Tag: Eastern Collegiate Football Conference

Noontime’s New England D3 Top 20 Poll (Oct. 25, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to the ninth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season — are you ready for another for a big week of football?

This week, along with the next two, will help us determine what teams will compete in either the national postseason or the New England Bowl(s).

So, without further ado, let’s get excited for another week of football with our latest Top 20 poll.

1. Salve Regina University (7-1, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 5): The Seahawks return to the top of our poll following a come-from-behind victory against Endicott College.

2. Trinity College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 2): A big matchup awaits the Bantams this week against the Ephs of Williams College.

3. Endicott College (6-2, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 1): The Gulls drop two spots after seeing their 14-6 lead disappear in the fourth quarter last Saturday to Salve Regina.

4. Western New England (5-3, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 4): Make it back-to-back wins for the Golden Bears who are still in the mix for their conference crown.

5. Williams College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 3): Another week, another victory for the Ephs.

6. Framingham State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC | LW: No. 6): Are you ready for the Kelley Cup this Saturday?

7. Bridgewater State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC | LW: No. 7): The Bears rolled past Westfield State this past weekend but face a UMass Dartmouth squad that has won three straight since falling to Western Connecticut earlier this month.

8. Wesleyan University (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 8): The Cardinals shut out Middlebury College at home and will look to continue their midseason momentum against Amherst College this weekend.

9. UMass Dartmouth (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 9): Don’t be surprised if these Corsairs hand the Bears of Bridgewater State their initial conference setback of the season on Saturday.

10. Husson University (5-2, 2-1 CCC | LW: No. 10): The Eagles bounced back from a week seven setback to Endicott with a big win against the University of New England.

11. Springfield College (4-3, 3-0 NEWMAC | LW: No. 11): Make it three-straight wins for the Pride, who now face their toughest test of the season: the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA).

12. Anna Maria College (5-1, 3-0 ECFC | LW: No. 12): Did you know the AMCATs are in first place in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)?

13. Plymouth State (3-4, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 13): Make it three-straight wins for the Panthers, who will look to even their record with a win on Saturday against Westfield State.

14. MIT (3-3, 1-2 NEWMAC | LW: No. 17): A dramatic second-half comeback helped the Engineers outlast Norwich University.

15. Amherst College (4-2, 4-2 NESCAC | LW: No. 20): The Mammoths posted their first shutout of the season last Saturday against Hamilton College. Will this win translate to a big victory this weekend against Wesleyan?

16. Massachusetts Maritime Academy (4-3, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: Not Ranked): The Buccaneers returned to the poll following an impressive 22-20 win over Western Connecticut.

17. University of New England (3-4, 1-2 CCC | LW: No. 15): A big challenge awaits the Nor’easter this weekend at Endicott.

18. Western Connecticut (3-5, 2-4 MASCAC | LW: No. 14): The Colonials will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday at Worcester State.  

19. Colby College (2-4, 2-4 NESCAC | LW: No. 19): The Mules will look to bounce back from their week eight setback to Trinity with a CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) victory against Bates College.  

20. Bates College (1-5, 1-5 NESCAC | LW: Not Ranked): These Bobcats have provided some challenges to Wesleyan and Williams this fall, so don’t be surprised if they finish their 2021 slate with two – maybe three? – more victories.  

Noontime’s D3 Football Teams to Watch in Week Eight

Andrew Boel and the Bowdoin College football team scored their first win against Amherst College last weekend since 2005. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Beard)

By NoontimeSports.com

The eighth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season is quickly approaching, which means it is time to highlight five teams to watch this weekend.

Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC): The AMCATs have been quite a story this fall, winning four straight contests, including a pair of Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) victories to keep them in the hunt with Gallaudet University for the league title.  

This week, the AMCATs return home after three straight road games to host Dean College, which captured the ECFC crown in 2019.

Dean returned to the win column last week with a 39-36 victory over Keystone College – the Bulldogs defense held off a late rally by the Giants, who finished the final frame with three touchdowns.

At 1-2, Dean is not entirely out of the conference mix but would need to win this game to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Quarterback Alex Cohen was instrumental in his team’s last win over Alfred State – expect the veteran signal-caller to continue his success this week against the Bulldogs.

Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC): Last Saturday was a special day for the Polar Bears as Bowdoin snapped a 14-game losing streak to Amherst College with a 21-14 victory.

The seven-point win over the Mammoths should provide the Polar Bears with some momentum heading into this week’s clash with Tufts University.

