Tag: MASCAC

The 2021 New England College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins, along with a trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England college football — and yes, preps and high schools, too — are slowly ending. But the 2021 season is still on my mind.

After not seeing so many local teams compete last fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an amazing feeling to pace the sidelines these last few months and watch numerous student-athletes compete on the gridiron.

The 2021 New England football season will be one we will all remember — in my opinion, it was worth the wait. (And you can revisit some of our favorite memories from the sidelines by watching our end-of-season highlights on YouTube!).

There were some of the “usual suspects” that either won or were in the mix for their respective conference title to some new teams, especially in NCAA Division III that deserve our attention going forward.

Before we officially say so long and farewell to a fun season of coverage, allow me to revisit a few stories that I certainly will remember from this season.

  • Holy Cross not only won its third-straight Patriot League title, including two in the same year, thanks to a shortened spring season to go with their first postseason victory in program history. And despite losing on Friday in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs to the University of Villanova, the future is very bright for coach Bob Chesney’s squad.  
  • Harvard University captured their 137th meeting with Yale University last month, thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Luke Emge to Kym Wimberly. The 34-31 victory by the Crimson clinched their first eight-win season since 2015. 

  • Sacred Heart University made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament, but came up short to Holy Cross, which edged the Pioneers in the opening round by a score of 13-10. The Red and White will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, but will attempt to win their third-straight Northeast Conference crown next fall.

  • Bentley University and the University of New Haven were two teams to watch in New England NCAA Division II.

    Both teams met twice last month, including in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Two weeks earlier, the Falcons and Chargers squared-off in an early November contest with New Haven not only winning the game, but also securing their first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012.

    The Chargers lost to Kutztown University last weekend in the second round of the playoffs, but they will certainly be a team to watch next season — the same could be said for the Falcons.

  • Bentley’s Stephen Sturm was one of a few NE10 signal-callers to watch this fall as he concluded the season with a league-high 23 touchdown passes.

    Saint Anselm’s Drew Willoughby, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, threw for a league-high 2,803 passing yards to go with 22 touchdowns. He averaged 311.4 passing yards per game.

  • Anna Maria College won its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title with seven wins, which is the most victories any AMCATs squad has recorded in a single season. And despite losing to Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Dan Mulrooney’s squad will certainly be a team to watch next fall, both in and outside of the ECFC.

  • The 2021 Williams College football team made history by becoming the first squad to win nine games in a single season.

    The Ephs capped their campaign with three impressive wins over Amherst College (24-19), Trinity College (42-3), and Wesleyan University (25-0) to clinch a 9-0 record, their first perfect season since 2010.

  • Colby College could be a team to watch next fall as they matched their 2013 squad with four wins.

    The Mules captured their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown with a pair of victories over Bates College (10-2) and Bowdoin College (21-10).  

  • Tom Kelley and the Framingham State University football team won their third-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown outright. The Rams concluded their season with an 8-3 overall record for the third consecutive season, as well as posted a perfect 8-0 league mark for the second-straight year.

    The Rams will continue to be the team to watch (and yes, follow) in 2022, but will certainly be challenged by a slew of teams in the MASCAC.

  • Endicott College captured its first conference crown since 2013, as well as hosted its first-ever NCAA playoff game.

    Coach Paul McGonagle’s Gulls will certainly be a team to watch next fall — the Green and White are young and will return a slew of talent from this year’s squad on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Mike Ingraffia and wide receiver Shane Aylward.

  • After starting its season with a 1-3 record, Springfield College bounced back with six-straight wins to capture its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride ended their season with three important wins against Catholic University (28-14), MIT (17-7), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (28-23).

  • NCAA D-III Football Teams to Watch in 2022: Bridgewater State, Husson University, Salve Regina University, Plymouth State, Trinity College, Tufts University,  UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, and Western Connecticut.

UMass Dartmouth, USMMA Capture New England Bowls

Dante Aviles-Santos tossed four touchdowns on Saturday in his team’s first-ever New England Bowl. (PHOTO COURTESY: Eric Ogden)

By Matt Noonan

Three days after being named the 2021 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Offensive Rookie of the Year, Dante Aviles-Santos concluded his sophomore season by recording six touchdowns, including two rushing scores as UMass Dartmouth rolled past Alfred State in one of two New England Bowls this afternoon.

The Corsairs, who beat the Pioneers by a score of 42-16, ended their season on a six-game winning streak to finish 9-2 for the first time since 2003.

Aviles-Santos, who recorded 339 yards of total offense, scored two of his six touchdowns in the opening frame, including a three-yard rushing score with 11:56 remaining that provided UMass Dartmouth with a lead that would eventually grow to 22-3 at the break.

