Noontime’s ‘What If’ D3 Football Conference Champion Predictions

Bobby Maimaron and the Williams College football team would have been one of our teams to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College)

By Matt Noonan

Like many of our fans and friends, I miss New England D-III football. But as an optimist, I believe we’ll see our favorite teams and student-athletes back on the gridiron at this time next year vying for conference crowns, along with at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

And speaking of conference crowns – and yes, the national postseason, too – I thought it would be fun to produce a special Noontime’s ‘What If‘ post on which teams I believe would have won their respective conference this fall.

As expected, these predictions were not easy as there are a slew of teams and programs capable of winning their respective conference, but here are my predictions. And as usual, you can share your thoughts with me on social media, as well as send a note to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): Western New England

For the past few seasons, the Golden Bears have been the team to watch and beat in this conference. And once again, Western New England would be the squad to watch in the CCC this fall. They would most likely enter their final game of the regular season with two important wins against Endicott College and Salve Regina University. And like most teams highlighted in this post, the 2020 Golden Bears would look a bit different than previous years, especially on offense as they would have a new quarterback, but their defense would be be a unit to watch – it would be led by linebacker Erich Keutmann, who was named a D3Football.com Preseason All-America second-teamer in September.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College

The Bulldogs captured their first-ever conference crown last season, thanks to quarterback Terrell Watts, who was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, along with wide receiver Errol Breaux and safety Tyzohn Poole. Of course, there would be other student-athletes to watch as the season progressed, but at this point of the 2020 season, the Bulldogs would have claimed some important wins against Castleton University and SUNY Maritime. They would have also beaten a new D-III football team: Keystone College.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State University

Like Western New England, it is hard to pick against the Rams, which would be starting a new chapter in its program history with first-year coach Aynsley Rosenbaum, who spent the past 12 seasons overseeing the Framingham State offense. But like prior years, this would be the team to watch in the MASCAC. Sure, they would look a bit different on offense without quarterback Adam Wojenski, who graduated last spring, but the Rams would welcome back some key pieces from that unit, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the 2019 MASCAC Rookie of the Year. Framingham State would be challenged for the top spot by Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Williams College

The Ephs of Williams College suffered just two setbacks last season, including an opening day loss to Middlebury College, which would be a game circled on their calendar this season. Williams would somehow find a way to beat the Panthers at home, along with Wesleyan University, which tripped up the Ephs prior to their season-ending win over Amherst College last November. But for the Ephs to win the NESCAC, they would not only need to beat Amherst, Middlebury, and Wesleyan, but also Trinity College and Tufts University. Additionally, let’s not overlook Colby College and Hamilton College, which would challenge the Purple and Yellow, but in the end, quarterback Bobby Maimaron, along with the rest of the Ephs would make just a few more plays in all nine contests to secure the NESCAC title.

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

Sure, MIT maybe the favorite after winning the NEWMAC crown the past two years, but it would be hard to overlook Springfield College, which would be led by halfback Hunter Belzo and linebacker AJ Smith. The Pride, which finished with six wins last year, would win at least seven, maybe eight games this season, but their most important victory would occur during the final weekend of the regular season against the Engineers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Early D3 Football Outlook: Teams To Watch In 2020

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Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak will be one of many players to watch on the Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

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 Wojenski under 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. 

D3 Football: WNE, WPI Appear On East Regional Rankings

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

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.

D3 Football: Zelos Athletics Players Of The Week (Oct. 28th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

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


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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.


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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.


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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.

D3 Football: Nichols Outlasts UNE, Framingham State Tops West Conn.

SATURDAY ROUNDUP

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

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.


Quick Hitters 

  • 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.

Saturday’s Scoreboard 

  • Endicott College 41, Husson University 16
  • Nichols College 51, University of New England 48 (4OT)
  • Western New England 49, Curry College 27
  • Salve Regina 45, Becker College 0
  • Alfred State 21, Castleton University 15
  • Dean College 56, Gallaudet University 35
  • SUNY-Maritime 13, Anna Maria College 10 (OT)
  • Framingham State 39, Western Connecticut 14
  • Plymouth State 7, Mass. Maritime Academy 3
  • Westfield State 26, Fitchburg State 7
  • UMass Dartmouth 46, Worcester State  8
  • Colby College 23, Bates College 20
  • Hamilton College 36, Tufts University 21
  • Williams College 29, Trinity College 15
  • Wesleyan University 31, Amherst College (2OT)
  • Middlebury College 47, Bowdoin College 29
  • Norwich University 51, Maine Maritime Academy 10
  • MIT 22, Coast Guard Academy 16
  • WPI 66, Merchant Marine 13
  • Springfield College 49, Catholic University 21