UMass Dartmouth Inches Closer To A MASCAC Crown

UMass Dartmouth scored its sixth-straight win, along with its seventh victory of the season on Saturday against Fitchburg State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jared Marshall/UMass Dartmouth Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Since falling to Anna Maria College last month, the UMass Dartmouth football team has not lost a game.

On Saturday, the Corsairs cruised past Fitchburg State, 49-0, to score its sixth-straight win, as well as its seventh victory of the 2022 season.  

The seven-touchdown effort moves UMass Dartmouth closer to capturing its first conference crown since clinching a New England Football Conference (NEFC) title in 2002.

Halfback Jalyn Aponte highlighted the Corsairs’ sixth Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) win with a game-high 117 yards on six carries and two touchdowns. Quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos completed seven passes (14 attempts) for 141 yards while Matt Gacioch completed three of four passes for 29 yards and two touchdowns.

The Corsairs’ defense finished the game with two interceptions and four sacks.

UMass Dartmouth remains the team to beat in the MASCAC, but one should not overlook Bridgewater State and Plymouth State as both teams won their respective week-eight contest to remain in the mix for a conference crown.

Bridgewater State will travel to UMass Dartmouth next Saturday with hopes of scoring a win to keep its title hopes alive. A loss to the Corsairs would most likely eliminate the Bears from capturing their first crown since winning the MASCAC in 2016.

Plymouth State, which will host UMass Dartmouth in the final week next month, will host Westfield State next Saturday.

New England D3 Football: 10 Games to Watch in Week Six

David Wells and the Springfield College football team will attempt to duplicate their effort from week four on Saturday when they visit Coast Guard Academy. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to the sixth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season.

Last week, we picked five games correctly to bump our season record to 31-19. But this week, our hope is we can pick more than five — maybe six or seven? — games correctly (fingers crossed).

Anywho, welcome to the sixth week — hard to believe we have somewhat reached the halfway point for the season, but enjoy the games this weekend and make sure to circle back for additional content throughout the weekend.

Noontime’s D3 Football Games to Watch: Week Six

Norwich University at Merchant Marine (Saturday, October 8 at 12 p.m.): If you predicted this week six matchup would be a battle of 1-0 teams in the NEWMAC, then you were correct. The Cadets are coming off a 31-23 victory over Coast Guard Academy while the Mariners topped WPI, 41-14. Merchant Marine has won its last three contests after starting its season with a 17-7 setback to FDU-Florham. PREDICTION: Merchant Marine over Norwich.

Nichols College at Endicott College (Saturday, October 8 at 12 p.m.): After starting its season with three exciting wins, the Bison have dropped their last two contests, including their conference opener to Western New England. For Nichols to win Saturday’s game, they are going to need to find a way to score on an Endicott defense that has pitched three shutouts. PREDICTION: Endicott over Nichols

Fitchburg State at Framingham State (Saturday, October 8 at 12 p.m.): After a disappointing loss to Plymouth State last Saturday, the Rams should be able to find a way back in the win column by scoring its second win at Bowditch Field this season. PREDICTION: Framingham State over Fitchburg State

Colby College at Wesleyan University (Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m.): In a way, this is somewhat of a “must-win” for both squads, which enter the sixth week of the season with identical 2-1 records. As much as we want to pick the Mules in this one — they will certainly be in it! — the Cardinals should be able to make one, two, or possibly three more plays down the stretch to secure an important win. PREDICTION: Wesleyan over Colby

Bates College at Amherst College (Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m.): Both teams are winless, so someone is coming away with its initial victory. Bates has produced more points than Amherst through three weeks, but the Mammoths’ defense has yielded just 61 points. PREDICTION: Amherst over Bates

The University of New England at Husson University (Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m.): Saturday will mark the second time these two schools compete in the Lobster Trap Game — the Eagles of Husson won this game last fall. This year, UNE should be able to prevail and score its fourth win of the season. PREDICTION: UNE over Husson

Salve Regina University at Curry College (Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m.): Somehow, some way, coach Kevin Gilmartin’s squad has been able to score three hard-fought wins this season. Can their early-season momentum continue Saturday against the Colonels? We think it will, but don’t be surprised if Curry keeps pace with Salve Regina. PREDICTION: Salve Regina over Curry College

Springfield College at Coast Guard Academy (Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m.): The Pride return to the field after a much-needed bye week. Springfield won two of its four non-league tilts, including a week four victory over Husson. Coast Guard is looking to bounce back after dropping its conference opener one week ago to Norwich. PREDICTION: Springfield over Coast Guard Academy

