Tag Archives: D3 Football

Player Perspective: Brendan Costa (Bates College)


Bates College quarterback Brendan Costa was a player to watch last weekend against Bowdoin College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brewster Burns for Bates College)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Brendan Costa credited his coaches, but also his teammates for last weekend’s win over rival Bowdoin College. It was what many would describe as a true team victory.

“Our guys did a great job of executing assignments, especially our big guys up front,” said the third-year signal-caller, who threw for a season-best three touchdowns against the Polar Bears.

“The offensive line really paved the way for our skill guys to make plays and the offense as a whole took a big step forward (last) week.” 

The win over Bowdoin has seemed to energize both Costa and his Bates College teammates heading into their final game of the 2019 season tomorrow (Saturday, November 9th) against Hamilton College. The hope it seems is for these Bobcats is to duplicate their performance against the Continentals, so they can head into the offseason with some much-needed momentum.

Prior to his team’s final contest, Noontime Sports caught-up with Costa to discuss the program’s first victory since 2017, but also what it meant to provide second-year coach Malik Hall with his initial win at Bates.

How important was it to rebound and score your first win of the 2019 season after falling short to Colby one week earlier? 

This was the first game we put together (a full) four quarters. Each phase of football we played at an exceptional level. We couldn’t let the Colby College game (from one week earlier) dictate our performance in the following games so we put it behind us quickly.

I am proud of us as a team to be able to bounce back in the way we did.

What was it like to celebrate Coach Hall’s first win with the program? Did he say anything to you/your teammates after the game concluded? 

 I was really happy for Coach Hall. He was long overdue for his first win as our coach (of the Bates football program). He works his butt off every day so we can be more successful as a program. Everything he does is for the “B.”

During his post-game speech, he just touched on how proud he was of us for putting together a complete game. You could tell he was just as happy for us, as we were for him.

How will this win help the team heading into the final game of the 2019 season against Hamilton College? Do you sense a different buzz in the air, especially at practice this week? 

There has been a different vibe in practice this week. We now know we can do it, so it is our expectation to put together great games from here on out.

Hamilton is a good squad with a lot of great players. This will be a test for our team to get a win on the road and to start stringing wins together heading into 2020. We are up for the challenge.

What would it mean for you (and your teammates) to cap your season with a win? Would it provide momentum (and some additional energy) heading into the 2020 season? 

It would mean a lot to close the year on a high note. There is no time for us to take steps back, we need to keep progressing and what better way to do that than grabbing a win on the road and gaining momentum for next year. We need to start taking big strides as a program so why not start now? I am very excited about our future.

Player Perspective: Michael Pina (Nichols College)


Michael Pina threw for a career-best 329 yards this past weekend, along with three touchdowns, which helped Nichols College outlast the University of New England in four-overtimes. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jill Souza)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For quarterback Michael Pina, last Saturday’s four-overtime win against the University of New England had the feel of a dramatic movie – it seemed as if it would never end.

“It was wild to be a part of a game like that,” said Pina. “It felt like we were in a movie.”

But eventually, the game would conclude with Pina’s team scoring the game-winning touchdown – a two-yard plunge by junior halfback Joshua Pierre-Charles – which helped Nichols College escape with a 51-48 victory.

Pina concluded the game by throwing for a career-best 329 yards, while also rushing for a season-high 53 yards on nine carries. He tossed three touchdowns, too, which helped the Bison move to 5-2 for the first time since 2001.

For his effort against UNE, Pina was named this week’s recipient of the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award for Division II/III, which is presented by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Pina, as noted in Monday’s release about the Gold Helmet award, is currently second all-time in program history in touchdown passes (30) and fourth in passing yards (3,442).

Following Saturday’s exciting win, Noontime Sports caught-up with Pina to discuss what it was like to be a part of a four-overtime contest and what his team’s outlook is for this upcoming week’s contest against Husson University.

Tell me about this past week’s effort from your offense and defense. What was the takeaway from both you and your teammates following an exciting four-overtime win against UNE? 

This past week’s game was the most exciting game most of us have ever played in. We fought through a lot of adversity on both sides of the ball to come out with the win.

No matter what I can always count on the guy to my left and right to give it (their best) effort. Our offensive line was huge in the run game and that all starts with the great leadership from senior captain Sam Gallant. We were able to rush the ball for four touchdowns.

You threw for a career-high 329 yards in the win. Did you imagine you would throw the ball that much against the Nor’easters? 

I wouldn’t say that I imagined (I was going to throw that much against UNE), however, I am always ready to do whatever our coaches ask of me. Whether it is throwing the ball, running the ball or even blocking a defender, (I’ll do what is needed to help our team win).

Your team is still in contention for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title, so what is the mindset heading into another game week this week?  

The mindset heading into another game is to go 1-0 this week. That has been our goal every week this season. Whatever week it is, we must give full attention to that opponent.

Do you think the offense and defense are peaking at the right time? 

