The first official weekend of the New England (and northeast) college football season has finally arrived, which means it is time to preview our first “Game of the Week,” which pits Endicott College and Saint Lawrence University.
Before the Gulls and Saints square off on Saturday, September 4 at 12 p.m., let’s learn a bit more about each team, as well as make a prediction for who wins (and why?).
The early outlook for Endicott College: The Gulls enter their first game of the 2021 season as our second-ranked team in this week’s New England Top 20 Poll (for week one) — Endicott is certainly one of many teams I (and others) in the area/region believe will be in the mix for their conference crown.
Coach Paul McGonagle has led the Gulls to eight wins or more in two seasons — in 2019, Endicott matched its win total from 2012 with nine wins while capping their campaign with a New England Bowl victory over Dean College.
The early outlook for Saint Lawrence: After posting a 9-1 record in 2016, the Saints have averaged three wins in their last three seasons — they did, however, finish 5-5 in 2019, including 3-3 in the Liberty League (LL).
When we last saw the Saints compete, they finished their 2019 season with back-to-back wins after starting their campaign with a pair of losses to Norwich University and Utica College.
Quarterback Sean Richardson highlighted his team’s third win by completing 24 of 32 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns while halfback Rodrick Payne rushed for a game-high 114 yards on 21 carries.
The game was played at Hempstead Stadium in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Players to Watch on Endicott: RB John Kenney (Wilmington, Mass), WR Anthony Bracamonte (Saco, Maine), WR Shea McManaway (Lisbon, Conn.), DL Sam Opont (Bridgeport, Conn.), LB Tim Russell (Stoneham, Mass.) and LB Mehdi Squalli (Rochester, N.Y.)
Players to Watch on Saint Lawrence: QB Tyler Grochot (Ottawa, Ontario), RB Jamie Battaglia (Brewerton, N.Y.), WR Andrew Murphy (Glens Falls, N.Y.),OL Max Warden (Potsdam, N.Y.), DL Caleb Null (Carthage, N.Y.),DL Ryan Reinke (Schenectady, N.Y.), LB Kyle Frimel (Cream Ridge, N.J), and DB Max Gilbert (Newburyport, Mass.)
Prediction: Endicott 28, St. Lawrence 27: As I said on this week’s podcast when discussing the first week of games with James Baker, I like the Gulls in this one – I think they will feed off their home crowd to score a late touchdown and squeak out a win. However, I do think the Gulls defense will be challenged by an up-tempo offense led by quarterback Tyler Grochot.
All in all, Saturday will be an exciting day for everyone as we celebrate the return to the field.
For the past four years, Keith Brown has been a player to watch on the Endicott College men’s basketball team.
The Pelham, New Hampshire native credits the program’s “competitive atmosphere” for making him a better player. “We all wanted to push each other to get better through practices, pick-up games, and (various) weight lifting sessions,” he said when asked about what he enjoyed most about competing for the Endicott men’s basketball program.
And that assistance from both current and past teammates allowed Brown to flourish under the direction of coach Kevin Bettencourt and conclude his career as the first-ever men’s basketball player to net 2,000 points.
We recently spoke with Brown about his final season with the Gulls, as well as his future plans beyond graduation later this spring.
What will you remember most about your senior year?
The friendships my teammates and I established. We are very close friends and did everything together, both on and off the court.
Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games?
There are three games I will always remember from this past season. The first one is when we beat Nichols College on our home court. It was a (great game) with a packed crowd. It was also a great (college basketball) atmosphere.
And the third contest was our ‘Senior Day’ against Curry College. Not only was I able to share the court with my fellow seniors and roommates for the past four years, but I also became the first student-athlete in program history to score 2,000 points.
Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?
I haven’t officially decided on what I am going to do after I graduate. I definitely want to remain involved with basketball in some capacity, but I do have an interest in coaching down the road.
What interested you in pursuing a degree in business management? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?
