Tag: Matthew Licciardi

Leftover CCC Football Thoughts: Can Endicott win a third-straight crown?

Endicott College quarterback Clayton Marengi will be a player to watch on the Gulls in 2023. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England small college football has concluded, which means it is time to look back and reflect on what we learned from covering not one, but five NCAA Division III conferences.

Our 2022 rewind – well, more leftover thoughts, to be exact – begins with a simple question: Can Endicott College win its third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)?

My initial answer is yes – expect the Gulls to contend for another CCC title next fall.

The Gulls clinched their first-ever undefeated regular season (10-0) in program history this fall, thanks to a defense that pitched four shutouts.

Entering their initial postseason contest with Springfield College earlier this month, Endicott’s defense had yielded 6.5 points per game in 10 contests – sure, they allowed more than a touchdown in their final two contests to the Pride and Western New England, but this unit has potential to be even better next season.

Endicott’s defense will look different next fall but expect Hector Johnson to continue his success from this season, which saw the Worcester, Massachusetts native tally 21.5 tackles for a loss, including 14.5 sacks. Johnson will lead a unit that will feature linebacker Matthew Licciardi, strong safety Zachariah Twardosky, and defensive lineman Colin Meropoulos.

Halfback Yavier Cosme-Diaz and quarterback Clayton Marengi will be two players to watch on offense next fall with the duo combining for 12 rushing touchdowns in 11 contests this season. Marengi added 15 passing touchdowns while completing 146 of 230 passes for 1,667 yards with four of those scores landing in the hands of wide receiver Shane Aylward.

The Endicott offense averaged 355.2 yards per game, which was the third best average amongst the seven CCC squads.

With some key returners expected to return, along with some new recruits, Endicott should be able to contend for a third-straight conference title. But don’t be surprised if Husson University or Western New England provide the Blue and Green with some challenges along the way.

Additionally, one should not count out the University of New England, which has certainly improved every season since its initial campaign in 2018.

One other team to watch next fall in the CCC is Curry College. Can the Colonels begin to make the climb under soon-to-be second-year coach Todd Parsons?

Finally, one team that won’t stand in the way of potential three-peat is Salve Regina University, which is joining the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) next school year as a full-time member.

Inside The Matchup: Springfield College at Endicott College

Hector Johnson and the Endicott College defense will look to continue their success this fall against Springfield College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Endicott College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Springfield College has competed against multiple New England football teams but has never squared off against Endicott College.

On Saturday, the Pride will visit the Gulls in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Both teams are making their second-straight appearance in the national postseason – Springfield won the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) for the second consecutive season while Endicott claimed another Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown.

Let’s “go inside” this in-state matchup with the victor advancing to next weekend’s second round against the winner of Ithaca College vs. UMass Dartmouth.

Game Time & Location: Springfield will make the trek to Beverly, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 19 to compete against Endicott at 12 p.m.

Endicott College’s 2022 Season Review: The Gulls clinched their first-ever 10-0 season in program history, thanks to a come-from-behind victory last weekend against Western New England.

Endicott has been the team to watch in the CCC this year, thanks to a defense that pitched four shutouts, including a pair at the beginning of the season against St. Lawrence University (27-0) and WPI (24-0).

The Gulls’ defense yielded its first touchdown in week three against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

Endicott’s defense has limited opponents to 6.5 points per game with Western New England’s 21 points being the most the Gulls have yielded in 10 contests.

In addition to its defense, the Gulls’ rushing attack has been impressive – five student-athletes have rushed for at least one touchdown this fall, including quarterback Clayton Marengi, who has located the end zone with his feet eight times.

Springfield College’s 2022 Season Review: For the second-straight season, the Pride overcame a slow start – well, more a 1-2 start, to be exact, by winning its last seven contests.

In a way, Springfield has been in “playoff mode” for the last three weeks, needing to beat Merchant Marine, MIT, and Catholic University to secure its third NEWMAC crown since 2017.

As expected, the Pride have leaned on its rushing attack to score some important wins this fall, along with senior quarterback Armando Torres, who stepped in for David Wells last week to guide the Pride to an end-of-season win against the Cardinals.

Torres operated the team’s triple-option offense quite well against Catholic – he completed two of three passes for 17 yards and one touchdown to go with 62 rushing yards on seven carries and one score.

