By Matt Noonan
Our preseason New England college football coverage rolls on with some early-season thoughts on the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC).
- Curry College
- Endicott College
- Husson University
- Nichols College
- Salve Regina University
- University of New England
- Western New England
2019 Conference Refresh: The Golden Bears of Western New England capped their 2019 campaign with a 9-2 record — the Blue and Gold won seven conference tilts, including a 42-31 victory over Endicott in early November before finishing the regular season with back-to-back wins over Becker College and Husson.
Western New England advanced to the NCAA Division III postseason, but were edged in the opening round by Brockport by a score of 33-28 in the opening round. The Golden Eagles would conclude its “second season” one week later against Muhlenberg College.
Despite missing the national postseason, the Gulls did play one more game — Endicott competed in its second New England Bowl and defeat Dean College, which captured the ECFC. Quarterback Joe Kalosky highlighted his team’s final win by tossing four touchdowns, including two to Shea McManaway, who led the Gulls receiving core with six receptions for 120 yards.
Nichols and Husson secured a two-way tie for third place — the Bison scored six wins in 2019, matching their win total from 2016 when they competed in the New England Football Conference (NEFC).
Finally, UNE doubled its win total from 2018 with four victories while Curry ended its 2019 campaign winning one of its final three contests.
Early-Season Excitement from Salve Regina, Western New England: Like many New England teams, the Western New England football team is “excited” for its 2021 campaign — the Golden Bears will face some unique challenges in the opening weeks against Salisbury University and Springfield College.
“I could not be more excited for the 2021 season,” WNE coach Jason Lebeau said via the team’s schedule release last month.
That excitement to return to the field was echoed by Salve Regina coach Kevin Gilmartin, who recently joined us for a brand new Noontime Sports Podcast (listen to the show on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and Spotify).
“This whole season we’ve got ten games of teams that every game where we can go 0-10 or we could go 10-0, which is exciting, scary, and could put a couple of more gray hairs up there,” said Gilmartin.
Indeed, there is a great deal of excitement from both teams, as well as throughout the league as it does seem as if the CCC could be a real interesting conference to watch and follow this fall — maybe we’ll see Nichols, Husson or UNE challenge Endicott and Western New England for the top spot?
Husson announces its 2021 captains: The Golden Eagles recently announced their captains for the upcoming season.
And they are the following: Frank Curran (defensive line), Jake Cameron (offensive line), Tyler Halls (wide receiver), and Kaleb Caron (linebacker).
Halls will be one of many offensive players to watch on the Golden Eagles this fall — the Lisbon, Maine native recorded career-bests in 2019 in receptions (71), receiving yards (1,057), and touchdown receptions (10).
Curran ranked second on the defense behind Zach Connolly when it came to total tackles (60.0) while Caron finished third with 51.0 total stops. Both players tallied a team-high seven tackles for a loss.
Joey Mauriello’s final year with Salve Regina: The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year will be one of many players to watch in the CCC — the Colts Neck, New Jersey native enjoyed a very impressive second season with the Seahawks, which saw him tally career-highs in rushing attempts (195), rushing yards (1,334), rushing yards per game (148.2), and rushing touchdowns (20).
I expected the senior tailback to be a focal part of the Seahawks’ offense this fall — fans of the Seahawks will have a chance to watch him and his teammates compete in the opening week on Friday, September 3 against Norwich University.
Early-Season Favorite(s): We’re still a few days and weeks away from the first week of the 2021 season, but my early-season favorite is Western New England based off their previous success.
However, I do think this might be the year that Paul McGonagle‘s Endicott Gulls capture the conference and make their first national postseason appearance since 2013. I have seen the Gulls a few times since McGonagle was named the head coach of the program ahead of the 2018 season and believe they have taken the steps to get closer to winning their first-ever CCC title.
A few others teams I expect to be in the mix: Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina. I think all three squads will provide challenges for Endicott and Western New England this fall, and the same could be said for UNE.