It’s a broad degree, in my opinion, which will allow me to do many things. I have been fortunate to gain some real-life experience with four internships, but my plan is to land a job within the sports world.
I am a determined person and believe that I will find the right job that is best for me (after graduation).
I hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming NCAA Tournament games tomorrow, along with two New England Bowls.
As usual, Friday’s mean one thing: games to watch and predictions. So, allow me to dish out my picks for the three NCAA Tournament games with New England teams, along with both New England Bowls.
Have a wonderful weekend, stay warm – it is going to be COLD tomorrow – and I’ll do my very best, as usual, to keep you all updated on social media!
NCAA Tournament Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
Brockport at Western New England (12 p.m.): This is a very evenly matched contest – it is even a game the Golden Bears could (and should) win. I’ll give the edge to WNE since they are playing at home, but they will need a big day from their offense, as well as a stellar performance by their run defense. PREDICTION: WNE 31, Brockport 28
Framingham State at Wesley College (12 p.m.): The Rams have never won an NCAA Tournament game, so perhaps this is the contest Framingham State wins. FSU’s offense and defense have been rather impressive the past few weeks, especially against some talented conference foes, which should translate to a one-point (or two-point) victory on Saturday. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Wesley 27
MIT at Muhlenberg College (12 p.m.): This is a tough draw for the Engineers, who are set to face the fourth-best team in the country, per the latest D3 Football Top 25. MIT has been impressive in their last three outings – they needed to win all three to advance to the postseason – but something tells me the Mules will make a few more plays from the get-go to secure an opening-round win. PREDICTION: Muhlenberg 30, MIT 10
New England Bowl Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
Dean College at Endicott College (12 p.m.): This one is for the seniors. Look for a monstrous game from the seniors on both sides of the ball to send the Gulls into the offseason with some momentum for the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Dean 16
Western Connecticut at WPI (1 p.m.): After losing to the Engineers of Cambridge earlier this month, WPI has looked unstoppable, winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University by a combined score of 124-35. Look for the Engineers to continue their recent momentum against the Colonials in Worcester. PREDICTION: WPI 38, Western Conn. 14
The seventh week of the New England D-III Football season is in the books. There were some interesting outcomes, as well as some surprises, too.
Week seven also helped me (and others) identify which teams are still in the mix for their respective conference crowns and what squads will play spoiler over the final four weeks of the 2019 season.
Here are seven thoughts (and takeaways) from what I learned from this past weekend.
1. Endicott College looks primed for a successful stretch run. The Gulls entered their bye week with a 4-1 record – I thought prior to their first game of the season against Framingham State that they would be 3-2 entering week seven – but between the play of their offense and defense, as well as kicker Nick DiCairano, I just can’t imagine any of their four remaining opponents halting their current momentum which they have gained over the past few weeks.
Endicott almost beat Wesley College last month, which would have been a huge feather in their cap but have rebounded quite well since the setback with three-straight Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) wins, including a hard-fought victory on the road against Salve Regina University.
iQuarterback Joe Kalosky has looked very comfortable behind an offensive line that has allowed him to go through his motions and find open receivers either over the middle or down the field. Additionally, first-year wideout Anthony Bracamonte has become a go-to target for the senior signal-caller – look for the former Thornton Academy receiver to help the Gulls continue their recent momentum this upcoming week against Husson University.
2. Middlebury College seems to be a lock for the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). I picked the Panthers to beat the Cardinals of Wesleyan University this past weekend, but I didn’t expect the Blue and White to produce 45 points in 60 minutes.
Quarterback Will Jernigan had his best game of the season (in my opinion) by tossing four touchdowns in the win while completing 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards.
Maxwell Rye was also instrumental in his team’s sixth win of the season, too – the senior wide receiver from Longmeadow, Massachusetts has enjoyed his best season with the Panthers, catching 26 passes for 493 yards and four touchdowns. The four touchdown receptions are the most Rye has recorded in a single-season.
