Noontime’s Spring Football Notebook (Feb. 17, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

The third week of the spring college football season is quickly approaching, so let’s revisit some news, notes, and stories from the past two weeks, as well as slowly look ahead to this week’s slate of games.

McNeese State outlasted Tarleton State University in its season-opener: The Cowboys of McNeese State kicked-off the FCS spring season last Saturday with a thrilling 40-37 win over the Texans in double-overtime.

Cody Oregon highlighted his team’s victory against Tarleton State with five touchdowns, including two on the ground. Oregon’s 19-yard rushing touchdown during the second overtime period clinched the opening day win for a McNeese, which has not participated in a spring season since the 1890s.

Last Saturday’s win was the first for first-year coach Frank Wilson and the Cowboys, which have dealt with a lot over the past few months, including two major hurricanes that left the squad without a home or facility for close to six months.

The Cowboys are idle this weekend but will return to the field at the end of the month for their home-opener against Incarnate Word on Saturday, February 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.

Johnson ready to lead James Madison this Saturday: It’s been a little more than a year since the Dukes of James Madison University last played football, but the Purple and Gold will once again be a team to watch this spring – they enter their initial game against Morehead State on Saturday as the fourth-best team in FCS, per Hero Sports‘ preseason rankings.

Cole Johnson will be the team’s quarterback this spring after spending the past two years as the back-up to Bryan Schor and Ben DiNucci.

Johnson has certainly prepared for this moment, according to a recent interview with the Daily News-Record, and was able to secure the starting spot by beating fourth-year junior Gage Moloney.

Trinity (Texas) leads the SAA: It’s been a successful start to the Tigers’ 2021 spring season as the Maroon and White have won back-to-back games against Austin College and Millsaps College, thanks to some impressive play by its defense. The Tigers are currently in first place in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) with a 2-0 record.

Trinity’s defense has limited opponents to an average of just two touchdowns per game this month – last week, they held Millsaps to just one score while the offense produced three touchdowns, thanks to quarterback Tucker Horn. Ryan Merrifield and Anton Noble combined for three touchdown receptions while Michael Edmonson rushed for a game-high 99 yards on 18 carries and one score.

Michael Jewett led the Trinity defense with two sacks for a loss of nine yards while Ryan Arnold recorded just one interception against Millsaps quarterback Amryn Jeffrey, who ended the contest 7 of 20 for 184 yards.

Prior to their win over the Majors last weekend, the Trinity defense produced four sacks and seven tackles for a loss of 25 yards while registering five pass breakups.

Trinity will entertain Hedrix College this weekend with a kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.

Extra, Extra:

  • The East Texas Baptist Tigers will be idle this weekend but have won two games this month, including a 44-16 win over Belhaven University last weekend. KJ Kelly highlighted his team’s second win by posting 10 total tackles, including five solo stops and two interceptions, and two pass break-ups.
  • Mary Hardin-Baylor will enjoy its second bye week before returning to the field next Saturday, February 27 for an enticing matchup against Southwestern University.

    The Pirates of Southwestern were initially scheduled to play this weekend, but their matchup with Belhaven has been postponed due to “extreme weather conditions” in Texas.
  • Bryce Verble was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) offensive player of the week on Monday after setting a single-game school record for passing yards last weekend in his team’s 48-43 setback to St. Andrews University.

    The Bluefield College signal-caller ended their second contest of the 2020-21 season with 432 passing yards and six touchdowns.
  • Georgetown College outscored the University of Cumberlands, 17-7, during the final two sessions to secure an opening-day 27-20 win.

    Chris Cline converted two field goals in the win, including a 38-yard boot in the opening quarter, while quarterback Hunter Krause completed 14 of 22 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Krause scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard keeper.

Daily Noontime: Thursday, February 4, 2021

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Thursday, everyone – we decided to post our Daily Noontime a bit earlier than yesterday, which we hope will bring a smile to your face (and a sense of relief, too – fingers crossed!).

Let’s get after it and make today a great day – isn’t every day awesome? – by sharing some news and links from the sports world.


Enjoy a brand new podcast – today, we welcomed John Avino, who is a Massachusetts based sports broadcaster that is currently announcing games at Boston University, Holy Cross, and Northeastern University.

Listen to today’s show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor – you can visit our Anchor page to also find out where our show is being distributed (and shared!).


Let’s begin with some big news from the NCAA world as the Division III winter championships were canceled for the second-straight year.

As noted on Twitter yesterday – well, more last night, to be exact! – it appears the main reason D-III championships were canceled was due to “low participation numbers.” Spring championships at the D-III level have not been canceled – the hope, according to last night’s release is for teams that compete at the end of the academic year to have a chance to compete for a national championship.

And since we love Twitter, make sure to watch the latest video from our friends at In The (D3FB) HuddleFrank Rossi shares his thoughts on why he believes championships should occur, despite not many teams (or schools) competing this winter.

Speaking of D-III football, the spring season – yes, a spring season! – is set to begin this weekend. And you can find out who is playing by visiting D3Football.com’s scoreboard … now!

In addition to D-III football being played this spring – again, that sounds crazy, right? – there will also be some NCAA D-I Football Championship (FCS) games taking place, beginning next Saturday, February 13 when McNeese State visits Tarleton State for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

And just a quick program note, we will be covering spring football, both here in New England (and the northeast) and around the country, so make sure to stop by over the next few weeks and months for future blog posts. And we’re excited to cover spring football, which again seems strange, but that’s just our “two-cents.”

