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.

Revisiting Bates’ Comeback Against Hamilton

Bates College quarterback Brendan Costa was a player to watch on this date one year ago against Hamilton College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brewster Burns for Bates College)

By Matt Noonan

It was exactly one year ago when Brendan Costa and the Bates College football team overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Hamilton College, 26-21.

Costa highlighted his team’s second-straight victory of the 2019 season by tossing a career and season-best four touchdowns, including three in the second half with two scores landing in the hands of Sean Bryant.

Bryant concluded the contest by posting season-bests in receptions (five), receiving yards (93), and touchdowns (three).

Hamilton commenced the game by jumping out to a 21-0 lead, thanks to a pair of Kenny Gray touchdown passes to Sam Robinson and Christian Donahoe, along with a 17-yard rushing score by Joe Park before Bates began mounting its comeback by capping the first half with a 15-yard strike from Brendan Costa to Sean Bryant.

Bates’ comeback would continue on its initial possession of the second half when Bryant hauled in a 15-yard strike from Costa before the Bobcats completed the comeback by scoring twice during the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Costa pulled the visitors within two points (21-19) with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Parker Smith with 2:31 remaining before locating Sean Bryant for a 25-yard score with 1:08 remaining to push the Bobcats ahead by five points (26-21).

Gray and the Continentals attempted respond on their final drive of the contest, but the Hamilton quarterback’s last three passes were incomplete.

The win over the Continentals was the Bobcats’ first since 2014. It was also the program’s biggest comeback in 50 years when Bates rallied to beat Trinity College by the same score in 1969.

In addition to throwing both a career and season-best four touchdowns against Hamilton, Costa established a new program record for total offense in a season with 1,739 yards. The Westport, Massachusetts native recorded 1,402 passing yards last season, along with 337 rushing yards. The new record erased the previous mark of 1,688 yards by Trevor Smith in 2011.

Football Friday: Revisiting Middlebury’s Perfect 2019 Season

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Middlebury College quarterback Will Jernigan guided the Panthers to its third perfect season in program history in 2019. (PHOTO COURTESY: Will Costello)

By Matt Noonan 

Happy Friday, everyone.

And welcome to our first of many ‘Football Friday’ posts, which will revisit (and yes, highlight, too) previous campaigns, stories, and games we have covered since our blog began pressing the publish button back in May 2009.

Today, we’re revisiting last year’s perfect season by the Middlebury College football team, which saw the Panthers win nine games, as well as capture the 2019 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title.

The 2019 NESCAC crown was the team’s first outright title since 2007. It was also the program’s fourth championship – they shared the crown in 2000 and 2013.

Middlebury’s run toward its first conference crown in nearly a decade featured many twists and turns, including an epic double-overtime win over Amherst College (34-31), along with two hard-fought season-ending victories against Hamilton College (14-7) and Tufts University (31-24). 

While the team’s three-point win over the Mammoths may have been their most thrilling victory of the 2019 season, they also scored some dramatic (and last second) victories against Colby College (27-26) and Williams College (17-13).

The one-point win over the Mules was something I discussed with Colby’s head coach Jack Cosgrove earlier this summer – he told me it “would have been a great win for (his) program.”

Middlebury, which entered the game riding a four-game winning streak, was held to just seven points in the final frame while the visitors produced 13 points on two touchdowns – they almost finished the frame with 16 points, but a game-ending 29-yard field goal sailed wide of the goalposts.

“Yeah, we were in a football game,” Cosgrove said of his team’s heartbreaking defeat to the Panthers.

But beyond their epic and dramatic finishes, Middlebury’s most impressive performance of the 2019 season occurred one week after their win over Colby when they defeated Wesleyan University in a battle of undefeated teams.

Middlebury beat Wesleyan, 45-21 while finishing the game with 529 yards of total offense. Will Jernigan, who was named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year, concluded the highly anticipated matchup with four touchdown passes, while halfback Alex Maldjian rushed for a game-high 95 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.

Jack Pistorius led the Panthers defense with 10 total tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 11 yards while Nick Leone finished with four total stops, which included three tackles for a loss of 12 yards.

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Middlebury College’s Will Jernigan was named the 2019 NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year. (PHOTO COURTESY: Will Costello)

Middlebury would continue its winning ways over the next three weeks to cap its perfect season, but as noted above, their final two victories over Hamilton and Tufts were certainly not easy.

