Tag: Delaware Valley

The 2021 New England College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins, along with a trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England college football — and yes, preps and high schools, too — are slowly ending. But the 2021 season is still on my mind.

After not seeing so many local teams compete last fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an amazing feeling to pace the sidelines these last few months and watch numerous student-athletes compete on the gridiron.

The 2021 New England football season will be one we will all remember — in my opinion, it was worth the wait. (And you can revisit some of our favorite memories from the sidelines by watching our end-of-season highlights on YouTube!).

There were some of the “usual suspects” that either won or were in the mix for their respective conference title to some new teams, especially in NCAA Division III that deserve our attention going forward.

Before we officially say so long and farewell to a fun season of coverage, allow me to revisit a few stories that I certainly will remember from this season.

  • Holy Cross not only won its third-straight Patriot League title, including two in the same year, thanks to a shortened spring season to go with their first postseason victory in program history. And despite losing on Friday in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs to the University of Villanova, the future is very bright for coach Bob Chesney’s squad.  
  • Harvard University captured their 137th meeting with Yale University last month, thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Luke Emge to Kym Wimberly. The 34-31 victory by the Crimson clinched their first eight-win season since 2015. 

  • Sacred Heart University made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament, but came up short to Holy Cross, which edged the Pioneers in the opening round by a score of 13-10. The Red and White will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, but will attempt to win their third-straight Northeast Conference crown next fall.

  • Bentley University and the University of New Haven were two teams to watch in New England NCAA Division II.

    Both teams met twice last month, including in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Two weeks earlier, the Falcons and Chargers squared-off in an early November contest with New Haven not only winning the game, but also securing their first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012.

    The Chargers lost to Kutztown University last weekend in the second round of the playoffs, but they will certainly be a team to watch next season — the same could be said for the Falcons.

  • Bentley’s Stephen Sturm was one of a few NE10 signal-callers to watch this fall as he concluded the season with a league-high 23 touchdown passes.

    Saint Anselm’s Drew Willoughby, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, threw for a league-high 2,803 passing yards to go with 22 touchdowns. He averaged 311.4 passing yards per game.

  • Anna Maria College won its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title with seven wins, which is the most victories any AMCATs squad has recorded in a single season. And despite losing to Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Dan Mulrooney’s squad will certainly be a team to watch next fall, both in and outside of the ECFC.

  • The 2021 Williams College football team made history by becoming the first squad to win nine games in a single season.

    The Ephs capped their campaign with three impressive wins over Amherst College (24-19), Trinity College (42-3), and Wesleyan University (25-0) to clinch a 9-0 record, their first perfect season since 2010.

  • Colby College could be a team to watch next fall as they matched their 2013 squad with four wins.

    The Mules captured their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown with a pair of victories over Bates College (10-2) and Bowdoin College (21-10).  

  • Tom Kelley and the Framingham State University football team won their third-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown outright. The Rams concluded their season with an 8-3 overall record for the third consecutive season, as well as posted a perfect 8-0 league mark for the second-straight year.

    The Rams will continue to be the team to watch (and yes, follow) in 2022, but will certainly be challenged by a slew of teams in the MASCAC.

  • Endicott College captured its first conference crown since 2013, as well as hosted its first-ever NCAA playoff game.

    Coach Paul McGonagle’s Gulls will certainly be a team to watch next fall — the Green and White are young and will return a slew of talent from this year’s squad on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Mike Ingraffia and wide receiver Shane Aylward.

  • After starting its season with a 1-3 record, Springfield College bounced back with six-straight wins to capture its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride ended their season with three important wins against Catholic University (28-14), MIT (17-7), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (28-23).

  • NCAA D-III Football Teams to Watch in 2022: Bridgewater State, Husson University, Salve Regina University, Plymouth State, Trinity College, Tufts University,  UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, and Western Connecticut.

Postseason Roundup: RPI Outlasts Endicott; New Haven Rolls Past Bentley

Mike Ingraffia tossed two touchdowns on Saturday in Endicott College’s NCAA D-III Tournament game against RPI. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway)

By NoontimeSports.com

Mike Ingraffia’s second and final touchdown pass with 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter brought the hosts within one score, but that would be the closest they would get as RPI held onto defeat Endicott College, 20-14, in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Division III Tournament.   

With the win, the Engineers secured a date with SUNY Cortland, which fended off a late rally by Springfield College in its opening round contest.

