Noontime Rewind: The Best New England D-III Football Teams of the 2010s

NSRWD3FB2010s

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Sunday, everyone! And welcome back for yet another Noontime Sports rewind post where we reflect on coverage from both the current year and decade (the twenty-tens!).

This particular post will highlight some of the best teams we covered in New England D-III football – let the debate and conversations begin.

As usual, if you have any thoughts (or inputs) please comment below, but again, thanks for stopping by and reading a brand new rewind – let’s go!


The 2010 Williams College Ephs: Williams secured its third outright title with a perfect 8-0 mark which was capped by an end of season win over Amherst College. Additionally, the Purple and Gold captured the Little Three crown while producing their seventh perfect season in program history.

The 2011 Endicott College Gulls: In 2011, the Gulls captured 10 of 11 contests while averaging 40.5 points per game. The offense, led by quarterback Phil Konopka, was impressive, but the same could be said for the Endicott defense, which limited opponents to 16.5 points per contest. Kevin Eagan, who played just one season for the Gulls at defensive line, tallied 104.0 total tackles in 11 contests, including 55 solo stops and 23 tackles for a loss of 87 yards. Endicott finished the season with back-to-back wins, including an ECAC North Atlantic Bowl victory over Mount Ida College.

The 2012 Framingham State Rams: After finishing their 2011 campaign with a 7-4 mark, these Rams flipped the switch following an opening day loss to Endicott College by winning ten-straight contests, including a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship against Salve Regina University. Salve Regina was projected to win this particular meeting, but the Seahawks struggled to contain FSU halfback Melikke Van Alstyne, who rushed for 96 yards and two scores. James Muirhead concluded the contest with eight total tackles, including six solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble. FSU would advance to the NCAA D-III Tournament but see their bid toward a national title conclude at Cortland State.

The 2013 Endicott College Gulls: Drew FrenetteSpencer Walsh, and Nate Lewis, along with the Endicott defense highlighted an exciting end of season win over Salve Regina to secure the program’s second NEFC crown in four seasons, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Endicott recorded its first shutout of the season and finished 2013 with an 8-3 record. The Gulls entered the postseason with a seven-game winning streak after starting its 2013 campaign with a 2-2 record.

The 2014 MIT Engineers: MIT advanced to the postseason for the first time in school history and won an exciting opening round contest against Husson University before falling to Wesley College in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The Engineers finished 10-1 in 2014 – they scored some exciting wins over Western New EnglandEndicott College, and Coast Guard Academy to secure their initial New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship in program history. MIT averaged 446.8 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per contest.

The 2015 Western New England Golden Bears: Western New England captured 10 of 11 contests in 2015, including a pair of conference victories against Endicott and Salve Regina. The Golden Bears produced 40 points or more in five contests and secured a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament in late November.

The 2016 Western New England Golden Bears: Despite ending their season with a six-point setback to Alfred in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament, the 2016 Golden Bears were very impressive, winning 11 of 12 contests by an average score of 39.8 to 19.0. WNE averaged 460.1 yards of total offense in 12 contests and limited opposing offenses to just 110.1 yards on the ground per game. They scored impressive wins over Springfield CollegeUnion College, and Endicott College before beating Husson University in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The 2017 Husson University Eagles: Coach Gabby Price led the Eagles to not just an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown in 2017, but also an upset win over Springfield College in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. Husson beat a very impressive Springfield team, which entered the postseason on a ten-game winning streak. Halfback John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two touchdowns while Elvin Suazo and the defense limited the Pride to a season-low 264 yards of total offense.

The 2018 Trinity College Bantams: The Bantams concluded their 2018 campaign not just with a 9-0 win over rival Wesleyan University, but also with their third consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. Trinity won eight of nine contests and was able to win their ninth conference crown due to a 27-16 win earlier in the season against Amherst College. Trinity averaged 464.3 yards of total offense and 36.0 points per game while limiting opposing defenses to 67.7 rushing yards and 10.0 points.

