NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The Brockport-Western New England Matchup

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Alec Coleman and the Western New England football team will host the College of Brockport on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to highlight our final New England D-III football team, which will be competing this weekend in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. And that team is the Western New England Golden Bears, who won their third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title this fall with late-season wins against Becker College and Endicott College. WNE also defeated Husson University in its season finale to conclude its conference slate without a single blemish.

The Golden Bears will face The College of Brockport in the opening round – the Golden Eagles captured their third-straight Empire 8 Conference (E8) title a few weeks ago with a 16-7 win over Alfred State.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


Brockport (8-2) at Western New England (9-1) 

Gametime/Location: Brockport will travel to Western New England on Saturday, November 23rd with kickoff scheduled for 12 p.m. The game will be played in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Rankings: The Golden Eagles are currently receiving votes in the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. Western New England enters its 11th contest of the season unranked or receiving votes.

Conference Affiliation: Brockport competes in the Empire 8 Conference – they finished 5-1 in league play this season. Western New England is a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). The Golden Bears won every conference tilt this fall.

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Brockport advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season following an opening-round win against Framingham State. The Golden Eagles’ season concluded against RPI, which defeated Brockport, 21-13. The loss to the Engineers was the team’s first of the 2018 season.

Western New England advanced to the first round last season but saw their run toward a national championship conclude with a 42-24 setback to Frostburg State. The Golden Bears’ meeting with the Bobcats was the first NCAA Tournament appearance under the direction of coach Jason Lebeau.

Inside the Numbers with Brockport: The Golden Eagles are averaging 29.60 points per contest while limiting opponents to 13.20 points per game … Brockport has recorded 112 rushing first downs this season while yielding just 22 to opponents … The Brockport defense has limited opposing rushing attacks to just 695 yards, which is an average of 28.3 yards per game … Brockport has recorded 40 offensive touchdowns this season while opponents have scored just 18 … Brockport has held the ball for close to two-thirds of every contest this season. They usually have the ball for 34:18 per contest, while opponents are on offense for an average of 25:41.

Inside the Numbers with Western New England: The Golden Bears are 5-0 at home this season – they were also 5-0 in Springfield, Massachusetts last season, too. WNE’s last home setback came against Springfield College on September 2, 2017. Since falling to the Pride, the Golden Bears have won 15 games at home … WNE is averaging 488.2 yards of total offense this season … The Golden Bears are averaging 40.6 points per game while limiting opponents to just 27.1 points per contest … WNE is averaging 290.0 passing yards per game while rushing for 198.2 yards per contest … The Golden Bears’ opponents have averaged 384.3 yards per game, including 230.8 passing yards.

Players to Watch on Brockport: 

  • Jason Hellwig (QB): Hellwig will be under center Saturday after starting seven games this season. He enters the game with 735 passing yards and one touchdown pass.
  • Jala Coad (RB): Coad led all rushers with 822 rushing yards on 186 carries and 16 touchdowns. Coad is averaging 82.20 rushing yards per game.
  • Imhotep Cromer (WR): Cromer leads the receiving core with 30 receptions for 543 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 60.33 receiving yards per game.
  • DaQuan Hubbard (WR): Hubbard is second on the team in receiving yards (469) and is one of four receivers to catch one touchdown.
  • Alex West (LB): West leads the team with 56 total tackles. He has recorded 33 solo stops, 17.0 tackles for a loss of 71 yards, and six quarterback hurries.
  • Lawrence Jenkins (LB): Jenkins is second on the team in tackles for a loss (10 for 64 yards). He has tallied 42 total tackles, including 23 solo stops, four quarterback hurries, and one interception.

Players to Watch on Western New England: 

  • Alec Coleman (QB): The senior signal-caller has completed 146 of 214 passes for 1,994 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 305 yards and nine touchdowns.
  • Jamyre Soberanis (RB): Soberanis has rushed for a team-high 929 yards on 139 carries and 14 touchdowns. He is averaging 92.9 yards per contest.
  • Steven Fedorchak (WR): The third-year receiver is first on the team in receptions (53), receptions per game (5.9), receiving yards (979) and receiving touchdowns (10).
  • Adam Raza (WR): Razza is second on the team in receptions (39), receiving yards (779) and touchdown receptions (five).
  • Kieran Lombard (K): Lombard has recorded 82 points off 52 extra points and 10 field goals. His longest field goal was a 44-yard kick.
  • Erich Keutmann (LB): Keutmann leads the team with 119.0 total tackles, including 60 solo stops, seven tackles for a loss of 27 yards, and three sacks for a loss of 10 yards. He also recorded three pass break-ups.
  • Joshua Salem (LB): Salem is second on the team in total tackles (85.0). He has produced 54 solo stops and three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards while registering two interceptions, one pass break-up, and one block.

D3 Football: New England Conference Predictions

CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

A brand new season of New England Division III football is set to commence in two days – there are some very intriguing matchups to follow this week, beginning with some must-see games on Friday, September 6th.

