Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak will be one of many players to watch on the Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)
Our early New England D-III football coverage has begun with our ‘Way Too Early‘ Top 20 Poll – what did you think?
Now, it is time to dig a bit deeper and highlight a few teams we believe fans should watch (and keep their eyes on) once the season officially kicks-off in a few months.
Dean College: After winning their first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title last November, the Bulldogs enter the 2020 season with a great deal of momentum. Sure, their 2019 campaign concluded with a difficult loss to the Gulls of Endicott College in the New England Bowl, but with a slew of starters expected to return this fall, including quarterback Terrell Watts, wide receiver Errol Breaux, and defensive end Wadell Alceus, don’t expect these Bulldogs to take a step backward.
Endicott College: The Gulls – like most squads highlighted on this list – did graduate some key players from last year’s squad, as well as their 2018 campaign, too. But Endicott does return some important pieces on both sides of the ball, including tight end Riley Shanley, defensive back Dylan Gardner, quarterback Dylan Bonfilio, and linebackers Tim Russell and Kevin O’Brien. All five players, along with some newcomers and returners will make the Gulls a team to continue to watch in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) conference.
Framingham State: After a slow start to its 2019 campaign, the Rams scored a must-needed win over Westfield State, which provided Framingham with all the momentum they needed to win their conference’s crown. This year, the Rams will look a bit different – they won’t have quarterback Adam Wojenskiunder center – but will have return some key pieces on both sides of the ball, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Year. On defense, look for Joshua Onujiogu to lead a unit that limited opposing rushing attacks to less than 100 yards per game.
Middlebury College: After winning nine consecutive contests last fall, it is hard to pick against these Panthers, who will certainly be challenged from the get-go. Yes, the Panthers bid farewell to some key players from a year ago, but welcome back quarterback Will Jernigan for one more season. Jernigan will be tasked with leading an offense that averaged 30.6 points per game while registering 410.6 yards per contest.
UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was fun to watch last season – he recorded career-bests in passing yards per game (277.6) and touchdowns (20) while rushing for a career-high six scores. Gacioch should be the player to watch again with these Corsairs, who ended their 2019 campaign with seven wins.
Wesleyan University: Quarterback Ashton Scott enjoyed a successful 2019 season – he finished with 17 touchdowns while completing 147 of 240 passes for 1,939 yards. Scott will be one of a few players to watch on offense – keep your eyes on halfback Glenn Smith and wide receiver Matthew Simco – while Taj Gooden will be asked to lead a defense that limited opponents to 19.1 points per game.
Williams College: We believe this Ephs team has a chance to win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) this fall. They will be challenged, of course, but with quarterback Bobby Maimaron guiding the offense to linebackers Jarrett Wesner and TJ Rothmann leading the defense, these Ephs should be well-prepared to combat whatever they will face once their season begins in September.
Western New England: Some believed the Golden Bears were a bit lower than anticipated on our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll last week. And you know, we agree – these Golden Bears should have been a bit higher on our poll. Wide receiver Steven Fedorchak and linebacker Erich Keutmann should be able to help the Blue and Gold defend their conference crown not just against Endicott, but also other league foes.
A few other teams worth noting – we will certainly have more on them – include MIT, Salve Regina, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Western Connecticut.
A pair of New England D-III Football teams appeared on today’s NCAA East Regional Rankings, which were unveiled for the first time this season.
Western New England, which leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), checked-in fifth on the ten-team list, while WPI, which is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), secured the ninth position.
Salisbury University was the top team – the Sea Gulls boast a 7-0 record heading into the tenth week of the 2019 season, while Wesley College and Delaware Valley checked-in second and third, respectively. Union College, which currently sits atop the Liberty League (LL) with an 8-0 record and 5-0 conference mark, secured the fourth position.
Ithaca College, the College at Brockport, and SUNY Cortland checked-in sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, while WPI and Wilkes University rounded out the poll.
Western New England, which has won all five conference games this fall, including a 42-31 win last weekend against Endicott College, can clinch its conference crown this Saturday, November 9th with a win over Becker College.
WPI, which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped last Saturday against MIT, will look to rebound on Saturday when they host Coast Guard Academy.
With the eighth week of the New England Division III Football season in the books, it is time to unveil our offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, 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 at least 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 and shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
As usual, stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.
