A brand new season of New England NCAA Division III football is quickly approaching, which means it is time to unveil our Noontime Sports preseason squad, which features a slew of student-athletes from last year’s end-of-season team.
The 2022 NCAA D-III football season begins Thursday, September 1 with a slew of local teams kicking off their respective season on Friday, September 2.
We’re less than 30 days from the start of a brand-new New England NCAA Division III Football season.
Are you excited?
I am, which is why I am ready to share my early predictions for which team will win their respective conference this fall.
Like most of our early season content, these picks are educated guesses. It’s possible these picks will be right while some could be wrong.
Anywho, allow me to share my early predictions for all five New England D-III football conferences.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): From top to bottom, this might be the most competitive conference in the region.
As of early August – and yes, a few weeks back – I was pretty sure Endicott College would be the favorite to win its second-straight title this fall. But from doing some additional research, I will change my mind and go with another team: Salve Regina University.
To me, the Seahawks might be the best team on paper in this conference heading into the upcoming season. They will return some key members of last year’s offense that averaged 199.2 rushing yards per game.
But while Salve Regina might be the squad receiving some early-season praise for its key returners, do not overlook Endicott, along with Husson University, Western New England, and the University of New England. All four squads, along with Curry College and Nichols College will provide the Seahawks with plenty of challenges this season.
Noontime’s CCC Champion Prediction: Salve Regina University
Noontime’s Surprise CCC Team of 2022: University of New England
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): A new chapter of Anna Maria College football will begin this fall with first-year coach Steve Croce.
Like Salve Regina, Anna Maria will return some key members of last year’s squad on both offense and defense, including quarterback Alex Cohen, who concluded the 2021 season with 23 touchdown passes.
While Anna Maria appears to be the team to beat in the ECFC, don’t overlook Alfred State College, a squad that appeared in its first-ever postseason contest last November. Additionally, the Pioneers set a new program record for wins with six victories. For the Blue and Yellow to continue its success this fall, they will need to do it without quarterback Aaron Jenkins, who will be competing for Adrian College this season.
One team to keep an eye on this fall is Keystone College, a squad that concluded its inaugural season winless but could pose problems for both its non-conference and conference foes.
Noontime’s ECFC Champion Prediction: Anna Maria College
Noontime’s Surprise ECFC Team of 2022: Keystone College
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State has been the team to beat over the last decade or so and should be the squad with a target on its back heading into training camp this month.
But don’t rule out the Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth, which concluded the 2021 season with a league-best nine wins (that’s nine wins in 11 contests).
UMass Dartmouth earned some much-needed momentum heading into the postseason by capturing its first-ever New England Bowl Game last November – the Corsairs rolled past Alfred State, 42-16, thanks to a six-touchdown effort (four passing and two rushing scores) by Dante Aviles-Santos.
Aviles-Santos returns this fall hoping to lead the Corsairs to their first-ever conference crown. UMass Dartmouth has never won a MASCAC title and appears to be the team to beat on paper.
While UMass Dartmouth might be equipped to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the conference, don’t overlook Bridgewater State, which finished its 2021 campaign with six wins and a Cranberry Bowl victory over Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Plymouth State, which ended its previous season with a 5-5 overall record, will also be in the mix for the conference crown.
Noontime’s MASCAC Champion Prediction: Framingham State
Noontime’s Surprise MASCAC Team of 2022: Plymouth State
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): The Bantams of Trinity College won eight games last season. They also lost one contest to Williams College, which captured the NESCAC crown with a perfect 9-0 record.
The loss to the Ephs should fuel a conference championship run for the Bantams this fall – Trinity, like other New England squads, will welcome back some key members of its 2021 squad, including quarterback Spencer Fetter, halfback Will Kirby, and wide receiver DeVante Reid. Linebacker Brian Casagrande, who led the Bantams’ defense with 46.0 total tackles, is also expected to return.
While Trinity will be the squad to watch in the NESCAC heading into their initial contest, the same could be said for others such as Amherst College, Colby College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University.
Williams College could also pose threats to Trinity’s title run with the Ephs representing the region on last month’s D3Football Preseason Poll. Williams is one of many teams receiving votes.
Noontime’s NESCAC Champion Prediction: Trinity College
Noontime’s Surprise CCC Team of 2022: Tufts University
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): After starting their season with one win and three losses, Springfield College responded with a six-game winning streak that helped the Pride capture its second NEWMAC crown, as well as advance to the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The early expectation is that Springfield will be the de-facto favorite to win the NEWMAC this fall, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine, which finished its 2021 season with a 9-1 overall record.