George Marinopoulos completed 18 of 27 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns with two scores landing in the hands of Vinnie McDonald, who led all receivers with seven grabs for 122 yards.

McDonald caught his team’s first and final score – the initial touchdown with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter provided the visiting Engineers with a lead that would expand to 14-0 early in the second quarter when Marinopoulos connected with Peter Lombardi for a four-yard score.

Endicott would respond on the ensuing possession with a 66-yard touchdown strike over the middle from Ingraffia to Geoffrey Ingrando to pull the hosts within one score (14-7) at the break.

RPI would push ahead, 20-7, midway through the third quarter when Marinopoulos located McDonald on a fade pattern in the end zone to provide the Engineers with a two-score cushion that would be reduced to a six-point lead when Ingraffia connected with Kobe Gaudette for a 20-yard touchdown with 2:50 remaining.

Endicott attempted an onside kick on the ensuing possession, which was quickly recovered by the RPI special teams.

RPI concluded the game with 338 yards of total offense on 74 plays while Endicott tallied 190 on 48 plays.

Saturday’s game marked the first time Endicott has hosted an NCAA Tournament game.

University of New Haven 38, Bentley University 13: Connor Degenhardt registered four touchdowns, including three on the ground as the Chargers beat the Falcons for the second time in three weeks to secure a second round NCAA Division II meeting with top-ranked Kutztown University next Saturday, November 27 with kick off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Degenhardt completed 8 of 11 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 38 yards on 11 carries and three scores.

New Haven’s Zach Mauro led all rushers with 119 yards on 33 carries while Dev Holmes recorded four catches for 104 yards and one touchdown.

The Chargers erased a 6-3 deficit late in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns from Degenhardt that provided New Haven with a 17-6 lead at the break that would morph into a 24-6 advantage after three quarters.

Despite the setback, Bentley’s Stephen Sturm concluded his career by tossing his 58th touchdown while eclipsing 8,000 passing yards.

Delaware Valley 62, Anna Maria College 10:Justin McMillian returned an 82-yard kickoff to start the game while Ryan Kent converted a 37-yard field goal as the AMCATs fell to the Aggies in their first-ever NCAA postseason contest.

Delaware Valley’s Daquan Bohannan and Casey Decker combined for three touchdown passes while Julian White rushed for a game-high 101 yards on four carries and one score.

Muhlenberg College 45, Framingham State 0: Michael Hnatkowsky completed 27 of 36 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns as the Mules rolled past the Rams in the opening round of the postseason. Michael Brooks led Framingham State’s defense with nine total tackles, including eight solo stops.

SUNY Cortland 26, Springfield College 21: Patrick Ladas capped a 17-play, 75 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:43 remaining, but that would be the closest the Pride would get to the Red Dragons hung onto win the 34th meeting between the two schools.

Ladas rushed fro a game-high 88 yards on 28 carries and three schools while Ryan Deguire added 44 yards on six carries.

Jaden Alfanostjohn rushed for a pair of first half scores with his second quarter touchdown providing the hosts with a lead they would not relinquish.

Four New England D3 Football Teams Are Headed To The 2021 NCAA Tournament

Alex Cohen and the Anna Maria College football team will make their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, November 20. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley)

By NoontimeSports.com

Anna Maria College made history this fall by becoming the first team in school history to win an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown.

Now, the AMCATs will look to continue their recent momentum on Saturday, November 20 when they visit Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Aggies, who are making a return trip to the national postseason, captured the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) crown while finishing their season with a perfect 10-0 record.

The winner of Anna Maria-DelVal will compete against Framingham State or Muhlenberg College. Both teams competed in the postseason two years ago with the Mules advancing to the national semifinals where they lost to North Central, which went on to beat Wisconsin-Whitewater in the championship. Framingham State lost to Wesley in the opening round.

Endicott College, which captured its first conference crown since 2013, secured a home date with RPI – the Engineers claimed the Liberty League (LL) title with a 19-17 victory over Union College, thanks to a last-second field goal by Trevor Bisson.

The winner of Endicott-RPI will compete against either SUNY Cortland or Springfield College – the two teams will meet in Cortland, New York. Both teams have a great deal of history as they have been competing against each other since 1946. They have never met in the postseason, so this will certainly be an intriguing matchup to watch.

All four contests (highlighted above) will begin at 12 p.m. eastern this Saturday, November with the winners advancing to the second round on Saturday, November 27.

32 teams secured spots in the 2021 NCAA Division III Tournament with five of them earning at-large bids.