Quarterback Andrew Boel has been a player to watch these last two weeks – against Amherst, he completed 22 of 28 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns.

Boel connected with eight different receivers, including Colton Fahey who caught a pair of touchdowns while finishing with a game-high 112 yards on five grabs.

As a team, Bowdoin registered 421 yards of total offense compared to Amherst, which finished with 340. Additionally, they converted seven of 12 third-down attempts.

Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC): The Bears return from their bye with hopes of extending their current winning streak to five games.

Like Framingham State, Bridgewater State rebounded from an 0-2 start with four straight wins, including a pair against two squads that earned spots on this week’s Top 20 Poll: Plymouth State and Western Connecticut.

In their last outing against Worcester State, the Bears leaned on halfback Adam Couch, who rushed for a game-high 190 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns. Brendan Albert led the defensive with a game-high 13 total tackles, including five solo stops, one pass break-up, and one fumble recovery.

Look for their momentum prior to their bye week to continue Saturday against Westfield State.

MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC): After starting their season by winning two of three contests, the Engineers have dropped their last two outings, including a 56-34 setback last Saturday against the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA), which saw wide receiver Ben Dwyer record a career-best 224 receiving yards on nine grabs to go with one touchdown.

Dwyer was named to this week’s D3Football.com Team of the Week and was one yard shy of matching the MIT single-game record for receiving yards, which was set 33 years ago.

Dwyer, along with the Engineers will look to avenge their last two conference losses when they host Norwich University on Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.

The Cadets will arrive in Cambridge with one conference win, but a victory against Norwich means MIT could gain some much-needed momentum heading into their final three contests against Coast Guard Academy, Springfield College, and WPI.

Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC): The Seahawks have rebounded quite well since dropping their initial conference clash with Western New England by scoring back-to-back wins against Nichols College (35-20) and the University of New England (48-6).

This week, their season is somewhat on the line as they must beat Endicott College to remain in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.

Endicott beat Salve Regina in their last meeting in 2019 – the game was held in Newport, Rhode Island – while the Seahawks beat the Gulls on their home turf one year later.

Look for Salve Regina to lean on its ground game like they did last week against Nichols, which saw halfback Joey Mauriello rush for a game-high 203 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns (all three scores occurred in the third quarter last week against the Bison).

Anna Maria Captures Its Fourth-Straight Contest, Tops Alfred State, 28-17

Alex Cohen tossed three touchdowns against Alfred State on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley)

By Matt Noonan

The early-season momentum continued this afternoon for Anna Maria College as the AMCATs returned from their bye week to score their fourth-straight win over Alfred State on Saturday in New York.

The AMCATs, who improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play, defeated the Pioneers, 28-17, thanks to three touchdown passes from Alex Cohen with two of them landing in the hands of Deandre Wallace.

Eric Pino led the AMCATs rushing attack with 45 yards on nine carries while Sam Jakana stuffed the stat sheet on defense with 10 total tackles, including five solo stops, two forced fumbles and one tackle for a loss of nine yards.

Alfred State’s Aaron Jenkins totaled 299 yards of total offense, including 20 passing yards to go with a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Both teams swapped scores throughout the opening three quarters before Alex Cohen put the AMCATs ahead for good by capping a 12-play, 85-yard drive with a two-yard strike to Deandre Wallace with 10:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. The two-yard strike from Cohen to Wallace extended the visitor’s lead from four to 11 points.

Saturday’s win over the Pioneers is the AMCATs’ third in the series history between the two teams – Anna Maria edged Alfred State in its previous meeting in 2019 by a score of 21-20.

Anna Maria will look to extend its winning streak to five games next Saturday, October 23 when they welcome Dean College to Paxton, Massachusetts.

Player Perspective: Timel Benton (Gallaudet University)

Gallaudet University quarterback Timel Benton rushed for a career-high 232 yards last Saturday against Dean College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Gallaudet University Athletics/David Sinclair)

By NoontimeSports.com

For the past few seasons, Timel Benton has been a quarterback to watch.

Last weekend, the senior signal-caller from Columbia, South Carolina, rushed for a career-high 232 yards and scored four touchdowns in Gallaudet University’s first conference win of the 2021 season against Dean College.

The win over the Bulldogs bumped the Bison’s overall record to 3-0 and 1-0 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play – the team’s three-straight wins matches its start from 2013, which saw Gallaudet secure an NCAA Division III first-round postseason matchup with Hobart College.