Western Connecticut at Plymouth State (Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m.): The Panthers of Plymouth State have been perfect through five weeks – last week, they were able to beat the Rams of Framingham State by producing just 158 yards on 48 plays. Western Connecticut is looking to bounce back from its second-straight loss. PREDICTION: Western Connecticut over Plymouth State

Bowdoin College at Tufts University (Saturday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m.): After seeing its second-half comeback fall short to Trinity College in their season-opener last month, the Jumbos have bounced back with a pair of wins over Bates College and Williams College. On Saturday, they should be able to find a way to beat a Polar Bears squad that provided some challenges in the opening half of last week’s contest with Middlebury College. PREDICTION: Tufts over Bowdoin    

New England D3 Football: 10 Games to Watch in Week Five

Hector Johnson and the Endicott College defense have been a unit to watch in New England NCAA Division III football this season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway Sports Photography)

By NoontimeSports.com

Another busy weekend of New England NCAA Division III football has arrived – let’s celebrate.

Last week, we picked seven games correctly to bump our overall record to 26-14 through four weeks.

Let’s dish out our 10 Games to Watch (and yes, predictions, too) for another busy weekend of football. As usual, make sure to circle back throughout the weekend for additional blog posts on Massachusetts (and New England) college and high school football.

Enjoy the games, everyone!

Noontime’s D3 Football Games to Watch: Week Five

Western Connecticut at UMass Dartmouth (Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.): The Corsairs can solidify themselves as the “team to beat” in the MASCAC with a win over the Wolves on Friday evening. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth over Western Conn.

Plymouth State at Framingham State (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12 p.m.): The Panthers return to the gridiron following an early bye week with hopes of continuing their early-season momentum against a Rams squad that evened their record at 2-2 last week with a three-point win over Westfield State. PREDICTION: Framingham State over Plymouth State

Husson University at Endicott College (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12 p.m.): It would be hard to pick against a Gulls squad that is off to its best start since 2011, thanks to its defense. Look for the Endicott defense to shine once again for a fifth-straight week. PREDICTION: Endicott over Husson

Nichols College at Western New England (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.): Nichols’ impressive start came to a screeching halt last week with an eight-point setback to Hartwick College. Can they rebound this week against a Golden Bears squad that captured just one of its four non-league tilts? We’ll have to see – Nichols has not beaten Western New England since 2006 when they topped the Golden Bears in Dudley. PREDICTION: Nichols over Western New England

Curry College at University of New England (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.): Curry has received a major boost from first-year halfback Montie Quinn, who rushed for a game-high 171 yards and four touchdowns last Saturday in the Colonels’ second win of the season. Quinn faces a UNE defense that struggled to slow down Brandon Washington and Gallaudet University earlier this month. PREDICTION: Curry over UNE

Catholic University at MIT (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.): The Engineers are one of two teams in the NEWMAC with a 2-1 overall record. On Saturday, look for MIT to win its third contest of the season – its first conference game, to be exact, against a Cardinals squad that has lost three-straight contests. PREDICTION: MIT over Catholic

Middlebury College at Bowdoin College (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.): The Panthers have been a pleasant surprise this season, winning back-to-back games over Amherst College and Wesleyan University. Look for the Navy Blue and White’s early-season momentum to continue against the Polar Bears. PREDICTION: Middlebury over Bowdoin

Alfred State at Anna Maria College (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1:30 p.m.): Conference play begins for the AMCATs after finishing their non-conference slate with two wins and one loss. Their lone setback occurred last Saturday against Coast Guard Academy, which produced 66 points against an Anna Maria squad that had yielded 62 points in its first two contests. PREDICTION: Anna Maria over Alfred State    

Fitchburg State at Bridgewater State (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m.): The Bears snapped their three-game losing streak last week with a much-needed win over Western Connecticut. Look for another big game this week from halfback Adam Couch. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State over Fitchburg State  

Bates College at Colby College (Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.): After dropping its first contest of the 2022 season last Saturday to Trinity College, look for the Mules to bounce back against the Bobcats under the lights on Saturday. PREDICTION: Colby over Bates  

Noontime’s Five D3 Football Teams to Watch In Week Five

Spencer McMillion has been the player to watch on Coast Guard Academy for four weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brad Clift)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s that time of the week where we highlight five teams – yes, five, to be exact – to watch this weekend in New England NCAA Division III football.

Anna Maria College (2-1, 0-0 ECFC): After beginning their season with a convincing win over UMass Dartmouth, along with a hard-fought victory against Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the AMCATs suffered a 66-28 setback last weekend to Coast Guard Academy.