Salve Regina University second-year back Joey Mauriello rushed for five touchdowns last Saturday in his team’s win over Becker College. PHOTO COURTESY: George Corrigan
Offensive Player of the Week: Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University | Halfback | Colts Neck, N.J.): For the second time this season, Mauriello rushed for five touchdowns as the Seahawks defeated Becker College, 45-0, last Saturday in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league play.
The second-year halfback rushed for 202 yards on 27 carries, which is an average of 7.5 yards per play. Mauriello has rushed for 200 yards three times this season while racking up 1,084 yards on 151 carries and 17 touchdowns in seven contests. Additionally, the New Jersey native has caught 11 passes for 80 yards.
Joshua Smiley and the Rams defense shined this past weekend against Western Connecticut. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photography)
Defensive Player of the Week: Joshua Smiley (Framingham State | Defensive End | Springfield, Mass.): Smiley was one of three defenders to record at least one sack last Saturday as the Rams defense shined in a battle of first-place teams.
The junior defensive end recorded a season-high three sacks for a loss of 24 yards, while also recording one forced fumble in his team’s 39-14 win over Western Connecticut. Smiley ended the game with five total tackles – three of those stops were sacks.
Through seven contests this fall, Smiley has tallied 27.0 total tackles, including 18 solo stops and seven-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 39 yards.
WPI’s Bryce Wade posted a season-high 12 points last week, which helped the Engineers defeat Merchant Marine, 66-13. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI Athletics)
Special Teams: Bryce Wade (WPI | Punter/Kicker | Modesto, Calif.): Wade tallied a season-high 12 points off 10 kicks last Saturday against Merchant Marine, including a season-long 39-yard field goal.
Additionally, Wade recorded 10 kickoffs for 606 yards with two kicks resulting in a touchback. He also punted the ball once for 40 yards.
Through seven games, Wade has tallied a career-high 57 points off 36 extra points and seven field goals.
For the second-straight season, Nichols College defeated the University of New England. But on Saturday, they needed not one, but four overtime sessions to outlast the Nor’easters in Biddeford, Maine.
Halfback Joshua Pierre-Charles helped the Bison keep their conference title hopes alive by rushing for a two-yard touchdown in the fourth extra session following a 21-yard field goal by UNE’s Kevin Heintz to clinch the three-point victory.
With the win, the Bison improve to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league play.
Pierre-Charles concluded Saturday’s thriller with three touchdowns and a game-high 82 yards on 22 carries. He also caught three passes for 24 yards.
Nichols quarterback Michael Pina ended the game with 329 passing yards and three scores while adding 53 yards on nine carries.
UNE led Nichols, 21-14, at the break before both offenses swapped touchdowns and field goals over the final 30 minutes.
Quarterback Brian Peters completed 34 of 50 passes in the setback for 343 yards and four touchdowns – he also rushed for three yards on five carries.
Nichols’ Joe Cox led the defense with 11 total tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for a loss of four yards. He also added one pass break-up, too.
The Bison face Husson University next weekend in another must-win game for Nichols, which needs to beat the Eagles, Curry College, and Endicott College to have a chance to secure the league title. Nicholas did lose earlier this month to Western New England but has scored conference wins over UNE, Becker College and Salve Regina.
Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England all scored conference wins this afternoon – the Gulls and Golden Bears are currently tied for the top spot in the conference and will meet next Saturday, November 2nd in Springfield, Massachusetts with the winner securing the inside track to the conference crown.
Adam Wojenski accounted for five touchdowns, including four through the air, which helped Framingham State defeat Western Connecticut, 39-14, and secure the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) with three weeks remaining.
Wojenski completed 15 of 25 passes for 176 yards while rushing for a game-high 84 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown.
The Framingham State defense ended the game with 10 tackles for a loss of 57 yards, including six sacks for a loss of 38 yards. Adeboye Oyaronbi tallied seven total tackles, including four solo stops and two sacks for a loss of 12 yards, while Cully Curran paced the unit with 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops.
Western Connecticut’s Will Daniels led all receivers with eight catches for 149 yards and one touchdown.
With today’s win over the Colonials, the Rams have won five-straight contests since starting the season with back-to-back losses. Framingham State visits Massachusetts Maritime Academy next Saturday – the Buccaneers lost to Plymouth State this afternoon by a score of 7-3.
While Western Connecticut sees its six-game winning streak conclude, they still have a chance to win the MASCAC crown, pending how the final three weeks play out. The Colonials have already beaten Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime, two teams the Rams will face the next two weeks.
