Tag Archives: Dereck Pacheco

D3 Football: NCAA Tournament (First Round) & New England Bowl Picks

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Springfield College looks to keep on rolling this weekend when they host Husson University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Roy Chambers)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

It’s PLAYOFF time, which means it is time to dish out some picks for this weekend’s NCAA Division III first-round tournament – all east region games, by the way! – and both New England Bowls.

Best of luck to all teams competing and make sure to circle back throughout the weekend for updates on all six games!


Western New England (8-2) at Delaware Valley (10-0) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Tough draw for the Golden Bears against the top seed of the east region. DelVal is one of the top four seeds in the entire tournament, too. DelVal can score on offense and defense, so the Bears will have to be patient and not beat themselves with turnovers. WNE always surprises us, but the Aggies are just too tough to beat. PREDICTION: DelVal 48, WNE 21

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): The win over St. Lawrence weeks ago saved WNE’s season, but against DelVal, the Golden Bears must be patient and protect the ball on offense. PREDICTION: DelVal 45, WNE 25 


Husson (9-1) at Springfield (10-0) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Featuring two of the best running backs in the nation, this game will go by fast – bring your track shoes, football fans! Often overlooked, the Pride’s defense has done a great job this season, allowing less than 88 rushing yards per game and 10.9 points per game, too. Husson halfback John Smith will get his carries, but it’ll be Springfield that wins and moves onto the next round. PREDICTION: Springfield 24, Husson 14

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): As James and I have discussed numerous times this season, the Pride’s defense is legit, and yes, this unit has been overlooked by some in the D3 Football world. They’ll have their way against a talented Husson offense led by halfback John Smith, while the Springfield offense will rush by the Eagles’ defense for a few scores. Big game for Jordan WilcoxPREDICTION: Springfield 35, Hudson 16


Plymouth State (9-1) at Brockport (10-0) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): The ‘Mountain Men’ have a long trip to Western New York to face off against a Golden Eagles team that dominated the Empire 8 most of this season. This game should be relatively low scoring to start, and will depend on how well the Panthers o-line handles Brockport’s 3-3 stack, one of the tougher defenses to block. The first half should be competitive, but the athletes on the Golden Eagles will pull away in the second half. PREDICTION: Brockport 35, Plymouth State 13

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): The ‘Mountain Men’ have been a great story, both this year and last year, but their storybook campaign will sadly concludes in Western New York on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are just too good and will certainly be a team to watch in this particular region going forward. Maybe they have what it takes to make the ‘Final Four?’ PREDICTION: Brockport 31, Plymouth State 17


RPI (8-2) at Wesley (9-1) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m.

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): The Wolverines have been slow starters and RPI likes to grind, leaning on their defense to force the opposition into making mistakes. Wesley’s EJ Lee could be the difference in this one. PREDICTION: Wesley 35, RPI 24

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): Sure, I would love to say RPI’s season will continue beyond this weekend, but not against a talented and tough Wolverines squad, which won’t be an easy out in this particular region of the bracket. PREDICTION: Wesley 41, RPI 22


Curry College (8-2) at Framingham State (9-1) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 12 p.m.

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Curry’s Alex Corvese was recently named the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) Offensive Player of the Year, and his team will need both his arm and legs to get past a tough (and talented) Rams defense. Framingham has a strong quarterback in Adam Wojenski, so expect a lot of offense in this particular contest. The Rams will benefit from home field advantage, and perhaps kicker Ryan Clifford may be the student-athlete that decides this particular outcome. PREDICTION: Framingham State 38, Curry 35

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): Framingham State running back Quron Wright is going to be the difference in this one. Wright’s o-line should have their way with Curry’s front four (and may front seven) en route to a second-straight New England Bowl victory. PREDICTION: Framingham State 35, Curry 28


SUNY Maritime (9-1) at WPI (8-2) | Saturday, Nov. 18th at 6 p.m. 

James Baker (In The D3FB Huddle): Thomas Wright and the Privateers have enjoyed a 9-1 run this season, but they haven’t faced a team as strong as the Engineers this fall.  Dereck Pacheco and the WPI defense will give Wright some trouble, while the Engineers’ two-headed running attack of Sean McAllen and Connor Field will be tough for SUNY-Maritime to slow down. PREDICTION: WPI 42, SUNY Maritime 21

Matt Noonan (Noontime Sports): SUNY Maritime has been another great story this fall, but this will be perhaps their biggest challenge of the season. WPI’s defense has rebounded since their setback to Springfield and will provide Thomas Wright and the Privateers’ offense with a lot of challenges. Expect another big game from WPI halfback Sean McAllen, who will score at least two touchdowns in this one. PREDICTION: WPI 45, SUNY Maritime 21

Matt Falkenbury (Play-By-Play Voice of SUNY Maritime): The Privateers are a vastly different team on the road this season than they were at home. Playing this game on the road – considering they either had to come-from-behind to win or lost in all five of those games – is a bit concerning. Quarterback Thomas Wright struggled on the road the last three games and it’s something to watch for in this one. The defense will have to come up big for them to pull this out. My heart says Maritime wins, but my head says WPI wins it on a late field goal. PREDICTION: WPI 31, SUNY Maritime 28.  

