As we inch closer to a brand new D3 Football season, more teams are beginning to unveil their 2018 schedules, including the Castleton Spartans, which kick-off its season on Saturday, September 1st when they host Plymouth State at 1 p.m.
Plymouth State has won the past two meetings against the Spartans, but a win over the Panthers in three months would be Castleton’s first since 2015.
One week after their annual meeting with the Panthers, Castleton will hit the road for a trio of games, including a visit to Norwich on Saturday, September 15th at 2 p.m. Castleton-Norwich is always a game to watch as both teams compete for the Maple Sap Bucket Trophy. Castleton beat Norwich, 28-14, last season, thanks to a pair of rushing scores by Moe Harris.
Castleton will cap its first month of play with a visit to Misericordia before jumping into Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play on Saturday, October 6th when they host Anna Maria at 6 p.m. The Spartans will travel just once in October to Gallaudet, but host Maritime (N.Y.) and Husson on October 20th and 27th, respectively.
The Spartans will cap their regular season with a pair of November games against Alfred State and Dean with hopes of competing in either the New England Bowl or NCAA Tournament on Saturday, November 17th.
Castleton finished 6-4 overall last season, including 5-2 in league play. Coach Tony Volpone returns some key pieces from last year this fall, including Harris, quarterback Mitchell Caron, wide receiver AdnaneAdossama, linebacker Grant Cummings and defensive back Owen Tretter.
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* Want more D3 football offseason interviews and analysis? Then check-out the In The (D3fB) Huddle offseason show, featuring Baker and Frank Rossi.
Week One Games To Watch
UNE at Coast Guard Academy (Aug. 30th): UNE will play its first-ever NCAA Division III football game on the road against a Bears squad that will look to be in the mix for a NEWMAC crown this fall.
Frostburg State at Stevenson (Aug. 30th): The Bobcats will attempt to win at least 10 games (or more!) again this season – if they accomplish that feat it would be three-straight seasons of winning 10 games or more. They registered 33 points last year in their opener against Stevenson.
Western New England at Springfield (Aug. 31st): Always a must-see game in the Springfield area. Plus, this year’s rivalry game marks a new era for the Golden Bears, who will be led by first-year coach (and alum) Jason Lebeau.
Delaware Valley at Wesley (Aug. 31st): Two of the best teams in the East Region will meet on a Friday evening to kick-off the season. Make sure to add this game to your calendar now!
Endicott at Framingham State (Sept. 1st): This has always been my ‘welcome back to football’ game every season. I will be on the PA mic for this game and will be keeping an eye on two storylines: Can the Rams get off to a strong start and what does the new era of Gulls football look like under first-year coach Paul McGonagle?
Hobart at Brockport (Sept. 1st): The Golden Eagles will once again be a team to watch this fall – can they make a return trip to the national semifinals? They kick-off their 2018 campaign against a Hobart squad that will be led by an alum named Kevin DeWall.
Plymouth State at Castleton (Sept. 1st): The Panthers captured the MASCAC crown, thanks to a dramatic win over Framingham State. They will look to commence a new campaign with by winning its season-opener for the third-straight year against Castleton.
SUNY Cortland at Fitchburg State (Sept. 1st): The Red Dragons will play back-to-back MASCAC games to start the season – do they begin their 2018 season with a win over the Falcons?
Husson at Union (Sept. 1st): The Eagles made believers out of all of us last season with an impressive win over Springfield in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Their postseason run concluded the following weekend against DelVal, however, they did score 15 points against them. The post-John Smith era will begin in New York – I will be keeping an eye on this game.
McDaniel at Catholic (Sept. 1st): The Cardinals will look to commence its new season with its second win over McDaniel in three years. Last year, Catholic fell to McDaniel, 30-10, but the Cardinals managed to overcome the early setback with back-to-back wins over Randolph-Macon and Utica.
Rochester at Case Western (Sept. 1st): The Yellow Jackets begin a new era as first-year coach Chad Martinovich takes over a Yellow Jackets squad that will look to be in the mix for a Liberty League (LL) crown this fall.
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The Bantams earned one first-place vote following a 41-13 win over Hamilton College.