Yet, before any of these games officially begin, allow us – Noontime Sports – to dish out our conference predictions for the 2019 season, including our projected winner, runner-up, and dark-horse.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)

Projected Winner: Western New England 

After a successful first season as head coach, Jason LeBeau will once again guide the Golden Bears to a conference title and first-round appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Runner-Up: Endicott College 

The Gulls return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball but face some serious challenges in the first three weeks against Framingham State and Wesley College.

Dark Horse: Husson University.

The Eagles begin a new era under first-year coach Nat Clark, who has prior experience with the program under former head coach Gabby Price. Husson graduated some key pieces of last year’s squad, but do return some talented upperclassmen that will challenge Endicott, Salve Regina, and Western New England for the top spot.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Projected Winner: Maritime (N.Y.) 

It is hard to pick against the Privateers, who were picked to capture the ECFC crown, per the league’s preseason coaches poll. Maritime will be led by first-year coach Mickey Rehring, who has some work to do with finding replacements from last year’s squad, including the offense.

Runner-Up: Dean College

The Bulldogs enter the upcoming season with expectations of taking the so-called ‘next-step.’ Dean has the potential to challenge the Privateers for the top spot in the ECFC with a slew of returners from both last season and 2017.

Dark Horse: Castleton University 

Coach Tony Volpone seems focused on watching his team improve and get better this fall – he, along with the coaching staff return a young roster that will certainly be an interesting team to watch as the season progresses.


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Projected Winner: Framingham State 

The Rams seem to embrace the so-called ‘target’ on their back – they know they will face challenges from both conference and non-conference foes this fall, but that shouldn’t stop them from winning eight or nine games.

Runner-Up: Bridgewater State 

The Bears graduated some key pieces from last year’s 8-3 squad, including wide receiver Jack Lavanchy. Bridgewater State does return 40 student-athletes from last season, which should help the Bears compete with the Rams for the top spot in the conference.

Dark Horse: Western Connecticut 

Western Connecticut graduated some key pieces from last year’s squad this past spring, including half-back Kyle McKinnon, but do return wide receiver Will Daniels, quarterback David James, and defensive end Jordan Fletcher, which will help the Colonials challenge both the Bears and Rams for a MASCAC title.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Projected Winner: Trinity College 

The Bantams have won the last three conference crowns and should find a way to capture their fourth consecutive title this fall, thanks to some key returners on both sides of the ball, including its defensive line. Trinity will also rely on running back Spencer Lockwood, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Connecticut in 2017.

Runner-Up: Amherst College 

The Mammoths return some impressive talent on offense – they will once again be led by quarterback Ollie Eberth, who accounted for 19 touchdowns last fall, including nine on the ground. Amherst does have some graduation holes to fill on defense, but should once again be in the mix for the conference crown.

Dark Horse: Williams College 

The Ephs faced some adversity last fall but still managed to win five of nine contests. This season, Williams should lean heavily on its junior class to keep pace with Amherst and Trinity, as well as Middlebury College, which beat the Ephs last fall in Williamstown.


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

Projected Winner: Springfield College 

Despite losing some key pieces last September, the Pride still managed to post an eight-win season, which concluded with a New England Bowl victory over Maritime (N.Y.). Springfield returns most of last year’s squad, especially on offense, but will need players like AJ Smith and Jack Pavelchak to step-up on defense.

Runner Up: WPI

For WPI to enjoy another successful season, they will need to rely on their senior class, especially halfbacks Connor Field and Sean McAllen on offense and linebacker Nick Ostrowski on defense. This senior class seems committed to doing whatever is needed to help the Engineers challenge Springfield (and others) for the top spot in the NEWMAC.

Dark Horse: MIT 

After capturing its first-ever NEWMAC crown last fall, coach Brian Bubna and his staff will look to duplicate their 2018 performance this season, despite some key graduation losses on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Udgam Goyal. MIT does return some talent (and leadership), which should help the Engineers be in the hunt for a second-straight conference title.


Stay connected with our New England Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

Player Perspective: Alec Coleman (Western New England)

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Alec Coleman is ready to lead the Western New England Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY:

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports

We’re another day closer to a brand new season of New England Division III football, which means it’s time for our second preseason ‘Player Perspective’ post featuring Alec Coleman of Western New England.

The Arlington, Massachusetts native enjoyed a very successful junior season last fall, tallying 40 touchdowns in 11 games, including 21 on the ground.

Coleman rushed for 867 yards on 113 carries for an average of 78.8 yards per contest while completing 167 of 286 passes for 1,964 yards and 21 touchdowns.

The veteran signal-caller is optimistic about his final season with the Golden Bears, who commence their 2019 campaign with a visit from Springfield College on Saturday, September 7th at 1 p.m. Coleman loves the local rivalry between both schools and considers each meeting a “battle for every inch on the field.”

What did you do this summer to prepare yourself for a successful final season with the Golden Bears? 

I trained seven days a week – I followed our summer workout program, which focused on two things: weight-lifting and conditioning. Additionally, I trained multiple times a week with my quarterback coach, too, while watching game film and studying the playbook.

