Tag Archives: College Football

D3 Football: Mass. Maritime’s Fontana, McCabe Set To Lead The Buccaneers Defense On Saturday

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Colin McCabe and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy defense combined for 14 tackles for a loss of 75 yards against Worcester State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Massachusetts Maritime Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

After securing just two wins one year ago, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy football team has doubled their win total this season, thanks to some impressive efforts on both sides of the ball.

But from a quick glance from the team’s most recent outing against Worcester State, it appears as if the Buccaneers’ defense has been a big reason why Massachusetts Maritime Academy has won all four of its contests thus far.

Against the Lancers, the defense recorded 14 tackles for a loss of 75 yards. Jack Fontana led the unit with a team-high 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops, while Colin McCabe added eight tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 30 yards and two fumble recoveries.

Through four contests, the Buccaneers’ defense has limited opposing offenses to just 13.8 points per game and 75.8 rushing yards.

This week, the defense will certainly be tested against an undefeated Western Connecticut squad that is averaging 34.3 points per game, along with 337.8 offensive yards.

Noontime Sports caught up with McCabe and Fontana to discuss the team’s defensive performance thus far, as well as what they must do to continue their recent success on Saturday against Western Connecticut.

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Jack Fontana paced the Massachusetts Maritime Academy defense last week against Worcester State with 14 total tackles. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mass. Maritime Academy Athletics)

It sounds cliche, but what has made the defense so successful this season?

Colin McCabe: “I think that last year we were young, but (this year) our defense came back with experience from a year ago. (Last season) we developed the chemistry, (which has helped us be successful) and our coaching staff is always on top of what the (opposing) offense will be doing (every week).”

Jack Fontana: “Everyone is doing what they have to do, and it clearly shows on Saturday. The defensive line is getting to the quarterback, they’re holding up the offensive linemen and giving linebackers like myself and Sean Smialek the opportunity to rush the passer.”

How does facing quarterback Matt Long in practice help the defense prepare for other quarterbacks and offenses you will see throughout the season? 

Jack Fontana: “Going against a great athlete like Matt makes the whole defense so much better. You get to see one of the top athletes in practice (every day).”

Colin McCabe: “It’s tough because he is very shifty, so you have to really time out where he is going to be, so I focus on my footwork when going up against a guy like him.”

This week, your defense faces a talented quarterback in Western Connecticut’s David James. What must the defense do to slow down and contain the Colonials offense? 

Colin McCabe: “We’re probably going to see a lot of passing this week, so our defensive line needs to have a big game. We need to give our cornerbacks and safeties some time with the receivers, and we can’t let the quarterback scramble.

“We also need to make sure we contain (David James) before he throws the ball downfield, so those are a few keys for (the defense) for Saturday.”

Jack Fontana: “We have a good game plan going in right now, but we’re just going to have to follow all the points and insight from our coaches, so we can fly around to the ball and focus on limiting yards after the catch.”

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Colin McCabe has recorded a career-high seven sacks this season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mass. Maritime Academy Athletics)

How has the defense been able to limit opposing rushers to less than 100 yards per game? 

Jack Fontana: “I think it is just from working hard every day in practice. The defensive line does a great job of getting tackles (and breaking through opposing o-lines) to making the running back half to bounce (in a different direction).”

Colin McCabe: “I know I sound like (New England Patriots) coach Bill Belichick here, but you have to just do your job, do what the coaches say, fight for your gaps and then swallow up the run game.”

Did you both think your team would enjoy this successful of a start and remain undefeated through five weeks of the season? 

Colin McCabe: “I didn’t think that 4-0 was too far out of the picture (when our preseason practices started two months ago). Pretty much every game last year was close (excluding) a couple, but we basically have all of our players back (from last season) so 4-0 seems pretty good (from my perspective).”

Jack Fontana: “We just try to go into every week (with the mindset) of a win every day in practice. We finished 2-8 last year and I think we were getting sick (of losing), so heading into the offseason and spring ball our focus was that we could do this and change our mindset heading into (this season).”