Under The Helmet With WPI’s Dereck Pacheco

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WPI’s Dereck Pacheco (94) recorded six solo stops last week in the Engineers’ season-opening win over Anna Maria College. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Earlier today, WPI senior defensive lineman Dereck Pacheco was tabbed this week’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Defensive Player of the Week for his effort in the Engineers’ week one victory over Anna Maria.

Pacheco paced the Engineers’ defense with six solo stops, including four tackles for a loss for 29 yard, while recording a pair of sacks. He also recorded two of quarterback hurries, too.

This week, Pacheco and the Engineers host RPI during WPI’s Homecoming with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m on Saturday, September 9. Last season, Pachecho helped WPI defeat RPI, 19-7, thanks to 10 total stops, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss and a safety. The win provided the Engineers of Worcester with the Transit Trophy for the first time in two seasons.

Noontime Sports caught-up with Pachecho earlier today to discuss his team’s week two contest against RPI, as well as his goals for the team this season.

What are your goals for a successful senior season with WPI? 

Obviously, the big the goal for the season is to get that championship ring, but as long as we keep plugging away game-by-game, week-by-week (then we will be successful). My goal by the end of the year is to have this team’s chemistry get stronger and stronger, so we have a legacy to leave behind (as seniors). We did lose a lot of big-time seniors (from) last year’s team, but I feel this new group of guys we have can really give these (young) guys a chance to develop and get better as a team.

One of the players who graduated this past spring was linebacker Brian Murtagh, who you had a chance to play with the past three seasons. How did he help you improve your game over the past few seasons? 

He was always very vocal, while getting the guys excited for practice. Brian did a good job getting the guys geared up to be on the field and that’s what he passed down to the rest of the captains. He wanted to make sure that the energy was always there and when you step on the football field that you’re only thinking about football.

This week, your team faces RPI in the Transit Trophy game. Tell me more about being a part of this rivalry.  

When I think of RPI-WPI, I think of Ohio State-Michigan because of that rivalry there. We’re both competitive engineering schools, guys are similar (on both sides of the ball),   so it is nice to have a team with equal caliber (student-athletes) on the other side.

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Dereck Pacheco was tabbed the NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday, September 5. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI Athletics)

This game is also a Homecoming Game, so what’s that atmosphere like as a student-athlete? 

It is very humbling because you’re looking at guys in the stands that have been in your shoes – all of my friends and family come to the game each week, but when you have the alumni there you’re trying to play for them and get that win for them because they were in your shoes (years ago). Playing for the alumni, families, coaches and friends is really (what this game) is about at the end of the day.

What’s it like to compete in a new conference this season? 

I was playing (against) some friends in the Liberty League, but in this conference – the NEWMAC – I am playing against some new friends. It is nice to get a new group of guys out there to battle against, but at the same time I am going to miss the Liberty League.

Have you always played defensive line? Did you happen to play another position growing up? 

Growing up and playing Pop Warner, while being the biggest guy out there, they had me play running back, quarterback and other positions, but as I (got older) I was still the biggest guy out there, so they put me on the line in high school. At first, it was offensive line and I didn’t really like it, so the next day (my coach) put me on the defensive line and I have been there ever since.

Are you still following your former high school’s football team? 

Oh yeah. Barnstable has been doing alright after (I) graduated, but I think eventually they’re going to be (a team) that’s back up there (with the top teams in the state).

What is your major? 

I am majoring in civil engineer. I grew up helping my dad – he owns a small and local construction company, so at a young age I would be out there helping him pick up nails and lumber, and then basically that feeling of building (something) from bottom to top stuck with me and I grew a passion for it. I feel like civil engineering is kind of the same deal, but my focus is project management.

Being from Barnstable, what’s your favorite type of sea food? 

Definitely the cod fish.

What are three songs do you listen to on a game day? 

Believe it or not, I am not a big song guy because I have the self-motivation drilled into me from my father, but if I were to choose what I am listening to in the weight room, I am usually listening to Metallica and classic rock because when I was in high school and that was all we would be allowed to listen to (while working out in the gym).

Finally, what is your all-time favorite movie? 

