Tag: Keystone College

Noontime’s New England D3 Football Conference Predictions

The early expectation is that Trinity College will begin the 2022 season as the de-facto favorite to win the NESCAC. (PHOTO COURTESY: Trinity College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

We’re less than 30 days from the start of a brand-new New England NCAA Division III Football season.

Are you excited?

I am, which is why I am ready to share my early predictions for which team will win their respective conference this fall.

Like most of our early season content, these picks are educated guesses. It’s possible these picks will be right while some could be wrong.

Anywho, allow me to share my early predictions for all five New England D-III football conferences.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): From top to bottom, this might be the most competitive conference in the region.

As of early August – and yes, a few weeks back – I was pretty sure Endicott College would be the favorite to win its second-straight title this fall. But from doing some additional research, I will change my mind and go with another team: Salve Regina University.

To me, the Seahawks might be the best team on paper in this conference heading into the upcoming season. They will return some key members of last year’s offense that averaged 199.2 rushing yards per game.

But while Salve Regina might be the squad receiving some early-season praise for its key returners, do not overlook Endicott, along with Husson University, Western New England, and the University of New England. All four squads, along with Curry College and Nichols College will provide the Seahawks with plenty of challenges this season.  

Noontime’s CCC Champion Prediction: Salve Regina University

Noontime’s Surprise CCC Team of 2022: University of New England

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): A new chapter of Anna Maria College football will begin this fall with first-year coach Steve Croce.

Croce, who was on the staff last year, will be tasked with continuing the squad’s momentum, which saw the AMCATs win their first-ever conference crown, as well as appear in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Like Salve Regina, Anna Maria will return some key members of last year’s squad on both offense and defense, including quarterback Alex Cohen, who concluded the 2021 season with 23 touchdown passes.

While Anna Maria appears to be the team to beat in the ECFC, don’t overlook Alfred State College, a squad that appeared in its first-ever postseason contest last November. Additionally, the Pioneers set a new program record for wins with six victories. For the Blue and Yellow to continue its success this fall, they will need to do it without quarterback Aaron Jenkins, who will be competing for Adrian College this season.

One team to keep an eye on this fall is Keystone College, a squad that concluded its inaugural season winless but could pose problems for both its non-conference and conference foes.

Noontime’s ECFC Champion Prediction: Anna Maria College

Noontime’s Surprise ECFC Team of 2022: Keystone College

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State has been the team to beat over the last decade or so and should be the squad with a target on its back heading into training camp this month.

But don’t rule out the Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth, which concluded the 2021 season with a league-best nine wins (that’s nine wins in 11 contests).

UMass Dartmouth earned some much-needed momentum heading into the postseason by capturing its first-ever New England Bowl Game last November – the Corsairs rolled past Alfred State, 42-16, thanks to a six-touchdown effort (four passing and two rushing scores) by Dante Aviles-Santos.

Aviles-Santos returns this fall hoping to lead the Corsairs to their first-ever conference crown. UMass Dartmouth has never won a MASCAC title and appears to be the team to beat on paper.

While UMass Dartmouth might be equipped to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the conference, don’t overlook Bridgewater State, which finished its 2021 campaign with six wins and a Cranberry Bowl victory over Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Plymouth State, which ended its previous season with a 5-5 overall record, will also be in the mix for the conference crown.

Noontime’s MASCAC Champion Prediction: Framingham State  

Noontime’s Surprise MASCAC Team of 2022: Plymouth State  

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): The Bantams of Trinity College won eight games last season. They also lost one contest to Williams College, which captured the NESCAC crown with a perfect 9-0 record.

The loss to the Ephs should fuel a conference championship run for the Bantams this fall – Trinity, like other New England squads, will welcome back some key members of its 2021 squad, including quarterback Spencer Fetter, halfback Will Kirby, and wide receiver DeVante Reid. Linebacker Brian Casagrande, who led the Bantams’ defense with 46.0 total tackles, is also expected to return.

While Trinity will be the squad to watch in the NESCAC heading into their initial contest, the same could be said for others such as Amherst College, Colby College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University.

