Noontime’s Way Too Early D-III Football Conference Predictions

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Frank Stola and the Williams College football team will be one of the favorites in the NESCAC this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Our WAY too early New England D-III football preseason coverage rolls on with some predictions on who we think will win their respective conference this season.

Yes, we know these are VERY early predictions and they will certainly change once we get closer to kick-off, but for now, enjoy some way too early thoughts (from your friends at Noontime Sports) on who we think will celebrate a conference championship in November.



Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Endicott College or Western New England
  • Teams to Watch: Husson UniversityNichols College, and Salve Regina University
  • Quick Synopsis: Yes, we know the Gulls and Golden Bears will be the teams to watch this fall, but don’t overlook Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina as these three teams that will certainly challenge Endicott and Western New England for the CCC crown. Western New England has won the conference the last three years while Endicott has come close the past two seasons to snatching the title from its rival.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

  • Predicted Winner: Dean College
  • Teams to Watch: Maritime (N.Y.) 
  • Quick Synopsis: With a 4-1 conference mark, the Bulldogs were able to win their first-ever ECFC title last fall, so expect that momentum to continue one year later. Maritime (N.Y.) will also be a team to watch this season, while the other ECFC teams should provide challenges to both the Bulldogs and Privateers.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Framingham State or UMass Dartmouth 
  • Teams to Watch: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut 
  • Quick Synopsis: The Rams of Framingham State have enjoyed a great deal of success the past few years, but could this be the year of the Corsairs? With quarterback Stephen Gacioch leading the UMass Dartmouth offense this fall, expect the Corsairs to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the MASCAC.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Wesleyan University or Williams College
  • Teams to Watch: Middlebury CollegeTrinity College, and Tufts University
  • Quick Synopsis: As of now it seems as if this conference could be a two-team or five-team race for the NESCAC crown. Williams will welcome back an impressive senior class that should help them overcome the challenges to secure their first outright title since 2008. Keep your eyes on Trinity and Tufts – these two teams could play spoiler – and, of course, don’t overlook the Cardinals of Wesleyan, who will return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

  • Predicted Winner: MIT
  • Teams to Watch: Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Springfield College  
  • Quick Synopsis: Coach Brian Bubna and the Engineers have won back-to-back NEWMAC championships so it is hard to pick against MIT, which will once again be one of a few teams to watch in this conference. The Bears of Coast Guard Academy could also be a team that takes that next step, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine and Springfield College. Also, let’s not count out WPI, which did graduate a big senior class, but will carry over some momentum from its 10 win season.

D3 Football Saturday: Roundup: Carnegie Mellon Tops MIT, WNE Rolls Past Springfield

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MIT’s Keithen Shepard was the lone Engineer to locate the end zone on Saturday afternoon. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

It was not the ideal second half for the MIT Engineers.

Miscues, penalties, and turnovers allowed Carnegie Mellon the opportunity to break-open a 7-7 tie in the second half with two touchdowns and one field goal for a 24-7 non-conference victory on Saturday afternoon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Luke Bikulege and Michael Lohmeier each recorded third-quarter touchdowns, while Brandon Nguyen converted a 33-yard field goal in-between both scores.

MIT attempted to respond after Lohmeier pounced on a loose fumble in the end zone, but struggled to move the ball against a potent Tartans defense, which limited the Engineers to just 289 yards of total offense.

“Going into half (it was) 7-7, basically a 0-0 game, but then we came out in the third quarter and we just made too many mistakes,” said MIT coach Brian Bubna.

“Defensively, we were missing a lot of tackles (followed) by some special teams errors, which put us back in our own end and then a bad snap into the end zone.”

While MIT struggled in the second half, Bubna felt his team played well in the first half – the Engineers scored the game’s initial touchdown late in the first quarter when Chris Mauck connected with Keithen Shepard for a 72-yard score before Carnegie Mellon responded late in the second with a 78-yard strike from JD Dayhuff to Willie Richter.

MIT may have concluded the game with 14 more total yards than Carnegie Mellon, but the Engineers lost two fumbles and were flagged five times for 33 yards.

“(Carnegie Mellon) is a good team, we knew that coming in. We (also) knew they would be disciplined, and they are well-coached, too,” said Bubna.

“But when you make that many mistakes against a good team, that is what happens.”