The 2019 Middlebury College Panthers: Coach Bob Ritter led the Panthers to their first-ever 9-0 season in program history, along with a 2019 NESCAC championship. The team averaged 410.6 yards of total offense, including 227.4 passing yards while limiting opponents to 108.0 rushing yards per game. Middlebury scored some exciting wins this fall, along with some nail-bitters against Amherst College and Colby College. They scored 45 points against Wesleyan University in late October before producing 47 points one week later against Bowdoin College.

The Early Preseason Outlook: Fitchburg State Falcons

FSU FALCONS SOCIAL

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage continues with a closer look at the Fitchburg State Falcons, who begin their season on Saturday, September 7th when they visit Cortland State for a 12 p.m. kick-off.

The Falcons’ 2018 Season: Fitchburg State capped its season with a 32-29 win over UMass Dartmouth to provide the Green and Gold with some momentum (and optimism) heading into the offseason.

The Falcons mustered just two wins last fall but were competitive in a few conference clashes, including an early-season setback to Worcester State.

The Falcons’ 2018 squad featured 34 first-years and 27 sophomores – the experience these student-athletes gained should help them this upcoming season.

The 2019 Outlook: As noted above, the Falcons were young last year, so the experience the squad gained should help them be more competitive this fall, both in and outside the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). The Falcons graduated nine members of the 2018 squad, including halfback Sterlin Garvin, who led the unit with 10 rushing touchdowns along with defensive back Jared Citizen.

But despite the graduation losses, the Falcons return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, including linebacker Melchior Lynch, who led the defense with 58.0 total tackles, and quarterback Brandon Brown. Brown was a first-year quarterback last season – he was spotted under center in all 10 games but did split some reps with Connor Fitzsimons, who could also be counted on to lead the offense this fall, as well.

Brown finished second on the team in rushing – he rushed for 519 yards on 85 carries and four scores – while Jacqua Solomon tallied 498 yards on 109 carries and one touchdown.

Back for his final season is wide-out Jesse Brown, who led the receiving core with 44 receptions for 493 yards and three touchdowns. He, along with Kevin Quinn will most likely be Brown’s go-to targets.

Connor Briggs will be a player to watch on the offensive line, along with Darious Morkeski.

Fitchburg State’s Schedule: Following an opening day meeting with the Red Dragons, the Falcons will host Castleton University before hopping into conference play with games against Bridgewater State and UMass Dartmouth.

The schedule won’t get any easier for the Green and Gold as the calendar turns from September to October with some important conference meetings with Plymouth State and Framingham State.

A late-season meeting with Worcester State on Friday, November 1st will be a game to watch, as well, before the Falcons cap their season with a ‘Senior Day’ clash with Western Connecticut. 

Players to Watch: Brandon Brown (Quarterback/Lake Mary, Fla.), Connor Fitzsimons (Quarterback/Flushing, N.Y.), Jesse Brown (Wide Receiver/ Yonkers, N.Y.), Kevin Quinn (Wide Receiver/Holliston, Mass.), Connor Briggs (Offensive Line/East Taunton, Mass.), Darious Morkeski (Offensive Line/Methuen, Mass.), Melchior Lynch (Linebacker/Roxbury, Mass.), Caleb Gonsalves (Defensive Line/Mashpee, Mass.), Samuel Kenny (Defensive Line/South Yarmouth, Mass.) and Richard Austin (Defensive Back/Wareham, Mass.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

10 Games To Watch In Week Two

10 Games To Watch

By NoontimeSports.com 

Week two of the New England D3 Football season officially begins this evening with some intriguing match-ups, including SUNY Maritime versus Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Curry College at MIT.

Let’s kick-off a brand new week of games with our weekly 10 Games to Watch post, including predictions, too.