Noontime’s Northeast College Football Games to Watch (Week Seven)

Rory Sullivan and the FDU-Florham football team will host Delaware Valley on Saturday in an important conference matchup. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sherry Saccoliti)

By Matt Noonan

Sure, we’re a New England sports blog – yes, we’re based right outside of Boston (technically across the river, to be exact in Somerville), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep our eyes on some college football games outside our region, right?

So, today, we’re going to highlight a few matchups to watch this weekend outside of New England, including one taking place in Madison, New Jersey.

Delaware Valley (5-0, 3-0 MAC) at FDU-Florham (4-1, 3-0 MAC) Saturday, October 16 at 12 p.m.:  The Devils have been on a roll since losing their season-opener to the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA).

Last week, FDU-Florham won its fourth consecutive contest by outlasting Lebanon Valley in double-overtime. Connor Perez, who finished with two touchdown receptions, caught the game-winning score in the second overtime session and quarterback Anthony Caserta concluded the conference clash with four touchdown passes.

The Devils’ momentum will certainly be tested against an Aggies squad that has not lost a game this fall – DelVal has produced 114 points in three-straight conference games and scored their fifth consecutive win last weekend with a 48-15 win over King’s College.

DelVal enters Saturday’s contest having won 32 consecutive Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) matchups, dating back to their 2016 campaign. Their 5-0 start is their best since 2017 when they finished 12-1 overall and 9-0 in conference play.

FDU-Florham’s offense will be challenged with scoring points this week as DelVal’s defense is one of six units in NCAA Division III that is limiting opponents to less than 10 points per game. DelVal’s defense has yielded an average of 9.40 points per game.  

Gallaudet University (4-0, 2-0 ECFC) at SUNY-Maritime (1-4, 1-1 ECFC) Saturday, October 16 at 2 p.m.: The Bison enter their third conference matchup with a great deal of momentum.

Last week, Timel Benton and the Bison rushed past Keystone College, 34-14, thanks to five rushing touchdowns. Benton rushed for a team-high 167 yards on 19 carries and two scores while D’Mitri Lofton, Mikka Harvey, and Preston Garrett all rushed for one touchdown.

As a team, Gallaudet leads all Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) teams with 17 rushing touchdowns – Alfred State ranks second with 10 – while the Privateers rank fourth in touchdown passes (Anna Maria College and Dean College are tied for first with 10 touchdowns through the air).   

SUNY-Maritime captured its conference opener with a come-from-behind win against Castleton University before falling one week later to Alfred State.

Saturday’s game is an important one for both teams, but especially the Privateers as two conference losses would make it tough for them to win the league title. But anything is possible, of course.

SUNY-Maritime topped Gallaudet in their last meeting in 2019 by a score of 24-13, while the Bison’s last win against the Privateers came in 2012. The win – the Bison’s seventh of the 2012 season – matched their total from 2007, which was when the squad returned to the “NCAA Division III ranks.”  

Anna Maria College (3-1, 1-0 ECFC) at Alfred State (2-3, 1-0 ECFC) Saturday, October 16 at 12 p.m.:  The AMCATs have been a great story thus far. But can they continue their early-season momentum one week after they were idle? I think so.

Quarterback Alex Cohen leads the conference in passing yards per game (288.0) and passer rating (151.5) and guided the AMCATs to a thrilling 21-20 victory two years ago against the Pioneers.

Cohen will certainly be a player to watch in this matchup, but the same could be said for Alfred State’s Aaron Jenkins, who registered 317 yards of total offense last week, including a game-high 222 yards on 22 carries and one rushing touchdown against SUNY-Maritime. Jenkins also completed 8 of 18 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns – he located both Ben Ba and Shy’rel Broadwater in the end zone.  

Look for Alfred State to rely on its rushing attack on Saturday, which has held them to back-to-back victories.

Anna Maria has won two of three meetings – Saturday’s contest will mark the fourth meeting between the two schools.  

More Games to Watch:

  • Wilkes University at Widener University (10/16 at 1 p.m.): A pair of five-win teams will tangle in Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Utica College (4-1, 1-0 E8) at Brockport (3-2, 1-1 E8) (10/16 at 6 p.m.): The Golden Eagles look to bounce back against the Pioneers, who needed to rally past Hartwick to score their first conference win.
  • RPI (6-0, 2-0 LL) at Hobart College (4-1, 0-1 LL) (10/16 at 1 p.m.): The Statesmen look to bounce back against an Engineers team that continues to find ways to win games.