The Continentals of Hamilton limited the Panthers to their fewest points in a single contest (14) – they also kept Middlebury off the scoreboard for three-straight quarters.

Against the Jumbos, Middlebury needed its defense to fend off a late rally by Tufts, which came within one touchdown with 13 seconds remaining. The Panthers recovered the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff to not only seal the win but cap its magical season with a perfect season.

Unfortunately, the Panthers won’t have a chance to defend their conference crown this fall due to the conference canceling competition because of the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but you can bet that Middlebury would have been ready to go toe-to-toe with its conference foes, including both Wesleyan and Williams College, which finished their respective campaigns with identical 8-1 records.

The 2019 NESCAC football season was exciting, but the wait for its next kickoff – not just Middlebury’s, but all 10 teams – will certainly be worth it.

Noontime’s Top 10 D3 Football Games From 2019

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Welcome to a brand new week here at Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com), which will be highlighting some of our favorite games we have watched or covered, beginning with ten of our favorite games from the D3 Football world last fall.

Our list highlighted ten games from last season in no particular order – we hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane as much as we enjoyed producing it.

Share your thoughts on our list below or send us a tweet to either @NoontimeNation or @NoontimeSports. 


Top 10 D3 Football Games from 2019

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Joe Kalosky and the Endicott College Gulls began their 2019 season with an opening day win over Framingham State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nick Grace)

Endicott scores its first win over Framingham State since 2012: The Gulls commenced their 2019 season with an impressive 55-27 win over Framingham State.

The win – the team’s first since beating the Rams, 34-7, in 2012 – was highlighted by Joe Kalosky‘s five touchdown passes while the defense recorded four interceptions and one sack. Endicott’s Justin McEwen concluded the game with five receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

The opening day win over the Rams certainly provided the Gulls with momentum to finish its 2019 slate with nine wins. And those nine victories matched the 2012 squad, which also finished with an identical record of 9-2.


Framingham State outlasts UMass Dartmouth for a much-needed week five victory. The Corsairs entered their week five meeting with the Rams with a great deal of momentum – they had won four-straight contests leading up to the highly anticipated contest, including an impressive 48-41 win over Husson University.

UMD was certainly ready (and prepared) to go toe-to-toe with the Rams, who needed a second-half rally to beat the Corsairs, 39-33.

Framingham State overcame a 13-point differential at the break by outscoring the visitors, 26-7, thanks to Adam Wojenski, who concluded the game with five touchdown passes, along with 53 yards on 11 carries.


Jernigan, Maldjian leads Middlebury College past Wesleyan University: Both Middlebury and Wesleyan entered their mid-October meeting as the top two teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). And the winner – as both teams knew – would secure sole possession of first place heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.

So, which team 5-0 squad prevailed? The answer: The Panthers.

Middlebury broke open a tie game early in the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown run by Alex Maldjian, which helped the Panthers push ahead for good. Maldjian concluded the marquee matchup with 95 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns while Will Jernigan completed 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns.

As for the Middlebury defense, the unit recorded four sacks for a loss of 27 yards, three pass break-ups, and one interception.


Hamilton College Stuns Amherst College with a last-second field goal. The last time the Continentals beat the Mammoths was more than two decades ago, but on Saturday, October 19th, 2019, the Blue and Gold scored an exciting 31-28 victory, thanks to a 40-yard field goal by Sam Thoreen as time expired. The win evened Hamilton’s mark at the time at 3-3 while Amherst fell to 4-2.

Thoreen finished the game with 11 points off three field goals and two extra points.


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Keithen Shepard’s lone touchdown in overtime helped the Engineers of MIT beat the Engineers of WPI in overtime in November 2019. (

Mauck, Shepard lead MIT past WPI in overtime. In a must-win game for the MIT football team, the Engineers of Cambridge found a way to outlast WPI and keep their title hopes alive.

With less than 90 seconds remaining, Chris Mauck drove the Engineers into field goal range where Mark Wright drilled a 41-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.

In the extra session – well, the second additional session, to be exact – the Engineers again relied on Mauck, who connected with Keithen Shepard for a 23-yard game-winning touchdown that provided MIT with its first win over WPI since 1900.

