By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
We continue with our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ by highlighting the Framingham State University Rams, who will begin their conference title defense on Friday, September 6th when they visit Endicott College.
The Rams’ 2018 Season: It was another successful season for coach Tom Kelley‘s crew, which captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with an 8-3 mark. Framingham State returned to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 2015 but saw their national championship hopes dashed in the opening round against Brockport State.
Yet, despite falling to the Golden Eagles, the Rams remained one of New England’s top programs last fall, as well as the team to beat in the MASCAC. The Rams played their best football late in the season when they scored wins against UMass Dartmouth, Western Connecticut, and Worcester State.
The 2019 Outlook: Framingham State graduated 19 student-athletes from last year’s unit, including halfbacks Quron Wright and Sebastein Robert, and wide receivers Mike Calicchio and Napoleon Miller. Additionally, the Rams bid farewell to some key members of their defense, too, so this season is all about the squad’s rising seniors, juniors and sophomores, who will be tasked with attempting to guide the Rams back to the national postseason for the second-straight season.
Quarterback Adam Wojenski returns for his final season and will most likely target Shaquille Joseph, who enjoyed a very successful second season with the Rams. Joseph ranked third on the team in receptions (27) while finishing second in touchdown receptions (6).
Fullback Rufus Rushins could be tasked with being more than just a third-down back for the Rams after finishing third on the team in rushing yards (235 yards). The Rams may also rely on Chris Jenkins or Nick Caliri, too.
Anthony Behonick and Joshua Smiley will be tasked with leading the Rams’ defense this fall – the duo combined for 115 total tackles last season, including five stops for a loss of 17 yards. Additionally, keep an eye on Joshua Onujiogu, who will join Smiley on the defensive line.
The Rams will need some help in the secondary as defensive back Rashaun Rivers graduated this past spring, along with DeSean Hart and Kenny Sullivan. Cully Curran will be the defensive back to watch heading into camp in a few weeks.
Framingham State’s Schedule: The Rams will be tested immediately with trips to Brockport and Endicott before welcoming Westfield State to Framingham on Saturday, September 21st for a 12 p.m. kick-off in week three.
Framingham will enjoy an early bye week during the final weekend of September before entertaining UMass Dartmouth on Friday, October 4th.
Framingham State closes the month of October with two key contests against Plymouth State and Western Connecticut before heading to Massachusetts Maritime Academy to compete in the annual Kelley Cup game.
After the Kelley Cup, the Rams will play their final home game against Bridgewater State. The game could decide this year’s MASCAC champion, so make sure to circle Saturday, November 9th on your calendar.
Players to Watch: Joshua Onujiogu (Defensive End/Wareham, MA), Adam Wojenski (Quarterback/Stratford, Conn.), Shaquille Joseph (Wide Receiver/Somerville, Mass.), Rufus Rushins (Fullback/Defensive Line/Lynn, Mass.), Henrique DeBoni (Kicker/Rio Claro, Brazil), Jared Archer (Offensive Line/Mansfield, Mass.), Andrew Fennelly (Offensive Tackle/Wayland, Mass.), Anthony Behonick (Linebacker/Rutland, Mass.), Joshua Smiley (Defensive Line/Springfield, Mass.), Jack Sullivan (Linebacker/Dartmouth, Mass.), and Cully Curran (Defensive Back/Arlington, Mass.).
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