Noontime’s ‘What If’ D3 Football Conference Champion Predictions

Bobby Maimaron and the Williams College football team would have been one of our teams to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College)

By Matt Noonan

Like many of our fans and friends, I miss New England D-III football. But as an optimist, I believe we’ll see our favorite teams and student-athletes back on the gridiron at this time next year vying for conference crowns, along with at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

And speaking of conference crowns – and yes, the national postseason, too – I thought it would be fun to produce a special Noontime’s ‘What If‘ post on which teams I believe would have won their respective conference this fall.

As expected, these predictions were not easy as there are a slew of teams and programs capable of winning their respective conference, but here are my predictions. And as usual, you can share your thoughts with me on social media, as well as send a note to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): Western New England

For the past few seasons, the Golden Bears have been the team to watch and beat in this conference. And once again, Western New England would be the squad to watch in the CCC this fall. They would most likely enter their final game of the regular season with two important wins against Endicott College and Salve Regina University. And like most teams highlighted in this post, the 2020 Golden Bears would look a bit different than previous years, especially on offense as they would have a new quarterback, but their defense would be be a unit to watch – it would be led by linebacker Erich Keutmann, who was named a D3Football.com Preseason All-America second-teamer in September.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College

The Bulldogs captured their first-ever conference crown last season, thanks to quarterback Terrell Watts, who was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, along with wide receiver Errol Breaux and safety Tyzohn Poole. Of course, there would be other student-athletes to watch as the season progressed, but at this point of the 2020 season, the Bulldogs would have claimed some important wins against Castleton University and SUNY Maritime. They would have also beaten a new D-III football team: Keystone College.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State University

Like Western New England, it is hard to pick against the Rams, which would be starting a new chapter in its program history with first-year coach Aynsley Rosenbaum, who spent the past 12 seasons overseeing the Framingham State offense. But like prior years, this would be the team to watch in the MASCAC. Sure, they would look a bit different on offense without quarterback Adam Wojenski, who graduated last spring, but the Rams would welcome back some key pieces from that unit, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the 2019 MASCAC Rookie of the Year. Framingham State would be challenged for the top spot by Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Williams College

The Ephs of Williams College suffered just two setbacks last season, including an opening day loss to Middlebury College, which would be a game circled on their calendar this season. Williams would somehow find a way to beat the Panthers at home, along with Wesleyan University, which tripped up the Ephs prior to their season-ending win over Amherst College last November. But for the Ephs to win the NESCAC, they would not only need to beat Amherst, Middlebury, and Wesleyan, but also Trinity College and Tufts University. Additionally, let’s not overlook Colby College and Hamilton College, which would challenge the Purple and Yellow, but in the end, quarterback Bobby Maimaron, along with the rest of the Ephs would make just a few more plays in all nine contests to secure the NESCAC title.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Springfield College

Sure, MIT maybe the favorite after winning the NEWMAC crown the past two years, but it would be hard to overlook Springfield College, which would be led by halfback Hunter Belzo and linebacker AJ Smith. The Pride, which finished with six wins last year, would win at least seven, maybe eight games this season, but their most important victory would occur during the final weekend of the regular season against the Engineers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Early D3 Football Outlook: Teams To Watch In 2020

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Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak will be one of many players to watch on the Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early New England D-III football coverage has begun with our ‘Way Too Early‘ Top 20 Poll – what did you think? 

Now, it is time to dig a bit deeper and highlight a few teams we believe fans should watch (and keep their eyes on) once the season officially kicks-off in a few months.

Dean College: After winning their first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title last November, the Bulldogs enter the 2020 season with a great deal of momentum. Sure, their 2019 campaign concluded with a difficult loss to the Gulls of Endicott College in the New England Bowl, but with a slew of starters expected to return this fall, including quarterback Terrell Watts, wide receiver Errol Breaux, and defensive end Wadell Alceus, don’t expect these Bulldogs to take a step backward.

