We’re another day closer to a brand new season of New England Division III football, which means its time to highlight our preseason favorites.
As usual, let us know if you agree (or disagree) with our preseason predictions by posting a comment below!
Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Western New England: The Golden Bears are poised to capture yet another conference crown this fall, but they certainly will be challenged by Endicott College, Husson University, and Salve Regina. Expect a big season from quarterback Alec Coleman, who was tabbed our Noontime Sports Offensive Player of the Year last November.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Maritime (N.Y.): While I certainly think Dean College will be in the mix for the top spot, in the end, the Privateers will prevail. Both teams will meet in mid-October in what could be a de-facto regular-season championship clash.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State: The Rams enter the upcoming season with some holes to fill, especially at wide receiver and in the secondary, but expect coach Tom Kelley to find the right pieces to fill those voids before Framingham makes the trek to Endicott for a must-see week one clash.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Trinity College: The Bantams enter the 2019 season with hopes of capturing their fourth-straight conference crown. Trinity can certainly accomplish this task but will need to do it without halfback Max Chipouras, who graduated this past spring. The Bantams should return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, which will help them contend for a conference crown.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Springfield College: The Pride should capture their second NEWMAC title in three seasons, but they certainly will be challenged by Coast Guard Academy, MIT, and WPI. I also think Norwich University could provide some match-up issues, too, but again, I am expecting Springfield to finish atop the NEWMAC standings in late November.
Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.
It’s time to highlight some New England Division III football teams that will be ‘the contenders’ this season in their respective conference.
These contenders are teams that could win their respective conference, but also squads that will challenge the top teams (and favorites) this upcoming season.
As usual, let us know if you agree (or disagree) with the teams highlighted below that we consider ‘the contenders’ for the 2019 New England Division III football season.
Amherst College: After finishing 8-1 last season, the Mammoths enter 2019 as not just a team to watch in New England D-III football, but also a potential contender in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). With 18 players gone to graduation, the Mammoths will need to rely on its upperclassmen, including quarterback Ollie Eberth, wide receiver James O’Regan and defensive back Avery Saffold to lead the Purple and White to victory.
Bridgewater State: The Bears will definitely challenge Framingham State for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this fall despite some key graduation losses from last year’s squad, which capped its 2018 campaign with a New England Bowl victory. The New England Bowl win has seemed to provide the Red and White with some much-needed momentum heading into this season.
Coast Guard Academy: The Bears will challenge Springfield College for the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. Coast Guard will lean on its seniors and juniors this fall to continue their momentum from one year ago, which saw the Bears finish 7-3, including 5-2 in conference play.
Endicott College: After finishing with seven wins – the most an Endicott squad has recorded since posting an 8-3 mark in 2013 – the Gulls will attempt to continue that momentum this fall, but it certainly won’t be easy. Western New England should once again be the favorite in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) followed by Salve Regina. The Gulls will need to play their best football against both squads to have a chance to finish the season with some hardware.
Husson University: It will be interesting to see how the Eagles’ transition from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) to the CCC goes this fall – they will certainly be competitive against Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England. However, with some key graduation losses, especially at quarterback, I am not sure if the Eagles will finish 2019 with some hardware or an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
MIT: Similar to the Eagles, the Engineers will also need to find a replacement for their quarterback, along with a few new linebackers, too. Coach Brian Bubna‘s squad will certainly be competitive this fall in the NEWMAC, but most likely deal with some challenges when they face Coast Guard, Springfield, and WPI.
Plymouth State: After advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, the Panthers took a step back last season, but still finished with a winning record. They almost beat Western Connecticut but did score an exciting win over Framingham State. Despite some key graduation losses, the Panthers should still be competitive in a conference that may be a two-team race for the top spot.
Salve Regina: The Seahawks’ five-game winning streak last fall proved it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Salve Regina did end its season with a setback to the Bears of Bridgewater State in the New England Bowl but do return a majority of last year’s squad that ended its regular-season slate with an exciting win over Endicott. Salve Regina will be tested immediately with early-season tilts against Dean College, Montclair State, and Norwich University.
Williams College: Despite somewhat of a down year, these Ephs certainly have what it takes to challenge Amherst and Trinity College for the top spot in the NESCAC. Look for the Ephs to lean heavily on their junior class to lead them to important conference wins. Quarterback Bobby Maimaron, who is a dual-threat signal-caller, will once again be a player to watch this fall for Williams.