Curry College at MIT (Friday, September 8th at 7 p.m.): Both teams came out of week one victorious, but Curry may have the momentum heading into this one after a hard-fought home win over Fitchburg State. MIT’s Chad Martinovich described his team’s 28-0 win over Becker a week ago as a “family win.” The Engineers will need all three units (offense, defense and special teams) to assist them against the Colonels. PREDICTION: Curry 28, MIT 21

SUNY Maritime at Mass. Maritime Academy (Friday, September 8 at 7 p.m.): Richie Phillips had a monstrous game last year against the Privateers, rushing for three touchdowns and 100 yards on 15 carries. Will he do it again this evening? We’ll have to wait and find out! PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 30, SUNY Maritime 28 

Western New England at Westfield State (Friday, September 8 at 7 p.m.): Quarterback Anthony Service and the Golden Bears’ offense won’t be an easy unit for the Owls’ defense to slow down, so look for WNE to score a bounce-back win against Westfield State this evening. PREDICTION: WNE 28, Westfield State 10 

Endicott College at Bridgewater State (Saturday, September 9 at 12 p.m.): This is an intriguing match-up – both teams haven’t squared-off since 2012 – but it will certainly be a game to follow on Saturday. Bridgewater State won the last meeting, defeating the Gulls at home by a score of 20-14, but can Endicott even the score with a week two win? PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 27, Endicott 17 

Montclair State at Salve Regina (Saturday, September 9 at 12 p.m.): This is a big test for the Seahawks, which won their season-opener by a touchdown against Worcester State. The defense will need to step-up, especially against a talented Red Hawks offense, which will provide challenges on the outside. Keep an eye on Julanee Prince and Joe Schultz in this one. PREDICTION: Montclair State 24, Salve Regina 22

Husson at Dean College   (Saturday, September 9 at 12 p.m.): This will certainly be a game to watch on Saturday as the Bulldogs make their Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) debut against the defending champion Eagles. Dean enters the season with a slew of first-year players, but Coach Steve Tirrell believes they’ll be ready to compete against some challenging foes this fall, including Husson. Dean’s biggest task in its season-opener: find a way to slow down Husson’s John SmithPREDICTION: Husson 28, Dean 21 

Kean at Springfield College (Saturday, September 9 at 12 p.m.): This is Kean’s season-opener – not sure how they will do this season, but they’ll certainly provide a unique challenge for our top team in this week’s Noontime Sports Top 10 poll. Look for Springfield’s ground-and-pound game to highlight this contest. Prediction: Springfield 21, Kean 16 

Cortland State at Framingham State (Saturday, September 9 at 12 p.m.): Following a big win over Endicott last weekend, the Rams will look to continue its momentum against a talented Red Dragons squad, which defeated them last season, 49-21. This is a big-time, early season test for Coach Tom Kelley‘s squad – if they pull this one out, it will be because of its defense. Nathan Fleming could be a player to watch in this game for the Rams. Prediction: Framingham State 34, Cortland State 33 

Coast Guard at Union College (Saturday, September 9 at 1 p.m.): Union’s defense should provide Ethan Goldcamp and the Bears’ offense with some challenges, but perhaps the player to watch in this game will be kicker/punter Cole Austin, who recorded 10 points (two field goals,  last week in his team’s opening day win over Alfred State. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 23, Union 21 

RPI at WPI (Saturday, September 9 at 1 p.m.): Earlier this week, WPI senior Dereck Pacheco told us that this particular match-up is the equivalent to Michigan-Ohio State. This game is always a must-see or must-follow because its a trophy game (Transit Trophy). PREDICTION: WPI 27, RPI 21 

Teams To Watch In 2017: Framingham State Rams

Quron Wright

Framingham State’s football team will once again be a squad to follow (and watch) this season in New England. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin Photography)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Name: Framingham State Rams

Ranking:
The Rams checked-in fourth overall on our ‘Preseason Top 10’ poll, which was posted on Twitter on Monday, July 31st.

2016 Recap: Last season was not your typical campaign for the Rams. Instead of contending for some national hardware in the NCAA Division III Tournament, Coach Tom Kelley‘s squad capped it season by capturing the first-ever New England Bowl championship. Yet, prior to defeating the Salve Regina in the region’s inaugural bowl game, the Rams sustained a few difficult plays, bounces and moments in a trio of games, including a heart-breaking 28-27 overtime loss to Bridgewater State, which provided the Bears with the conference crown and automatic bid to the postseason. Excluding the team’s three setbacks, the Rams did secure some quality wins over Endicott College (32-21), Western Connecticut State (23-17) and Fitchburg State (14-0). Framingham State will face all three teams this fall.