Endicott College: The Gulls – like most squads highlighted on this list – did graduate some key players from last year’s squad, as well as their 2018 campaign, too. But Endicott does return some important pieces on both sides of the ball, including tight end Riley Shanley, defensive back Dylan Gardner, quarterback Dylan Bonfilio, and linebackers Tim Russell and Kevin O’Brien. All five players, along with some newcomers and returners will make the Gulls a team to continue to watch in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) conference.

Framingham State: After a slow start to its 2019 campaign, the Rams scored a must-needed win over Westfield State, which provided Framingham with all the momentum they needed to win their conference’s crown. This year, the Rams will look a bit different – they won’t have quarterback Adam Wojenski under center – but will have return some key pieces on both sides of the ball, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Year. On defense, look for Joshua Onujiogu to lead a unit that limited opposing rushing attacks to less than 100 yards per game.

Middlebury College: After winning nine consecutive contests last fall, it is hard to pick against these Panthers, who will certainly be challenged from the get-go. Yes, the Panthers bid farewell to some key players from a year ago, but welcome back quarterback Will Jernigan for one more season. Jernigan will be tasked with leading an offense that averaged 30.6 points per game while registering 410.6 yards per contest.

UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was fun to watch last season – he recorded career-bests in passing yards per game (277.6) and touchdowns (20) while rushing for a career-high six scores. Gacioch should be the player to watch again with these Corsairs, who ended their 2019 campaign with seven wins.

Wesleyan University: Quarterback Ashton Scott enjoyed a successful 2019 season – he finished with 17 touchdowns while completing 147 of 240 passes for 1,939 yards. Scott will be one of a few players to watch on offense – keep your eyes on halfback Glenn Smith and wide receiver Matthew Simco – while Taj Gooden will be asked to lead a defense that limited opponents to 19.1 points per game.

Williams College: We believe this Ephs team has a chance to win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) this fall. They will be challenged, of course, but with quarterback Bobby Maimaron guiding the offense to linebackers Jarrett Wesner and TJ Rothmann leading the defense, these Ephs should be well-prepared to combat whatever they will face once their season begins in September.

Western New England: Some believed the Golden Bears were a bit lower than anticipated on our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll last week. And you know, we agree – these Golden Bears should have been a bit higher on our poll. Wide receiver Steven Fedorchak and linebacker Erich Keutmann should be able to help the Blue and Gold defend their conference crown not just against Endicott, but also other league foes.

A few other teams worth noting – we will certainly have more on them – include MIT, Salve Regina, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Western Connecticut. 

Noontime’s All-Decade Massachusetts D3 Football Team

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Yesterday, we kicked off our Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) All-Decade Week, and it continues today with our Massachusetts D3 Football Team from 2010-2019.

This was a fun walk down memory lane, highlighting a slew of student-athletes we covered and interviewed over the past ten years that earned a variety of end of season honors, including D3Football.com All-American honors to first or second-team nods to program record-holders to the final Gold Helmet Recipients from the New England Football Writers (NEFW).  And as usual, we did our very best to highlight as many student-athletes from across the Bay State.


The All-Decade Noontime Sports Massachusetts D3 Football Team (Offense)

Pat Moffitt (QB)

Williams College

Turnersville, N.J.

Melikke Van Alstyne (RB)

Framingham State 

Salem, Mass. 

Chance Brady (RB)

Tufts University

Haverhill, Mass. 

Jordan Wilcox (FB)

Springfield College

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Jack Lavanchy (WR)

Bridgewater State

Walpole, Mass. 

Jacob Maher (TE)

Framingham State/Worcester State

Marshfield, Mass. 

Elliot Tobin (OL)

MIT

Minnetonka, Minn.

Pat Sullivan (OL)

UMass Dartmouth

Everett, Mass. 

Nick Bainter (OL)

Springfield College

East Bridgewater, Mass. 

Nick Stanfield (OL)

Framingham State 

Everett, Mass. 

Ken Vollaro (OL)

Western New England

Springfield, Mass. 



The All-Decade Noontime Sports Massachusetts D3 Football Team (Defense)

James Muirhead (DL)

Framingham State 

Middleboro, Mass. 

Nick Giorgio (DE)

Springfield College

Cumberland, R.I.

Kevin Eagan

Endicott College

West Hartford, Conn. 