Player Perspective: Kevin O’Brien (Endicott College)

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Endicott College’s Kevin O’Brien has helped the Gulls defense limit opponents to just 17.2 points per game this season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Kevin O’Brien and the Endicott College defense have been a unit to watch this fall.

Through five contests, the Endicott defense has limited opponents to just 17.2 points per game, which is roughly five points less than what this unit yielded to opposing teams through five weeks last season.

O’Brien, who is in his third season with the Gulls, credits defensive coordinator Sean Golden for helping both he and his teammates be well-prepared for the opposing offenses they have and will face this season. Additionally, he credited his classmate Tim Russell – the two linebackers have complemented each other quite well this fall when it comes to rushing the passer to dropping back in coverage to defend the pass.

Noontime Sports caught up with the third-year linebacker to discuss the Gulls’ 2019 season thus far, but also what he did to prepare himself for a successful junior season with the Endicott defense.

Your team heads into the bye week with a 4-1 record. I know we chatted prior to the Framingham State game a few weeks ago, but did you (and your teammates) think you would be 4-1 heading into the sixth week of the season? 

We knew we could be a very good team as we returned almost everyone (from last year’s squad). We were a few plays away from upsetting a very good Wesley College team (last month) but I think we have yet to play our best football which is exciting.

Through five weeks, the defense has yielded just 17.2 points per game. What has been the difference this season for the defense compared to last season (or your first season with the Gulls in 2017)? 

One big difference is we have so many defensive linemen that can play good football for us. We have been regularly rotating the defensive linemen throughout the game and I think we probably have the best depth (at that position) in our conference.

Rotating and having fresh linemen is obviously good for a number of reasons and helps everyone else out.

Both last season and this season, your defense has defended the run pretty well. How have you (and the defense) been able to slow down opposing rushing attacks? 

Anytime you prepare to slow down the run game or key in on a (certain) player (becomes) a group effort.

Coach Golden, who is our defensive coordinator, has been putting myself and the rest of the defense in good positions to stop the run and force teams to get into a third and medium or long situation. We then can dial something up (a play) that can get our unit off the field (and let the offense go back to work).

We face a ton of good running backs in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) conference, including halfbacks from Curry CollegeSalve Regina University, and Western New England, so each week is a new and difficult challenge (for our unit).

With the bye week coming at the halfway mark of the season, what do you feel the defense must work on, both this week and next week heading into an important stretch, beginning with Curry College next Saturday, October 19th. 

The defense has played well so far but we still have a lot to work to do.

In some games, we have let teams get into the red zone before we tighten up to get a stop. We have often lived by the motto “bend, but don’t break” when we are in the red zone.

I think we need to work on getting stops earlier and forcing teams to punt while tightening up our tackling to disguising our coverages to force turnovers.

Our offense is so explosive and has tons of options so we know the quicker we can get a stop on defense the quicker our offense can go get points (for us).

From a personal perspective, how do you feel your game has improved from last season to this season? Have you prepared differently for games this year than last year? 

With another year of playing under my belt, I feel as if I’m stronger and more experienced than most players.

I’ve prepared myself a little bit differently this year (than my previous two seasons with the program). I play the “Mike” linebacker whereas last year I played “Buck,” which focuses on outside containment. Will Rivera was the “Mike” for our defense last season.

Playing “Mike” linebacker is a new challenge as I am usually always on the front side of coverage and the strongside of the run. And depending on a run or pass, I rely on calls and checks on the fly.

It is definitely a challenge but Tim Russell, who is our “Buck” linebacker has helped me out tremendously and has been playing excellent next to me.

D3 Football: Zelos Athletics Players Of The Week (Monday, Oct. 7th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the fifth week of the New England Division III Football season in the books, it is time to unveil our four players of the week post, which is powered by Zelos Athletics.


Our Noontime Sports ‘Players of the Week’ post is powered by Zelos Athletics, which uses FusionSport Technology to track athletes’ performance metrics during speed, agility, and plyometric drills.

Zelos Athletics also provides individual and team speed and agility training, combined with strength & conditioning training, too


This season, Noontime Sports will select one player for our three weekly honors: offensive, defensive and special teamer of the week.