“Coach Chuck (Goldstein) called my number throughout the game and the big guy’s upfront, the slots, and wide receivers took care of the rest,” said Benton when discussing his impressive performance against the Bulldogs.

“(My teammates) opened lanes for me, and I was able to get out in space to help lead us to win. Without them, this win would not have been possible against such an athletic Bulldogs’ defense.”

Prior to rushing past numerous members of the Dean College defense, Benton threw for a season-best 265 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 49-42 victory over Greensboro College.

Noontime Sports recently caught up with Benton to discuss his impressive rushing performance, but also what he and the team must do this weekend against Keystone College.

You rushed for a career-high 232 yards and four touchdowns in the win – do you recall rushing for that many yards or more prior to competing for Gallaudet?

In high school, I was a role player. I plugged in at positions that needed filling each week. I never got the opportunity to have big games but what matters most to me is the wins. I could have all the stats in the world, but without another one in the win column, they’re meaningless in my opinion. 

It sounds cliché, but how important was it for you and your team to begin conference play with a win? How does a victory last Saturday help the team heading into this week’s contest against Keystone College?

I told the guys during pregame, “This game is what sets the tone for the rest of our season. If everyone does their job and knows their role, we’ll be just fine.”

The win over Dean has given us a spark that this program hasn’t felt in a long time. We have momentum but it’s important that we continue to stay focused and take it one game at a time. 

How has your game evolved from your initial season in 2016 to this fall? What changes have you made to become not just a thrower, but also a rushing signal-caller?

When I came into the program I had no idea what to expect in this system because it was so new for me being from an air raid offense in high school. When I earned the starting job in 2016, I played off of pure athletic ability and not enough knowledge. Over time I developed into my role as a leader and with that came my understanding of this offense. Coach Chuck preaches on seeing the big picture of what our offense is based on. It took some time but I finally understood that I didn’t have to do things on my own, I just need to take what the defense gives us and get the ball into our playmakers’ hands.

To become a more effective rusher, I had to learn to limit the impacts of the hits I took in games. Over the years I’ve studied New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s game film and his insane workouts that improved his balance. I took a few notes from those and applied them to my workouts as well as my game. 

Who is one or perhaps two (or three) quarterbacks you idolize/have studied over the past few seasons? And how has watching these quarterbacks play helped you become the signal-caller you are currently?

My two favorite quarterbacks to watch and mirror my game after are Denard Robinson (Michigan) and Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots). I admire how when Denard Robinson was in tight situations he would make people miss in the smallest gaps and just explode for long runs. Additionally, I love how Cam was such a powerful force with the ball in his hand and his vibe of playing the game he just had fun with it. 

Tell me about your major – what interested you in pursuing a degree in physical education and recreation? What do you hope to do with it after graduation?

In high school, I bounced between culinary, business, and graphic design. My senior year I was a middle school teacher’s assistant for PE class and loved it. I enjoy being physically active even outside of playing football and I want to dig even deeper to encourage the new generations to enjoy physical activity as well. 

My plan is to go back to South Carolina and pursue my career somewhere in the physical education field. I want to work with high school students but I’ll take whatever opportunity is available.

Finally, could you see yourself coaching or finding a way to stay involved in football after your final game with the Bison?  

Funny you ask, during the Covid year of 2020 I was a quarterback coach at a high school in South Carolina. I loved every second of it, and I plan on returning to be a coach once my football career comes to an end. I even have aspirations to coach college football at some point in my life.  

Observations & Thoughts From Five Weeks of New England D2 & D3 Football

Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak set the program record for touchdown receptions last weekend against Salve Regina. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By Matt Noonan

We’re slowly reaching the halfway mark of the 2021 college football season – crazy, right?

But the good news is there is still plenty of football left to be played.

While yesterday – Sunday, October 3, 2021 – technically marked the beginning of the sixth week of the season, here are some observations from what I have witnessed over the past few weeks.

Let’s begin in the Northeast 10 Conference (NE10) where Bentley University has won five straight contests to stretch its current winning streak to 10 games, dating back to October 2019.  

The Falcons, who currently occupy the top spot in the conference, have won three consecutive league matchups this fall, including a 34-21 contest this past weekend against Saint Anselm. Quarterback Stephen Sturm account for four touchdowns – three passing, one rushing – and 379 yards of total offense against the Hawks while Cole McCubrey registered a team-high 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops (Rene Nunez also recorded nine solo tackles).

Bentley enters the sixth week of the season as the 18th best team in Division II, according to the latest American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Poll. The Falcons are one of nine teams on this week’s list that have won five consecutive contests this fall.

