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter before first-year halfback David Hamilton clinched the victory for Plymouth State in the fourth with a one-yard plunge.

Plymouth State will look to double its win total on Saturday, September 10 when they host Mount Ida for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.

More MASCAC Week One Success: Framingham State – the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) defending champions – commenced their title defense with an opening day victory over Endicott College. The win was the Rams’ fourth-straight opening days win against the Gulls.

Framingham State junior Stephen Beahn hauled in six catches for a school record 248 yards, while registering a trio of touchdowns.

According to the school’s release, Beahn was a linebacker last season, but ended yesterday’s contest with an average of 41.3 yards per reception.

Including Framingham State, six MASCAC teams earned opening day wins, including Fitchburg State, UMass Dartmouth and Westfield State. UMass Dartmouth tallied the most points among all nine squads, outscoring Mount Ida, 40-9, on Friday evening.

UMass Dartmouth led Mount Ida, 13-3, at the break, but pushed ahead for good by tallying 13 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth. Junior linebacker Brandon Miller recorded a career-best 12 tackles, while senior quarterback Cory Burnham tossed four touchdowns and completed 13 of 26 passes for 150 yards.

Shawn Brathwaite – a junior quarterback transfer from American International College (AIC) – helped Westfield State commence its season with a 34-21 win over Nichols College. Brathwaite threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his debut for the Owls.

An exciting finish in Danbury, Connecticut: MIT and WPI may have been the game of the evening on Friday, but perhaps the most dramatic win on Saturday occurred in Danbury, Connecticut where Western Connecticut State University needed a late touchdown reception to defeat Hartwick.

Junior quarterback Quinn Fleeting helped the Colonials overcome a three-point (31-28) deficit with 54 seconds remaining when he located classmate Jaward Chisholm for an 81-yard touchdown pass to help the hosts claim an opening day 35-31 victory.

Fleeting concluded the game with four touchdowns passes, while connecting on 27 of 40 attempts for 425 yards. Chisholm led all receivers with 229 yards on 14 receptions. He also hauled in two of Fleeting’s touchdown passes.

New England D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch In Week One

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

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s never too early to start marking the calendar with Division III football games, especially with the opening kickoff just two weeks away.

In anticipation of the first kickoff of the 2016 season, which happens to be two weeks from today – Anna Maria vs. Coast Guard Academy – we have provided a list (and some quick thoughts) on what games you should keep an eye on (or attend) in week one.

Thursday, Sept. 1 – Coast Guard Academy at Anna Maria, 7 p.m. – We have been counting the days and weeks for this game, so when the Bears and AMCATs take the field, it will mean a new season of college football has begun. Keep an eye on Coast Guard Academy senior co-captain and quarterback Derek Victory, who enjoyed an impressive junior season under center.

Friday, Sept. 2 – UMass Dartmouth at Mount Ida, 6 p.m. – This is always a must-see game, according to Mount Ida head coach Michael Landers. Keep an eye on Mount Ida sophomore quarterback Jack Sheehan, who enjoyed an impressive first season, while also watching UMass Dartmouth junior linebacker Brandon Miller. Miller should be a focal point of the Corsairs’ defense this season.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Western New England at Springfield College, 7 p.m. – This has become a true rivalry game – basically, the winner becomes the so-called king of Springfield. The Golden Bears were picked to capture the New England Football Conference (NEFC) crown, but will be tested by a new-look Pride squad, which will be led by first-year head coach Mike Cerasuolo.

Friday, Sept. 2 – WPI at MIT, 7 p.m. – Both schools are rivals in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), so this game will certainly live up to its hype. WPI escaped last year’s meeting thanks to a fourth quarter field goal by senior Blaine Bursey.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Bridgewater State at Curry, 7 p.m. – A new era has begun in Bridgewater as long-time assistant and defensive coordinator Joe Verria will lead the Bears as the program’s interim head coach. The Bears beat Curry last year in their season opener, but the Colonels rebounded, capping their 2015 campaign by winning three of five contests.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Fitchburg State at Becker, 7 p.m. – After an impressive 7-3 campaign, the Hawks of Becker will look to prove 2015 wasn’t a fluke. First-year head coach Frank Forcucci, who spent the previous three seasons as the program’s Associate Head Coach and defensive coordinator, will lead Becker this fall. Fitchburg State – on the other hand – has high aspirations for this season and will be led by senior quarterback Garrett Dellechiaie, who tossed 26 touchdowns for the second-straight season.

 Friday, Sept. 2 – Salve Regina at Worcester St., 7 p.m. – The Seahawks of Salve Regina were picked to finish second the New England Football Conference (NEFC). They also appeared in our Noontime Sports Top 10 Preseason poll, too. Worcester State is one of our ‘Teams on the Rise,’ and this has always been an intriguing matchup, especially when each offense gets into a groove.

 Saturday, Sept. 3 – Endicott at Framingham State, 12 p.m. – Under second year head coach Kevin DeWall, the Gulls of Endicott will look to commence their season with an opening day road win against a Framingham State squad that will feature some new names on both sides of the ball. The Rams won last season’s opener in Beverly, defeating Endicott, 42-6. Endicott’s last win in Framingham came in 2012 with the Gulls claiming a 34-7 victory.

 Saturday, Sept. 3 – Plymouth State at Castleton, 1 p.m. – Castleton sophomore Mitchell Caron is expected to be spotted under center in the Spartans’ season opener. Quarterback George Busharis graduated this past spring, so it will be fun to watch Caron lead the Spartans. As for Plymouth State, they enter 2016 a year older and with more experience.