Curry College and Plymouth State secured a two-way tie in the sixth position, while MIT, Husson University and Western Connecticut checked-in eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
The Colonels of Curry secured a come-from-behind win over UMass Dartmouth, thanks to a one-yard plunge by quarterback Alex Corvese, who was tabbed this week’s Noontime Sports Offensive Player of the Week. Corvese concluded last Saturday’s game with four touchdowns, including two through the air to Spencer Tyler (five receptions, 106 yards) and Andrew Allen (four receptions, 31 yards).
Curry, which has won four of five contests this fall, will head to Becker College on Saturday, October 14th for 2 p.m. kick-off. This will be both team’s first conference clash of the season.
Plymouth State continued its early season success for the second-straight year by defeating Bridgewater State, 17-7. The Panthers host Framingham State this weekend in an marquee Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) clash.
Husson is coming off a big win over SUNY Maritime, thanks to quarterback Cory Brandon, running back John Smith and defensive lineman Luke Washburn. The win over the Privateers provided the unit with their second Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) win of the season.
This week, the Eagles will host Castleton University, which earned a hard-fought 35-31 win over Mount Ida. The Spartans enter the game with a 2-0 conference record.
Finally, don’t overlook MIT, which heads into a bye week with an impressive 5-1 overall record. Last Saturday, the Engineers earned its third-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) win with a 51-6 victory against Maine Maritime Academy.
Happy Monday! With another weekend of college football in the books, it is time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Offensive, Defensive and Special Team units of the week, as well as our offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, too.
Offensive Player of the Week: Alex Corvese (Curry): Corvese concluded last Saturday’s contest against UMass Dartmouth with four touchdowns, including the game-winning score on a one-yard scamper that helped the Colonels erase a three-point (27-24) deficit. Corvese completed 29 of 44 for 377 yards and two scores, while rushing for 18 yards on 13 carries and two scores.
Defensive Player of the Week: Jaquan Harris (Framingham State): Harris recorded five interceptions last Friday in his team’s 32-16 win over Fitchburg State. The five picks tied a NCAA Division III record. Additionally, Harris established a new single-game program record with five interceptions, while tying the single-season mark for picks in a season with eight (currently).
Special Teams Player of the Week: Mark Wright (MIT): Wright connected on all nine kicks, including a trio of field goals with his longest boot coming from 35-yards out. He concluded last Saturday’s contest against Maine Maritime with 15 points.
Offensive Team of the Week:
Darius Adams (Coast Guard Academy): Facing a talented Springfield defense, Adams recorded a game-high four receptions for 74 yards and one score.
Abbi Bamgbose (UMass Dartmouth): Bamgbose concluded last Saturday’s contest against Curry College with 158 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Mitch Banuskevich (Plymouth State): Banuskevich tallied 162 yards on 31 carries, while recording six receptions for 40 yards and one score as the Panthers defeated Bridgewater State, 17-7.
Timel Benton (Gallaudet): Sophomore quarterback Timel Benton ran for 128 yards on four carries and scored two touchdowns in the opening half for Gallaudet in its 73-23 rout of Anna Maria for its first win of the season. Benton completed 3 of 6 passes for 140 yards before he was lifted in the second half. He completed a 94-yard pass to Joell Dixon, which would of been a touchdown if not for an unsportsmanlike penalty on Dixon for showboating at the end of the play before he got into the end zone.
Jake Bonheyo (Gallaudet): Bonheyo, Gallaudet’s back-up quarterback came in for one quarter and ran the ball four times for a team best 131 yards and three touchdowns. On his first play under center, Bonheyo ran 45 yards for a touchdown. On the next two Gallaudet possessions, Bonheyo scored from 36 and 47 yards out as the Bison led 67-17 midway through the third quarter.
Noah Brum (Worcester State): Brum completed 22 of 36 passes for 217 yards and three touchdown, while rushing for 12 yards on three carries.
Cory Brandon (Husson): Brandon completed 15 of 24 passes for 234 yards, while tossing three touchdowns as the Eagles defeated the Privateers in a marquee Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) clash.
Mitchell Caron (Castleton): Caron completed 12 of 16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 15 yards on eight carries and one score against Mount Ida.
Brandonn Drumgole (SUNY Maritime): Drumgole led all receivers last Saturday with six receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown in his team’s setback to Husson.
Jake Eglintine (Springfield): Against Coast Guard Academy, Eglintine rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries and one score, while completing two of five passes for 30 yards.