Western New England 33, Springfield College 17: Alec Coleman recorded 351 yards of total offense, including 305 passing yards, while scoring two touchdowns as the Golden Bears captured the Pynchon SAW Game for the first time since 2016. WNE’s Kieran Lombard concluded the game by converting seven kicks, including four field goals.

Norwich University 22, Salve Regina 19: Matt Dunn completed 24-for-41 for 307 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 1:46 remaining in the fourth. Dunn connected with Manni Romero on a five-yard touchdown pass, which capped 11 plays, 64-yard drive.

Maritime (N.Y.) 24, Maine Maritime 21: Joseph Gagliardi converted on four kicks, including a game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired to send the Privateers past the Mariners in Throggs Neck, New York. Maine Maritime’s Nikolas Moquin concluded the game with three touchdown passes.

Western Connecticut 12, William Patterson 9 (OT): David James connected with Will Daniels for a game-winning 25-yard touchdown in overtime after Jordan D’Onofrio secured the extra session with his second field goal of the afternoon with 3:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Morrisville State 39, Bridgewater State 7: Bill Flatow tossed two touchdowns and ran for a score, too, as the Mustangs rolled over the Bears in Bridgewater. Stefano D’Emilia recorded Bridgewater State’s lone touchdown in the third quarter.


Week One Scoreboard 

  • Nichols College 37, Dean College 12
  • Stevenson 34, Curry College 0
  • Becker College 33, Anna Maria 19
  • Endicott College 55, Framingham State 27
  • Maritime (N.Y.) 24, Maine Maritime 21
  • UMass Dartmouth 54, Alfred State 7
  • Plymouth State 23, Castleton University 17
  • Morrisville State 39, Bridgwater State 7
  • Cortland 63, Fitchburg State 0
  • Western Connecticut 12, William Patterson 9 (OT)
  • Union College 42, Westfield State 7
  • Norwich University 22, Salve Regina 19
  • Carnegie Mellon 24, MIT 7
  • Western New England 33, Springfield College 17
  • Coast Guard Academy 27, University of New England 17

Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Week 1)

10 Games to Watch 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

We’re one day closer to a BRAND new season of New England Division III Football, which means its time to unveil our first 10 Games to Watch post for the initial week.

As usual, we will highlight 10 games to watch every week with predictions – similar to last year, we will also keep our record, too. And our weekly post will appear every Friday, however, we decided to unveil our week one picks one-day prior to kickoff, so hopefully, this is OK with you, our fans and friends.

Stay connected with our New England Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB


10 Games to Watch | Week One: Friday, September 6th & Saturday, September 7th

Rankings from our Week One Noontime Sports Top 20 Poll 

No. 16 Nichols College at No. 18 Dean College (Friday, Sept. 7th at 7 p.m.): This has the making of a high-scoring affair ending with a Terrell Watts touchdown. PREDICTION: Dean 42, Nichols 35 

Worcester State at No. 8 WPI (Friday, Sept. 7th at 7 p.m.): It’s great to have this rivalry back, but in the end, the Engineers will prevail, thanks to its rushing attack. PREDICTION: WPI 30, Worcester State 10 

Anna Maria College at Becker College (Friday, Sept. 7th at 7 p.m.): Coach Dan Mulrooney‘s squad seems pumped-up for their first game of the 2019 season, which should end in favor of the AMCATs. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 21, Becker 14 

No. 4 Framingham State at No. 9 Endicott College (Friday, Sept. 7th at 7 p.m.): Both teams enter the 2019 season with high expectations, but this contest will come down to the battle of the trenches. Keep an eye on Endicott’s o-line versus the Framingham State defensive line. PREDICTION: Framingham State 33, Endicott 24 

Norwich University at No. 12 Salve Regina (Saturday, Sept. 8th at 12 p.m.): Two high-powered offenses are set to square-off in Rhode Island – we could see this game going either way, but in the end, the Seahawks will make one or two additional plays to squeak out an opening day win. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 28, Norwich 20

Morrisville State at No. 7 Bridgewater State (Saturday, Sept. 8th at 12 p.m.): The Bears enter the 2019 season with expectations to compete for a conference crown. They should find a way past the Mustangs in week one to gain some momentum heading into their week two clash with St. John FisherPREDICTION: Bridgewater State 29, Morrisville State 21 