Saturday, Sept. 3 – Hartwick at West Conn., 5 p.m. – Senior halfback Michael Nicol will be expected to carry the load this year, and help Western Connecticut State kick-off its season with a win against a talented Hartwick squad. Nicol will be one of many players to watch on Joe Loth’s squad, especially if they want to make a run toward winning the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown.

Dan Dawson Leads Boston Past Philly, 9-7, Blazers Clinch Playoff Spot

By Brian Willwerth

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Blazers are heading back to the playoffs, thank in large part to the Dan Dawson show.

Dawson had five goals, and the Blazers hung on in the second half for a 9-7 victory over the Philadelphia Wings, before a crowd of 9,654 at TD Garden.

It didn’t take the Blazers long to get rolling. Casey Powell scored just 18 seconds into the contest against Brandon Miller to give Boston a 1-0 lead.  The Wings responded about 2 and a half minutes later, as Brandon Mundorf beat Anthony Cosmo to tie the game at one. But Boston came storming back with 2 goals just :19 apart.  Nick Cotter scored on the power play, followed by a quick tally by Dan Dawson.

After Matt Danowski pulled the Wings to within a goal, Dawson capped the first period scoring with a goal in the final minute.  Boston led 4-2 after one quarter.

“We liked the whole week leading up to (the game),” said Blazers’ head coach Matt Sawyer.  “It’s been a tough time for the last six weeks with this group, and it hasn’t been overly fun.  But everything was positive this week and we had real good feelings.”

The Blazers kept the pressure on in the second quarter with a pair of power-play goals.  Kevin Buchanan and Powell did the honors to give the Blazers a 6-2 lead.  Cosmo kept the Wings off the scoreboard in the second 15 minutes of play.

Penalties were a big part of the first half.  The Wings were sent to the box 8 times.  The Blazers were whistled four times.
The Blazers started off the second half much like they did the first, and once again it was Dawson, with a tremendous wrap-around goal to beat Miller.

But then the Wings’ offense came to life with two goals in the final three minutes of the quarter, including one by Drew Westervelt with 0.8 left. Boston held a 7-5 advantage after three quarters.

Things got even tighter in the fourth, as Westervelt tallied his third goal of the game, followed by Ryan Boyle’s second of the night.  That made it 8-7.  But with just over three minutes to play, Dawson took an outlet pass from Cosmo, broke in alone and beat Miller for his fifth goal of the night to make it 9-7.

“I really haven’t shot the ball well this season,” said Dawson. “It’s just a testament to how good my teammates are at getting me open…..to have an outlet pass like that is a layup, so I got lucky and snuck a few by Brandon.”

The Blazers have one more regular season game left against Buffalo.  For now, they’re savoring the clinching of a playoff spot.

“The locker room as jumping up and down, dancing and chatting, it was a great atmosphere,” said Blazers’ forward Casey Powell.  “Now we’re concentrating on trying to win a championship.”

Philadelphia Hands Boston Their Third Loss of the Season

BOSTON, MA – The TD Garden has hosted some crushing defeats, but Friday’s loss against the Philadelphia Wings (2-2) was sincerely heartbreaking. Philadelphia tallied five goals in the third quarter and one in the fourth to hand the Boston Blazers (2-3) their third loss in a row, 11-5.

“We came out with a lot of energy and played with our most consistent sixty minutes of the year. I like our team and they work hard, so I was happy to see the results of all their hard work,” said Philadelphia Head Coach John Tucker

“That effort wasn’t good enough tonight,” said Boston Blazers head coach Matt Sawyer.

During the first quarter the Blazers recorded three goals off of sixteen shots on Wings goaltender, Brandon Miller (43-saves), but forward Casey Powell responded to an early Wings goal, which tied the game, 1-1. Yet, the Wings responded immediately with their second goal of the evening, when Dan Hardy found an opening past Blazers goaltender, Anthony Cosmo (22-saves).

“We knew that [the Blazers] could stay close and put a run together,” said Tucker. “We were committed to playing the first five minutes as hard as we possibly could [and] try to stretch the lead, fortunately we did. We came out of the gates and extended our lead and playing with the lead, I thought our guys responded pretty well.”

The Blazers would not score again until the third period, but watched the Wings build an impressive 5-3 lead before halftime.

Both Alex Turner and Athan Iannucci scored during the second quarter to build the lead, which would expand after halftime. The Wings watched Turner and Iannucci, as well as Ryan McClelland combine for five goals in fifteen minutes.

“Philadelphia’s a real good team, they’re well coached and they’re going to put that kind of effort defensively and from the goaltending, [they’re] going to be tough for everyone and we approached that game like we were just [going] to walk through them,” said Sawyer.  “[We] can’t show up and just expect to win.”

Besides Dan Dawson’s two goals during the third period, the Blazers were held scoreless during the final fifteen minutes and were unable to tie the game or even pull out a dramatic win.

In fact, the Blazers allowed back-up goaltender Nick Rose an opportunity to play during the final 14-minutes of regulation, but despite his 10-saves, he did allow one goal.

“The boys played well in front of me, they were solid once I went in, just unfortunately we couldn’t put a couple more in the net, but it happens,” said Rose

Besides the poor play by the Blazers, the Wings were able to watch Miller play quite an impressive game, which clearly was something that impressed the 7,492 fans.

“[Brandon Miller] was off the charts. Boston is actually extremely talented, they had a lot of chances and he saved everything that he should of saved tonight and a lot of them had no chance, he made some incredible saves, but to Brandon’s credit, he’s been consistently good all year long,” said Tucker

With the loss, the Blazers will look to rebound on Saturday against the Rochester Knighthawks (2-1), a team that Boston has already lost to once this season.

“We need to forget [this loss] quick because [we have] Rochester [on Saturday] and there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves and there’s only one group that’s going to help us get out of this and that’s the group in that dressing room,” said Sawyer.