Bryan Narcisse (DE)

Worcester State

Medway, Mass. 

Max Nacewicz (LB)

Springfield College

Sandy Hook, Conn. 

Brian Murtagh (LB)

WPI

Wayland, Mass. 

Erich Keutmann (LB)

Western New England

Washingtonville, N.Y.

Obi Etuka (DB)

Western New England

Middletown, Conn. 

Clifford Oratokhai (DB)

Worcester State 

Worcester, Mass. 

Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn (S)

Amherst College 

Old Lyme, Conn. 

Sam Casey (S)

WPI

Winchester, Mass.


The All-Decade Noontime Sports Massachusetts D3 Football Team (Special Teams)

Dylan Rushe (K)

Endicott College

Palos Verdes, Calif.

Nick DiCairano (K)

Endicott College

Trumbull, Conn.

Spencer Herrington (K/P)

WPI

Clearfield, Pa.

Ernie Mello (ST)

WPI

Wilmington, Mass. 

NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The Brockport-Western New England Matchup

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Alec Coleman and the Western New England football team will host the College of Brockport on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to highlight our final New England D-III football team, which will be competing this weekend in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. And that team is the Western New England Golden Bears, who won their third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title this fall with late-season wins against Becker College and Endicott College. WNE also defeated Husson University in its season finale to conclude its conference slate without a single blemish.

The Golden Bears will face The College of Brockport in the opening round – the Golden Eagles captured their third-straight Empire 8 Conference (E8) title a few weeks ago with a 16-7 win over Alfred State.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


Brockport (8-2) at Western New England (9-1) 

Gametime/Location: Brockport will travel to Western New England on Saturday, November 23rd with kickoff scheduled for 12 p.m. The game will be played in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Rankings: The Golden Eagles are currently receiving votes in the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. Western New England enters its 11th contest of the season unranked or receiving votes.

Conference Affiliation: Brockport competes in the Empire 8 Conference – they finished 5-1 in league play this season. Western New England is a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). The Golden Bears won every conference tilt this fall.

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Brockport advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season following an opening-round win against Framingham State. The Golden Eagles’ season concluded against RPI, which defeated Brockport, 21-13. The loss to the Engineers was the team’s first of the 2018 season.

Western New England advanced to the first round last season but saw their run toward a national championship conclude with a 42-24 setback to Frostburg State. The Golden Bears’ meeting with the Bobcats was the first NCAA Tournament appearance under the direction of coach Jason Lebeau.

Inside the Numbers with Brockport: The Golden Eagles are averaging 29.60 points per contest while limiting opponents to 13.20 points per game … Brockport has recorded 112 rushing first downs this season while yielding just 22 to opponents … The Brockport defense has limited opposing rushing attacks to just 695 yards, which is an average of 28.3 yards per game … Brockport has recorded 40 offensive touchdowns this season while opponents have scored just 18 … Brockport has held the ball for close to two-thirds of every contest this season. They usually have the ball for 34:18 per contest, while opponents are on offense for an average of 25:41.

Inside the Numbers with Western New England: The Golden Bears are 5-0 at home this season – they were also 5-0 in Springfield, Massachusetts last season, too. WNE’s last home setback came against Springfield College on September 2, 2017. Since falling to the Pride, the Golden Bears have won 15 games at home … WNE is averaging 488.2 yards of total offense this season … The Golden Bears are averaging 40.6 points per game while limiting opponents to just 27.1 points per contest … WNE is averaging 290.0 passing yards per game while rushing for 198.2 yards per contest … The Golden Bears’ opponents have averaged 384.3 yards per game, including 230.8 passing yards.