Quinn Fleeting (Western Conn.): Fleeting accounted for three touchdowns, including two through the air in his team’s bounce-back win over Worcester State. Fleeting completed 13 of 17 passes for 218 yards and two scores, while rushing for 15 yards on four carries and one touchdown.
De’Andre Goldson-Fisher (Mount Ida): Against Castleton, Goldson-Fisher rushed for 163 yards on 23 carries and two scores, while hauling in one reception for 15 yards.
Udgam Goyal (MIT): Against Maine Maritime Academy, Goyal completed 17 of 20 passes for 135 yards, while tossing two touchdowns. He also rushed for 76 yards on nine carries and two scores.
Moe Harris (Castleton): Against Mount Ida, Harrs recorded 126 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns, while hauling in one catch for 10 yards.
Stephen Johnson (Buffalo State): Against SUNY Cortland, Johnson led all receivers with five receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown.
Jared Lebowitz (Middlebury): Lebowitz completed 22 of 39 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers captured its fourth consecutive contest of the season.
Brice Moore (Merchant Marine): Moore turned in an impressive performance against Norwich, rushing for 229 yards on 32 carries and one score, while completing three of seven passes for 80 yards and one touchdown.
Jacob Maher (Worcester State): Maher led all receivers with 93 yards on six catches, while hauling in a trio of touchdown passes.
Bobby Maimaron (Williams): The first-year signal-caller completed 17 of 24 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 52 yards on 10 carries and one score as the Ephs defeated Bowdoin in Williamstown.
Ryan McDonald (Tufts): Against Bowdoin, McDonald completed 18 of 25 passes for 215 yards, while tossing one touchdown. He also rushed for 72 yards on 13 carries and one score.
Canton Meadows (Gallaudet): Sophomore super back Canton Meadows had a strong first half as he ran nine times for 84 yards and three touchdowns. Meadows scored the game’s first, second and seventh touchdown in the first 22 minutes of play. Meadows third and final score came on a 25-yard run up the middle as the Bison lead grew to 31, 41-10.
James O’Regan (Amherst): O’Regan led all receivers last Saturday with 151 yards on seven receptions and one touchdown. His longest reception was an 81-yard touchdown, which occurred midway through the fourth quarter.
Jace Pena (UMass Dartmouth): Pena completed 12 of 27 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, including a 61-yard touchdown strike to Abbi Bamgbose.
Michael Pina (Mount Ida): Pina completed 18 of 32 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s setback to Castleton.
Blake Rice (WPI): Against Catholic, Rice completed 18 of 28 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 40 yards on 12 carries.
Koby Schofer (Trinity): Schofer concluded his team’s contest with a game-high 10 receptions and 202 receiving yards, while registering a pair of touchdown receptions.
John Smith (Husson): Smith rushed for 217 yards on 30 carries and one score, while recording a pair of receptions for 41 yards in his team’s big win over SUNY Maritime.
Frank Stola (Williams): Stola led all receivers with seven receptions for 172 yards and two scores. His longest reception was a 77-yard touchdown, which occurred early in the fourth quarter.
Nick Villanueva (Curry): Villanueva led all receivers last Saturday with 152 yards on 11 receptions – he averaged 13.8 yards per reception.
Jordan Wilcox (Springfield): Wilcox rushed for 187 yards on 21 carries and one score in his team’s sixth-straight win of the season.
Quron Wright (Framingham State):Against Fitchburg State, Wright rushed for 145 yards on 24 carries and two scores, while hauling in 34 yards on reception.
Defensive Team of the Week: Louie Akuffo (Gallaudet): Akuffo was all over the field for the Bison on defense last Saturday as he made play after play against Anna Maria College. The junior linebacker led the team with nine tackles, made one interception and returned it 14 yards, forced one fumble and had one pass break-up. Akuffo’s interception took place at the start of the second half and set up GU’s first touchdown in the third quarter. He was also part of a huge defensive stand for the Bison in the first half. The highlight for the Bison defense was denying the AMCATS the end zone after they got 1st and goal from the Gallaudet 1 late in the first quarter. Four straight rushes, up the middle, were stuffed by the Bison defense led by a trio of linebackers Tristan Boren, Louie Akuffo and Tony Libit. The Bison scored four plays later to completely sway the momentum in GU’s favor up 27-10.