The ‘Players of the Week’ post will be published every Monday throughout the season.


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Framingham State quarterback Adam Wojenski tossed five touchdowns in the Rams’ 39-33 win over UMass Dartmouth last Saturday at Bowditch Field. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State University Athletics)

Offensive Player of the Week: Adam Wojenski (Framingham State | Quarterback | Stratford, Conn.): Wojenski helped the Rams erase a 13-point deficit last Saturday en route to an exciting 39-33 win over UMass Dartmouth.

The Stratford, Connecticut native, who was named this week’s New England Football Writers Division II/III Golden Helmet, amassed 475 yards of total offense, including 422 passing yards on 14 of 25 completions and five touchdowns. His longest score – a 97-yard strike to classmate Jacob Maher – established a new program record. The touchdown also evened the score at 26-26 with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter.

Wojenski also rushed for a team-high 53 yards on 11 carries to bump his season rushing total to 191 yards.

The 422 passing yards and five touchdowns were season-bests for the fourth year signal-caller, who has completed 75 of 143 passes in four games for 1,068 yards and eight touchdowns.


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Colin McCabe and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy defense combined for 14 tackles for a loss of 75 yards against Worcester State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Massachusetts Maritime Academy Athletics)

Defensive Player of the Week: Colin McCabe (Mass. Maritime Academy | Defensive Line | Dartmouth, Mass.): McCabe stuffed the stat sheet last Saturday against Worcester State by recording eight total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 30 yards and three sacks for a loss of 25 yards.

Additionally, McCabe scooped two fumbles as the Buccaneers defense concluded their week five tilt with the Lancers by tallying 14 tackles for a loss of 75 yards, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

The third-year defensive lineman has recorded 25 total tackles this season, including 16 solo stops.


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Endicott College’s Nick DiCairano tallied 12 points in the Gulls’ 30-24 win over Salve Regina University. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Le ’10/Endicott College Athletics)

Special Teamer of the Week: Nick DiCairano (Endicott College | Kicker | Trumbull, Conn.): Nick DiCairano recorded 12 points off six kicks last weekend as Endicott College captured its second-straight Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) victory of the 2019 season.

DiCairano connected on all three extra points while booting a trio of field goals, including a career and season-long 47-yard kick.

Through five contests this season, DiCairano has tallied 41 points off 29 kicks, including six field goals.

Player Perspective: Stephen Gacioch (UMass Dartmouth)

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Stephen Gacioch recorded three touchdowns in his team’s 21-14 win over Plymouth State University to bump UMass Dartmouth’s record to 4-0. (PHOTO COURTESY: UMass Dartmouth Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Stephen Gacioch has enjoyed a successful start to his junior season with the UMass Dartmouth football team.

Through four contests, the Tiverton, Rhode Island native has completed 91 of 143 passes for 1,344 yards and 15 touchdowns, while adding 185 yards on 63 rushing attempts and one score.

Earlier this week, Gacioch was tabbed our Offensive Player of the Week – he was also awarded his second Division II/III Gold Helmet Award of the season from the New England Football Writers Association after leading the Corsairs to a 21-14 win last weekend against Plymouth State.

Gacicoch is currently second in Division III in passing yards and is tied for third in touchdown passes with Blaine Hawkins of Central College.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Gacioch about his team’s impressive start, as well as what he and the team must do this week when they visit Framingham State on Saturday, October 5th.

Your team is off to a 4-0 start. Did you imagine your team would enjoy this much success when you all convened prior to your first game against Alfred State?

Prior to (facing) Alfred State (in week one), we had a feeling that things were different this year. There was a focus and intensity that was buzzing throughout camp, and every day we were making each other better. We knew if we played each game with high intensity, make no mental mistakes, and stayed disciplined that we had the talent to start the way we have (thus far).

From your perspective, what has made this offense click?

We’re a close-knit group. We have a lot of returners at the receiver position and we have four unselfish running backs that rotate and maintain fresh legs throughout the game.

Our offensive line has done a great job of being versatile and overcoming many different situations we’ve been in this year. We like to spread the ball around and give everyone their opportunities to make a play and we thrive off that as a group.