Carnegie Mellon at No. 6 MIT (Saturday, September 8th at 12 p.m.): After a successful first season as the head coach of the Engineers, Brian Bubna will attempt to work his magic in year number two, beginning with a week one victory. PREDICTION: MIT 23, Carnegie Mellon 16 

No. 13 Western Connecticut at William Patterson (Saturday, September 8th at 1 p.m.): The Colonials may have graduated some key pieces from last season, but return enough talent to help them get off to a 1-0 start. PREDICTION: West Conn. 35, William Patterson 14 

No. 2 Springfield College at No. 3 Western New England (Saturday, Sept. 8th at 1 p.m.): Two of our top five teams square-off in a battle for Springfield – look for a late touchdown (or two) from quarterback Chad Shade to send the Pride past the Golden Bears. PREDICTION: Springfield 35, Western New England 27 

Westfield State at Union College (Saturday, Sept. 8th at 1 p.m.): The Owls could surprise some folks this season, but this is a tough opening day clash with a Dutchmen squad, which won four games last fall against New England opponents. PREDICTION: Union 28, Westfield State 14 


Stay connected with our New England Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

D3 Football: New England Conference Predictions

CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

A brand new season of New England Division III football is set to commence in two days – there are some very intriguing matchups to follow this week, beginning with some must-see games on Friday, September 6th.

Yet, before any of these games officially begin, allow us – Noontime Sports – to dish out our conference predictions for the 2019 season, including our projected winner, runner-up, and dark-horse.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)

Projected Winner: Western New England 

After a successful first season as head coach, Jason LeBeau will once again guide the Golden Bears to a conference title and first-round appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Runner-Up: Endicott College 

The Gulls return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball but face some serious challenges in the first three weeks against Framingham State and Wesley College.

Dark Horse: Husson University.

The Eagles begin a new era under first-year coach Nat Clark, who has prior experience with the program under former head coach Gabby Price. Husson graduated some key pieces of last year’s squad, but do return some talented upperclassmen that will challenge Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England for the top spot.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Projected Winner: Maritime (N.Y.) 

It is hard to pick against the Privateers, who were picked to capture the ECFC crown, per the league’s preseason coaches poll. Maritime will be led by first-year coach Mickey Rehring, who has some work to do with finding replacements from last year’s squad, including the offense.

Runner-Up: Dean College

The Bulldogs enter the upcoming season with expectations of taking the so-called ‘next-step.’ Dean has the potential to challenge the Privateers for the top spot in the ECFC with a slew of returners from both last season and 2017.

Dark Horse: Castleton University 

Coach Tony Volpone seems focused on watching his team improve and get better this fall – he, along with the coaching staff return a young roster that will certainly be an interesting team to watch as the season progresses.


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Projected Winner: Framingham State 

The Rams seem to embrace the so-called ‘target’ on their back – they know they will face challenges from both conference and non-conference foes this fall, but that shouldn’t stop them from winning eight or nine games.

Runner-Up: Bridgewater State 

The Bears graduated some key pieces from last year’s 8-3 squad, including wide receiver Jack Lavanchy. Bridgewater State does return 40 student-athletes from last season, which should help the Bears compete with the Rams for the top spot in the conference.

Dark Horse: Western Connecticut 

Western Connecticut graduated some key pieces from last year’s squad this past spring, including half-back Kyle McKinnon, but do return wide receiver Will Daniels, quarterback David James, and defensive end Jordan Fletcher, which will help the Colonials challenge both the Bears and Rams for a MASCAC title.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Projected Winner: Trinity College 

The Bantams have won the last three conference crowns and should find a way to capture their fourth consecutive title this fall, thanks to some key returners on both sides of the ball, including its defensive line. Trinity will also rely on running back Spencer Lockwood, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Connecticut in 2017.

Runner-Up: Amherst College 

The Mammoths return some impressive talent on offense – they will once again be led by quarterback Ollie Eberth, who accounted for 19 touchdowns last fall, including nine on the ground. Amherst does have some graduation holes to fill on defense, but should once again be in the mix for the conference crown.

Dark Horse: Williams College 

The Ephs faced some adversity last fall but still managed to win five of nine contests. This season, Williams should lean heavily on its junior class to keep pace with Amherst and Trinity, as well as Middlebury College, which beat the Ephs last fall in Williamstown.