Williams College could also pose threats to Trinity’s title run with the Ephs representing the region on last month’s D3Football Preseason Poll. Williams is one of many teams receiving votes.

Noontime’s NESCAC Champion Prediction: Trinity College  

Noontime’s Surprise CCC Team of 2022: Tufts University  

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): After starting their season with one win and three losses, Springfield College responded with a six-game winning streak that helped the Pride capture its second NEWMAC crown, as well as advance to the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The early expectation is that Springfield will be the de-facto favorite to win the NEWMAC this fall, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine, which finished its 2021 season with a 9-1 overall record.

The Mariners won their final two contests against Coast Guard Academy and Western New England – the win over the Golden Bears provided Merchant Marine with its second New England Bowl victory since beating Endicott in 2018. Additionally, the team’s final win was an ideal sendoff for longtime head coach Mike Toop, who guided the Silver and Blue to 70 wins in 17 seasons.

Toop announced he would be retiring last November.

Merchant Marine should be able to compete for the top spot with Springfield – sure, both teams will need to fill some graduation holes, but the same could be said for every team in college football.

A few other teams to watch in the NEWMAC include Catholic University, MIT, and WPI.

Noontime’s NEWMAC Champion Prediction: Springfield College  

Noontime’s Surprise NEWMAC Team of 2022: WPI

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week Nine)

Spencer Fetter and the Trinity College football team enter the ninth week of the season as one of three undefeated squads in the NESCAC. (PHOTO COURTESY: Trinity College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

With a brand-new week of New England NCAA Division III football looming in the distance, that means it is time to unveil our 10 Games to Watch (and yes, our picks, too).

Last week, we picked seven of ten contests correct for the second-straight week to bump our season total to 57-23, which is not bad, right?

Anywho, let’s get to some games, along with some picks – as usual, enjoy the games, everyone, and make sure to stay connected throughout the weekend for new blogs and social media posts.


FEATURED GAME: Trinity College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC) at Williams College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC) Saturday, October 30 at 1 p.m.: Someone is going to leave Farley-Lamb Field with their seventh consecutive win. These two teams are evenly matched, but something tells us that Trinity will find a way to make one – maybe two or three? – more plays to secure a hard-fought win in Williamstown. PREDICTION: Trinity 21, Williams 14

FEATURED GAME: United States Merchant Marine Academy (7-0, 4-0 NEWMAC) at Springfield College (4-3, 3-0 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 30 at 1 p.m.: Springfield is on a roll — they have won their last three contests, thanks to a total team effort. And we expect that momentum will continue this week in a battle of two triple-option offenses. PREDICTION: Springfield 38, USMMA 34


University of New England (3-3, 1-2 CCC) at Endicott College (6-2, 3-1 CCC) Saturday, October 30 at 12 p.m.: Look for the Gulls to bounce back after seeing their 14-6 lead over Salve Regina University disappear in the fourth quarter. PREDICTION: Endicott 30, UNE 17

Husson University (5-2, 2-1 CCC) at Nichols College (2-5, 0-3 CCC) Saturday, October 30 at 12 p.m.: The Eagles bounced back from a week seven setback with a big win over UNE. Look for their week eight momentum to continue this weekend against a Bison squad that is still searching for its initial conference win. PREDICTION: Husson 35, Nichols 16

Framingham State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC) at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (4-3, 3-2 MASCAC) Saturday, October 30 at 12 p.m.: Are you ready for the Kelley Cup? We waited two years for this matchup — Framingham State won this game in 2019 by a score of 16-6 and should be able to sneak past a Buccaneers squad that snapped a six-game losing streak one week ago to Western Connecticut. PREDICTION: Framingham State 20, Mass. Maritime 10

UMass Dartmouth (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC) at Bridgewater State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC) Saturday, October 30 at 12 p.m.: The Bears have beaten the Corsairs in their last six outings — UMD last beat Bridgewater State in 2014. UMass Dartmouth enters the contest with a great deal of momentum, but the same could be said for the Bears, who have won five straight contests. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 30, UMass Dartmouth 28