Springfield’s win against Catholic, along with their come-from-behind victory against MIT, could provide the Maroon and White with enough momentum to win its first national postseason contest in 16 years (the Pride’s last postseason win came in 2006 when they beat Curry College in the opening round).

Common Foes: Endicott and Springfield both scored wins this fall against Husson University, Norwich University, Western New England, and WPI.

The Matchup within the Matchup: The biggest question heading into Saturday’s contest is will Endicott’s rushing defense be able to stop Springfield’s triple-option offense?

Endicott has limited opposing rushing attacks to 81.9 yards per game but will need to find a way to stop a Springfield rushing attack that is averaging 357 yards per game.

Additionally, Springfield’s offense has been on the field for an average of 35:02, which is something to watch, as well – what happens if the offense is on the field for less than 35 minutes on Saturday? Does that mean Endicott will win this matchup?

With the way Endicott’s defense has been playing these last few weeks, don’t be surprised if this turns into a low-scoring affair.

Players to Watch on Endicott: Clayton Marengi (QB), Tyler Bridge (RB), Anthony Caggianelli (RB), Yavier Cosme-Diaz (RB), Anthony Bracamonte (WR), Shane Aylward (WR), Everett Knowlton III (TE), Quinten Fox (P), Matthew Licciardi (LB), Jackson DeAngelo (LB), Tyler Davis (DB), Colin Meropoulos (DL), and Hector Johnson (DL).      

Players to Watch on Springfield: David Wells (QB), Armando Torres (QB), Joseph Cannizzaro (FB), Arsen Shtefan (FB), Dante Vasquez (HB), Jacob Silvester (HB), Noah Wagnblas (WR), Christian Hutra (K), DJ Brown (LB), Tyler Pohlman (DB), Billy Carr (LB), and Aiden Lewin (LB).         

Noontime’s New England D3 Football Top 10 (Sept. 26, 2022)

Ben Tauber and the Middlebury College football team scored an impressive win last Saturday over Wesleyan University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to the fifth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season.

Additionally, welcome to the final week of September — where has the time gone?

Endicott College remains the top team on this week’s poll following its fourth-straight win this past weekend against Norwich University.

UMass Dartmouth and Springfield College moved up following impressive week four victories while Coast Guard Academy and Middlebury College joined this week’s poll.

Noontime’s Top 10 Poll: Monday, September 26, 2022 (Week Five)

1.  Endicott College (4-0, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 1): Make it four-straight wins for the Gulls. Endicott is off to its best start since 2011, thanks to its defense, which has yielded 20 points through four weeks. Linebacker Matthew Licciardi leads the Endicott defense with 36.0 total tackles.  

2. UMass Dartmouth (3-1, 2-0 MASCAC) (LW: No. 4): The Corsairs move up two spots after capturing their second-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) clash on Saturday. UMass Dartmouth concluded their week four meeting with Worcester State with 675 yards of total offense and nine sacks. Quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos has now thrown for 300 yards or more in three straight contests.

3. Springfield College (2-2, 0-0 NEWMAC) (LW: No. 5): Like UMass Dartmouth, Springfield is moving up this week – two spots, to be exact. The Pride capped their non-league schedule with a big win on Saturday over Husson University, thanks to fullbacks Nicholas Raneri, Arsen Shtefan, and Joseph Cannizzaro. The trio combined for 260 yards and four touchdowns.

4. Trinity College (2-0, 2-0 NESCAC) (LW: No. 2): Yes, we know the Bantams scored their first home win of the season, but Colby College did indeed present some challenges for Trinity. Through two contests, Trinity has produced 779 yards of total offense, including 502 passing yards, thanks to Spencer Fetter, who has located three receivers in the end zone. DeVante Reid leads the receiving core with two touchdowns.

5. Salve Regina University (3-1, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 7): The Seahawks concluded their non-conference slate by scoring an impressive win over Rowan University. Salve Regina scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 21 seconds left when quarterback Jake Stack capped a 15-play, 83-yard drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown.

6. Middlebury College (2-0, 2-0 NESCASC) (LW: NR): The Panthers join this week’s poll following an impressive win against the Wesleyan University Cardinals. As a team, Middlebury produced 346 yards of total offense while stopping Wesleyan on three fourth-down attempts. Quarterback Ben Tauber leads all New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) quarterbacks with 561 passing yards.

