Catching Up With Coach Jay Civetti (Tufts University)

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OJ Armstrong and the Tufts University football team will attempt to capture their fourth win of the season on Saturday, Oct. 26th against Hamilton College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jonas Powell)

By Brian Willwerth | @BriWillwerth 

With three games remaining in their 2019 campaign, the Tufts University football team sits at 3-3, in the middle of the pack in the New England Small Colleg Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

On Thursday, we caught up with head coach Jay Civetti to talk about the state of the Jumbos.

“When you graduate all five of your offensive linemen (from last season) … I think we knew coming into (the current season that) it would be a challenge,” said Civetti, who also mentioned losing last season’s co-offensive player of the year in quarterback Ryan McDonald.

“It’s a challenge to get that prepared and ready to play,” he added.

But other players have stepped up, especially up front. Also, wide receiver OJ Armstrong is starting to pick it up, coming off a game where he racked up a season-best 142 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Bowdoin College.

“(He) had a breakout game last week, and we’ve been waiting for that to happen,” said Civetti when discussing Armstrong’s impressive play against the Polar Bears.

On defense, the front seven is pretty much the same from a year ago, but Civetti says some guys in the secondary have stepped up, including Johnathan O’Neal and Brandyn Jones. Civetti says he’s been impressed with what he’s seen thus far from the defense in the past couple of weeks.

One player who is not a newcomer but is the team’s leading tackler is senior linebacker Greg Holt, who has posted 62.0 total tackles in six contests this season. Holt is currently second in the conference in total tackles and tackles per game (10.3).

“He’s been an all-league player every year,” said Civetti of his senior linebacker.

“There’s really not any team that can ever really quantify how special a leader he is on the field, and just a remarkable person off the field, too.”

Tufts has two of its last three games at home, starting with a matchup against another 3-3 team tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 26th) against Hamilton College. The Jumbos have beaten the Continentals in their last two meetings, including in 2017 when Tufts needed overtime to score an opening day win against the New York squad in Somerville.

Tufts Looks To Continue Its Momentum Against Amherst On Saturday

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Ryan McDonald and the Tufts University football team will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday against Amherst College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tufts University Athletics)

By Brian Willwerth | @BriWillwerth 

With three games left in the season, the Tufts University football team sits at 5-1 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), one game behind undefeated Amherst College.

As the Jumbos prepare for Saturday’s big game against the Mammoths, we caught up with Tufts football coach Jay Civetti to discuss the Powder Blue and White’s current success this fall on the gridiron, which recently included a hard-fought 28-21 win over Williams College last Saturday in Somerville.

With their seven-point victory last week over Williams, Tufts has now posted four straight winning seasons for the first time since 1988-1991.

“Anytime you beat Williams, that’s a big deal, and I’m certainly proud of the effort last week,” said Civetti.  “There’s a lot of great accomplishments that came from that win.

“We’ve got a lot of ahead of us, and this weekend we have as good of a challenge as we’ve had all year.”

One of the players who’s stepped up defensively against the Ephs was junior linebacker Greg Holt. The senior linebacker had a game-high 13 tackles in the victory over the Ephs, which earned him the Gold Helmet award and NESCAC defensive player of the week honors.

“Greg’s just a tremendous competitor,” said Civetti. “He’s a very smart player. He’s got a great knack for the ball, and he just plays the game incredibly hard.”

“I think all the hard work he puts in during the week shows on Saturday.”

On offense, quarterback Ryan McDonald is having a solid senior season, throwing ten touchdown passes, while adding an additional six scores on the ground.

“The one thing about Ryan’s game is he’s a runner first before he’s a thrower,” said Civetti. “(He’s) managing the game in different ways, but at the same time, when he has to make moves…he’s doing everything he can to do that.”

McDonald and Holt will certainly be counted on this Saturday when the Jumbos visit the Mammoths of Amherst with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.


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New England D3 Football: 11 Games To Watch In Week 11

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

Saturday marks the final day of the NCAA Division III regular season. So, in honor of the 11th week of college football here in New England, I present 11 Games to Watch in Week 11.

Trinity at Wesleyan: The Bantams flexed their muscles a few weeks ago, proving they’re the team to beat in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a convincing win over Middlebury. Can they finish their campaign unbeaten? It won’t be easy, but expect a big day from sophomore tailback Max Chipouras, who will lead the Bantams to a conference crown. Prediction: Trinity 27, Wesleyan 20

Williams at Amherst: This is the biggest D3 game in the country tomorrow, hands down. Williams has shown improvement under first-year head coach Mark Raymond, and I think this is the game they finally break through. Prediction: Williams 20, Amherst 14

The Bobcats' defense held the Polar Bears to just one score last weekend, so expect the unit to have another big day against Hamilton. (Photo Credit: Bates College Athletics/Brian Foley)

The Bobcats’ defense held the Polar Bears to just one score last weekend, so expect the unit to have another big day against Hamilton. (Photo Credit: Bates College Athletics/Brian Foley)

Hamilton at Bates: Winners of two-straight, the Bobcats will look to cap their 2016 campaign with a season-finale win over the Continentals of Hamilton. Bates’ defense was impressive last week, holding Bowdoin to just one score, while tallying three interceptions and two sacks. Prediction: Bates 21, Hamilton 7

Tufts at Middlebury: Jay Civetti’s squad has enjoyed another impressive season, winning six of seven contests thus far. The Jumbos have a chance to share the NESCAC crown with a win – they would also need Wesleyan to defeat Trinity. I think Chance Brady caps his impressive career with the Powder Blue and White by scoring the game-winning touchdown to send Tufts past Middlebury for the second-straight season. Prediction: Tufts 31, Middlebury 24