Yes, I do believe the offense and defense are peaking at the right time. I also believe our special teams are peaking at the right time, too.

I feel as if all three units can attack the opponent in multiple ways, which makes us dangerous (heading into the final three weeks of the regular season).

Finally – and I know it is only Wednesday – but what must you (and your teammates) do to be successful again this Saturday against Husson?

We have to have the best week of practice we’ve had all year long. Husson University is a team that won multiple championships in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). They will be extremely well-coached and will want to come to our home field and beat us.

D3 Football: Week Nine Poll (Monday, Oct. 28th, 2019)


By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Welcome to the ninth week of the New England D-III Football season.

Once again, WPI remains our top team – they looked very impressive this past weekend against Merchant Marine – while Endicott College and Western New England remain our second and third teams, respectively. The Gulls and Golden Bears will meet this upcoming weekend in a game that could perhaps decide the winner of the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) conference.

Framingham State moved into the top five with a 39-14 win this past Saturday against Western Connecticut, which tumbled two spots to the seventh position, while Springfield College remained our sixth-best team in the region.

MIT moved into the Top 10 with an important win over Coast Guard Academy, while Williams College secured the ninth position with its sixth victory of the 2019 season.

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB today! 

New England D-III Football Week Nine Poll| October 28th, 2019

1. WPI  7-0, 4-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Endicott College  6-1, 4-0 CCC Last Week: No. 2
3. Western New England  6-1, 4-0 CCC Last Week: No. 3
4. Middlebury College  7-0, 7-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4
5. Framingham State  5-2, 5-0 MASCAC Last Week: No. 7 
6. Springfield College  5-3, 4-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 6 
7. Western Connecticut 6-1, 4-1 MASCAC Last Week: No. 5
8. Bridgewater State  4-3, 4-1 MASCAC Last Week: No. 9 
9. Williams College  6-1, 6-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 11
10. MIT  4-2, 3-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 15 
11. UMass Dartmouth  5-2, 3-2 MASCAC Last Week: No. 10 
12. Amherst College  4-3, 4-3 NESCAC Last Week: No. 8
13. Trinity College  4-3, 4-3 NESCAC Last Week: No. 13
14. Norwich University 5-2, 2-2 NEWMAC  Last Week: No. 14
15. Nichols College  5-2, 3-1 CCC Last Week: No. 16 
16. Wesleyan University 6-1, 6-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 17 
17. Coast Guard Academy 5-3, 2-3 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 12
18. Plymouth State  6-2, 4-2 MASCAC Last Week: Not Ranked
19. Mass. Maritime Acad. 5-2, 3-2 MASCAC Last Week: No. 18
20. Univ. of New England 3-4, 1-3 CCC Last Week: No. 19 

On the Rise: Dean College and Salve Regina

New England D-III Top 20 Polls: Preseason Poll | Week One Poll |Week Two Poll| Week Three Poll |Week Four Poll| Week Five Poll|Week Six|Week Seven |Week Eight 

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB today! 


D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Oct. 26th, 2019)


By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Hello, Friday – how are you?

It is time to dish out our weekly picks for ’10 Games to Watch’ for week eight. Are you ready for a jam-packed Saturday of football? I know I am!

Last Week: I predicted seven of ten games correctly to bump my overall record to 48-22 this season. Let’s see if I can keep my winning trend going this week – fingers crossed! 

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

Also, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes – you will enjoy our hyperlocal sports chatter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

New England D-III Football | Games to Watch (Week Eight) 

Rankings based off this week’s Noontime Sports Top 20 Poll 

No. 2 Endicott College at No. 20 Husson University (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 12 p.m.): The Gulls offense has been really impressive this season, especially against conference foes and should continue its air attack against a talented Eagles squad, which needs to win this game to keep their conference title hopes alive. PREDICTION: Endicott 42, Husson 28 

No. 5 Western Connecticut at No. 7 Framingham State (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 12 p.m.): This has the making for a high-scoring game but in the end, I think the Rams will march down the field in the minutes to score the game-winning touchdown. PREDICTION: Framingham State 40, Western Conn. 35 

No. 16 Nichols College at No. 19 University of New England (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 1 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Bison, who remain in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) title. UNE was rather impressive last weekend and has the potential to play spoiler in this matchup. PREDICTION: UNE 30, Nichols 24 

Dean College at Gallaudet University (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 1 p.m.): First place in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) is on the line, but I expect the Bulldogs defense and offense to make a few more plays down the stretch to beat the Bison on the road. PREDICTION: Dean 33, Gallaudet 25

No. 18 Massachusetts Maritime Academy at Plymouth State (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 1 p.m.): Can the Panthers bounce back after registering just 53 yards of total offense? I don’t think so. But I do think Matt Long and the Buccaneers offense will have their way against a Plymouth State defense that yielded four passing touchdowns last weekend to Framingham State. PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 31, Plymouth State 17 

