New England D3 Football: 11 Games To Watch In Week 11

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Saturday marks the final day of the NCAA Division III regular season. So, in honor of the 11th week of college football here in New England, I present 11 Games to Watch in Week 11.

Trinity at Wesleyan: The Bantams flexed their muscles a few weeks ago, proving they’re the team to beat in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a convincing win over Middlebury. Can they finish their campaign unbeaten? It won’t be easy, but expect a big day from sophomore tailback Max Chipouras, who will lead the Bantams to a conference crown. Prediction: Trinity 27, Wesleyan 20

Williams at Amherst: This is the biggest D3 game in the country tomorrow, hands down. Williams has shown improvement under first-year head coach Mark Raymond, and I think this is the game they finally break through. Prediction: Williams 20, Amherst 14

The Bobcats' defense held the Polar Bears to just one score last weekend, so expect the unit to have another big day against Hamilton. (Photo Credit: Bates College Athletics/Brian Foley)

The Bobcats’ defense held the Polar Bears to just one score last weekend, so expect the unit to have another big day against Hamilton. (Photo Credit: Bates College Athletics/Brian Foley)

Hamilton at Bates: Winners of two-straight, the Bobcats will look to cap their 2016 campaign with a season-finale win over the Continentals of Hamilton. Bates’ defense was impressive last week, holding Bowdoin to just one score, while tallying three interceptions and two sacks. Prediction: Bates 21, Hamilton 7

Tufts at Middlebury: Jay Civetti’s squad has enjoyed another impressive season, winning six of seven contests thus far. The Jumbos have a chance to share the NESCAC crown with a win – they would also need Wesleyan to defeat Trinity. I think Chance Brady caps his impressive career with the Powder Blue and White by scoring the game-winning touchdown to send Tufts past Middlebury for the second-straight season. Prediction: Tufts 31, Middlebury 24

Husson at Mount Ida: The Eagles provided an early season scare to perhaps the best team in the East Region – that would be Alfred. Since then, Coach Gabby Price’s squad has been on a roll, winning eight-straight contests. Can they make it nine in a row? It won’t be easy, especially against an up and coming Mount Ida squad, but look for halfback John Smith and quarterback Cory Brandon to lead the Eagles to their ninth-straight victory. Prediction: Husson 27, Mount Ida 14

Castleton at Norwich: The annual Maple Sap Bucket Trophy is on the line. The Spartans have won the last two meetings, but I think this year the Cadets will find a way to secure the coveted trophy for the first time since 2013. Prediction: Norwich 21, Castleton 17

Endicott at Curry: For the second-straight season, Coach Kevin DeWall’s Gulls have a chance to end their campaign at 5-5. Don’t expect this clash with the Colonels to be easy – last season both teams needed four extra sessions to determine the eventual winner. Let’s go with a late touchdown by the Gulls to send Endicott past Curry on the road. Prediction: Endicott 28, Curry 21

Coast Guard Academy at Western New England: Can the Bears slow down the Golden Bears? It’s possible, but expect Western New England to finish their season with a win, along with some additional momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: WNE 30, CGA 14

Expect another big day from Salve Regina halfback Sam Pascale. (Photo Credit: Salve Regina Athletics)

Expect another big day from Salve Regina halfback Sam Pascale. (Photo Credit: Salve Regina Athletics)

Salve Regina at Maine Maritime Academy: Despite a disappointing outcome last week, the Seahawks can cap their season by finishing undefeated on the road. Halfback Sam Pascale will be guide the ground attack – and his squad – to their eight win of the season. Prediction: Salve Regina 28. MMA 14

Mass. Maritime Academy at Bridgewater State: The Bears clinched the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown last weekend with an impressive road win over Framingham State. Expect this squad – now winners of seven-straight – to cap their regular season campaign with not only an eight consecutive win, but also winners of the Annual Cranberry Bowl, too. Prediction: Bridgewater State 28, MMA 14

St. Lawrence at WPI: Last weekend, the Engineers engineered a dramatic comeback to defeat Rochester on the road. Can they cap their respective campaign with a win over St. Lawrence? It won’t be easy, but how about a last minute field goal to send WPI past the Saints? Prediction: WPI 30, St. Lawrence 28

Mass. College Football: MMA’s Cameron Discusses The Cranberry Bowl


BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Massachusetts Maritime Academy will look to conclude its regular season slate with a victory against Bridgewater State in tomorrow’s 35th Annual Cranberry Bowl presented by Ocean Spray.

Buccaneers head coach Jeremy Cameron would certainly like to send his seniors, who have tallied 20 wins over the past four seasons, out with a win. And after yesterday’s luncheon concluded, we caught up with Cameron to chat about the game, as well as his team’s season.

