New England D3 Football Notebook: Framingham State Begins New Era

Framingham State Football head coach Tom Kelley says the Rams have started a new era. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

Framingham State Football head coach Tom Kelley says the Rams have started a new era. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

“It’s a new era,” Framingham State football head coach Tom Kelley said. “We just can’t roll out the footballs anymore.”

Kelley – the successful sideline boss of a Framingham State football program, which has won three straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) titles – knows the road to a fourth consecutive crown won’t be easy.

Unlike past seasons where the Rams have entered a new campaign with some household names like Matt Silva, Matt Mangano, Nick Stanfield, Kevin Donahue, Pat McGrath and Melikke Van Alstyne, Framingham State’s current roster features a plethora of young players.

“They’re working hard,” Kelley said of his first and second-year players. “They are not cutting corners, but it certainly is going to be an interesting year.”

Framingham State graduated 22 players from last season’s squad, including Silva, Mangano and Stanfield, but Kelley is confident his returners will fill the void.

“Out of the 22 guys (that graduated this past spring), we like the guys behind them,” said Kelley, “and now it’s their turn to step-up.”

Some of the returners Kelley and his coaching staff will ask to ‘step-up’ are seniors Chris Dagg (linebacker/safety), Jalen Wingard (defensive back), and juniors Jalen Green (halfback), Svenn Jacobson (linebacker) and Joe Wilder (offensive line).

Framingham State will conclude its training camp this weekend with a scrimmage before turning the page to their initial game of the season against Endicott College at home on Saturday, September 3.

Following a visit from the Gulls, Framingham State hits the road two important games, including a visit to Cortland State – both teams played last season and combined for 110 points and 1,071 yards of total offense.

The Rams’ final game of the month is against Western Connecticut State at home (Homecoming & Family Weekend) – the Colonials were picked third in the conference’s preseason poll.

“Our first four games will be tough,” said Kelley.

Rams occupy top spot in MASCAC preseason poll: Framingham State collected eight of nine first-place votes in the MASCAC preseason poll, which was released on Wednesday.

Bridgewater State collected the final first-place vote, checking in fourth overall.

Behind the Rams is Fitchburg State and Western Connecticut State, while Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Worcester State tied for fifth. UMass Dartmouth, Westfield State and Plymouth State rounded out the final three spots, checking in seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.

Eight of the nine teams are in action next Friday or Saturday, while Massachusetts Maritime Academy kicks-off its 2016 campaign on Friday, September 9 when they visit Maritime (N.Y.) for the Ninth-Annual Chowder Bowl.

Mass. College Football: Locals Named To D3Football.com All-East Regional Team

By Matt Noonan 

D3Football.com recently released its All-Regional teams, including their 2013 All-East Region squad, which featured a variety of local players that earned spots on either the first, second or third offensive or defensive units.

Below are the various players that were named to these three units.

Second Team Offense

* Running Back Melikke Van Alstyne (Framingham State/ Salem, Mass.)

* Wide Receiver Matthew Green (Bridgewater State/ Stoughton, Mass.)

* Tight End Casey Hippert (Worcester State/ Douglas, Mass.)

* Kicker Dylan Rushe (Endicott College/ Palos Verdes, Calif.)

Third Team Offense

* Wide Receiver Alec Matys (Endicott College/Woburn, Mass.)

* Tackle Tim Grupp (WPI/ Highland Mills, N.Y.)

* Guard Frank Civitello (Mount Ida/ West Haven, Conn.)

* Guard Mike McDonald (Springfield College/ North Dighton, Mass.)

* Tackle John Moriarty (Mass. Maritime/ Willmington, Mass.)

Third Team Defense

* Defensive End Rob Ruggiero (Bridgewater State/ Acton, Mass.)

* Defensive End James Howe (Williams College/ Charlotte, N.C.)

* Punter Dylan Rushe (Endicott College/ Palos Verdes, Calif.)

* Special Teams D’Andre Smith (Mount Ida/ Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)

Mass. College Football: Afternoon Roundup

By Matt Noonan 

Here are the scores and highlights from this afternoon’s contests.

Harvard 34, Yale 7: For the seventh straight season the Crimson capped their campaign with a victory over the Bulldogs. Paul Stanton Jr. rushed for two scores on 27 carries for 118 yards, as well as hauled in two touchdowns, while quarterback Conner Hempel completed 19 of 26 passes for 209 yards. With the win, along with a Princeton loss to Dartmouth, Harvard claimed a share of the 2013 Ivy League title.

Boston College 29, Maryland 26: Nate Freese‘s 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation propelled the Eagles to their seventh victory of the season. Andre Williams rushed for 263 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Chase Rettig completed 6 of 14 passes for 120 yards and one touchdown.

Cent. Michigan 37, UMass 0: The Chippewas earned the lead for good on a three-yard touchdown run by Zurlon Tipton as Central Michigan defeated Massachusetts in Michigan.

Georgetown 28, Holy Cross 21: Peter Pujals tossed two touchdowns and rushed for one more, but that wasn’t enough to lift the Crusaders past the Hoyas.

West Chester 38, AIC 7: Kevin Arduino‘s one-yard touchdown plunge in the opening quarter tied the game, but that was the only score the Yellow Jackets recorded as the Rams defeated AIC in the first round of the Division 2 NCAA tournament.

Springfield 28, Norwich 27: Jonathan Marrero amassed 121 yards on 19 touches (three passes) and rushed for one score as the Pride defeated the Cadets in the ECAC Div. 3 North Atlantic Bowl.

Ithaca 20, Framingham State 17: Trailing 17-3, the Bomber rallied to score 17 unanswered points during the final two quarters, which helped them defeat the Rams in the first round of the NCAA Div. 3 tournament. Melikke Van Alstyne rushed for 120 yards and one score in the loss.