One year earlier, Anna Maria beat Coast Guard, 29-24, thanks to a late touchdown drive that saw quarterback Alex Cohen find Deandre Wallace for a 27-yard score.   

This week, Anna Maria will look to bounce back against an Alfred State squad that was projected to be in the mix for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown this fall. The two teams have combined for four wins and three losses through four weeks.

In a way, Saturday’s conference tilt is an important game for Anna Maria. But a loss to the Pioneers would not derail their hopes of winning the league for a second-straight season.

Anna Maria has beaten Alfred State in its last two meetings – in 2019, quarterback Tanner Kingsley led the team on back-to-back scoring drives during the final two minutes to clinch a thrilling come-from-behind win in Alfred, New York.  

Bridgewater State (1-3, 1-1 MASCAC): Don’t sleep on the Bears of Bridgewater State.

After beginning their current campaign with three-straight losses, coach Joe Verria’s squad leaned on its rushing attack to score a much-needed win last Saturday over Western Connecticut. Halfback Adam Couch scored three touchdowns in the win, including two on the ground. He led all rushers with 150 yards on 21 carries.

Bridgewater State’s win over Western Connecticut should provide the Red and White with a boost heading into Saturday’s meeting with Fitchburg State.

The Falcons currently boast a 1-3 record, but a 0-2 mark against Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) foes.

Despite falling to Plymouth State earlier this month, the Bears remain in the mix for a league crown.

Coast Guard Academy (2-2, 0-0 NEWMAC): The Bears concluded their non-league schedule with an impressive win over Anna Maria.

Halfback Spencer McMillion registered 340 yards of total offense in Coast Guard’s recent win, including a game-high 285 rushing yards on 43 carries and five touchdowns.

McMillion currently leads all NCAA Division III rushers with 653 rushing yards – he is also tied for first place in touchdowns with 11.

Coast Guard will begin conference play this weekend when they visit Norwich University on Saturday.

Endicott College (4-0, 0-0 CCC): The Gulls are off to their best start since 2011.

Endicott clinched its fourth-straight win last Saturday by beating Norwich University, 26-13.

The game was highlighted by Endicott’s rushing attack, which saw Yavier Cosme-Diaz lead all rushers with 107 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Clayton Marengi rushed for two scores and 46 yards on eight carries while Tyler Bridge added 68 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.

While the rushing attack has been one of Endicott’s strengths through four weeks, the same could be said about its defensive unit, which has held its first four opponents to just 20 points.

This week, Endicott will play its first Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) game when the Gulls welcome Husson University to campus on Saturday.  

Tufts University (1-1, 1-1 NESCAC): Keep your eyes on the Jumbos this week.

Tufts earned its first win of the 2022 season last Saturday when they beat Bates College, 35-7.

Quarterback Michael Berluti completed 18 of 21 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns – he also added 35 rushing yards on six carries and one score.

Phil Lutz, who is one of a few wide receivers to watch on the Jumbos this fall, caught seven passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. Cade Moore led all receivers with 81 yards on six receptions.  

Tufts’ defense recorded two sacks and one interception.

The Jumbos visit Williams College this week – we believe it’s a game the Powder Blue and Brown should win, especially after what we have witnessed these last two weeks.

Framingham State Picked To Capture The MASCAC Football Title

Devaun Ford and the Framingham State football team were picked to capture the MASCAC crown this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin)

By Matt Noonan

For the last few seasons, Framingham State has been the team to beat in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).

The Rams, which have represented the conference in the NCAA Division III football tournament six times, were picked to win the league crown this fall, according to today’s preseason poll.

Framingham State secured five first-place votes, edging out UMass Dartmouth, which earned four votes, for the top spot. The Corsairs are projected to finish second this fall after winning nine contests last season.

Bridgewater State secured the third position followed by Western Connecticut (fourth) and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (fifth).

Plymouth State was picked to place sixth this fall while Worcester State, Westfield State, and Fitchburg State secured the final three spots, checking-in seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively.

For Framingham State to repeat, they will need to lean on a few members of last year’s squad, including halfback Devaun Ford and linebacker Dylan DeWolfe.

The Rams face a pair of non-conference foes in the first two weeks that should prepare them for their initial league meeting with UMass Dartmouth. The two teams will meet Saturday, September 17 in Dartmouth with kickoff scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Eight of the nine MASCAC squads will be in action this weekend, including three on Friday, September 2. Massachusetts Maritime will begin its 2022 campaign next Friday, September 9 when they visit Maritime (N.Y.) for the 14th Annual Chowder Bowl.