On tomorrow’s game: “It would be a big step forward (to end our season with a win). 6-4 would be one of the best years we’ve had here in a long time, but then to beat Bridgewater for the second time in four years or the second time in 17 years would be a big step forward for us going into the offseason. It’s one of our goals and it’s what all of our energy is going toward right now.”

On the senior class: “They have and we have 17 of them, and there are some key players like Mike Stanton, Keith Caruso, Stefan Gustafson, Michael Sylvia, John Bochman, Sheldon Roper, John Moriarty (and) Brandon Rodrigues (are just a few), so I’d like to send those guys off and we just appreciate what that senior class has done to our program for the last four years.

“We start practice off every day by ringing a bell, which means it is time to go to work, so this week our seniors have been ringing the bell prior to practice, so we know what it means to them, while the other guys are pulling in the same direction to get that last win for them.”

On the team’s impressive statistical performances: “Offensively, we do try to push the tempo, so you’re obviously going to put up yards and things of that nature. Defensively, we just haven’t played consistent all year for a variety of reason and we make no excuses. We’ve got young players and we’ve had some guys get banged up, but we think we’ve got a solid plan in place, the kids believe in it, we think we’re going to have our best defensive effort this week and we’re confident that our offense will be consistent like they have all year.”

On the team’s growth this season: “We feel like the future is bright. We want to win and it gives us momentum in the offseason, but going into next year we feel pretty good. We feel we have two quarterbacks that are going to be good next year. Most of the receivers are back except for Keith Caruso, who is a valuable piece, but we do feel like we’ve got some young guys and if they step up a little bit more they could (equal) his contributions. We’ll miss Stefan Gustafson, although we’ve got a couple running backs that can be very good college football players and some of them have already proven that like Austin Pierce and David Yerxa. On the offensive line, we will have to replace John Moriarty, who will be a tough replacement because he’s a very, very good offensive lineman, but we’ve got some younger guys that have been in the system, so we feel good about them. (Finally and) realistically, the entire defense is back with the exception of Michael Sylvia, so what you see tomorrow is what you’ll see next year with a ton of game experience under their belt and we feel like we can put together a pretty solid defense next season.”

On defending BSU quarterback Mike McCarthy: “We’ve seen all of their games and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, but frankly I am just blown away by him. He’s an absolute stud. The way he runs the ball, week after week is amazing. You know you still can’t stop him and then when you allocate too many people to try and stop him he just pulls up and he can make all the throws, so the kid is one of the best football players that I have seen. He’s a competitor, tough and just the total package. We’re looking forward to seeing him play on Saturday, but we just hope to contain him.

“This guy is a legitimate quarterback. This kid can drop back and he can throw a 15-yard dig route, he can throw a 40-yard post (or) the vertical game, but this guy is the real guy.”

Mass. College Football: BSU’s McCarthy Discusses His Final Game

By Matt Noonan 

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Bridgewater State quarterback Mike McCarthy will suit up for the final time tomorrow as the Bears travel to Massachusetts Maritime Academy to take on the Buccaneers in the 35th Annual Cranberry Bowl presented by Ocean Spray.

McCarthy and his Bears won’t be competing after tomorrow’s final whistle due, but expect to play their best football of the season.

“It’s going to be real emotional game,” said McCarthy. “I’m just going to focus on leaving everything on the field and enjoying it. I am playing with some of my best friends for the last time, so it’s really going to mean a lot to me.”

Bridgewater enters the game with a 5-4 overall record, along with a 25-8-1 mark against the Buccaneers in this particular contest.

We quickly caught up with McCarthy following yesterday’s luncheon to chat about his final collegiate game. Below are highlights from our conversation.

On digesting the Framingham State setback: “Coming into this game with a trophy being involved and being able to compete for the last game with a lot of my teammates, it’s not a problem at all (to get motivated). We always get up for ‘The Scoop,’ and if we win this game then that’s a successful season, so we’re just really focusing on (tomorrow’s) game.”

On what’s been different this season than past seasons: “I think just knowing that it was probably my last year playing (to be honest). I worked as hard as I could (every day) and did not waste anytime during the offseason. Just knowing that (this was my final season) definitely helped. (These) are some of my best friends, so it really meant a lot to me to work as hard as I could.”

On concluding the college career with a victory and trophy: “It’s definitely an honor to play in this game. It’s such a big rivalry and it’s the 35th year (of this game), so I am looking forward to playing one more time, giving my all and do everything that I can to help our team win this game.”