7. Wesleyan University (1-1, 1-1 NESCAC) (LW: No. 2): After scoring a big opening day win over Bates College, the Cardinals stumbled against the Panthers, which recorded three interceptions and three sacks. Wide receiver Logan Tomlinson led all receivers with nine catches for 146 yards.

8. Plymouth State (3-0, 1-0 MASCAC) (LW: No. 8): The Panthers return from their bye week with an important week five matchup with Framingham State. Last season, the Rams rolled past the Panthers, but perhaps this year’s meeting could favor the men dressed in Green and White.

9. Coast Guard Academy (2-2, 0-0 NEWMAC) (LW: NR): Keep your eyes on halfback Spencer McMillion going forward. The Laurel, Maryland native has produced career-highs in multiple categories this fall, including rushing yards (653) and touchdowns (11). Against Anna Maria College, McMillion rushed for a game-high 285 yards on 43 carries and five touchdowns.

10. Anna Maria College (2-1, 0-0 ECFC) (LW: No. 6): After scoring an impressive week two victory over UMass Dartmouth, the momentum vanished this past weekend with a 66-28 setback to Coast Guard Academy. Through three contests, Anna Maria has produced 114 points while yielding 128.

On the Rise: Bridgewater State (1-3, 1-1 MASCAC), Framingham State (2-2, 1-1 MASCAC), Nichols College (3-1, 0-0 CCC), and the University of New England (2-1, 0-0 CCC)

Noontime’s Five D3 Football Teams to Watch in Week Three

Willie Lombard and the Plymouth State Panthers will attempt to continue their early-season momentum on Saturday against Bridgewater State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kim Bownes/Plymouth State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

It may be Tuesday, but it’s never too early to look ahead to this weekend’s slate of small college football games.

Like we did last week – and yes, last season, too – it is time to highlight this week’s five New England NCAA Division III football teams to watch on Friday and Saturday.

Anna Maria College: Quarterback Alex Cohen highlighted his team’s season-opener by recording eight touchdowns.

No, the “eight touchdowns” was not a typo.

The AMCATs’ win over UMass Dartmouth certainly proves this squad can defend its Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title from last fall.

While it’s only one game, Cohen has been a player to watch on Anna Maria, dating back to his initial season with the Maroon and White in 2018 when he recorded 13 touchdowns, including five scores on the ground. The veteran signal-caller has thrown for 5,562 yards and 43 touchdowns in 30 contests with Anna Maria – expect his impressive debut from last week to continue this weekend against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Endicott College: The Gulls’ defense has been the story through two contests.

Entering this week’s non-conference matchup with The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Endicott’s defense has limited its first two opponents – St. Lawrence University and WPI – to zero points. Additionally, the unit is yielding 61.0 rushing yards per game.

Hector Johnson was named to this week’s D3Football.com Team of the Week after establishing a career-high for tackles (six), sacks (four), and tackles for a loss (four) last Friday against WPI. Johnson is currently third on the team in total tackles (11.0) and has complemented linebacker Matthew Licciardi (15 total tackles) and defensive back Tyler Davis (13.0 total tackles).

Framingham State: Last season, it took the Rams three weeks to score their first win.

This season, the Rams needed just two weeks to secure a victory as they earned their first non-conference win in four years this past weekend.

Beating St. John Fisher, a team that produced 62 points in its season-opener against Buffalo State, should provide coach Tom Kelley’s squad with some much-needed momentum heading into Saturday’s conference clash with UMass Dartmouth. Framingham State has won its last four meetings with UMass Dartmouth while averaging 40.5 points.

The Corsairs’ last win over the Rams came in 2016 in overtime.

For the Rams to score its initial conference win, they will need to lean on their defense, specifically Cully Curran, Michael Brooks, and Chase Buono, to slow down a high-powered UMass Dartmouth offense that is led by quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos and halfback Marvens Jean.

Plymouth State: It’s been a good start for coach Paul Castonia’s Panthers.

Plymouth State has won back-to-back games over Castleton University (20-7) and Husson University (17-0), thanks to both its rushing attack and defense.

Manny Sanchez and Willie Lombard have been two players to watch on offense this fall with the duo combining for 325 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Lombard has been Braden Lynn’s go-to receiver with five catches for a team-high 66 receiving yards.