West Florida and Northwest Missouri State, which secured the first and second positions in this week’s AFCA D-II Poll, boast identical 4-0 records.

As noted above, there is still a lot of football left to be played, but Bentley has certainly found ways to score hard-fought wins, both this past weekend and at the end of September against American International College.

This week, the Falcons host a Pace University squad that provided challenges for New Haven, which broke open a 14-14 tie with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Last week’s Pace-New Haven contest marked the first time the Chargers competed on the road this school year.

Coach Chris Pincince seemed proud of his team’s effort against the Setters, saying that “a win is a win, we look forward. We took another step toward another goal (of winning the Northeast 10 title) that we have.”

New Haven hosts Saint Anselm this week – the Chargers defense will be tasked with slowing down an impressive Hawks passing attack that is led by quarterback Drew Willoughby, who has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 1,410 yards in four contests.

As of now, it appears as if both Bentley and New Haven are the frontrunners for the conference crown as neither squad has dropped a league contest thus far, but don’t overlook Southern Connecticut (3-2, 2-1), Assumption College (2-3, 2-1), and Stonehill College (3-1, 1-1). All three, along with possible American International College could conclude the season in the top spot.

Sure, we picked against Western New England this past weekend in the previous 10 Games to Watch – I thought Salve Regina University would continue its early-season momentum against the Golden Bears – but the Blue and Gold proved me wrong as they defeated the Seahawks, 41-3, in their initial Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) contest.

Steven Fedorchak highlighted his team’s big win over the Seahawks by setting a new program record for touchdown receptions with 23. He concluded the contest with a game-high 87 yards on six catches.

With the win, the Golden Bears returned to the top spot in our weekly poll and seem destined to occupy that position for the remainder of the season baring a future setback to say Endicott College this week or another conference foe later this fall.

We’ll share our weekly picks later this week, but from what I have seen from Western New England thus far, as well as this past weekend, they certainly are the favorite to win their fourth-straight CCC title.

Alex Cohen recorded six touchdowns last weekend in his team’s first-ever win against Keystone College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley/Anna Maria College)

Here are a few more teams to keep an eye on over the next few weeks:

Anna Maria College: The AMCATs have been a great story this fall.

Anna Maria has won three of four meetings, including its first-ever with Keystone College, which saw quarterback Alex Cohen account for six touchdowns – five passing and one rushing.

Last Saturday’s win provided coach Dan Mulrooney with his seventh victory as the AMCATs head coach – the seven wins are the most recorded by a head coach in program history, dating back to their initial season in 2009.

Anna Maria has never won the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) but could be in line for the title, pending how the next few weeks play out.

Framingham State: After losing back-to-back non-conference games earlier this season, the Rams have bounced back, winning three straight, including their first conference clash of the season with UMass Dartmouth.

Coach Tom Kelley’s squad enters the sixth week of the season tied with Bridgewater State for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) – the two teams will compete next month in Framingham.

The Rams pitched their first shutout of the season last weekend against Plymouth State (33-0) and will attempt to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday when they visit Fitchburg State for a 3 p.m. kick-off.

Norwich University: The Cadets scored a big win last weekend against Coast Guard Academy to secure a three-way tie atop the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings.

After starting their 2021 campaign with back-to-back losses, Norwich has rebounded quite well – hey, they did not make things easy on Endicott, which rallied to beat the Cadets on their home field.

Keep an eye on the Cadets moving forward – maybe their win against Coast Guard Academy is just the start of an exciting second-half run.

Trinity College: I watched the Bantams game last weekend against Middlebury College and came away impressed.

Trinity blanked the defending champions by a score of 28-0, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Spencer Fetter, who has thrown eight touchdowns this fall while completing 62 of 91 passes for 952 yards.

Fetter was impressive, but the same could be said for others, including halfback William Kirby and linebacker Brian Casagrande, who both scored one touchdown last weekend.

Trinity is one of three New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams that have yet to drop a game this season – they will attempt to continue their winning ways on Saturday when they visit Hamilton College for a 1 p.m. kick-off.

University of New England: The Nor’easters are one win away from matching their program record for wins in a single season after capturing their last three matchups, including a pair of non-league wins over Alfred State and Bridgewater State.

Last Saturday, UNE scored its first win in program history against Nichols College, thanks to three rushing touchdowns from Jack Mahoney, Jaymeson Maheux, and Connor Sirois.   

UNE travels to Salve Regina this weekend for its second conference tilt of the 2021 season.