On defense, Jack Pistorius continues to be a player to watch on Middlebury – he tallied a team-high 10 total tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 11 yards.
The win over the Cardinals was the Panthers’ most impressive performance of the season – yes, they looked good against Amherst College and Trinity College, but Saturday’s effort should translate into three more wins, beginning this Saturday against Bowdoin College.
3. Bridgewater State remains a team to watch in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). The Bears are still very much alive in the MASCAC with four weeks remaining.
Their 56-20 win over UMass Dartmouth helped the Red and White keep pace for the top spot with Framingham State and Western Connecticut, two teams that enter the eighth week of the 2019 season with identical undefeated conference records. Bridgewater lost to Western Connecticut earlier this season – they had a few chances to win that game – and will visit the Rams in the second week of November in what could determine a possible conference champion.
Bridgewater State quarterback Stefano D’Emilia re-wrote the record book yesterday against the Corsairs with eight touchdowns, including three on the ground. He threw for a school-record 345 yards while becoming the second Bears signal-caller to throw for more than 5,000 yards (Danny Higgins, who was a teammate of D’Emilia, concluded his career with 6,091 passing yards).
D’Emilia’s five touchdowns tied a school record – the former Bridgewater-Raynham Trojan also caught a two-point conversion in his team’s win over the Corsairs.
The Bears will be idle this upcoming weekend but should be able to maintain their recent momentum in two weeks when they host Plymouth State at 4 p.m.
4. Dean College needs three more wins to wrap-up its inaugural Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Title. I was bullish on the Bulldogs prior to their first game of the 2019 season. And I still am after back-to-back wins against Anna Maria College and SUNY-Maritime.
Against the Privateers, the Bulldogs defense recorded 12 tackles for a loss of 60 yards, including 10 sacks for a loss of 58 yards. Tyzohn Poole and Desmond Dias combined for five sacks for 30 yards, while quarterback Terrell Watts threw two touchdowns while adding a third score on the ground.
Yesterday against Anna Maria, Watts tossed four touchdowns, while adding a fifth score on the ground (four carries for one yard). Dias led the defense with 12 total tackles, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 15 yards.
If the offense and defense can duplicate their performance from the past two weeks then I expect the Bulldogs to win their final road game of the season against Gallaudet University this Saturday. A win over the Bison should provide the squad with enough momentum to cap their regular-season slate with back-to-back wins against Alfred State and Castleton University.
5. Randy Morgan continues to be a player to watch at Becker College. First-year tailback Randy Morgan has enjoyed a very successful start to his college career – yesterday against Nichols College, he established a new single-season record for rushing yards in a season by tallying 188 yards on 27 carries.
Morgan broke the program’s old record of 674 rushing yards in a season, which was established by Jacob Holmes in 2015.
Through six games this season, Morgan has rushed for 733 yards on 132 carries and seven touchdowns, while adding four receptions for 48 yards. The seven rushing touchdowns are the most recorded by any member of the Hawks this season.
Morgan has rushed for 100 yards or more in four of six games this season and should have no problem finishing his team’s 2019 season with 1,000 yards or more.
6. Springfield College remains in the hunt for a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship. After starting their season 1-3, Springfield has rebounded quite nicely with wins over Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine, and Norwich Academy.
The Pride, who were certainly a team expected to contend for their second conference crown this fall, currently sit a spot below WPI, which beat Springfield in week four by a score of 35-21.
WPI is the only undefeated team in the NEWMAC. They host Merchant Marine this weekend in a very important match-up. A loss to the Mariners would help the Pride’s chances of winning the title, but of course, Springfield needs to win its remaining three games, including Saturday’s meeting with Catholic University.
Pending how the next four weeks play out, look for Springfield to play an extra game in November – they will either compete in the NCAA Tournament or a New England Bowl.