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

Projected Winner: Springfield College 

Despite losing some key pieces last September, the Pride still managed to post an eight-win season, which concluded with a New England Bowl victory over Maritime (N.Y.). Springfield returns most of last year’s squad, especially on offense, but will need players like AJ Smith and Jack Pavelchak to step-up on defense.

Runner Up: WPI

For WPI to enjoy another successful season, they will need to rely on their senior class, especially halfbacks Connor Field and Sean McAllen on offense and linebacker Nick Ostrowski on defense. This senior class seems committed to doing whatever is needed to help the Engineers challenge Springfield (and others) for the top spot in the NEWMAC.

Dark Horse: MIT 

After capturing its first-ever NEWMAC crown last fall, coach Brian Bubna and his staff will look to duplicate their 2018 performance this season, despite some key graduation losses on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Udgam Goyal. MIT does return some talent (and leadership), which should help the Engineers be in the hunt for a second-straight conference title.


Stay connected with our New England Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

D3 Football Preseason: The Contenders

D3FB CONTENDERS

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

It’s time to highlight some New England Division III football teams that will be ‘the contenders’ this season in their respective conference.

These contenders are teams that could win their respective conference, but also squads that will challenge the top teams (and favorites) this upcoming season.

As usual, let us know if you agree (or disagree) with the teams highlighted below that we consider ‘the contenders’ for the 2019 New England Division III football season. 


Amherst College: After finishing 8-1 last season, the Mammoths enter 2019 as not just a team to watch in New England D-III football, but also a potential contender in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). With 18 players gone to graduation, the Mammoths will need to rely on its upperclassmen, including quarterback Ollie Eberth, wide receiver James O’Regan and defensive back Avery Saffold to lead the Purple and White to victory.

Bridgewater State: The Bears will definitely challenge Framingham State for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this fall despite some key graduation losses from last year’s squad, which capped its 2018 campaign with a New England Bowl victory. The New England Bowl win has seemed to provide the Red and White with some much-needed momentum heading into this season.

Coast Guard Academy: The Bears will challenge Springfield College for the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. Coast Guard will lean on its seniors and juniors this fall to continue their momentum from one year ago, which saw the Bears finish 7-3, including 5-2 in conference play.

Endicott College: After finishing with seven wins – the most an Endicott squad has recorded since posting an 8-3 mark in 2013 – the Gulls will attempt to continue that momentum this fall, but it certainly won’t be easy. Western New England should once again be the favorite in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) followed by Salve Regina. The Gulls will need to play their best football against both squads to have a chance to finish the season with some hardware.

Husson University: It will be interesting to see how the Eagles’ transition from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) to the CCC goes this fall – they will certainly be competitive against Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England. However, with some key graduation losses, especially at quarterback, I am not sure if the Eagles will finish 2019 with some hardware or an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

MIT: Similar to the Eagles, the Engineers will also need to find a replacement for their quarterback, along with a few new linebackers, too. Coach Brian Bubna‘s squad will certainly be competitive this fall in the NEWMAC, but most likely deal with some challenges when they face Coast Guard, Springfield, and WPI.

Plymouth State: After advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, the Panthers took a step back last season, but still finished with a winning record. They almost beat Western Connecticut but did score an exciting win over Framingham State. Despite some key graduation losses, the Panthers should still be competitive in a conference that may be a two-team race for the top spot.

Salve Regina: The Seahawks’ five-game winning streak last fall proved it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Salve Regina did end its season with a setback to the Bears of Bridgewater State in the New England Bowl but do return a majority of last year’s squad that ended its regular-season slate with an exciting win over Endicott. Salve Regina will be tested immediately with early-season tilts against Dean CollegeMontclair State, and Norwich University.

Williams College: Despite somewhat of a down year, these Ephs certainly have what it takes to challenge Amherst and Trinity College for the top spot in the NESCAC. Look for the Ephs to lean heavily on their junior class to lead them to important conference wins. Quarterback Bobby Maimaron, who is a dual-threat signal-caller, will once again be a player to watch this fall for Williams.

WPI: After a down year the Engineers are poised to bounce back this season – they will be led by a very talented senior class, which will hope to cap their time Institute Road in Worcester with a conference championship. WPI will lean heavily on its run game this fall – look for a big year from halfbacks Sean McAllen and Connor Field.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.