The Mariners won their final two contests against Coast Guard Academy and Western New England – the win over the Golden Bears provided Merchant Marine with its second New England Bowl victory since beating Endicott in 2018. Additionally, the team’s final win was an ideal sendoff for longtime head coach Mike Toop, who guided the Silver and Blue to 70 wins in 17 seasons.
With the 2021 NCAA New England Division III season slowly winding down, it is time to unveil our end-of-season team that features a slew of student-athletes from all five conferences. Some of these student-athletes appeared on our preseason team — in case you missed it, feel free to jump back in time to see who made our D3 preseason squad! — but in the meantime, congratulations to everyone on another exciting season, and best of luck to the seniors and graduate students that competed for the final time this fall!
Make it three straight wins for Trinity College as the Bantams rolled past Middlebury College, 28-0, in their second home game of the 2021 season to erase memories of a five-point setback to the Panthers two years ago.
Trinity recorded 424 yards of total offense, thanks to quarterback Spencer Fetter, who concluded the game 18 of 31 for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
Devante Reid led all receivers with eight grabs for 146 yards while Thomas Walsh (one catch, 57 yards) and Jack Barrett (two catches, 21 yards) each recorded one touchdown reception. Halfback William Kirby rushed for a game-high 56 yards and one score.
Trinity’s defense limited the Middlebury passing attack to a season-low 118 yards while recording three interceptions and six sacks.
The Bantams, who led 7-0 at the break, doubled its lead early in the third quarter when Spencer Fetter connected with Thomas Walsh for a 57-yard touchdown pass to cap a two-play, 70-yard drive.
Brian Casagrande would add to the Trinity lead on the initial play of the fourth quarter by intercepting Middlebury quarterback Cole Kennon for an 86-yard touchdown return before William Kirby capped his team’s scoring with an 18-yard rushing score with 4:43 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Trinity is one of three New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams that have won three straight contests as both Wesleyan University and Williams College remained perfected through three weeks by picking up wins against Bates College and Bowdoin College, respectively.
The Bantams will visit Hamilton College next Saturday, October 9 for a 1 p.m. kickoff – the Continentals scored their second win of the 2021 season this afternoon by defeating Colby College by a score of 27-14.
Western New England snapped its two-game losing streak with a 41-3 victory over Salve Regina University this afternoon. With the win, the Golden Bears improve to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
John Kenney rushed for a pair of touchdowns while Sam Opont recorded a game-high 11 total tackles as Endicott College won its first conference game against Curry College, 34-27.
The Colonels entered the game on a two-game winning streak – they were led by quarterback Justin Mullaney, who completed 22 of 38 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns.
Make it three-straight for the University of New England as they scored their first-ever win over Nichols College, 28-19, to improve to 3-1 overall. Next week, the Nor’easters will attempt to win their second consecutive conference game against Salve Regina.
Elsewhere in New England, Framingham State rolled past Plymouth State, 33-0, Massachusetts Maritime Academy topped Westfield State, 16-8, and Norwich University beat Coast Guard Academy, 24-21, in the Little Army-Navy Game for the Mug.
Stop by later this weekend for an additional blog post (or two) on the fifth week of the New England small college football season.
With the third week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.
Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’ Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week for the entire football season.
Offensive Team of the Week
Alex Cohen (Anna Maria College): Against Nichols College, Cohen completed 21 of 43 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns.
Will Daniels (Western Connecticut): Daniels led all receivers with eight receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Tyler Halls (Husson University): Halls led the Eagles’ receiving core with seven receptions for 114 yards (16.3 yards) and one touchdown.
David Hamilton (Plymouth State): Hamilton rushed for 142 yards on 17 carries (8.4 yards) and one touchdown in the Panthers’ 34-9 win over Worcester State.
David James (Western Connecticut): James completed 18 of 23 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Colonials with 46 rushing yards on nine carries and one touchdown.
Will Jernigan (Middlebury College): Jernigan accounted for 306 total yards of offense, including 292 passing yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 28-0 win over Bates College.
Seamus Lambert (Trinity College): Against Bowdoin College, Lambert completed 13 of 18 passes for 391 yards and five touchdowns.
Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University): Mauriello led the Seahawks’ rushing attack with 207 yards on 22 carries (9.4 yards) and five touchdowns in Salve Regina’s first win of the season against Dean College.