Noontime’s D-III Football Region One Conference Predictions

Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak and the Golden Bears will once again be a team to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

A brand new season of NCAA Division III football is set to kick off tomorrow before a few New England squads compete for the first time since 2019 on Friday and Saturday.

Before we officially begin a brand new season of college football — yes, we know some FBS and FCS teams began their respective campaigns last weekend during Week 0 — let’s dish our conference predictions and teams to watch for Region One.

Best of luck to all teams competing, both this weekend and over the next few days/weeks, and if you’re craving more New England (and NCAA D-III) football coverage, then make sure to check out our first Top 20 poll of the season and our preseason team.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

Predicted conference winner: Western New England: Quarterback Alec Coleman has graduated, but these Golden Bears return a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball that should position the Blue and Gold to win their fourth-straight CCC title.

Teams in the mix: Endicott College, Husson University, Nichols College, and Salve Regina: All four squads will certainly provide challenges for the Golden Bears as the season progresses, but one should not overlook the Eagles of Husson, who return some key pieces from their 2019 squad that will keep the Green and Gold in the mix for the top spot. 

Keep your eyes on the University of New England: The Nor’easters are trending in the right direction — the Blue and White could enter their initial week of conference play with two or three non-conference victories.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Predicted conference winner: Dean College: The Bulldogs enter 2021 with a target on their back after winning their first conference crown in 2019.  

Teams in the mix: Anna Maria College, Alfred State, and SUNY-Maritime: The Privateers have posted five wins or more since 2015, so don’t be surprised to see them challenge the Bulldogs for the top spot this fall. Also, keep your eyes on the AMCATs of Anna Maria, which enter the 2021 season with high hopes. 

Keep your eyes on: Keystone College: The Giants enter the 2021 season as an unknown, but will certainly be a program to watch throughout the fall. 

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) 

Predicted conference winner: UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch is back for his final season with the Corsairs, along with some key pieces of the 2019 defense, which will help UMass Dartmouth contend for the conference crown.

Teams in the mix: Bridgewater State, Framingham State, and Western Connecticut: There are some questions about who will be under center for all three of these teams, both this weekend and throughout the season, but despite some key graduation losses from 2019 (and yes, 2020), all three units will be in the mix for the conference crown this fall.

Keep your eyes on: Fitchburg State: The Falcons begin a new chapter in their program history with Scott Sperone, who will coach his first game on Saturday against Dean. Also, don’t overlook Plymouth State, which was picked to finish fifth in the preseason conference poll.

Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC)

Predicted conference winner: Delaware Valley: The Aggies are our favorites heading into the 2021 season — yes, they will be challenged by Stevenson and Wilkes — maybe Lycoming College? — but at the end of the day, Duke Greco‘s squad will win the conference and advance to the postseason.

Teams in the Mix: Stevenson University and Wilkes University: Both teams were in the mix in 2019 and will once again challenge the Aggies for the top spot in the MAC.

Keep your eyes on Misericordia University: John Davis begins his first season with the Cougars on Saturday — expect the first-year coach to duplicate his success with the Blue and Gold from his previous stop with The Apprentice School.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC):  

Predicted conference winner: Williams College: The Ephs finished with seven wins in 2019 — Williams ended its season with a victory over rival Amherst College and should return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball that should make them one of the top teams in the conference.

Teams in the mix: Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University: While the Cardinals. and Panthers are certainly expected to contend for the top spot in the conference, the same could be said for the Bantams and Jumbos, who look to bounce back from a five and four win season, respectively.

Keep your eyes on: Colby College: These Mules will certainly surprise a few NESCAC fans this fall — fans of the Mules and NESCAC football will be able to see them compete in 17 days against Wesleyan.

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

Predicted conference winner: Merchant Marine: We saw the Mariners compete last fall — they beat Coast Guard Academy, thanks to an impressive outing by quarterback Ian Blankenship, who is back for his final season. Joshua King and Matt Strong were recently elected captains, and will lead a squad that garnered three first-place votes in the preseason poll.

Teams in the mix: MIT, Springfield College, and WPI: All three Massachusetts squads will look a bit different than they appeared two years ago, but are certainly equipped to challenge the Mariners for the top spot in the conference.

Keep your eyes on: Norwich University: Mark Murnyack‘s squad may have been picked to finish sixth in the conference, but don’t be surprised if these Cadets score a few exciting and dramatic wins this fall.