Mass. College Football: BSU’s Denune Is Ready For The Cranberry Bowl

Bridgewater State head coach Chuck Denune is ready to lead the Bears into their final game of the season against Mass. Maritime. (Photo Credit: Bridgewater State Athletics)

Bridgewater State head coach Chuck Denune is ready to lead the Bears into their final game of the season against Mass. Maritime. (Photo Credit: Bridgewater State Athletics)


BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Bridgewater State will conclude its 2013 slate on Saturday when they travel to Massachusetts Maritime Academy to take on the Buccaneers in the 35th Annual Cranberry Bowl presented by Ocean Spray.

The Bears, who enter the contest with a 5-4 overall record, will look to earn their six win of the season, along with their 26th Cranberry Bowl crown. Bridgewater State has won this contest 25 times, according to the game’s program, which includes the two most recent meetings. Massachusetts Maritime has won this contest eight times, including five victories in Buzzards Bay.

After this afternoon’s luncheon concluded, Noontime Sports caught up with Bears head coach Chuck Denune to discuss the contest, as well as his team’s goals.

On preparing for the team’s final game: “Anytime that you’re playing a football game and you’re playing with football players – we’re competitive by nature, so if there’s something to play for it’s pride. It’s a hard thing to play for (pride), but (my) guys have been practicing hard all week and the fact of the matter is that this is going to be the last time a lot of these guys play this game and you want to send them out with that good feeling. You want to take a picture afterwards and smile while they’re doing it.”

On turning the page from Framingham State: “Come Monday, you put everything behind you and you get ready for the next game. That’s probably one of the toughest things about football is that you usually have to wait a week to play another game, but we’ve got work to do, we’re not ready yet, but we’ve got one more practice (tomorrow). There’s no time to dwell because you’ve got to pick up the pieces, you’ve got to correct the mistakes and you’ve got to try and get better.”

On the play of quarterback Mike McCarthy: “A lot of people (have asked about his play over the past few weeks), but he’s been (performing at a high level) all along. The biggest difference between the last two years is that he’s had a lot more talent around him, but since the time he came in and has started for us, he has just been (tremendous). He’s a football player, he’s a good man and I am going to miss him (next season). He’s going to finish one, two or three (in) passing all-time and he’s also the third leading rusher (in our conference), which includes all the running backs and his total offense is off the charts for our program. He doesn’t miss games, he doesn’t miss practices and he’s so unselfish. He’s an outstanding young man.”

On the play of the seniors: “They’ve been a terrific group to be around. Football is football, and it’s one of those things where we’re all supposed to be tough guys and stuff like that, but I don’t think you could have a sole and not get attached to these guys. These guys that have been playing for us – you get attached to them and obviously we’re going to miss them on the field, but we’re going to miss these guys being around every day because they become apart of your life. The hard work and commitment they’ve given us (is great and) you can’t thank them enough.”

On ending the season with a victory, along with the ‘Scoop’ trophy: “It needs to happen. It’s the last game, so besides it being the last game, it is also a statement game, too. Are we ready to go? Are we ready to get back on the horse and move forward? Everybody wants to win and you always want to end it with a win. It is a very important game.”

Cameron, Denune On The 34th Annual Cranberry Bowl

By Matt Noonan 

BUZZARDS BAY, MA – On Thursday afternoon, members of the Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime football teams came together for the 34thannual Ocean Cranberry Bowl luncheon, which was presented by Ocean Spray.

Both teams have experienced a great deal of success this season and once the luncheon concluded, both head coaches discussed their team’s season, as well as their outlook for Saturday’s contests, which kicks off at 12PM.

Last season, the Bears defeated the Buccaneers, 38-35 and claimed the annual “scoop.” Mass. Maritime’s last victory came in 2010 when they won on their own turf.

Bridgewater State HC Chuck Denune:

What is so special about this particular rivalry?

“It means so much. I think one of the biggest things besides the fact that [there’s a] tradition is that there’s a reminder in the back of your head that it could be the last game for so many different young men and that’s probably the one thing that carries a lot of weight on your shoulders knowing that aspect, but other than that it’s just real exciting. To come down and [have luncheons] like [the one on Thursday] gives your guys a feeling of that extra experience and any trophy game typically has some meaning, but this one, to survive has long as it has, and have both institution support it means a lot. The logistics between Mass. Maritime and Bridgewater – we’re so close to each other, a lot of these guys played against each other and with each other in high school, so it’s bragging rights for the rest of your life, so it’s important.”

Do you have a fond memory of the Cranberry Bowl?