Both teams would trade touchdowns throughout the third quarter – Alfred State did pull within three scores (34-16) when Jake Palmer capped a four-play, 58-yard drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown, but that would be the closest they would get. UMass Dartmouth would tack on one more score in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Aviles-Santos to Winston DeLeon.

Alfred State’s Aaron Jenkins, who was named the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Offensive Player of the Year, ended the game with 287 yards of total offense, including 215 yards passing and one touchdown. Mike Nushar led the Pioneers’ defense with a game-high 21 total tackles, including 12 solo stops to go with one forced fumble.

Despite the loss, the Pioneers concluded the season with six wins, which is the most they have recorded in a single season since their initial campaign in 2013.

Merchant Marine 63, Western New England 35: Coach Mike Toop won his final game on the sidelines as the Mariners jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back as the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) capped its season with a New England Bowl against the Golden Bears of Western New England.

Ian Blankenship recorded seven touchdowns in the win – he rushed for a game-high 137 yards on 30 carries for four scores while completing 4 of 11 passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Talsen Smith caught both touchdown passes while finishing the contest with three catches for 120 yards.

Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak led all receivers with 130 yards on six grabs and caught three touchdowns.

As a team, USMMA recorded 579 yards of total offense on 83 plays compared to 412 yards on 85 plays for Western New England.

The Mariners end their season with a 9-1 record while setting a program record for points in a game with 63.

Inside The Matchup: Framingham State @ Muhlenberg College

Devaun Ford and the Framingham State offense will look to continue their recent momentum against Muhlenberg College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin)

By NoontimeSports.com

The 2021 NCAA Division III postseason begins Saturday, November 20, 2021 with 32 teams competing 16 first-round matchups.

This week, Noontime Sports is highlighting four matchups that feature squads from New England, including Framingham State visiting Muhlenberg College.

Let’s learn more about this particular matchup that features two teams that competed in the 2019 national playoffs.


Game Time & Location: Muhlenberg will host Framingham State on Saturday, November 12 at Scotty Wood Stadium in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. (LIVE STATS | VIDEO)

Team Schedules: Framingham State | Muhlenberg College

Team Stats: Framingham State | Muhlenberg College


Framingham State’s journey to the postseason: The Rams secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament by winning the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) — the Black and Gold won eight-straight league meetings this fall, including their last two against Bridgewater State (47-13) and Worcester State (40-21).

Muhlenberg’s journey to the postseason: After starting its season by winning two of three contests, the Mules ripped off seven-straight wins to capture the Centennial Conference (CC) they clinched the tile this past weekend with a 55-0 victory over Moravian University.

Framingham State’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament: After winning their conference in 2019, the Rams advanced to the opening round, but saw their bid toward a national championship conclude against Wesley College.

Muhlenberg’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament: The Mules concluded their 2019 campaign with a 13-1 record — their lone loss came in the national semifinals to North Central, which went onto beat Wisconsin-Whitewater in the national championship. The loss to Cardinals concluded an impressive run for the Muhlenberg seniors, who helped the Red and White win 41 of 49 contests to go with a pair of conference titles and trips to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Framingham State’s NCAA Tournament history: The Rams have competed in the national tournament five times in program history with their first appearance in 2012. Saturday will mark the program’s sixth trip to the postseason.

Muhlenberg’s NCAA Tournament history: This Saturday will mark the 10th appearance for the Mules dating back to their initial trip in 2002.

Players to Watch on Framingham State: Nicolas Goffredo (QB), Devaun Ford (RB/WR | MASCAC Offensive Player of the Year), Marcus McBean Jr. (HB), Elijah Nichols (RB), Joshua Onujiogu (DE | MASCAC Defensive Player of the Year), Cully Curran (DB), Gerell Boyce (DL), and Dylan DeWolfe (LB | MASCAC Defensive Rookie of the Year).

Players to Watch on Muhlenberg: Michael Hnatkowsky (QB | named the conference’s offensive player of the year), Rory DeLuca (HB), Ethan Brader (HB), Michael Feaster (WR), Mitch Daniel (WR), Spencer Kirin (LB), and Joshua Barnett (LB).

Four New England D3 Football Teams Are Headed To The NCAA Tournament

Endicott College will make its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament this week since 2013. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway Sports Photography)

By Matt Noonan

In just a few hours, we will learn the opening round matchups of the 2021 NCAA Division III Tournament with four New England teams scheduled to compete in the opening round.

One of the four teams — Framingham State — is making its third-straight trip to the national postseason while the other three, including Endicott College, are making their first appearance in a few seasons.