Sean McAllen (WPI): Against Husson University, McAllen rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.
Bobby Maimaron (Williams College): The third-year signal-caller registered 391 yards of total offense against Tufts University, including 102 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Maimaron completed 20 of 38 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns.
Brian Peters (University of New England): Peters completed 16 of 25 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He also added eight yards on five carries.
Nick Santavicca (Bridgewater State): Santavicca led all rushers last Saturday with 200 yards on 31 carries and three touchdowns against Western Connecticut.
Ashton Scott (Wesleyan University): Scott completed 10 of 16 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns against Hamilton College. He also rushed for a team-high 82 yards on 21 carries.
Frank Stola (Williams College): Stola led all receivers with 13 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Tufts University.
DeVante Reid (Trinity College): Reid led the Bantams’ receiving core with six receptions for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
Terrell Watts (Dean College): Against Salve Regina, Watts completed 27 of 44 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns.
Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Against Westfield State, Wojenski completed 19 of 28 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 57 yards on six carries 9.5 yards) and one touchdown.
Devin Wollner (Castleton University): Wollner rushed for a game-high 141 yards on 20 carries (7.0 yards) and one touchdown against the Nor’Easters of University of New England.
Defensive Team of the Week
Richard Austin (Fitchburg State): Austin led the Fitchburg State defense with 11 total tackles, including nine solo stops, four tackles for a loss of 16 yards, one sack for a loss of three yards, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Eugene Bizer (Coast Guard Academy): Bizer led the Coast Guard Academy defense with 13 total tackles, including five solo stops and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards against Norwich University. He also recorded an interception for 16-yards.
Joe Cox (Nichols College): Cox led the Bison defense with nine solo (and total) tackles, including three tackles for a loss of nine yards and one forced fumble.
Brian Donahue (Framingham State): In his team’s first win of the 2019 season, Donahue led the Rams defense with seven total tackles, including six solo stops, one sack for a loss of nine yards and one forced fumble.
Chris Gemayel (Bridgewater State): Against Western Connecticut, Gemayel recorded 11 total tackles, including six solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of five yards and one forced fumble.
Joe Kelly (Amherst College): Kelly was a player to watch last Saturday against Colby College. He tallied five total tackles (all solo stops), including three tackles for a loss of 20 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two pass break-ups.
Kevin O’Brien (Endicott College): O’Brien led the Gulls defense with a career-high 13 total tackles (nine assists and four solo stops) against Wesley College.
Joshua Salem (Western New England): Salem paced the Golden Bears’ defense with 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one tackle for a loss for one yard against Stetson last Saturday evening in Florida.
Tony Slaughter (UMass Dartmouth): Against Fitchburg State, Slaughter led the Corsairs with eight total tackles, including seven solo stops, four tackles for a loss of six yards, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one pass break-up.
Swavaughn Smalls (Anna Maria College): Smalls stuffed the stat sheet against Nichols College with 11 total tackles, including four solo stops, two tackles for a loss of six yards and one-and-a-half sacks for a loss of five yards.
AJ Smith (Springfield College): Smith registered 11 total tackles, including five solo stops, four tackles for a loss of 14 yards and one pass break-up against Union College.
Jared Zieman (Becker College): Against MIT, Zieman led the Hawks with 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards.
Special Teams of the Week
Jordan D’Onofrio (Western Connecticut): D’Onofrio converted six extra points while recording three punts for 111 yards with one kick landing inside the Bridgewater State 20-yard line.
Sam Han (Wesleyan University): Han punted the ball six times last Saturday against Hamilton College for 257 yards. Three kicks resulted in touchbacks, while the other three landed inside the Hamilton 20-yard line.
George Lampros (Mass. Maritime): Lampros converted six extra points last Saturday against Maine Maritime Academy while tallying three punts for 129 yards with one kick resulting in a touchback.
Melchior Lynch (Fitchburg State): Against UMass Dartmouth, Lynch recorded seven points on three kicks – two field goals and one extra point – while recording four kickoffs for 221 yards.
Andrew Schreibstein (Williams College): Schreibstein tallied 14 points last Saturday against Tufts University with five extra points and three field goals. He punted the ball four times for 167 yards with two kicks landing inside the Jumbos’ 20-yard line. He also had three touchbacks on three kickoffs.
Bryce Wade (WPI): Wade connected five kicks last Saturday against Husson University, including a 21-yard field goal. Wade concluded the game with seven points (four extra points and one field goal).