WPI: After a down year the Engineers are poised to bounce back this season – they will be led by a very talented senior class, which will hope to cap their time Institute Road in Worcester with a conference championship. WPI will lean heavily on its run game this fall – look for a big year from halfbacks Sean McAllen and Connor Field.
Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.
The first day of August usually means one thing: football has officially returned.
We’re a few weeks away from starting up a brand new college football season – are you excited? I am, which is why I am very excited to begin our preseason football coverage with ‘Teams on the Rise’ in New England Division III.
Let me (and Noontime Sports) know if you agree, disagree or think we left a squad out by posting a comment below!
Anna Maria College: Year number three could be a turning point for coach Dan Mulrooney and his AMCATs, who have high aspirations heading into the 2019 season. With a slew of talent back from last year, as well as a wide-open conference race, one should certainly keep an eye on this squad, which faces some serious challenges next month with games against RPI and Union College. Additionally, a home date with Nichols College will be one to keep an eye on, as well.
Colby College: The Mules are my team to watch in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) this fall. Second-year coach Jack Cosgrove should be able to lead his squad to at least four, possibly five wins this season. Colby finished 3-6 last season – it was the most wins they have recorded since finishing 3-5 in 2016 and 4-4 in 2013.
Dean College: With just two players gone to graduation, these Bulldogs should be equipped (and prepared) to challenge Maritime (N.Y.) for the top spot in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Coach SteveTirrell‘s squad has improved each season since becoming a full-time Division III member in 2017.
Middlebury College: The Panthers will once again be in the middle of the NESCAC pack this fall – the Blue and White graduated 17 student-athletes from their 2018 squad, but should return some key pieces from last season. Middlebury finished 5-4 last season after posting six or seven wins in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and could certainly provide some challenges to a few conference early season favorites, including Amherst College, Trinity College, and Williams College.
Nichols College: Perhaps this is the year the Bison take that ‘next step’ and challenge Endicott College, Husson University, Salve Regina and Western New England for the top spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). The Bison finished 5-5 last season and seem to have generated some serious momentum this offseason, which should bode well for coach Dale Olmsted‘s squad.
Norwich University: Could the Cadets challenge Springfield College and others for the top spot in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)? I think so. Norwich returns some impressive talent on both sides of the ball, which will make this team hard to beat. I have high hopes for the Cadets, who will attempt to match their 2014 squad, which finished with seven wins.
University of New England: The Nor’easters appeared to get stronger as the 2018 season progressed. Similar to Nichols, they face the daunting task of taking down four solid teams to secure the top spot, but I think UNE should certainly improve on their initial season as a varsity program and finish 2019 with at least three or four wins.
Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter: @Noontime_FB
Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ college football coverage resumes with a closer look at the Nichols College Bison, who begin their season on Friday, September 6th when they visit Dean College for a 7 p.m. kick-off.
The Bison’s 2018 Season: Nichols enjoyed its best season since 2016 by finishing with a 5-5 mark, including a 4-2 record in Dudley, Massachusetts.
The Bison won three of six Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) games while scoring non-conference wins against Anna Maria College and Alfred State.
Nichols ended its campaign with a 39-29 win over Curry College, which seemed to provide the unit with some momentum and excitement for the upcoming season.
Hunter Ferreira, who was a first-year wide-out last season, ended the season by recording a career-high 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his team’s win over Curry. His impressive effort resulted in him being tabbed the conference’s offensive player of the week.
Coach Dale Olmsted was named the Worcester Area Football Association Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, while seven Bison were named to the 2018 squad.
The 2019 Outlook: The Bison graduated 11 student-athletes from last year’s squad, including halfback JacobDuffrene, who led the rushing attack with 794 yards on 103 carries and nine touchdowns.
McCoy Scott also graduated after enjoying an impressive final season with the Bison by tallying 99.0 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Scott also forced two fumbles, recovering one, while recording one interception.
But despite some graduation losses, the Bison will return some key pieces of last year’s squad, including quarterback Michael Pina, wide receiver Hunter Ferreira, and linebackers Christopher Lawrence, Michael Spraulding, and Sean McGuigan.
Additionally, Jared Abbruzzese returns in the secondary, while Patrick Porter will be spotted up front on the defensive line.