7. Coast Guard Academy’s Ryan Jones was a player to watch against Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday. Quarterback Ryan Jones enjoyed his best game of the season with the Bears by completing 26 of 34 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones concluded the contest by becoming the fourth signal-caller in Coast Guard Academy football program history to throw for more than 4,000 yards. Currently, Jones has thrown for 4,145 yards, including 1,382 yards through seven contests this season.
Jones connected with Justin Moffatt 13 times in his team’s 33-8 win over Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday. The 13 receptions were a career-best for Moffat, who broke the single-game record for receiving yards (256), which was originally held by Collis Brown, who hauled in 244 yards against Western New England in 2013. Moffat ended the game with two touchdowns.
Kevin O’Brien and the Endicott College defense have been a unit to watch this fall.
Through five contests, the Endicott defense has limited opponents to just 17.2 points per game, which is roughly five points less than what this unit yielded to opposing teams through five weeks last season.
O’Brien, who is in his third season with the Gulls, credits defensive coordinator Sean Golden for helping both he and his teammates be well-prepared for the opposing offenses they have and will face this season. Additionally, he credited his classmate Tim Russell – the two linebackers have complemented each other quite well this fall when it comes to rushing the passer to dropping back in coverage to defend the pass.
Noontime Sports caught up with the third-year linebacker to discuss the Gulls’ 2019 season thus far, but also what he did to prepare himself for a successful junior season with the Endicott defense.
Your team heads into the bye week with a 4-1 record. I know we chatted prior to the Framingham State game a few weeks ago, but did you (and your teammates) think you would be 4-1 heading into the sixth week of the season?
We knew we could be a very good team as we returned almost everyone (from last year’s squad). We were a few plays away from upsetting a very good Wesley College team (last month) but I think we have yet to play our best football which is exciting.
Through five weeks, the defense has yielded just 17.2 points per game. What has been the difference this season for the defense compared to last season (or your first season with the Gulls in 2017)?
One big difference is we have so many defensive linemen that can play good football for us. We have been regularly rotating the defensive linemen throughout the game and I think we probably have the best depth (at that position) in our conference.
Rotating and having fresh linemen is obviously good for a number of reasons and helps everyone else out.
Both last season and this season, your defense has defended the run pretty well. How have you (and the defense) been able to slow down opposing rushing attacks?
Anytime you prepare to slow down the run game or key in on a (certain) player (becomes) a group effort.
Coach Golden, who is our defensive coordinator, has been putting myself and the rest of the defense in good positions to stop the run and force teams to get into a third and medium or long situation. We then can dial something up (a play) that can get our unit off the field (and let the offense go back to work).
We face a ton of good running backs in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) conference, including halfbacks from Curry College, Salve Regina University, and Western New England, so each week is a new and difficult challenge (for our unit).
With the bye week coming at the halfway mark of the season, what do you feel the defense must work on, both this week and next week heading into an important stretch, beginning with Curry College next Saturday, October 19th.
The defense has played well so far but we still have a lot to work to do.
In some games, we have let teams get into the red zone before we tighten up to get a stop. We have often lived by the motto “bend, but don’t break” when we are in the red zone.
I think we need to work on getting stops earlier and forcing teams to punt while tightening up our tackling to disguising our coverages to force turnovers.
Our offense is so explosive and has tons of options so we know the quicker we can get a stop on defense the quicker our offense can go get points (for us).
From a personal perspective, how do you feel your game has improved from last season to this season? Have you prepared differently for games this year than last year?
With another year of playing under my belt, I feel as if I’m stronger and more experienced than most players.
I’ve prepared myself a little bit differently this year (than my previous two seasons with the program). I play the “Mike” linebacker whereas last year I played “Buck,” which focuses on outside containment. Will Rivera was the “Mike” for our defense last season.
Playing “Mike” linebacker is a new challenge as I am usually always on the front side of coverage and the strongside of the run. And depending on a run or pass, I rely on calls and checks on the fly.
It is definitely a challenge but Tim Russell, who is our “Buck” linebacker has helped me out tremendously and has been playing excellent next to me.