The loss snapped an impressive seven-game winning streak by WPI, which included wins over RPI and Springfield College.

MIT would go onto win their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title two weeks later against Springfield College.


Kingsley’s Fourth-Quarter Touchdown sends Anna Maria past Alfred State. Trailing Alfred State, 20-6, with 13:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, the AMCATs of Anna Maria needed to score two touchdowns as well as stop the Pioneers’ offense. And that is exactly what they did.

Tanner Kingsley led the comeback by throwing two touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score to Hayden Braga, while the defense sacked Alfred State quarterback Anthony Allen to secure Anna Maria’s first win of the 2019 season.

Kingsley concluded the game with 192 passing yards on 12 of 31 pass attempts while Tyshawn Anderson led all defenders with 24 total tackles, including 16 solo stops, three tackles for a loss of seven yards, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.


Dean’s historic day against Alfred State. In a game that featured more than 1,000 yards, the Bulldogs of Dean found a way to beat the Pioneers of Alfred State and secure (at the time) a share of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

Terrell Watts threw for seven touchdowns while completing 18 of 29 passes for 260 yards. Errol Breaux led all receivers with eight catches for 125 yards and five touchdowns.

Two weeks after scoring an exciting four-point win over the Pioneers, the Bulldogs competed in their first-ever New England Bowl game against Endicott.


Fedorchak’s record day highlights Western New England’s win over Westfield State. In an early-season matchup against Westfield State, Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak established a pair of single-game records in the Golden Bears’ 56-35 win.

Fedorchak concluded the game with nine receptions for 319 yards and five touchdowns. He ended the opening frame by breaking the previous records for receiving yards (183) and touchdowns (three).

As a team, Western New England outgained Westfield State 701-354 while converting six of eight third-down attempts.

Quarterback Alec Coleman completed 22 of 27 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns. He also registered 43 yards on the ground and one score.


Bates College rolls past Bowdoin College in its first nighttime contest. The Bobcats halted a seven-game losing streak under the lights in early November with a commanding 30-5 win over Bowdoin College, thanks to a pair of touchdown receptions by Jackson Hayes. Quarterback Brendan Costa completed 9 of 17 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns while Tyler Bridge rushed for a game-high 188 yards on 28 carries and one touchdown.

As for the Bobcats’ defense, they concluded the contest with 56 total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 17 yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, and six pass break-ups. They also registered three quarterback hurries.


Nichols College shines on Homecoming Weekend against Salve Regina. The Bison celebrated their first win over the Seahawks in 10 years while their defense surrendered just three second-half points. The win – the team’s third of the season – matched the program’s start from 2007.

Michael Pina highlighted the win by scoring three touchdowns, including one through the air to Joshua Pierre-Charles, who also registered two rushing scores. Joe Cox recorded 12 stops in the win – Nichols would go onto finish its season with six wins, which is the most they had recorded since 2016.

D3 Basketball: All-Noontime Men’s Basketball Team

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

With another New England D-III college basketball season in the books, it is time to unveil our end of season All-Noontime Men’s Team for the 2019-20 season.


All-Noontime Men’s Basketball First Team

DeAnte Bruton

Nichols College

New London, Conn.

Eric Demers 

Gordon College

Acushnet, Mass.

Sam Jefferson

Colby College

Newton, Mass. 

Luke Rogers

Tufts University

Boxborough, Mass.

Jake Ross 

Springfield College

Northampton, Mass.


All-Noontime Men’s Basketball Second Team

Jack Casale

St. Joseph’s (Maine)

Portland, Maine

Garrett Day 

Amherst College

Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Kena Gilmour

Hamilton College

New Paltz, N.Y.

Delshawn Jackson Jr.

Saint Joseph’s (Conn.)

Hartford, Conn. 

Heath Post 

Springfield College

Cheshire, Conn.


All-Noontime Men’s Basketball Third Team

Fenton Bradley

Western Connecticut

Mansfield, Conn.

Keith Brown 

Endicott College

Pelham, N.H.

Jack Coolahan

Babson College

Newtown, Pa.

Matt Karpowicz 

Williams College

Wellesley, Mass. 

Jaecee Martin

Saint Joseph’s (Conn.)

Hartford, Conn.