Sam Gallant returns to the offensive line for his final season – he was named to Worcester Area Football Association team last fall, while also being honored by the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Gallant has been a leader for the Bison’s offense the past few seasons and will certainly be counted on this fall with helping the team continue its winning ways.
Nichols’ Schedule: The Bison will be challenged immediately by a trio of non-conference squads, including Dean, a team to keep an eye on in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Games against Coast Guard Academy and Anna Maria won’t be easy, as well.
Nichols hops into conference play during the final weekend of September when they host Salve Regina before traveling to Western New England.
Weeks later, the Bison will close out their schedule with two marquee contests against Husson University (November 2nd) and Endicott College (November 16th).
Players to Watch: Michael Pina (Quarterback/Brockton, Mass.), Hunter Ferreira (Wide Receiver/Mansfield, Mass.), Daniel Espinosa (Kicker/Tamarac, Fla.), Sam Gallant (Offensive Line/Gardner, Mass.), Christopher Lawrence (Linebacker/Newport, N.H.), Michael Spraulding (Linebacker/Lithonia, Ga.), Sean McGuigan (Linebacker/Charlton, Mass.), Jared Abbruzzese (Defensive Back/Natick, Mass.), and Patrick Porter (Defensive Line/Natick, Mass.).
Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.
Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage rolls on with a closer look at the Husson University Eagles, who begin a new era in program history this fall as a member of Commonwealth Coast Football.
The Eagles, who previously competed in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), will begin their 2019 season on the second Saturday of September – that would be September 14th, to be exact – when they visit UMass Dartmouth for a 12 p.m. kick-off.
The Eagles’ 2018 Season: Husson commenced its season by winning two of four contests before stringing together six consecutive wins to secure the ECFC title, as well as a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Eagles’ national championship hopes were dashed one week after beating Plymouth State in their season finale with a 38-14 setback to RPI in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Yet, despite the loss, the Eagles again proved they can compete with the best, both in New England and outside the region.
2018 was the final season for coach Gabby Price, who announced months after his team’s final contest that he would be stepping down. Nat Clark was named the program’s new coach roughly two weeks after Price’s announcement.
The 2019 Outlook: As noted above, the Eagles will begin a new chapter in program history this fall as a member of the Commonwealth Coast Football league – Husson will compete against some talented New England squads, including Endicott College, Salve Regina University and Western New England.
Husson will certainly be a team to watch again this year, however, they do have some holes to fill, beginning at quarterback.
Cory Brandon, who was the team’s signal-caller the past few years, has graduated – he was one of 14 student-athletes to graduate this past spring – so perhaps we could see David Morrison under center or Frank Veino. Both student-athletes appeared in games last year, however, Morrison competed in all 10 contests, so it’s likely we will see him against the Corsairs in week two.
In addition to identifying a new starting quarterback, the Eagles will need to find replacements for wide receivers Kyle Gaudet and Ty Bassett, as well as linebacker Elvin Suazo.
Keyshaun Robinson could become the go-to target for Morrison or Veino – the senior tight end finished second on the team with 38 receptions for 526 yards and seven touchdowns. Additionally, Tyler Halls, who transferred from Western New England, could be a wide receiver to watch this fall, as well. Halls enjoyed a successful first season with the Eagles last year, catching 28 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns.
In addition to some new wide-outs and tight ends stepping up, look for the Eagles to rely on its ground game. Husson returns Miece Loureiro and Solomon Hassen, who combined for 1,783 yards and four touchdowns.
Husson returns a slew of offensive linemen, including Collin Spence, Aidan Asher, and Jacob Cameron, which should help the Eagles continue its success from last year, both on the ground and through the air.
Ace Curry should be the player to watch on defense – the Lewiston, Maine native finished second on the team last season in total tackles. Kaleb Caron, who stuffed the stat sheet with 51.0 total tackles, including seven tackles for a loss for 36 yards and 2.5 sacks, will also be a player to watch, too.
Husson’s Schedule: After traveling to UMass Dartmouth in week two, the Eagles will host WPI in their season-opener on September 21st before finishing the month of September with a trip to Morrisville State.
Husson will dive into conference play in the first week of October with a trip to Becker College followed by three consecutive home games, including an important matchup with Endicott on October 26.
Husson will end the regular season with a trio of marquee matchups, beginning with a visit to Nichols College followed by a home date with Salve Regina. The Eagles will visit Western New England on Saturday, November 16th with hopes of competing one week later in either the NCAA Tournament or New England Bowl.