Westfield State scored its first win of the season with a 26-7 victory against Fitchburg State. Leesandro Colon rushed for a pair of touchdowns while finishing the game with 132 yards on 20 carries.
Westfield’s Joseph Mazzotta led the Owls defense with 14 total tackles, while George Cole added 12 total stops.
Terrell Watts accounted for five touchdowns – three through the air, two on the ground – while Saquan Kelly rushed for a game-high 80 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown as Dean College defeated Gallaudet University, 56-35, to secure the top spot in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 3-4 overall and 3-0 in conference play with just two games remaining. Dean needs to beat Alfred State and Castleton University the next two weeks in order to secure the program’s first-ever ECFC title.
The Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) title race is down to just three teams: Endicott, Nichols, and Western New England. The Golden Bears currently have the edge with a win over the Bison earlier this month, but the Gulls can secure their first-ever CCC title with a victory next Saturday against the Golden Bears, along with a win over the Bison two weeks later. Endicott will also need to beat UNE, too – both Nichols and WNE have beaten the Nor’easters this season.
With today’s win over Western Connecticut, Framingham State controls its own destiny with three weeks remaining. They need to beat Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, along with Worcester State in week 11. The Rams defense (and its offense, too) seem to be peaking at the right time, but their next two matchups against the Bears and Buccaneers are no gimmes.
Middlebury College remains the frontrunner in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), but cannot overlook its next two foes, Hamilton College and Tufts University. Hamilton beat Tufts this afternoon in Somerville, Massachusetts – they also scored an exciting win last week against Amherst College, which lost to Wesleyan University in double-overtime earlier today. If the Panthers can get past the Continentals next Saturday, then they should be able to find a way to beat the Jumbos in their season finale.
Both Wesleyan and Williams College are both in a position to still win the NESCAC, thanks to wins earlier this fall against Hamilton and Tufts. The Ephs and Cardinals will meet next week in Middletown, Connecticut with second place on the line.
WPI appears destined to win the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The Engineers defeated Merchant Marine, 66-13, to secure their seventh win of the season. WPI will face MIT next weekend in a game the Engineers of Cambridge need to win in order to keep their title hopes alive.
Endicott College 41, Husson University 16
Nichols College 51, University of New England 48 (4OT)
Joe Kalosky and the Endicott College Gulls began their stretch run with an impressive win over Curry College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nick Grace)
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
The seventh week of the New England D-III Football season is in the books. There were some interesting outcomes, as well as some surprises, too.
Week seven also helped me (and others) identify which teams are still in the mix for their respective conference crowns and what squads will play spoiler over the final four weeks of the 2019 season.
Here are seven thoughts (and takeaways) from what I learned from this past weekend.
1. Endicott College looks primed for a successful stretch run. The Gulls entered their bye week with a 4-1 record – I thought prior to their first game of the season against Framingham State that they would be 3-2 entering week seven – but between the play of their offense and defense, as well as kicker Nick DiCairano, I just can’t imagine any of their four remaining opponents halting their current momentum which they have gained over the past few weeks.
Endicott almost beat Wesley College last month, which would have been a huge feather in their cap but have rebounded quite well since the setback with three-straight Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) wins, including a hard-fought victory on the road against Salve Regina University.
iQuarterback Joe Kalosky has looked very comfortable behind an offensive line that has allowed him to go through his motions and find open receivers either over the middle or down the field. Additionally, first-year wideout Anthony Bracamonte has become a go-to target for the senior signal-caller – look for the former Thornton Academy receiver to help the Gulls continue their recent momentum this upcoming week against Husson University.
2. Middlebury College seems to be a lock for the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). I picked the Panthers to beat the Cardinals of Wesleyan University this past weekend, but I didn’t expect the Blue and White to produce 45 points in 60 minutes.
Quarterback Will Jernigan had his best game of the season (in my opinion) by tossing four touchdowns in the win while completing 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards.
Maxwell Rye was also instrumental in his team’s sixth win of the season, too – the senior wide receiver from Longmeadow, Massachusetts has enjoyed his best season with the Panthers, catching 26 passes for 493 yards and four touchdowns. The four touchdown receptions are the most Rye has recorded in a single-season.
On defense, Jack Pistorius continues to be a player to watch on Middlebury – he tallied a team-high 10 total tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 11 yards.
The win over the Cardinals was the Panthers’ most impressive performance of the season – yes, they looked good against Amherst College and Trinity College, but Saturday’s effort should translate into three more wins, beginning this Saturday against Bowdoin College.