Players to Watch on Brockport: 

  • Jason Hellwig (QB): Hellwig will be under center Saturday after starting seven games this season. He enters the game with 735 passing yards and one touchdown pass.
  • Jala Coad (RB): Coad led all rushers with 822 rushing yards on 186 carries and 16 touchdowns. Coad is averaging 82.20 rushing yards per game.
  • Imhotep Cromer (WR): Cromer leads the receiving core with 30 receptions for 543 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 60.33 receiving yards per game.
  • DaQuan Hubbard (WR): Hubbard is second on the team in receiving yards (469) and is one of four receivers to catch one touchdown.
  • Alex West (LB): West leads the team with 56 total tackles. He has recorded 33 solo stops, 17.0 tackles for a loss of 71 yards, and six quarterback hurries.
  • Lawrence Jenkins (LB): Jenkins is second on the team in tackles for a loss (10 for 64 yards). He has tallied 42 total tackles, including 23 solo stops, four quarterback hurries, and one interception.

Players to Watch on Western New England: 

  • Alec Coleman (QB): The senior signal-caller has completed 146 of 214 passes for 1,994 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 305 yards and nine touchdowns.
  • Jamyre Soberanis (RB): Soberanis has rushed for a team-high 929 yards on 139 carries and 14 touchdowns. He is averaging 92.9 yards per contest.
  • Steven Fedorchak (WR): The third-year receiver is first on the team in receptions (53), receptions per game (5.9), receiving yards (979) and receiving touchdowns (10).
  • Adam Raza (WR): Razza is second on the team in receptions (39), receiving yards (779) and touchdown receptions (five).
  • Kieran Lombard (K): Lombard has recorded 82 points off 52 extra points and 10 field goals. His longest field goal was a 44-yard kick.
  • Erich Keutmann (LB): Keutmann leads the team with 119.0 total tackles, including 60 solo stops, seven tackles for a loss of 27 yards, and three sacks for a loss of 10 yards. He also recorded three pass break-ups.
  • Joshua Salem (LB): Salem is second on the team in total tackles (85.0). He has produced 54 solo stops and three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards while registering two interceptions, one pass break-up, and one block.

D3 Football: Team Of The Week (Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the ninth 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, which can be seen (here on our site) every Tuesday throughout the 2019 season.


Offensive Players of the Week

Michael Bethune, Jr. (Dean College): Bethune, Jr. rushed for a team-high 213 yards on 21 carries – that is 10.1 yards per rush – while catching three passes for 11 yards against Alfred State.

Errol Breaux (Dean College): Against Alfred State, Breaux caught eight passes for 125 yards and five touchdowns.

Jacob Carroll (Tufts University): Carroll completed 14 of 19 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday to lead the Jumbos to a 35-10 win over Colby College.

Alec Coleman (Western New England): Coleman completed 18 of 32 passes for two touchdowns against Endicott College while adding 31 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.

Brendan Costa (Bates College): Costa totaled 275 yards of total offense with 212 passing yards (9 of 17 completions) and 63 rushing yards on eight carries. The third-year signal-caller also tossed three touchdowns as the Bobcats topped the Polar Bears to provide coach Malik Hall with his first win with the program.

Stefano D’Emilia (Bridgewater State): D’Emilia tallied 266 yards of total offense against Plymouth State, including 35 yards on six carries and one touchdown. The senior signal-caller concluded the game 19 of 29 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown.

Luis Gonzalez (UMass Dartmouth): Against Western Connecticut, Gonzalez rushed for 140 yards on 29 carries (4.8 yards) and two touchdowns as the Corsairs captured their sixth contest of the 2019 season.

Tyler Halls (Husson University): Against Nichols College, Halls caught a game-high 11 catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

Tanner Kingsley (Anna Maria College): Kingsley completed 26 of 38 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns against Castleton University this past Saturday.

Steven Lawton (Fitchburg State): Lawton rushed for a game-high 141 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns as the Falcons soared past the Lancers for their initial conference win last Friday.

Bobby Maimaron (Williams College): Against Wesleyan University, the third-year signal-caller completed 8 of 28 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for a game-high 125 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown.

Alex Maldjian (Middlebury College): Against Hamilton College, Maldjian rushed for a game-high 145 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns.

Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University): Against the University of New England, Mauriello rushed for 193 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns.

Jacob McCarthy (Castleton University): Against Anna Maria, McCarthy completed 21 of 30 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns.

Tyler McGovern (Salve Regina University): McGovern completed 10 of 20 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns against the University of New England.