It’s kind of cliche, but Friday Night Lights. I like that movie a lot because my high school team somewhat resembled that whole movie. My junior year, we made it to the Division 1A Super Bowl (against Everett) and we played at Gillette Stadium, but lost by one point.

Teams To Watch In 2017: WPI Engineers

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WPI tailback (and sophomore) Sean McAllen will be one of many players to watch this season. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By James Baker (@ITHuddLLe)

Our New England D3 Football preseason team previews continue with a look at the 2017 WPI Engineers, who certainly will be a team to watch in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) this fall. 

Name: Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineers (WPI)

Ranking: The Engineers were one of eight teams we highlighted in our ‘Teams on the Rise’ post from Monday, July 31st on Twitter. 

2016 Recap: The Engineers notched their second consecutive winning season, but WPI lost a number of close games – e.g. 28-23 to Springfield, 45-44 to Merchant Marine, 35-31 to Hobart and 28-21 to Saint Lawrence – and that kept them from having a championship caliber season. The Engineers did prevail over MIT in a 37-34 nail-biter in their season-opener before taking care of cross-town rival Worcester State and then Norwich with relative ease in week two and three. A promising 4-1 start took a turn after the Merchant Marine loss and WPI would go 2-3 down the stretch. Backup quarterback Blake Rice would lead the team to an exciting 37-34 comeback against Rochester toward the end of the season, but he was unable to solve an All-American and All-Region stacked Saint Lawrence defense in Week 11, which earned a hard-fought seven-point victory. 

Key Losses: Dan Eckler (Quarterback), Brandon Eccher (Wide Receiver), Alex Dumond (Wide Receiver), Brian Murtagh (Linebacker), Ryan Buss (Defensiveback), Blaine Bursey (Specialist), Vinny Tavernelli (Specialist)

Players to Watch: Blake Rice (Quarterback), Sean McAllen (Running Back), Sam Malafronte (Linebacker), Erik Fyrer (Receiver / Specialist), Dereck Pacheco (D-Line), Nabeel Tokatli (D-Line), Nick Ostrowski (Linebacker), Blayne Merchant (Linebacker), Brendan Harty (O-Line) and Marcus Pritchard (Fullback)

2017 Schedule: The Engineers will open against a new foe, but a familiar face in that of Anna Maria College’s new head coach (and former WPI defensive coordinator) Dan Mulrooney. The annual Transit Trophy game against RPI follows directly thereafter, so we’ll have a good idea how these Engineers will fare early on this year. Cross-town rival Worcester State drops off the schedule and is replaced by Becker, a “Friday Night Lights” finale to the initial three-game home stand to start the season. WPI then opens NEWMAC play on the road at Springfield before welcoming Maine Maritime to Alumni Stadium. The Engineers will then travel down to Washington, D.C. to face-off against Catholic, then host former Liberty League rival Merchant Marine. Road trips to MIT and Norwich “sandwich” a home game in Week 10 against the Coast Guard.

Season Outlook: WPI will need a better defensive performance from last season if they wish to improve upon a 6-4 campaign. While it will be next to impossible to re-create the production of Murtagh, the good news for the Engineers is that 10 starters return. Pacheco and Totakli provide size and strength up the middle, while Malafronte, who played weak side linebacker in 2016, will be moved to the strong side. Malafronte finished second on the team with 65 tackles. Senior linebacker Blaine Merchant will move inside to an outside linebacker role to assist Malafronte, as well as sophomore linebacker Nick Ostrowski, who is expected to contribute more after recording 14 tackles during his initial season with the Engineers. While the WPI offense will need to retool somewhat, Rice did get good experience late last season. Should Rice struggle, Eric Cosmopulos (a.k.a “Cosmo”) knows the playbook. Wide receiver is a big need for the unit, so you may see Hamilton College transfer Erik Fyrer get some looks given his size and length. Senior Mitjon Celaj caught 10 passes and a touchdown last season – he could be one of Rice’s go-to targets this fall. McAllen is back after winning the Liberty League (LL) Rookie of the Year award – he led the Engineers with 701 rushing yards and five touchdowns as a first-year back. The Engineers line will be anchored by senior co-captain and center Brendan Harty. Also returning on the line is senior Paul DeMarco, who should add depth and experience. The Engineers fullback role will be determined during the remaining days of camp, but an early favorite to win the job is junior Marcus Pritchard. He has the size and ability to make way for McAllen. WPI will need someone to step up on special teams due to graduation losses of Blaine Bursey and Vinny Tavernelli in the placekicking and punting game, as well as Dumond in the return unit. WPI has the student-athletes in place to contend for the NEWMAC crown if they can tighten up on defense and turn close games they lost in 2016 into wins this fall.