Lastly, I tried to do my best to stay in contact with my coaches and teammates to make sure we kept a bond that will continue into the (upcoming) season.

You enjoyed your best season with WNE last fall, so how did your first two seasons prepare you for a successful junior year?  

Our head coach, Jason Lebeau, was our team’s offensive coordinator my first two seasons – he focused not just on our offense, but quarterbacks, too, so this allowed me to (build a relationship) with him.

Additionally, I was lucky enough to sit behind (and learn from) Anthony Service, who was our team’s quarterback my first two seasons. Anthony was an unbelievable resource for me. I learned a lot from simply watching him play, but also asking him questions about plays or reads, too.

I also want to credit the other two quarterbacks in my class (Brendan Smith and Jack Priester), who have competed with me every day. The competition between the three of us has made us better. We all have a love for each other and want the best for one another. 

What do you feel was your most productive (and successful) game last season? 

The Nichols College game (last October). I received the New England Football Writers (NEFW) Golden Helmet Award for Division II/III (following our team’s 49-14 win). I finished the game with five touchdowns (four rushing scores) and 306 total yards of offense.

How will the Frostburg State contest from last November in the NCAA Division III Tournament help both you and the team this upcoming season? 

Frostburg State is an unbelievable football program. Playing against a team of that caliber certainly made us better. We gave them a good game that provided us with the confidence that we can play against any team.

However, (the loss) left a sour taste in our mouths, which will (certainly) motivate this team to be bigger and better than one year ago.

Finally, being a senior, how do you want to end your time with the Golden Bears? I presume winning a championship, right? 

Of course, I would like to end my time (in Springfield) with a championship, but I have learned over time it is better to leave a place in a better situation than when you found it (or arrived at it. So, my biggest goal) is to make sure I help my teammates, who will be the future of this program, by coaching them and making sure they are ready to continue the tradition of this program, both next season and beyond.

The Western New England football program has given more to me than I could have asked for, so I want to make sure I do everything I can to give back to this program.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB today! 

Catching Up with Western New England Coach Jason Lebeau

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Peter Hoff and Western New England have won four-straight contests since falling to Springfield College in their season-opener. (PHOTO COURTESY: Western New England Athletics)

By Brian Willwerth | @BriWillwerth

After dropping their season-opener to Springfield College, the Western New England Golden Bears enter the bye week riding a four-game winning streak.

During their bye week, we caught up with first-year head coach Jason Lebeau to talk about his team’s recent success.

We began our conversation by discussing cornerback Tommy Ganley, who was named to this week’s D3Football.com Team of the Week after recording two interceptions, one pass break-up and three solo stops last week against Salve Regina.

“Tommy’s been fantastic for us (this season),” said Lebeau. “He has really found his role as a corner,” adding that Ganley transitioned nicely from wide receiver to the defensive side of the ball this season.

“He just another guy who’s worked really hard to get where he is,” said Lebeau.

When it comes to players who don’t always light up the stat sheet, Lebeau had high praise for long snapper Jake Salera.

“You watch our return team, and Jake is in the returner’s face every time,” said Lebeau.

On the offensive line, he singled out center Anthony Hale.

“We were struggling at the position, trying to get our five best offensive linemen on the field, (and he’s) moved over from the tackle position and made such a big difference,” said Lebeau. “Now that we’ve moved him there, our communication is so much better.  Our confidence is so much better.”

Coach Lebeau thinks the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) is strong from top to bottom.

“There are a lot of hungry teams (in our conference) that are finding their way,” he said.  “It’s not going to be easy (the rest of the way),” adding that he’s happy to have three of the last five games at home.

It may not be surprising to see the Bears rolling up the yards and the points. Lebeau spent six years as offensive coordinator.  Now, in his first year as head coach, his team is averaging over 36 points game, with a pretty balanced attack.

The Golden Bears return to action next Saturday, October 13th when they host Curry College.


Stay connected with our New England Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB TODAY! 

New England Football: Players To Watch In 2018 Coming Soon!

NS PLAYERS TO WATCH FB

By Noontime Sports | @NoontimeSports 

It maybe early July, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about football, right?

As we inch closer toward a brand new season of New England college football, Noontime Sports will begin to generate a list of players and teams to watch for the upcoming season, as well as our first of many Top 10 polls, too (our first poll will be a preseason poll, which will be posted later next month).

So, consider this an early plug for our 2018 preseason football coverage – yes, we are eager for football to return, but are enjoying some down time before camps and games officially commence.

If you do crave some football then make sure to check out our Football Friday Podcast – we do have a few new podcast interviews, including a recent conversation with the new Bates College coach Malik Hall and Western New England‘s Jason Lebeau.

Additionally, you can click FOLLOW to our new football Twitter handle, as well: @Noontime_FB. Trust us, you will want to follow this handle as we inch closer to football season – we will be producing some fun content that you won’t want to miss.

Our preseason football coverage will officially begin in a few weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy these long, summer days – the weather is pretty nice today in Boston!