David Bednarz (Fitchburg State): Facing a talented Framingham State offense, Bednarz came-up with 10 total stops, including four solo tackles and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of two yards.
Luca Cerasani (WPI): Cerasani was a big part of the Engineers’ win over the Cardinals by tallying seven total tackles, including three sacks for a loss of 20 yards, two forced fumbles and five solo stops.
Almamy Conde (Hobart): Conde stuffed the stat sheet with four total stops, three solo tackles, including a sack for an eight yard loss, along with a fumble recovery (two yards) and interception (six yards).
Prince Gbaley (Plymouth State): Against Bridgewater State, Gbaley turned in a solid outing with seven solo tackles (and total tackles). He also recorded a quartet of pass break-ups and a pair of interceptions (18 yards).
Jack Gray (Gallaudet): Freshman strong safety Jack Gray (Atherton, Calif.) picked off Jayson Wallace’s throw at the Gallaudet 5 and returned it 95 yards for the touchdown as Gallaudet led 73-17 at the 3:53 mark in the third quarter. Gray’s 95-yard interception return for a touchdown is tied for the second longest in program history with Neal DiMarco (9/9/2011 vs. Catholic). GU went on to set numerous records in the 73-23 victory over Anna Maria College. Gray now has three interceptions and two forced fumbles for five turnovers this season for the buff and blue.
Joseph Grogan (Curry): Grogan turned in an impressive performance against the Corsairs, recording six solo stops – all six tackles added up for a loss of 26 yards. Two of his six tackles were a pair of sacks for an eight yard loss. He also registered one forced fumble in a 30-27 win over UMass Dartmouth.
Eric Nunez (Worcester State): Nunez concluded last Saturday’s game against Western Connecticut with seven solo stops, including a pair of tackles for a loss of six yards. Additionally, one of his seven stops was a sack for a loss of two yards.
Matt O’Donnell (Coast Guard Academy): Against Springfield, O’Donnell led the Bears defense with 12 total stops, including 10 solo tackles.
Jake O’Donoghue (Catholic): Against WPI, O’Donoghue tallied seven total stops, including three solo tackles, two sacks for a loss of 20 yards, two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 21 yards and two forced fumbles.
Kendal Parker (SUNY Maritime): Against Husson, Parker turned in a monstrous performance on defense, tallying 18 total tackles, including 14 solo stops and a pair of tackles for a loss of eight yards.
Austin Roberts (Norwich): Against Merchant Marine, Roberts accounted for 22 total stops, including nine solo tackles and 13 assists.
Jake Tavares (UMass Dartmouth): Against Curry, Tavares tallied 10 total stops, including eight solo tackles, three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards, one sack and one pass break-up.
Zach Thomas (Tufts): Thomas highlighted Homecoming Weekend at Tufts with four total stops, including one tackle for a loss of nine yards, one fumble recover, one quarterback hurry and three solo tackles.
Jakob Trautwein (Castleton): Trautwein tallied a game-high 16 total tackles, including 10 solo stops, one pass break-up, one forced fumble and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss.
Luke Washburn (Husson): Washburn registred 11 total stops against SUNY Maritime, including 10 solo tackles, two tackles for a loss of 19 yards, one sack (13 yards) and a quartet of quarterback hurries. He also recorded one pass break-up, too.
Trent Waters (Dean): Against Alfred State, Waters recorded a game-high 13 total tackles, including a team-high nine solo stops, along with two sacks for a loss of 21 yards and one forced fumble.
Rich Williams (Springfield): Williams tallied nine total stops against Coast Guard Academy last Saturday, including seven solo tackles, along with a tackle-and-a-half for a loss of 12 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards and an interception (53 yards).
Special Teams of the Week:
Chip Crowley (Coast Guard Academy): Against Springfield College, Chip Crowley recorded eight punts for 304 yards. Three of his boots landed inside the Pride’s 20.
Christian Humulock (Springfield): Against Coast Guard Academy, Humulock was a perfect five for five on extra points, as well as one for one on field goals.
Jake McDonough (Merchant Marine): McDonough was a perfect seven for seven on extra points in his team’s big win over Norwich.
James Tooker (UMass Dartmouth): Tooker connected on all five of his kicks, including a pair of field goals for a total of nine points. His longest boot was a 39-yard field goal, which came midway through the third quarter.