Key Losses: Trevon Offley (Running Back), Jalen Green (Running Back), Chris Dagg (Specialist), Aaron Owens (Linebacker) and Jaleel Wingard (Defensive Back).

Players to Watch: Adam Wojenski (Quarterback), Zak Walker (Quarterback), Quron Wright (Running Back), Napoleon Miller (Wide Receiver), Mike Calicchio (Wide Receiver), Stephen Beahn (Wide Receiver), Joe Wilder (O-Line), Thomas Burns (Defensive Back), Svenn Jacobson (Linebacker), Campbell Marchant (D-Line), Brian Donahue (Linebacker), Jaquan Harris (Defensive Back) and Joshua Onujiogu (D-Line).

2017 Schedule: The road back to the NCAA Division III Tournament will begin with a visit to ‘the nest’ on Labor Day Weekend when Framingham State tangles with Endicott College in Beverly. One week later, the Rams will play its first home game of the season against a talented Cortland State squad from the Empire 8. The Red Dragons defeated the Rams last season in New York, but the Rams’ offense still managed to tally 327 total yards of offense, while the defense recorded a pair of sacks and interceptions. This will be another quality test for the Rams before they hop into Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play in week three against Bridgewater State. Their 28-27 overtime loss from last year should certainly be motivation for the squad heading into this particular outing. Framingham State will conclude its initial month of play against Massachusetts Maritime Academy – this is always a fun game to attend because of the Kelley connection between both schools (Tom’s son Mike Kelley is a MMA alum and assistant coach for the Buccaneers. He is also the school’s baseball coach, too). Visits to Fitchburg State and Plymouth State highlight the month of October, while November will feature a pair of home dates against Western Connecticut State and Worcester State.

Season Outlook: Checking-in second on the conference’s preseason coaches poll, the Rams, who perhaps could have been picked to capture the league’s crown this fall, will certainly be one of many MASCAC squads to watch this season. Both non-conference games to start the season will be critical for the squad’s success, but the same could be said for its week three match-up at Bridgewater State. On paper, this squad looks ready to challenge the Bears for the conference’s crown, as well as the automatic bid to the ‘big dance.’ Quarterback Adam Wojenski gained a great deal of experience last year under center – the MASCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year appears ready to lead an offense that will feature a great deal of talent on the line and in the back field. Keep an eye on wide-out Stephen Beahn this season – he could be in for an exception senior year. On defense, linebacker Svenn Jacobson highlights a unit that should provide challenges to opposing offenses – this particular unit posses a great deal of experience and depth, which should help them be successful against both the run and pass.

Mass. College Lax: Wednesday D3 Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

There were a slew of Division 3 contests that occurred this afternoon and below is the various scores and summaries.

Men’s Lacrosse

No. 11 Endicott 14, UNE 5: Harrison Cotter recorded a hat trick, as well as provided the Gulls with the lead for good as he broke a 5-5 tie at halftime with a strike in the third quarter, which sparked a 9-0 run. Kyle Weber also recorded a hat trick, while Cameron Bell stopped five shots.

Regis 9, Anna Maria 4: Nicky Rodrigo registered five points (four goals, one assist) and provided the Pride with the lead for good when he netted an early second quarter strike, which sparked a 5-0 run. Lucas Stralka paced the AMCATs with three goals.

Babson 14, Medaille 7: John Harrison registered a hat trick, while Spencer Low, Scott Doten and Kyle Barsalou combined for six goals as the Beavers snapped a three-game skid.  

Women’s Lacrosse

No. 2 Trinity 10, Springfield 4: Emily Fowler recorded two goals, while Heather Raniolo and Michelle Dorsey each recorded one strike, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Pride past the second-ranked Bantams. Raniolo finished with four draw controls, while Dorsey added two helpers.

No. 4 Cortland State 17, Tufts 7: Caroline Ross recorded four points (three goals, one assist), while Kali DiGate and Gabby Horner each recorded two goals, but it wasn’t enough to slay the Red Dragons.

Wesleyan 10, Wheaton 5: Katy Ananian deflected a season-best 16 shots, while Leila Mills registered two goals, but it wasn’t enough for the Lyons to overcome 7-3 halftime deficit.