Let’s switch gears to some quick-hitters:

Finally, Noontime Sports is celebrating Black History Month by producing one post a day on the men and women that have and continue to impact the sports world. Yesterday, we highlighted Bobby Marshall, who was one of the first Africa American’s to play professional football.

Noontime’s Black History Month: Bobby Marshall

By Matt Noonan

As we announced yesterday, Noontime Sports is celebrating Black History Month with a post every Monday through Friday on the men and women that have or continue to make an impact on the sports world.

Bobby Marshall was the first Black letter winner in the Big Ten. (PHOTO COURTESY: Star Tribune)

Today, we’re highlighting Bobby Marshall, who similar to Fritz Pollard, was one of the first African American’s to play professional football.

Getting to know Bobby Marshall:

  • Bobby Marshall was born on March 12, 1880, and is known for playing professional football, as well as five other sports, including baseball and hockey.
  • He guided his high school baseball team – Minneapolis Central High School – to a pair of championships in 1900 and 1901 while playing first base.
  • Marshall attended the University of Minnesota where he played for both the baseball and football teams. Additionally, he was the first African American letter winner in what would later become the Big Ten Conference.
  • As an active member of numerous Gophers athletic department, Marshall earned a pair of All-American awards as an end for the Minnesota football team where he led the Maroon and Gold to a 27-2 record over three seasons (1904-1906). Additionally, he was an all-conference baseball player, as well as a member of the school’s track and field, boxing, and hockey teams.
  • As noted by most historians, one of Marshall’s most impressive games with the Gophers’ football team occurred in 1906 when he kicked a field goal, which at the time was worth fourth points, that helped Minnesota edge the University of Chicago, 4-2.
  • Following his graduation, Marshall and Fritz Pollard became the first two African Americans to play in what is now the National Football League (NFL). Marshall competed in the league’s (American Professional Football Association) first game on September 26, 1920 as a member of the Rock Island Independents.

    The Independents concluded the APFA’s initial season with a 6-2-2 record while Bobby Marshall was named a Third Team All-Pro.
  • While Bobby Marshall is remembered for being one of the first African American’s to play football, he was also the first Black athlete to play semi-professional hockey. He would also become the first African American to coach at his high school and as a football assistant with the Minnesota football team.
  • Outside of coaching and playing football, Marshall competed in the Negro League with the St. Paul Colored Gophers and Chicago Leland Giants. He also played semi-professional baseball, too.
  • Bobby Marshall practiced law when not playing sports, however, it appears as if he did not spend much time away from football or baseball – in fact, he played football until he was 56-years-old. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

Articles and Links on Bobby Marshall:

Noontime’s Black History Month: Fritz Pollard

By NoontimeSports.com

The first day of February marks the beginning of Black History Month, which Noontime Sports is looking forward to celebrating by producing one post every Monday through Friday on the men and women that have made their mark in athletics, both recently and in the past.

Fitz Pollard played college football at Brown University. (PHOTO COURTESY: John Hay Library, Brown University/WBUR.org.)

And in honor of Super Bowl week, we’ll keep the focus on football for the next few days, beginning with one of the first African Americans that competed in the National Football League (NFL): Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard

Getting to know Fritz Pollard:

  • Fritz, who played quarterback, halfback, and running back, was born on January 27, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was Native American and his father was a professional boxer during the Civil War.
  • He attended Lane Tech High School (Chicago, Illinois) and Brown University. Pollard initial began his collegiate career at Bates College.

    As a student at Brown, Pollard majored in chemistry and the led the football team to the 1916 Rose Bowl against Washington State. Brown lost to Washington State by a score of 14-0.
  • Fritz Pollard was the first African American running back to compete for the Brown football program – he was also the first black tailback to be named to the Walter Camp All-America team in 1916.
  • Professional football teams Fritz Pollard played for several teams, including the Akron Pros and Akron Indians, and coached four teams, including the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 1920 and concluded his career with 11 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
  • In 1930, Fritz Pollard founded his own professional team: the Brown Bombers. The team existed for eight seasons before folding in 1938 due to The Depression.
  • In 2005, Fritz Pollard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ten years later – 2015, to be exact – he was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

Articles and Links on Fritz Pollard:

Football Friday Notebook (Jan. 29, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Football Friday, everyone!

We’re excited to start a weekly football notebook that will feature a slew of news (and links) from the gridiron.

And don’t forget, you can listen to our weekly Football Friday Podcast with Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

Alright, let’s share some football stories (and links) – have a great weekend, everyone!


Professional Football


College Football

  • Two days ago, Central Connecticut State University announced that they would not participate in the 2021 Northeastern Conference (NEC) spring football season.

    CCSU interim Director of Athletics Tom Pincine said Wednesday’s decision is in “the best interest of our University and football program,” while Ryan McCarthy, who is the coach of the Blue Devils, echoed the statement but also added that the team can “focus solely on returning to spring practice and preparing for the Fall 2021 season.”

    The Blue Devils have not competed since 2019 when they posted a school-record 11 victories and secured a spot in the opening round of the NCAA FCS postseason.
  • While CCSU won’t play football this spring, a Sacred Heart official told the New Haven Register that the Pioneers are planning to compete, despite no games listed on the team’s current schedule.
  • The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) unveiled its 2021 fall schedules with plans to “return to its Atlantic and Coastal divisions” later this year.

    While Notre Dame did compete under the ACC umbrella last fall, the Fighting Irish will return to being an independent for the 2021 college football season.
  • The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) held its ‘digital media day‘ today ahead of the league’s spring football season, which is scheduled to commence – or should we say kickoff? – Saturday, February 20, 2021.
  • The ASUN Conference announced earlier today that football will be the league’s 20th sport.

High School Sports