Let’s highlight the four local teams that will be competing in the national postseason, as well as how things played out in their previous appearances.

Anna Maria College (7-2, 5-1 ECFC): Coach Dan Mulrooney and his AMCATs made history this fall by winning their first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title on Saturday with a 31-7 victory over SUNY-Maritime. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Privateers, dating back to Anna Maria’s first season as a varsity program, but this particular trip will be the team’s initial appearance in the national tournament.

Endicott College (8-2, 5-1 CCC): Saturday’s 37-3 victory over Nichols College provided the Gulls with their first conference crown since 2013 when they beat Salve Regina in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship game. Endicott secured a matchup with Rowan University but saw their second trip to the playoffs conclude in the opening round with a 24-0 setback. The Gulls’ initial trip to the national tournament came in 2010 — they lost to SUNY Cortland by a score of 49-35 after edging Maine Maritime Academy in the NEFC Championship one week earlier.

In addition to two trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Gulls have appeared in four bowl games, winning a pair of ECAC North Atlantic bowls against Mount Ida College and Norwich University, along with two appearances in the New England Bowl (beat Dean College in 2019, lost to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2018).

Framingham State (8-2, 8-0 MASCAC): The Rams are heading back to the postseason for the third consecutive season after winning eight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchups this fall.

Framingham State is seeking its initial postseason win — the Black and Gold have competed in the national tournament five times in the last nine years. They made their first appearance in 2012 after beating Salve Regina in the New England Football Conference championship — Framingham State lost to SUNY Cortland by a score of 20-19.

In addition to competing in the NCAA Tournament, coach Tom Kelley‘s Rams have won two New England Bowls in 2016 and 2017 to go with a pair of ECAC Bowl games.

Springfield College (7-3, 6-0 NEWMAC): The Pride punched their ticket to the postseason with a 28-14 victory on Saturday over Catholic University.

Springfield will represent the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in the postseason for the second time in program history — they captured the conference crown in 2017 with a 10-0 overall record but lost their opening-round matchup to Husson University.

The Pride’s initial appearance in the national postseason came in 1998 when coach Mike DeLong‘s squad lost its opening-round contest to Buffalo State by a score of 38-35. They would return two years later, winning back-to-back contests against Montclair State (first round) and Brockport (second round) before losing to Widener University in the NCAA East Regional Final.

Springfield’s 2000 postseason run was the furthest any Pride team would advance in the national tournament — they did advance to the second round in 2006 but lost to St. John Fisher by a score of 27-21. One round earlier, Springfield rolled past Curry College, 42-14.

Framingham State Secures MASCAC Crown with 47-13 win over Bridgewater State

Devaun Ford registered two touchdowns — one through the air, one on the ground — as Framingham State topped Bridgewater State on Saturday at Bowditch Fiel. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin)

By Matt Noonan

A total team effort highlighted by five rushing touchdowns helped Framingham State defeat Bridgewater State, 47-13, and secure the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) outright for the third consecutive season.

The Rams, who have won or shared the conference crown every season except in 2016, improve to 7-2 overall and 7-0 in league play while the Bears dip to 5-4 and 5-2.

Saturday’s win marked the fourth consecutive time the Rams have beaten the Bears since Bridgewater State edged Framingham State in overtime in 2016. The win provided the Bears with their first MASCAC crown since winning it outright in 2008.

Marcus McBean Jr. rushed for a pair of scores, including his team’s initial touchdown on a five-yard carry early in the second quarter while Devaun Ford tallied two scores – one on the ground, one through the air – and led all rushers with 99 yards on 16 carries.

Quarterback Nicolas Goffredo tallied three touchdowns, including one on the ground, and completed 23 of 37 passes for 281 yards.

McBean Jr. and Ford provided the Rams with an early lead before James Cahoon capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive late in the second quarter with an eight-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Hairston, which brought the visitors within one score (14-7) at the break. But that would be the closest the Bears would get as Framingham State capped all three offensive series in the third quarter with touchdowns to secure a 34-7 lead heading into the final session.   

The 47 points the Rams produced were the most they have recorded in a single game this season while the offense registered a season-best 530 yards of total offense.

Chase Buono led the Framingham State defense with seven total tackles while Joshua Onujiogu registered four tackles for a loss of 17 yards.

Despite the loss, James Cahoon concluded the game with 234 passing yards while halfback Adam Couch was limited to just 17 yards on six carries.

Framingham State will attempt to win their eighth-straight contest next Saturday, November 13 when they visit Worcester State for a 12 p.m. kickoff. Bridgewater State will visit Massachusetts Maritime Academy for the 42nd Annual Cranberry Bowl, which will also commence at 12 p.m.