Tag: James Madison

Sean McDonnell: We Have Some Very Good Football Players Coming Back

Sean McDonnell believes the University of New Hampshire football team has some “very good” players returning this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: UNH.edu/UNH Today)

By NoontimeSports.com

The University of New Hampshire football team played just one game this spring — unfortunately, the Wildcats opted out of their spring season due to Covid-19 issues.

But despite not being able to compete against additional conference foes this spring, coach Sean McDonnell seems excited — perhaps optimistic? — about his team’s upcoming campaign, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 2 when the Wildcats visit Stony Brook for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Speaking with members of the media during this morning’s Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) virtual media day, the tenured coach noted that the team has some “very good football players coming back.”

One of those players is Evan Horn, a senior safety from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who was named to the CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team. Horn recorded four tackles and a pass break-up in his team’s lone spring contest against the University at Albany in March and was selected to the CAA All-Conference Second Team in 2019 when he led the Silver and Blue in solo tackles (51) and total tackles (70).

Niko Kvietkus, who is a junior defensive tackle, received honorable mention — the Southington, Connecticut native, who played football locally at Xavier High School (Conn.) and Deerfield Academy, played in 11 games in 2019 and recorded career-highs in solo stops (24), total tackles (45), tackles for a loss (eight for 36 yards), and 5.5 sacks for a loss of 34 yards.

Horn and Kvietkus are just two student-athletes to watch this fall, but as McDonnell explained, “I feel very good where we are as a program depth-wise.”

New Hampshire was picked to place fifth in the CAA preseason poll — James Madison University was picked to capture the league crown after finishing its spring season with a 5-0 record.

Football Friday Notebook: Friday, February 19, 2021

By Matt Noonan

Happy Friday, everyone!

I am excited to cap the work week with a brand new Football Friday Notebook – it is a piece of content I look forward to producing, so hopefully the stories (and news below) is something you enjoy reading.

Additionally, make sure to enjoy a brand new Football Friday Podcast, which you can listen to in this post, thanks to our friends from Spotify!

Listen to the Football Friday Podcast with Matt Noonan, Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss every Friday!

Alright, let’s share some news and links from the gridiron – as usual, be well, stay safe and have a wonderful weekend!


Football Friday Notebook: Friday, February 19, 2021

  • Carson Wentz will be playing for a new team next season, but according to various reports, including SB Nation, the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller had some serious fall out in the locker room. Additionally, he stopped talking with former head coach Doug Pedersonfor weeks.”
  • Sticking with Carson Wentz – I mean, what else happened these past few days? – he was quite happy to be a member of the Indianapolis Colts, according to Kenny Moore II.
  • This will be an interesting offseason for every National Football League (NFL) team, which may have less money to spend, due to the potential salary cap. And this is certainly is not good news for my Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott.
  • Speaking of Dak, he donated meals to 1,000 homeless people that are “freezing” in Dallas, Texas, due to the bad weather that barreled through the state this week.
  • Alex Smith, who was named the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, told Kyle Brandt on the 10 Questions podcast that the country was apparently not ready for Colin Kapernick, who the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback claimed “was ahead of his time” when it came to social injustice.
  • The third week of the spring football season begins this evening and there are some enticing storylines to follow in the FCS world, including tonight’s clash between South Dakota State and Northern Iowa.
  • Get ready for high school football in California, beginning Friday, February 26.

    Today’s announcement about high-contact sports being able to be played next week certainly excited Ron Gladnick, who is the head coach at Torey Pines.
  • The Lehigh Valley will welcome a new high school football program to its league next fall as the Allentown charter school will become the ninth member of the league.
  • James Madison University is eager to begin its first of two seasons tomorrow when they host Morehead State.

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.

Get Read For FCS New England Football This Spring

Most FCS New England football teams will compete in a few contests this spring. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan

The thought of seeing spring football in New England is slowly becoming a reality, especially for a handful of NCAA Division I FCS programs.

Yesterday, the Patriot League announced plans to play a shortened season this spring, which means Holy Cross will have a chance to compete for its second-straight league title after securing the conference crown in 2019.

Maine and New Hampshire will also compete this spring – the two teams will compete against members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) North Division. The CAA’s spring season is slated to begin on Saturday, February 20 with Davidson visiting Elon and James Madison hosting Morehead State.

Rhode Island, which is one of seven teams that makes-up the CAA’s North Division, will also be in action this spring – the Rams are currently scheduled to compete against Bryant on Saturday, February 27.

The CAA will not have a championship game like the Patriot League. Instead, the team with “the best overcall conference record” will secure the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Football Championship, which will begin Saturday, April 24.

The Northeastern Conference (NEC) plans to play a four-game conference schedule, which is good news for fans of Bryant, Central Connecticut, Merrimack, and Sacred Heart. Games will be played on Sundays or midweek with a conference championship expected to take place on either Friday, April 16 or Saturday, April 17.

As noted on Twitter, by Brett McMurphy of Stadium, the FCS national title game will be played Sunday, May 16 in Frisco, Texas.