Frank Stola and the Williams College football team will be one of the favorites in the NESCAC this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)
Our WAY too early New England D-III football preseason coverage rolls on with some predictions on who we think will win their respective conference this season.
Yes, we know these are VERY early predictions and they will certainly change once we get closer to kick-off, but for now, enjoy some way too early thoughts (from your friends at Noontime Sports) on who we think will celebrate a conference championship in November.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)
Predicted Winner(s): Endicott College or Western New England
Teams to Watch: Husson University, Nichols College, and Salve Regina University
Quick Synopsis: Yes, we know the Gulls and Golden Bears will be the teams to watch this fall, but don’t overlook Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina as these three teams that will certainly challenge Endicott and Western New England for the CCC crown. Western New England has won the conference the last three years while Endicott has come close the past two seasons to snatching the title from its rival.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)
Predicted Winner: Dean College
Teams to Watch: Maritime (N.Y.)
Quick Synopsis: With a 4-1 conference mark, the Bulldogs were able to win their first-ever ECFC title last fall, so expect that momentum to continue one year later. Maritime (N.Y.) will also be a team to watch this season, while the other ECFC teams should provide challenges to both the Bulldogs and Privateers.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
Predicted Winner(s): Framingham State or UMass Dartmouth
Teams to Watch: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut
Quick Synopsis: The Rams of Framingham State have enjoyed a great deal of success the past few years, but could this be the year of the Corsairs? With quarterback Stephen Gacioch leading the UMass Dartmouth offense this fall, expect the Corsairs to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the MASCAC.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
Predicted Winner(s): Wesleyan University or Williams College
Teams to Watch: Middlebury College, Trinity College, and Tufts University
Quick Synopsis: As of now it seems as if this conference could be a two-team or five-team race for the NESCAC crown. Williams will welcome back an impressive senior class that should help them overcome the challenges to secure their first outright title since 2008. Keep your eyes on Trinity and Tufts – these two teams could play spoiler – and, of course, don’t overlook the Cardinals of Wesleyan, who will return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
Predicted Winner: MIT
Teams to Watch: Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Springfield College
Quick Synopsis: Coach Brian Bubna and the Engineers have won back-to-back NEWMAC championships so it is hard to pick against MIT, which will once again be one of a few teams to watch in this conference. The Bears of Coast Guard Academy could also be a team that takes that next step, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine and Springfield College. Also, let’s not count out WPI, which did graduate a big senior class, but will carry over some momentum from its 10 win season.
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.
Welcome to a brand new week here at Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com), which will be highlighting some of our favorite games we have watched or covered, beginning with ten of our favorite games from the D3 Football world last fall.
Our list highlighted ten games from last season in no particular order – we hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane as much as we enjoyed producing it.
Share your thoughts on our list below or send us a tweet to either @NoontimeNation or @NoontimeSports.
Top 10 D3 Football Games from 2019
Joe Kalosky and the Endicott College Gulls began their 2019 season with an opening day win over Framingham State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nick Grace)
The win – the team’s first since beating the Rams, 34-7, in 2012 – was highlighted by Joe Kalosky‘s five touchdown passes while the defense recorded four interceptions and one sack. Endicott’s Justin McEwen concluded the game with five receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
The opening day win over the Rams certainly provided the Gulls with momentum to finish its 2019 slate with nine wins. And those nine victories matched the 2012 squad, which also finished with an identical record of 9-2.
Framingham State outlasts UMass Dartmouth for a much-needed week five victory. The Corsairs entered their week five meeting with the Rams with a great deal of momentum – they had won four-straight contests leading up to the highly anticipated contest, including an impressive 48-41 win over Husson University.
UMD was certainly ready (and prepared) to go toe-to-toe with the Rams, who needed a second-half rally to beat the Corsairs, 39-33.
Framingham State overcame a 13-point differential at the break by outscoring the visitors, 26-7, thanks to Adam Wojenski, who concluded the game with five touchdown passes, along with 53 yards on 11 carries.