Amherst College (4-2, 4-2 NESCAC) at Wesleyan University (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC) Saturday, October 30 at 1 p.m.: The Mammoths enter the final third of their season with some momentum — they have certainly rebounded since losing to Bowdoin College earlier this month. On Saturday, they face a Cardinals squad that is finding ways to win in a dramatic fashion. Sure, we think the Mammoths can win this game, but something tells us that Wesleyan will make an extra play (or two) to escape with their seventh victory of the 2021 season. PREDICTION: Wesleyan 30, Amherst 27

Colby College (2-4, 2-4 NESCAC) at Bates College (1-5, 1-5 NESCAC) Saturday, October 30 at 1 p.m.: The Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) rivalry officially kicks off with the Mules visiting the Bobcats — Colby found a way to shutout Trinity College in the opening half last week before falling to the Bantams at home. However, we believe they should be ready to combat an explosive Bobcats offense on Saturday. PREDICTION: Colby 24, Bates 20

MIT (3-3, 1-2 NEWMAC) at Coast Guard Academy (2-5, 0-3 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 30 at 1:30 p.m.: The Engineers scored an exciting win last Saturday, rallying to defeat Norwich University at home by a score of 48-37. This week, we don’t anticipate a second-half rally, but instead, their second conference win. PREDICTION: MIT 28, Coast Guard 20

Anna Maria College (5-1, 3-0 ECFC) at Castleton University (4-3, 2-1 ECFC) Saturday, October 30 at 2 p.m.: This is a must-win for the Spartans, who are still in the mix for the conference crown. Last week, they looked pretty good against Keystone College and could provide some challenges for an AMCATs squad that has yet to drop a single conference game this fall. PREDICTION: Castleton 28, Anna Maria 26

Noontime’s D3 Football Teams to Watch in Week Nine

Husson University is one of five New England NCAA Division III football teams to watch this week after their big win last weekend against the University of New England. (PHOTO COURTESY: Eric Ogden)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s that time of the week when we highlight five teams to watch this weekend in New England NCAA Division III football.

So, without further ado … let’s get after it!

Castleton University (4-3, 2-1 ECFC): The Spartans are in the mix for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown after winning back-to-back league matchups against Dean College (21-13) and Keystone College (41-0).

Against the Giants, Evan Smith threw three touchdowns, Simon Davis Jr. rushed for a pair of scores, and the Spartans defense tallied 10 tackles for a loss of 50 yards and three interceptions.  

This week, the Spartans face an Anna Maria College squad that has won five consecutive matchups, as well as sits atop the ECFC standings. Saturday’s game could be considered a playoff game for the Spartans, who need to win their final three contests to remain in position to snatch their first-ever league crown.

Castleton has split its last two matchups with Anna Maria, falling to the AMCATs in 2018 before beating them one year later in 2019.  

Husson University (5-2, 2-1 CCC): Despite a week seven setback to Endicott College, the Eagles of Husson are very much in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown. However, they will need to win their final three contests and get some help.

This week, the Eagles will fly south to Dudley, Massachusetts to compete against a Nichols College squad that has yet to win a conference matchup this fall. The Bison lost their previous matchup with Husson in 2019 by a score of 31-7.

A win for the Eagles would certainly provide the Green and Gold with some much-needed momentum heading into a pair of important end-of-season matchups with Salve Regina University and Western New England. Both teams, along with Endicott are in the mix for the league title.

On Saturday, keep your eyes on Husson quarterback Nic Visser, who completed 25 of 39 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns last Saturday against the University of New England.

Salve Regina University (7-1, 3-1 CCC): Like the Eagles of Husson, the Seahawks of Salve Regina are very much in the mix for their conference crown, thanks to a come-from-behind win last Saturday against Endicott.

But the biggest question facing the Seahawks heading into their final two contests of the 2021 season with Curry College and Husson is can last week’s big win carry them to two more victories?  

Salve Regina entered conference play with a great deal of momentum after rallying to beat Rowan University by a score of 50-35. But one week later, the Seahawks saw their five-game winning streak snapped by Western New England, which beat the Blue and Grey by a score of 41-3.

Since losing to the Golden Bears, the Seahawks have rebounded, winning three-straight while averaging five touchdowns per game. They will certainly need to score a few touchdowns, both this weekend and next weekend, especially if they want to finish with nine wins.

