We kickstart a brand new weekend with another edition of the Football Friday Notebook with loads of links from around the web about the New England Patriots to local high school football starting today/this weekend.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and make sure to circle back for more local football content over the next few days because football is officially back!
But heading into the Engineers’ upcoming campaign, Herrington, who hails from Clearfield, Pennsylvania, seems confident that last season’s success could translate into even more this year – he certainly would like to cap his four-years with the WPI football program by being perfect in both extra points and field goals.
“I would like to see my stats (at the end of the season read) 15 for 15 or 16 for 16 on field goals and 40 for 40 on extra points,” said Herrington.
Herrington has the right attitude to accomplish his preseason goal, but plans to take it “game-by-game” this fall – he doesn’t seem interested in thinking about his kicks in October or November.
Prior to his team’s preseason practice on Monday, Noontime Sports caught-up with the senior place kicker and punter to chat about his personal goals heading into the upcoming season, as well as some important advice he received as a camper years ago from Robbie Gould, who is currently kicking field goals for the San Francisco 49ers.
What’s the biggest goal for you heading into a brand-new season?
“I think there is a lot of expectations (for me). Obviously last year, I didn’t have a lot of expectations because I had never started before, but I think my biggest goal is to put (any preseason expectations) aside and take it game-by-game.”
What helped you enjoy a successful season last year?
“I think it was confidence. I know for me, as long as I go out there with the mentality that I am going to make the field goal or extra point or I am going to punt well – it usually happens, but like for me it is all about keeping my form. I do watch some of my film to make sure some of my mechanics are the same every time, but honestly it is just like confidence. This summer I worked on (improving) my power by lifting.”
You connected on 10 of 12 field goals last fall. Do you ever think about those two kicks that missed?
“Yeah, both (attempts that missed) hit off the upright, so it’s kind of frustrating that I missed them by inches, but I still need to make those. Obviously, you want to get every kick back, but you can’t think about them too long (because) you have to move onto the next (kick) and make it.”
The MIT-WPI football games seem to come down to field goals or have been decided by three points. And one of those games happened to be the 2016 overtime win over MIT.
“Yeah, when Blaine Bursey made that (19-yard-field goal in overtime) to beat MIT, I was there for it. I thought it was cool, but it is kind of funny (how the games have been decided by three points the past few years). Last year it didn’t come down to me. There wasn’t that much pressure (on me) because I kicked a field goal (before they came back). I don’t think I really had too many pressure kicks (last fall).”
Do you enjoy being a part the MIT-WPI rivalry?
“I think MIT and RPI – well, I guess there is something a little bit more with RPI because of the (transit trophy), but all three schools’ mascots are the Engineers, so there is a little bit of a rivalry there (with MIT, as well). But I think everybody goes into every game with the same mentality, but maybe just a little bit more juice with those games.”
Do you think special teams gets overlooked when offenses or defenses makes big plays?
“(Special teams) is a part of the game that needs to be there because games are won through special teams. Whether it is a mistake on special teams or whether it is winning a game with special teams, games can be won or lost through special teams, but I think (the kicking game) can be overlooked by fans. It is certainly not overlooked by coaches or players because they understand how much special teams means to winning games and being competitive in games.”
Do you have an all-time favorite kicker? If so, who?
“Robbie Gould, who is currently with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s been in the league a longtime and he is so consistent. When he played for the Chicago Bears, I went to his camp and met him, and he is just so consistent and may not have the biggest leg – I don’t have the biggest leg either. He is someone that I try to base my game off of and that is what the coaches are looking for, which is me making field goals.”
When you went to Robbie Gould’s camp, what advice did he give you as a young kicker?
“I asked him how he has stayed in the league so long and he said the biggest thing for him is that he doesn’t kick that often during practices. He said that he kicks roughly 10 to 20 balls each day and then does an ice bath followed by lots of resting and recovery. He (also) said that as long as he is doing (this routine) then he will be fine.”
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Worcester State tight end Jacob Maher of Marshfield, Massachusetts secured a spot on the second team, while Springfield College center Nick Bainter of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts appeared on the third team.
Maher concluded his second season with the Lancers by leading the MASCAC with 14 receiving touchdowns, along with a team-best 84 points. He also recorded 986 receiving yards last year, which is an average of 98.6 receiving yards per game. The receiving yards average was second-best in the conference.
Bainter started 11 games last fall for Springfield and was named to D3Football.com’s National Team of the Week last October following the Pride’s dominating performance against Catholic University. The Pride tallied a team-high 68 points against the Cardinals, while tallying a team-best 625 yards on the ground.
Springfield concluded its 2017 campaign as the best rushing offense in Division III, averaging 435.2 yards per game.
In addition to being recognized by D3Football.com last fall, Bainter was also named to the ECAC Division III Football All-Region Team.
Happy Monday, New England D3 Football fans and friends!
We are a few weeks away from unveiling our first Noontime Sports New England Top 10 Football Poll for the upcoming season, so get excited! Additionally, we are about to kick-off our preseason coverage, too.