“There was a game that I forget the year, but we came down as a heavy favorite and got ourselves into a dogfight and Chris Joyce saved us during the last seconds [with] an unbelievable catch in the corner of the end zone to win the game at the end, and it doesn’t compare to all the worse memories. I never knew how bad it was going to hurt to lose that scoop and we really want to try and avoid that [on Saturday].”

Ever since the Framingham State loss, your team has been on a roll. What’s the secret to your squad’s recent success?

“The way they handled the loss was probably the biggest thing. You can put your hands in your face and cry about it or you can get back on the horse and that’s what these guys did. They got right back up and they fought hard and got better every week from that point on. They put it away, put it to bed, and they looked forward, so that’s been the biggest thing. We’ve tried to stay one week at a time and just continued to get better and here we are at 8-1 and we’re only thinking about getting to 9-1.”

If you’re able to come away with a victory on Saturday, do you think its possible your team will receive a bid for the NCAA tournament?

“I hope so. I don’t want to look past Saturday’s game because we’ve got to do that first, but if 9-1 with our body of work, I feel we deserve it and there seems to be somewhat of a biased against the Northeast sometimes, but our body of work speaks for itself, so I hope the selection committee sees it that way. We’ve beaten everyone out of the conference that we’ve had to, we scheduled Springfield College for a reason, and hopefully they finish strong and make it look even better.”

Was beating Springfield in week one a momentum boost?

“I think it was not so much for ourselves, but for people outside of the New England Football Conference to say they’re playing with a team that traditionally does very well, and if you can beat them then hopefully people can start [taking our conference seriously]. If you look at the New England Football Conference this year and games against the Liberty League and Empire Football League, it represented itself tremendously. Wins against Union College and WPI and there’s lots of different wins out there from our conference, and times have changed a little bit, so I hope [the victory] will provide us a chance for an at large bid.”

Finally, what’s the game plan for Saturday’s contest against Mass. Maritime?

“We’ve got to stop that offense. They’re second in the nation right now as far as yards per game, so we’ve got to try and control that a little bit. It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to do the best we can to stop that offense and try to control the ball. It’s all going to come down to blocking and tackling like every football game does.”

Mass. Maritime HC Jeremy Cameron:

Talk about being apart of this particular game. What does it mean to you as a coach?

“Every game is big, but obviously when you get the administrations involved and the kids together it just magnifies it and because we’re so close, we recruit the same kids a lot, guys have friends on each team, so it certainly adds to the rivalry.”

What’s your fondest memory of this particular game?

“My fondest memory was when we beat them in 2010 because we hadn’t beat them in about 18 years, so I felt like when we could finally beat them that maybe we’ve kind of turned the corner, so we did that in 2010 and last year was a 38-35 game, we competed right to the end and this year I think we matchup pretty well together, so the biggest thing is being able to beat them that one time and know that we can do it again.”

You’re team has experienced a great deal of success this season. What’s been the difference from past seasons?

“We’ve got a number of good skill players and when you look at the statistics, we’ve got two receivers with over 50 catches, the third leading receiver’s got 25-30 receptions. Our tight ends are now catching the ball where last year they didn’t have any receptions, and we’ve got two running backs that can play and two quarterbacks that can play, so we spread it out and I think we’re reasonably tough to defend because we don’t rely on necessarily one player.”

Was there one particular game this season that jumpstarted your team?

“The Coast Guard game was because we were losing at the half and we came out in the third quarter and were able to move the ball and it was back-and-fourth, back-and-fourth, but at one point when the kids panicked they stuck together and that was really the turning point for us.”

Did you anticipate that your offense was going to endure a great amount of success prior to your first game?

“I really didn’t and to be honest, as the games are unfolding I never really have a sense that we’re moving the ball as effectively as we are at times because we run a lot of plays, so your numbers get inflated. There were games where we ran 110 plays, 115 plays, so we just run a lot of snaps and we get more yards, so I really don’t know how good we are, but when you move it and don’t turn the ball over you get more opportunities and we do have really good skill players. Our quarterbacks are good, our running backs are good and our receivers are good, but I never thought we would put those types of numbers up and we still feel like we left a lot of points out there. In our three losses, we fought out there, but didn’t score enough points, so there’s room for improvement and hopefully this week we’ll be at our best.”

Lastly, what’s the game plan for Saturday?

“I think both teams are going to score points. They’re really good on defense, we hope we can move the ball with some regularity, and we know they’re going to score, so I think it’s going to be a back-and-fourth type of game. I don’t think it’s going to be a shootout, but I don’t think either defense is going to shut the other offense down. I think it’ll be whoever makes the fewer mistakes, special teams, all the hidden yardage and that’s it.”