Trinity College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC): The Bantams are one of three New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams that have yet to lose a single game this season – the same could be said for Wesleyan University and Williams College. But can they find a way to finish the season with three more wins?

Last week, the Bantams fell behind early, but were able to rally and beat Colby College, 35-12, thanks to four touchdown passes from Spencer Fetter and a 139 rushing yards by William Kirby, who also located the end zone once at the end of the third quarter.

Perhaps the slow start against the Mules could be a blueprint for one of its three remaining foes – Amherst College, Wesleyan, and Williams – to beat the Blue and Gold, but it could also be a valuable learning lesson for a squad that has already won more games than they did in 2019.

Trinity will certainly be challenged these next three weeks but seem determined to finish their season without a single setback like they did in 2016.

UMass Dartmouth (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC): The Corsairs might be on the outside of the two-team race for the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown, but they certainly can make things interesting by beating Bridgewater State this weekend.  

The Bears are one of two teams that have yet to lose a conference matchup this fall – the same could be said for Framingham State, which beat UMass Dartmouth in week three.

UMass Dartmouth has not beaten the Bears since 2014 when they beat Bridgewater State on their home turf by a score of 37-10.

Since their 27-point victory against the Bears, the Corsairs have lost five straight, including their most recent outing in 2019 when Bridgewater State registered 56 points, which was the most the Red and White produced in a single-game that season.

Since falling to Western Connecticut earlier this month, the Corsairs have won three consecutive matchups to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the final three weeks of the 2021 season.

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week Eight)

 DJ Brown and the Springfield College football team will look to continue their recent success on Saturday against WPI. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The eighth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season is almost here – are you excited?

Last week, we picked seven of ten matchups correctly to bump our overall record to 50-20, so let’s see if we can continue this momentum one week later.

Have a great day (and weekend, everyone) – we’ll be taking a mini-vacation the next few days, but look forward to recapping the action on Sunday while slowly looking ahead to the ninth week of the 2021 season.


FEATURED GAME: Endicott College (6-1, 3-0 CCC) at Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: This is a must-win for the Seahawks, who are still in the mix for the conference crown. Endicott has looked pretty good these last two weeks, especially last weekend against Husson University. PREDICTION: Endicott 28, Salve Regina 24


Keystone College (0-7, 0-3 ECFC) at Castleton University (3-3, 1-1 ECFC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: The Spartans return from their bye week as one of four teams in the mix for the conference crown, so this particular matchup is a must-win for the Green and White. PREDICTION: Castleton 23, Keystone 16

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (3-3, 2-2 MASCAC) at Western Connecticut (3-4, 2-2 MASCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: Both teams are eager to bounce back from week seven setbacks – we expect the team wearing Blue and Orange (the Colonials, to be exact) to squeak out their fourth win with a late touchdown drive. PREDICTION: West Conn. 28, Mass. Maritime 21

Springfield College (3-3, 2-0 NEWMAC) at WPI (1-5, 0-2 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: The Pride have won back-to-back conference games but could be tested against an Engineers squad that provided challenges to the top team in the conference: the United States Merchant Marine AcademyPREDICTION: Springfield 30, WPI 20

Nichols College (2-4, 0-2 CCC) at Western New England (4-3, 2-1 CCC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: The Bison seemed to provide some challenges for the Seahawks last week, but these Golden Bears know this is a must-win contest so they can remain in the conference championship mix with Endicott (and yes, Salve Regina, too). PREDICTION: Western New England 30, Nichols 17

Husson University (4-2, 1-1 CCC) at University of New England (3-2, 1-1) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: Both teams are in the mix for their conference crown with one league loss, so this is somewhat an elimination game. Look for the Eagles to bounce back after losing to Endicott last weekend by a touchdown. PREDICTION: Husson 30, UNE 21

Norwich University (2-5, 1-2 NEWMAC) at MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: We picked against the Engineers of Cambridge last week (and maybe earlier this season?), so let’s pick them this week against the Cadets. PREDICTION: MIT 28, Norwich 17