Jernigan, Maldjian leads Middlebury College past Wesleyan University: Both Middlebury and Wesleyan entered their mid-October meeting as the top two teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). And the winner – as both teams knew – would secure sole possession of first place heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.
Middlebury broke open a tie game early in the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown run by Alex Maldjian, which helped the Panthers push ahead for good. Maldjian concluded the marquee matchup with 95 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns while Will Jernigan completed 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns.
As for the Middlebury defense, the unit recorded four sacks for a loss of 27 yards, three pass break-ups, and one interception.
Hamilton College Stuns Amherst College with a last-second field goal. The last time the Continentals beat the Mammoths was more than two decades ago, but on Saturday, October 19th, 2019, the Blue and Gold scored an exciting 31-28 victory, thanks to a 40-yard field goal by Sam Thoreen as time expired. The win evened Hamilton’s mark at the time at 3-3 while Amherst fell to 4-2.
Thoreen finished the game with 11 points off three field goals and two extra points.
Keithen Shepard’s lone touchdown in overtime helped the Engineers of MIT beat the Engineers of WPI in overtime in November 2019. (
Mauck, Shepard lead MIT past WPI in overtime. In a must-win game for the MIT football team, the Engineers of Cambridge found a way to outlast WPI and keep their title hopes alive.
With less than 90 seconds remaining, Chris Mauck drove the Engineers into field goal range where Mark Wright drilled a 41-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session – well, the second additional session, to be exact – the Engineers again relied on Mauck, who connected with Keithen Shepard for a 23-yard game-winning touchdown that provided MIT with its first win over WPI since 1900.
The loss snapped an impressive seven-game winning streak by WPI, which included wins over RPI and Springfield College.
MIT would go onto win their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title two weeks later against Springfield College.
Kingsley’s Fourth-Quarter Touchdown sends Anna Maria past Alfred State. Trailing Alfred State, 20-6, with 13:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, the AMCATs of Anna Maria needed to score two touchdowns as well as stop the Pioneers’ offense. And that is exactly what they did.
Kingsley concluded the game with 192 passing yards on 12 of 31 pass attempts while Tyshawn Anderson led all defenders with 24 total tackles, including 16 solo stops, three tackles for a loss of seven yards, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Terrell Watts threw for seven touchdowns while completing 18 of 29 passes for 260 yards. Errol Breaux led all receivers with eight catches for 125 yards and five touchdowns.
Two weeks after scoring an exciting four-point win over the Pioneers, the Bulldogs competed in their first-ever New England Bowl game against Endicott.
Fedorchak’s record day highlights Western New England’s win over Westfield State. In an early-season matchup against Westfield State, Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak established a pair of single-game records in the Golden Bears’ 56-35 win.
Fedorchak concluded the game with nine receptions for 319 yards and five touchdowns. He ended the opening frame by breaking the previous records for receiving yards (183) and touchdowns (three).
As a team, Western New England outgained Westfield State 701-354 while converting six of eight third-down attempts.
Quarterback Alec Coleman completed 22 of 27 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns. He also registered 43 yards on the ground and one score.
Bates College rolls past Bowdoin College in its first nighttime contest. The Bobcats halted a seven-game losing streak under the lights in early November with a commanding 30-5 win over Bowdoin College, thanks to a pair of touchdown receptions by Jackson Hayes. Quarterback Brendan Costa completed 9 of 17 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns while Tyler Bridge rushed for a game-high 188 yards on 28 carries and one touchdown.
As for the Bobcats’ defense, they concluded the contest with 56 total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 17 yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, and six pass break-ups. They also registered three quarterback hurries.
Michael Pina highlighted the win by scoring three touchdowns, including one through the air to Joshua Pierre-Charles, who also registered two rushing scores. Joe Cox recorded 12 stops in the win – Nichols would go onto finish its season with six wins, which is the most they had recorded since 2016.
The New England D-III Lacrosse season concluded abruptly last week due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), but that won’t stop us from highlighting our region’s student-athletes, who have earned spots on our Zelos AthleticsTeam of the Year.