Frank Roche (Tufts University): Roche caught a game-high eight catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the Jumbos topped Colby College in Maine.

Jamyre Soberanis (Western New England): Soberanis rushed for a game-high 140 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.

Terrell Watts (Dean College): Watts completed 18 of 29 passes for 260 yards and seven touchdowns while adding six yards on five carries in his team’s exciting win over Alfred State.


Defensive Players of the Week

Hunter Atwood (Curry College): Against Becker College, Atwood recorded nine total tackles, including seven solo stops. Additionally, he recorded one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 12 yards, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble.

Sam Cantrell (MIT): Cantrell paced the Engineers’ defense against WPI last Saturday with 11 total tackles (Be Delhees also finished with 11 total stops, too). Four the 11 stops were solo tackles, while two were tackles for a loss of eight yards. Cantrell also recorded one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Anthony Casparriello (Worcester State): Against Fitchburg State last Friday evening, Casparriello tallied 12 total tackles, including three solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of six yards. Additionally, he posted one quarterback hurry, too.

Noah Clack (Bowdoin College): Clack stuffed the stat sheet last Saturday against Bates College with seven total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one sack for a loss of six yards. He also recorded one forced fumble.

Chris Gemayel (Bridgewater State): Gemayel tallied seven total tackles, including three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards and one sack for a loss of three yards, which helped the Bears celebrate Senior Day with a victory against Plymouth State.

Pete Huggins (Middlebury College): Huggins tallied seven total tackles, including three solo stops and one tackle for a loss of seven yards, while recording one pass break-up and one fumble recovery as the Panthers beat Hamilton College, 14-7.

Erich Keutmann (Western New England): Keutmann recorded 23 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one tackle for a loss, along with one pass

Robert Levine (Trinity College): Levine was one of two Bantams that posted 10.0 total tackles against Amherst College. He concluded the game with eight solo stops, including one tackle for a loss of five yards and one quarterback hurry.

Colin McCabe (Mass. Maritime Academy): McCabe recorded 11 total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of six yards. McCabe also forced two fumbles, while recovering one fumble during a 16-6 setback to Framingham State.

David Redmond (Husson University): Redmond stuffed the stat sheet against Nichols with six total tackles, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 12 yards and one forced fumble. Four of the six stops were solo tackles.

Chris Rice (Castleton University): Against Anna Maria last Saturday, Rice stuffed the stat sheet with five total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 15 yards and one sack for a loss of 12 yards. Additionally, Rice recorded one quarterback hurry and one interception.

Tony Slaughter (UMass Dartmouth): Slaughter total 13 total tackles, including 12 solo stops against Western Connecticut. Three of the 13 tackles for were stops for a loss of 11 yards.

Jack Sullivan (Framingham State): Sullivan paced the Rams defense against Massachusetts Maritime Academy with nine total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 14 yards and one sack for a loss of nine yards. Seven of the 11 tackles were solo stops.


Special Teamers of the Week

Henry Atkeson (Amherst College): Against Trinity College, Atkeson converted one extra point, while tallying 139 yards on three punts – all three kicks landed inside the Bantams’ 20-yard line. Atkeson also recorded two kickoffs of 111 yards.

Gabriel DeSouza (Curry College): DeSouza recorded four punts against Becker College with three kicks landing inside the Hawks’ 20-yard line.

Nick DiCairano (Endicott College): DiCairano connected on five kicks against the University of New England, including a 30-yard field goal.

Angelo DiSanto (Salve Regina Univ.): Against the University of New England, DiSanto converted two of three field goals (longest was a 30-yard kick) and five of seven extra points. He recorded one punt for 44-yards, which landed inside the UNE 20-yard line. He also recorded nine kickoffs for 491 yards with one touchback.

Quintus Reid (Dean College): Reid punted the ball four times against Alfred State for 125 yards. One of the punts resulted in a touchback, while another punt landed inside the Pioneers’ 20-yard line. In addition to his punting duties, Reid also caught four passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Mark Wright (MIT): Wright tallied eight points off two extra points and a pair of field goals. He drilled a season-long 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, which was followed by a game-tying 41-yard kick that sent the game to overtime.