Bridgewater State head coach Joe Verria and the Bears have won four-straight contests since starting the season with three-straight losses. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bridgewater State University Office of Sports Information)
3. Bridgewater State remains a team to watch in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). The Bears are still very much alive in the MASCAC with four weeks remaining.
Their 56-20 win over UMass Dartmouth helped the Red and White keep pace for the top spot with Framingham State and Western Connecticut, two teams that enter the eighth week of the 2019 season with identical undefeated conference records. Bridgewater lost to Western Connecticut earlier this season – they had a few chances to win that game – and will visit the Rams in the second week of November in what could determine a possible conference champion.
Bridgewater State quarterback Stefano D’Emilia re-wrote the record book yesterday against the Corsairs with eight touchdowns, including three on the ground. He threw for a school-record 345 yards while becoming the second Bears signal-caller to throw for more than 5,000 yards (Danny Higgins, who was a teammate of D’Emilia, concluded his career with 6,091 passing yards).
D’Emilia’s five touchdowns tied a school record – the former Bridgewater-Raynham Trojan also caught a two-point conversion in his team’s win over the Corsairs.
The Bears will be idle this upcoming weekend but should be able to maintain their recent momentum in two weeks when they host Plymouth State at 4 p.m.
4. Dean College needs three more wins to wrap-up its inaugural Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Title. I was bullish on the Bulldogs prior to their first game of the 2019 season. And I still am after back-to-back wins against Anna Maria College and SUNY-Maritime.
Against the Privateers, the Bulldogs defense recorded 12 tackles for a loss of 60 yards, including 10 sacks for a loss of 58 yards. Tyzohn Poole and Desmond Dias combined for five sacks for 30 yards, while quarterback Terrell Watts threw two touchdowns while adding a third score on the ground.
Yesterday against Anna Maria, Watts tossed four touchdowns, while adding a fifth score on the ground (four carries for one yard). Dias led the defense with 12 total tackles, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 15 yards.
If the offense and defense can duplicate their performance from the past two weeks then I expect the Bulldogs to win their final road game of the season against Gallaudet University this Saturday. A win over the Bison should provide the squad with enough momentum to cap their regular-season slate with back-to-back wins against Alfred State and Castleton University.
Randy Morgan established a new single-season record mark with the Becker College football team on Saturday against Nichols College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley
5. Randy Morgan continues to be a player to watch at Becker College. First-year tailback Randy Morgan has enjoyed a very successful start to his college career – yesterday against Nichols College, he established a new single-season record for rushing yards in a season by tallying 188 yards on 27 carries.
Morgan broke the program’s old record of 674 rushing yards in a season, which was established by Jacob Holmes in 2015.
Through six games this season, Morgan has rushed for 733 yards on 132 carries and seven touchdowns, while adding four receptions for 48 yards. The seven rushing touchdowns are the most recorded by any member of the Hawks this season.
Morgan has rushed for 100 yards or more in four of six games this season and should have no problem finishing his team’s 2019 season with 1,000 yards or more.
6. Springfield College remains in the hunt for a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship. After starting their season 1-3, Springfield has rebounded quite nicely with wins over Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine, and Norwich Academy.
The Pride, who were certainly a team expected to contend for their second conference crown this fall, currently sit a spot below WPI, which beat Springfield in week four by a score of 35-21.
WPI is the only undefeated team in the NEWMAC. They host Merchant Marine this weekend in a very important match-up. A loss to the Mariners would help the Pride’s chances of winning the title, but of course, Springfield needs to win its remaining three games, including Saturday’s meeting with Catholic University.
Pending how the next four weeks play out, look for Springfield to play an extra game in November – they will either compete in the NCAA Tournament or a New England Bowl.
7. Coast Guard Academy’s Ryan Jones was a player to watch against Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday. Quarterback Ryan Jones enjoyed his best game of the season with the Bears by completing 26 of 34 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones concluded the contest by becoming the fourth signal-caller in Coast Guard Academy football program history to throw for more than 4,000 yards. Currently, Jones has thrown for 4,145 yards, including 1,382 yards through seven contests this season.
Jones connected with Justin Moffatt 13 times in his team’s 33-8 win over Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday. The 13 receptions were a career-best for Moffat, who broke the single-game record for receiving yards (256), which was originally held by Collis Brown, who hauled in 244 yards against Western New England in 2013. Moffat ended the game with two touchdowns.