Tufts University (0-5, 0-5 NESCAC) at Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: We picked against the Polar Bears the last two weeks, but we expect their recent victory over the Mammoths, which snapped a 14-game losing streak, to provide them with enough momentum to edge the Jumbos on Saturday. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 28, Tufts 25

Dean College (2-5, 1-2 ECFC) at Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC) Saturday, October 23 at 1:30 p.m.: Look for both teams to put up some points in this one — in the end, we expect the AMCATs to score one more touchdown than Dean. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 35, Dean 32   

Westfield State (0-6, 0-4 MASCAC) at Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 4 p.m.: The Bears return from a week off with a matchup they should win, however, these Owls did not make it easy on the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs last week. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 29, Westfield State 14

Noontime’s D3 Football Teams to Watch in Week Eight

Andrew Boel and the Bowdoin College football team scored their first win against Amherst College last weekend since 2005. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Beard)

By NoontimeSports.com

The eighth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season is quickly approaching, which means it is time to highlight five teams to watch this weekend.

Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC): The AMCATs have been quite a story this fall, winning four straight contests, including a pair of Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) victories to keep them in the hunt with Gallaudet University for the league title.  

This week, the AMCATs return home after three straight road games to host Dean College, which captured the ECFC crown in 2019.

Dean returned to the win column last week with a 39-36 victory over Keystone College – the Bulldogs defense held off a late rally by the Giants, who finished the final frame with three touchdowns.

At 1-2, Dean is not entirely out of the conference mix but would need to win this game to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Quarterback Alex Cohen was instrumental in his team’s last win over Alfred State – expect the veteran signal-caller to continue his success this week against the Bulldogs.

Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC): Last Saturday was a special day for the Polar Bears as Bowdoin snapped a 14-game losing streak to Amherst College with a 21-14 victory.

The seven-point win over the Mammoths should provide the Polar Bears with some momentum heading into this week’s clash with Tufts University.

Quarterback Andrew Boel has been a player to watch these last two weeks – against Amherst, he completed 22 of 28 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns.

Boel connected with eight different receivers, including Colton Fahey who caught a pair of touchdowns while finishing with a game-high 112 yards on five grabs.

As a team, Bowdoin registered 421 yards of total offense compared to Amherst, which finished with 340. Additionally, they converted seven of 12 third-down attempts.

Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC): The Bears return from their bye with hopes of extending their current winning streak to five games.

Like Framingham State, Bridgewater State rebounded from an 0-2 start with four straight wins, including a pair against two squads that earned spots on this week’s Top 20 Poll: Plymouth State and Western Connecticut.

In their last outing against Worcester State, the Bears leaned on halfback Adam Couch, who rushed for a game-high 190 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns. Brendan Albert led the defensive with a game-high 13 total tackles, including five solo stops, one pass break-up, and one fumble recovery.

Look for their momentum prior to their bye week to continue Saturday against Westfield State.

MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC): After starting their season by winning two of three contests, the Engineers have dropped their last two outings, including a 56-34 setback last Saturday against the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA), which saw wide receiver Ben Dwyer record a career-best 224 receiving yards on nine grabs to go with one touchdown.

Dwyer was named to this week’s D3Football.com Team of the Week and was one yard shy of matching the MIT single-game record for receiving yards, which was set 33 years ago.

Dwyer, along with the Engineers will look to avenge their last two conference losses when they host Norwich University on Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.

The Cadets will arrive in Cambridge with one conference win, but a victory against Norwich means MIT could gain some much-needed momentum heading into their final three contests against Coast Guard Academy, Springfield College, and WPI.

Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC): The Seahawks have rebounded quite well since dropping their initial conference clash with Western New England by scoring back-to-back wins against Nichols College (35-20) and the University of New England (48-6).

This week, their season is somewhat on the line as they must beat Endicott College to remain in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.

Endicott beat Salve Regina in their last meeting in 2019 – the game was held in Newport, Rhode Island – while the Seahawks beat the Gulls on their home turf one year later.

Look for Salve Regina to lean on its ground game like they did last week against Nichols, which saw halfback Joey Mauriello rush for a game-high 203 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns (all three scores occurred in the third quarter last week against the Bison).