How has the defense, which has allowed just 18.0 points per game, helped the offense during practice?

Our defense does a great job. Playing against them in camp every day was the hardest challenge we’ve faced – the offense became much better because of (facing this unit every day).

Our scout guys right now are doing an amazing job giving us different looks at practice to prepare us every week for a new opponent.

How has your relationship with DJ Machado and Leroy Brown improved from last season to this season?

This year they both came to camp ready to play. They have instilled so much trust in me that there are times when I know pre-snap who the ball should go to based on matchups or defensive alignments.

DJ and Leroy have done an awesome job at winning their routes and I trust them to make the plays.

This week, your team faces Framingham State in an important conference contest. What must the offense do to be successful against the Rams defense?

As an offense, we must win the 12% rule, which is to now allow sacks, drops,  turnovers or foolish penalties. And if we can execute the game plan then we’ll be successful.

Lastly, what do you enjoy most about playing on the road? Do you get a different adrenaline boost being away from your home stadium?

I personally like the feeling of having something to prove. Whenever we’re on the road there are people who doubt us and it gives a little extra adrenaline every-time we’re on the field.

Player Perspective: Brian Peters (University of New England)

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Brian Peters and the University of New England football team have enjoyed a successful start to their 2019 season. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Bates)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For Brian Peters and the University of New England football team, 2019 has been a successful season thus far.

The Nor’easters, who are in their second season as a Division III football program, have won two of three contests and will attempt to win a third on Saturday, September 28th when they welcome Western New England to Biddeford, Maine.

For UNE to be successful against its Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) foe, they will need both its offense and defense, as well as its special teams, too, to continue its recent play from a week ago when the Nor’easters defeated Castleton University, 31-21.

Against the Spartans, Peters threw for a career-high 354 yards and three touchdowns, while Joe Kucky led the defense with eight total tackles.

In addition to a career day for Peters, the third-year signal-caller also connected with Cobey Johnson for an 89-yard pass late in the first quarter, which was the longest play from scrimmage in program history.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Peters about the 89-yard connection between him and Johnson, but also how he feels the team has done thus far through three games.

Your team is off to a 2-1 start. How has the season gone from your perspective? 

I think this season has gone well so far, but I think we have yet to play our best game.

The games we have won we have left a lot of points on the board. If we play a complete game on both sides of the ball you will notice how far this program has progressed (since our first game as a Division III program last September).

This past weekend, you threw for a career-high 354 passing yards. Did you expect to throw the ball that much against Castleton?

I expected to throw the ball a little more in that game, but I am glad we didn’t. We had a great day rushing the football – we finished the game with more than 500 yards of total offense. If we can continue to have a balanced attack like (we did against Castleton) then we can be a lethal offensive unit.

Tell me about the 89-yard touchdown pass from you to Cobey Johnson. How did the play develop and when Cobey caught the ball did you think he was going to score a touchdown? 

Cobey made a heck of a play on that ball. Basically, he took it from one high safety.

Looking back I should not have thrown that ball (in a different direction), but Cobey saved me with his athleticism. He is a great player and is probably our most improved player on offense.

How do you feel the past three games will help the team be successful in conference play, beginning this Saturday against Western New England? 

The first three games of the season showed how competitive we are as a team.

When we face adversity we may bend but we will not break. This is something that coach (Mike) Lichten instills in us. We try to be the toughest team, but also a team that will never quit. If we continue to play with that passion we will be competitive in every conference game.

Do you feel your experience from last season, especially down the stretch has helped you understand the Nor’easters offense and feel more comfortable under center/in the pocket this fall? 

Absolutely. Having a year under my belt has helped me get comfortable with the speed and physicality of college football.

The coaching staff and my experience from last year have taught me to control what I can control, and to not try to make the hero play all the time. I just have to do a better job of taking care of the football and trusting my offensive line and playmakers on the outside.

Finally, with this week’s game being a home contest, tell me what a game-day atmosphere is like at the University of New England. 

For this being the second year of varsity football at the University of New England, I think the game-day atmosphere is incredible. The fans are passionate and they make sure that they are a factor in the game for all four

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