Hamilton College at Tufts University (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 1 p.m.): Hamilton enters Saturday’s contest with some momentum following an exciting win over Amherst College one week ago. But can that momentum carry them past a Tufts squad that played perhaps its best game of the season one-week ago? We’ll have to wait and see but look for a big game from linebacker Greg HoltPREDICTION: Tufts 28, Hamilton 20 

No. 15 MIT at No. 12 Coast Guard Academy (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 1:30 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Engineers, who begin a crucial four-game stretch against a team that played its best game of the season last Saturday. The Coast Guard defense won’t make things easy for the MIT offense, but in the end, look for coach Brian Bubna‘s squad to make a few extra plays down the stretch and squeak out an important road win. PREDICTION: MIT 26, Coast Guard Academy 20 

SUNY-Maritime at Anna Maria College (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 2 p.m.): I picked against the Privateers last week – they proved me wrong and scored an important bounce-back win against Castleton University. I expect the Privateers to keep their title hopes alive with an important road victory in Paxton, Massachusetts. PREDICTION: SUNY-Maritime 28, Anna Maria 13 

Merchant Marine at No. 1 WPI (Saturday, Oct. 26th at 3 p.m.): The Engineers looked pretty impressive last week against Catholic University, but will need their defense to slow down a very talented offense. Additionally, WPI will need to lean on its ground attack to score an important win in Worcester. PREDICTION: WPI 23, Merchant Marine 17 

D’Emilia’s Eight Touchdowns Highlights A ‘Unbelievable’ Bridgewater State Game Plan


Bridgewater State’s Stefano D’Emilia recorded eight touchdowns in his team’s week seven victory against UMass Dartmouth. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bridgewater State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Stefano D’Emilia recalls scoring four or five touchdowns in previous games, both in college and high school, but never recording eight touchdowns, which he did this past weekend to help Bridgewater State University score an important conference victory against UMass Dartmouth

D’Emilia matched a single-game program record with five touchdown passes while adding three scores on the ground. He completed 15 of 27 passes for a school-record 345 yards, while also catching a two-point conversion in the opening half.  

His impressive effort earned him a pair of weekly honors, including the Division II/III Gold Helmet Award by the New England Football Writers

Two days after scoring eight touchdowns against the Corsairs, D’Emilia was happy to discuss his team’s win – the conversation shifted rather quickly from his eight touchdowns to the game plan his coaches drew up that allowed both him and his teammates to play what the senior signal-caller believes was their best game of the season. 

“Honestly, all week we put in our game plan and our offensive coaches did an unbelievable job,” said D’Emilia, who has thrown for 17 touchdowns this season. 

“Coach (Rene) Moyen and Coach (Pat) Callahan put us in a position to be successful on the field and it was a matter of us taking the game plan and running with it, but they put in some stuff that worked well (for us) and continued to work throughout the game, (but) that game plan we had was just unbelievable.” 

The game plan not only allowed D’Emilia to flourish against a Corsairs defense, which has limited opposing quarterbacks to 234.7 passing yards per game this fall but also featured a Bears’ offensive line that did not yield a single sack for the first time this season. 

D’Emilia lit up when discussing his offensive line – he calls this unit the “hardest workers in the room” – and was thankful for their effort to allow him to go through his progressions, while also paving holes for him to rush past the Corsairs defense for a game-high 53 yards. 

“I can’t say enough about the offensive line,” said D’Emilia. “Every single day they come in and their goal is to get better, and without them nothing is possible. 

“The quarterback is only as good as those front five and I am so lucky to play with them,” he added.  

Seniors Michael Casey (center), Austin White (left guard), Nicholas Spinale (right guard), and Tyilin Landrum (right tackle), along with junior Daniel Flores Martinez (left tackle) and sophomore Alexander Byron (right tackle) make-up the Bears’ offensive line that has helped the offense register 400 total yards of offense in four of seven contests this season. 

In addition to the offense, the Bears’ defense was impressive, too – they intercepted both UMass Dartmouth quarterbacks five times while combining for six tackles for a loss of 16 yards. The unit also recorded seven pass break-ups, while forcing a pair of fumbles. 

“I think this is by far the most complete game we have played as a team thus far, but with that being said I don’t think this is as good as we can play,” said D’Emilia. “I think there is always room for improvement and our motto is that we can’t be satisfied.” 

Not being satisfied was discussed quite a few times on the sidelines during their win against UMass Dartmouth even when leading 27-7 after one-quarter of play. It has become a rallying cry for these Bears, who began their current campaign with three-straight losses but are currently tied with Massachusetts Maritime Academy for second place in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Bridgewater State is idle this weekend – they embark on an important three-game stretch beginning next Saturday, November 2nd against Plymouth State University – but are expected to utilize this downtime to get rested and ready so they can attempt to capture their second conference title since winning it in 2016. 

Sure, D’Emilia and his teammates would probably love to play this weekend and continue their recent momentum, which began with a week four victory against Fitchburg State, but as the senior from Bridgewater, Massachusetts explains, “it will be good to get a few days off and get healthy, and regain what we have going.” 

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