Lombard, along with Sanchez and Lynn, will be players to watch against a Bridgewater State squad that appears eager to snap its two-game losing streak. The Bears beat the Panthers last season, thanks to halfback Adam Couch, who rushed for a game-high 150 yards and one touchdown.

Couch will be on the field Saturday and will certainly be a player the Panthers’ defense will need to stop if the Green and White would like to extend its current winning streak.

Trinity College: The wait for a brand-new season of Trinity College football has concluded.

The Bantams return to the gridiron this Saturday with hopes of continuing its previous success from a year ago when the Blue and Gold concluded their campaign with eight wins and one loss.

The Bantams return some key members of last year’s squad, including quarterback Spencer Fetter, halfback Will Kirby, wide receiver DeVante Reid, and linebacker Brian Casagrande. Of course, other first and second-team all-New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) players return with hopes of winning its first conference crown since 2018.

Trinity will visit Tufts University on Saturday – last year, the Bantams beat the Jumbos in their season-opener, thanks to Spencer Fetter and Will Kirby, who combined for six touchdowns.

New England D3 Football Roundup: Aviles-Santos Leads UMD Past Husson; PSU Tops Castleton

Dante Aviles-Santos recorded five touchdowns on Saturday afternoon as UMass Dartmouth topped Husson University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Eric Ogden)

By NoontimeSports.com

Dante Aviles-Santos enjoyed an impressive start to his second season under center with the UMass Dartmouth football team.

Against Husson University, the junior signal-caller threw four touchdown passes while adding an additional score on the ground to lead the Corsairs to a 35-14 victory this afternoon at Cressy Field.

Aviles-Santos, who was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Offensive Rookie of the Year last fall, concluded the game with 214 yards of total offense, including 36 yards on six carries.

Antonio Brown hauled in two of Aviles-Santos’ four touchdown passes while Trell Best and Easten Coleman each caught one touchdown. Marvens Jean rushed for a game-high 254 yards on 26 carries and caught four passes.

UMass Dartmouth led by one score at the break before tacking on three more touchdowns in the second half, including a pair in the fourth quarter that helped the Corsairs push ahead for good.

As a team, UMass Dartmouth finished with 558 yards of total offense. The defense recorded one sack and one interception.

Husson’s Elijah Garnett led the team with 103 rushing yards on 15 carries and one score. Quarterback Nic Visser completed 10 of 26 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown.

With today’s win, UMass Dartmouth has won three-straight meetings with the Eagles dating back to their first contest in 2019.

UMass Dartmouth will visit Anna Maria next Saturday while Husson will host Plymouth State.  

Plymouth State scored its initial win of the 2022 season by defeating Castleton University, 20-7.

Willie Lombard highlighted the Panthers’ win by rushing for a game-high 98 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Evan Wilson led the Plymouth State defense with seven total tackles, including four solo stops.

Endicott College began its conference title defense with a 27-0 victory over St. Lawrence.

Anthony Caggianelli rushed for a game-high 80 yards on 23 carriers and two touchdowns while Matthew Licciardi led the Gulls’ defense with eight total tackles.

The Gulls visit WPI next Friday – the Engineers, like Endicott, were victorious in its season-opener last night as they defeated Worcester State, 58-21.  

Jack Maguire’s touchdown pass to John Hannon late in the third quarter proved to be the difference in Salve Regina’s 7-0 victory over Norwich University.  

Norwich’s defense limited the Seahawks’ offense to 277 yards on 71 plays, thanks to Matthew Christe, who recorded a game-high 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops.

Maguire concluded the game 21 of 31 for 152 yards while Hannon led Salve Regina’s receiving core with six catches for 52 yards.

Salve Regina will visit MIT next Saturday and Norwich will welcome St. Lawrence to Northfield, Vermont.

New England D-III Football Week One Scoreboard

  • MIT 35, Curry 20
  • Springfield 42, Western New England 14
  • Nichols 30, Westfield State 29
  • UMass Dartmouth 35, Husson 14
  • Endicott 27, St. Lawrence 0
  • University of New England 17, Coast Guard Academy 10
  • Salve Regina 7, Norwich 0
  • Fitchburg 33, Dean 28
  • Plymouth State 20, Castleton 7
  • WPI 58, Worcester State 21
  • Brockport 27, Framingham State 7
  • Ithaca 51, Bridgewater State 14
  • William Paterson 28, Western Connecticut 7