So, in honor of a brand new season of coverage, it is time to unveil our first-ever ‘Early Preseason Poll,’ highlighting our early 10 teams to watch heading into camp in a few weeks, along with what teams are ‘on the rise.’
Noontime Sports New England Top 10 Football Poll | Early Preseason Poll Monday, July 30th, 2018
1. Springfield College
2017 Record: 10-1 (NEWMAC)
2. Framingham State
2017 Record: 10-1 (MASCAC)
3. Trinity College
2017 Record: 8-1 (NESCAC)
4. Western New England
2017 Record: 8-3 (CCC)
5. Husson University
2017 Record: 10-2 (ECFC)
2017 Record: 9-2 (NEWMAC)
7. Plymouth State
2017 Record: 9-2 (MASCAC)
8. Amherst College
2017 Record: 7-2 (NESCAC)
9. Curry College
2017 Record: 8-3 (CCC)
2017 Record: 7-3 (NEWMAC)
ON THE RISE: Middlebury College (2017 Record: 7-2 NESCAC) & Williams College (2017 Record: 6-3 NESCAC)
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What are some of the best New England D3 Football rivalries?
That is a tough one, eh?
You know the list includes a fair number of contests, including Amherst-Williams to Framingham State-Bridgewater State to Endicott-WNE.
But are there others? Of course!
Here are some of my favorite New England D3 Football rivalries (below!) – let me know what you think of my list by sending either a tweet to @MattNoonan11 or an email to MattNoonan@NoontimeSports.com.
Amherst vs. Williams: This has to be atop the list, right? This is one of the games to circle, no matter each team’s record. Last season, we saw the Ephs score an exciting win in overtime, thanks to an 11-yard burst by quarterback Bobby Maimaron. Amherst forced the extra session midway through the fourth quarter by scoring a pair of touchdowns in a span of 25 seconds. Both teams enjoyed successful 2017 campaigns, which means this year’s game in Amherst will be one to follow.
Framingham State vs. Endicott: This game has always been my welcome back to college football contest. Sure, they’re two different teams that are headed in different directions at the moment, but you know this is a game both players circle when schedules are released. Framingham State has dominated the series most recently, but this year could be different with Paul McGonagle pacing the Endicott sidelines.
Framingham State vs. Bridgewater State: This is has always been a go-to game in the MASCAC. A lot of the players on both rosters played either with or against each other in high school. So there is some bragging rights on the line. Bridgewater State needed some late heroics in 2016 to beat Framingham State – the win provided the Bears with the conference crown, along with an automatic invite into the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Jaquan Harris clinched the victory for the Rams with a late fourth quarter interception. Framingham State escaped Bridgewater with a six-point (19-13) win.
MIT-WPI: This has become a classic NEWMAC matchup – crazy to think it is a young rivalry, but it keeps getting better every season. Last fall, WPI managed to recover a crucial onside kick with with 20 seconds remaining to secure a 24-21 win over MIT. In 2016, Blaine Bursey kicked a 19-yard game-winning field goal in overtime to send WPI past the Engineers of MIT, 37-34. Bursey was also the difference in 2015 when the two teams met in Worcester as he booted a 26-yard field goal midway through the fourth to provide WPI with a 31-28 win.
Springfield-Western New England: Who will win this year’s Pynchon SAW? Springfield captured it last season, downing Western New England, 35-21. Perhaps this year’s game will be different – it is scheduled for Friday evening of Labor Day Weekend. Both programs are expected to be in the hunt for their respective conference crowns, so this is a great way to begin a new campaign with a solid win against a talented opponent.
Trinity vs. Wesleyan: It’s the battle of Connecticut! These two teams will once again be in the mix for a NESCAC crown this fall, so you know how important this game is, especially since it is the final contest for both squads. Trinity scored a convincing 28-3 victory last fall, so you have to wonder how the Cardinals of Wesleyan will respond this November.
Other Rivalries to Watch in New England D3 Football
Salve Regina-Western New England: This game has often decided the conference championship.
Husson-Western New England: The Eagles of Husson proved they are a team to keep an eye on in New England last year with an impressive win over Springfield. These two teams met last year with WNE winning the game by a touchdown (21-14)
Becker-Nichols: If you’re looking for another ‘battle of Worcester’ then look no further than Becker-Nichols.
Bates-Bowdoin, Bates-Colby & Bowdoin-Colby (CBB Trophy): Bates captured last season’s CBB (Colby, Bates & Bowdoin) trophy with victories over Bowdoin and Colby. Can they do it against this fall?
Castleton-Norwich: It’s the battle for the Sap Bucket! Castleton won it last season, so can Norwich win it this year?
Coast Guard-Merchant Marine: This game was on ESPN last year and will continue to be a game to circle with both teams playing in the NEWMAC.
Fitchburg State-Worcester State: Looking for another Worcester rivalry? Then look no further than Falcons-Lancers.
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