Husson at Mount Ida: The Eagles provided an early season scare to perhaps the best team in the East Region – that would be Alfred. Since then, Coach Gabby Price’s squad has been on a roll, winning eight-straight contests. Can they make it nine in a row? It won’t be easy, especially against an up and coming Mount Ida squad, but look for halfback John Smith and quarterback Cory Brandon to lead the Eagles to their ninth-straight victory. Prediction: Husson 27, Mount Ida 14

Castleton at Norwich: The annual Maple Sap Bucket Trophy is on the line. The Spartans have won the last two meetings, but I think this year the Cadets will find a way to secure the coveted trophy for the first time since 2013. Prediction: Norwich 21, Castleton 17

Endicott at Curry: For the second-straight season, Coach Kevin DeWall’s Gulls have a chance to end their campaign at 5-5. Don’t expect this clash with the Colonels to be easy – last season both teams needed four extra sessions to determine the eventual winner. Let’s go with a late touchdown by the Gulls to send Endicott past Curry on the road. Prediction: Endicott 28, Curry 21

Coast Guard Academy at Western New England: Can the Bears slow down the Golden Bears? It’s possible, but expect Western New England to finish their season with a win, along with some additional momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: WNE 30, CGA 14

Expect another big day from Salve Regina halfback Sam Pascale. (Photo Credit: Salve Regina Athletics)

Expect another big day from Salve Regina halfback Sam Pascale. (Photo Credit: Salve Regina Athletics)

Salve Regina at Maine Maritime Academy: Despite a disappointing outcome last week, the Seahawks can cap their season by finishing undefeated on the road. Halfback Sam Pascale will be guide the ground attack – and his squad – to their eight win of the season. Prediction: Salve Regina 28. MMA 14

Mass. Maritime Academy at Bridgewater State: The Bears clinched the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown last weekend with an impressive road win over Framingham State. Expect this squad – now winners of seven-straight – to cap their regular season campaign with not only an eight consecutive win, but also winners of the Annual Cranberry Bowl, too. Prediction: Bridgewater State 28, MMA 14

St. Lawrence at WPI: Last weekend, the Engineers engineered a dramatic comeback to defeat Rochester on the road. Can they cap their respective campaign with a win over St. Lawrence? It won’t be easy, but how about a last minute field goal to send WPI past the Saints? Prediction: WPI 30, St. Lawrence 28

New England Football News And Notes

By NoontimeSports.com 

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston held their fifth luncheon of the season and below are some highlights, as well as news and notes on the local teams.

* Harvard’s Colton Chapple earned this week’s Div. I Golden Helmet Award following a five-touchdown performance against Holy Cross last weekend in the rain. Chapple tossed four touchdowns, while rushing for one, and told reporters that he was very thankful for his teammates assistance in the Crimsons third win of the season.

“This award signifies 11 other guys on the offense. I might get the credit just because I’m the quarterback, but without everybody doing their job at the same time and at the same level that we’ve been coached to do throughout the entire week none of this would be possible,” exclaimed Chapple.

“So, I’d just like to thank my offensive teammates, as well as the coaches for putting together an awesome game plan, and I look forward to playing this Saturday [against Cornell University].”

* The Div. II/III Golden Helmet recipient was Vaughn McGee of Southern Connecticut State University. McGee became the first Owl to earn this award since Jarom Freeman in November of 2007.

McGee, similar to Chapple, thanked his coaches and teammates for their effort in last weekend’s victory against Saint Anselm where he rushed for 297 yards on 30 carries and four touchdowns.

Also, in the fourth quarter, McGee set a NCAA record when he tallied 187 yards on the ground, which snapped the original record set by Stefan Logan (184 yards)on September 3, 2005.

“Even though we started off 0-4, we still kept our heads up and want to continue to finish the season strong. We’re going to be playing a lot tougher teams and I think if everyone stands behind each other we can prevail and finish the season well,” said McGee.

* Salve Regina was recently voted the number one Div. III football team in New England, and head coach Bob Chesney told coaches and reporters the following:

“We’re right now 5-0, [and] we’re ranked as the number one team in New England, which is great, but its midseason, so we all know it doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot right now if we can’t hold onto that and can’t continue with that,” stated Chesney.

“We also have the longest active winning streak in Div. III right now at 11 games, which is something again we’re really proud of [because it’s] just really a testament to our team that has gone onto be able to accomplish that.”

The Seahawks have been rather impressive this year, and have recorded wins against Endicott College, Montclair State and Union. They’ll look to preserve their perfect record on Saturday when they travel to UMass Dartmouth.

* Tufts University’s head coach Jay Civetti expressed that he was very happy with the Jumbos effort last weekend despite their second loss of the season against Bates College.

During that particular match, running back Marcel Pitre rushed for three scores, which marked the most by a Jumbos halfback since 2001.

* Bentley has yet to record a loss this weekend, as they preserved their perfect record with a 17-7 victory against Stonehill College.

* Tom Kelley was all smiles on Wednesday, as he told coaches and reporters that his Framingham State Rams claimed the “Kelley Cup” against Massachusetts Maritime and son Mike Kelley, who’s the Buccaneers assistant coach.

** Video’s courtesy of New England Football Writer’s YouTube Page

Tufts Football Ready To Kick-Off (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

This Saturday, Tufts University’s football team will begin their 2012 season against Wesleyan University, a squad they haven’t faced since the 2009 season. The Cardinals won the last meeting against the Jumbos, but Tufts head coach Jay Civetti is optimistic about his team’s chances this time around, as well as this season, too.

Below is a message from Civetti via the Jumbos YouTube page, as well as his thoughts on Saturday’s contest.