Rowan 24, Endicott 0: Darren Dungee’s 46-yard pick-six provided the Profs with the lead for good as Rowan defeated the Gulls in the first round of the NCAA Div. 3 tournament. Jason Silva led Endicott’s defense with 18 total tackles.

Mass. College Football: NCAA Tourney Predictions

By Matt Noonan 

Three local teams will be competing this weekend in the first round of the NCAA Division 2 and 3 tournaments, and below are game previews and predictions.

NCAA Div. 2 Tournament

American International College at West Chester University: The Yellow Jackets, who captured the Northeast-10 Conference crown last weekend with a victory over Stonehill College will look to keep their momentum going against an impressive Rams unit. AIC, which returns to the tournament for the first time since 2008, enters their first round contest with a seven-game winning streak. AIC is headed by junior quarterback Kevin Arduino, who led the NE-10 with 20 rushing scores, while passing for 13 touchdowns.

WCU, who’ll be tomorrow’s host, won 9 of 10 contests this season. Their only loss came against Bloomsburg, the second seed in the region, which will face the winner of this matchup.

Keep an eye on WCU’s running back Rondell White, a senior tailback that rushed for 1,683 yards and 19 touchdowns. Also, don’t overlook quarterback Sean McCartney, who concluded the regular season with 24 touchdowns and 2,483 passing yards.

Prediction: AIC 24, WCU 22 – Stopping Arduino won’t be an easy task. He’s guided the Yellow Jackets to some impressive conference wins this season and will certainly look to beat the Rams with both his legs, as well as his arm. The Rams offense will certainly challenge the Yellow Jackets defense, especially with their ground game, but AIC should pull this out with possibly a late touchdown or defensive stop.

NCAA Div. 3 Tournament:

Endicott College at Rowan University: Both teams earned a spot in the tournament following conference championship wins as the Gulls topped Salve Regina last weekend, while the Profs defeated TCNJ.

Against the Seahawks, the Gulls defense held their opponent to 325 total yards of offense, while quarterback Drew Frenette completed 14 of 30 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Spencer Walsh rushed for 118 yard on 37 carries. Look for both players to step up in this contest, especially Walsh, who will assist with opening up his team’s passing game.

Rowan is averaging 21 points per game, and as a team, they’ve rushed for 1,600 yards and held their opponents to 1,096 total rushing yards. Withler Marcelin leads the unit with 1,174 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns (nine touchdowns on the ground). Defensively, keep an eye on Chris Alvarez, who’s recorded 14 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in 10 games.   

Prediction: Endicott 28, Rowan 27 – Both teams can run the ball, but the biggest question will be who can stop it? Obviously Endicott’s defense will look to repeat their performance from a week ago where they stopped one of the better New England offenses, while Rowan will look to their offense, which registered four touchdowns against TCNJ. Similar to AIC-WCU, look for a big defensive stop to shift the momentum to the eventual winner.

Framingham State at Ithaca College: For the second straight season, the Rams are headed back to the postseason after capturing the inaugural MASCAC crown. Yet, their run toward a championship won’t be easy, as they’ll face the winner of the Empire-8.

FSU is led by running back Melikke Van Alstyne, who recently eclipsed the 6,000-yard mark against Worcester State. He also registered three scores against the Lancers, too.

Van Alstyne considers this week’s opponent a mix of Endicott and Westfield State; two teams Framingham State defeated this year.

“I’d say (they’re) like Endicott, but tough like Westfield,” said the senior halfback. “They’re definitely a big and physical team, so we’ve got to bring our A-game.”

Tom Kelley, who is in his seventh year on the sidelines, know his team will need to play its best football of the season in order to advance to the second round.

“We have a lot of guys who remember (losing to in the tournament last year), they remember that feeling,” said Kelley. “The one thing we learned was that we can stand up to the rest of the country and that we can play with the NJAC teams and Empire-8, so we’re going to find that out this week.

“Ithaca is a very good football team. They don’t score a lot, but they don’t give up a lot. They’re very consistent, they don’t make a lot of mistakes, and they have a very good special teams, a very good defense and a very good offense, but our kids (feel) that we can play (with these teams), so we just to play our best game and see what happens.”

As Kelley mentioned, the Bombers defense finished first in their conference in points allowed (151), while their offense ranked seventh in points (220).

Prediction: FSU 21, Ithaca College 14 – This has the possibility of being an upset, especially if the Rams can get their running game going against an impressive defense. FSU’s defense stepped up down the stretch, especially against Bridgewater State. Their win against the Bears maybe their signature victory of the season, so look for a low scoring affair and possibly a late Van Alstyne touchdown to seal the win.

Mass. College Football: Van Alstyne Reflects On His Golden Helmet Award

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Melikke Van Alstyne had nothing, but praise for his Framingham State teammates, especially his offensive line yesterday at the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston luncheon, which was held at Harvard University. The senior tailback, who eclipsed the 6,000-yard mark in his career on Saturday against Worcester State, was one of two recipients of this week’s Ray Gallant Insurance Golden Helmet award.

“It’s definitely an honor,” said Van Alstyne, who collected his second Golden Helmet. “I know great players that have won this award (before me), so it’s definitely an honor to be here and (be around players like Harvard quarterback) Conner Hempel, so it’s obviously a pleasure.”

Framingham State's Melikke Van Alstyne eclipsed the 6,000-yard mark last weekend against Worcester State. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

Framingham State’s Melikke Van Alstyne eclipsed the 6,000-yard mark last weekend against Worcester State. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

Van Alstyne registered 146 yards on 35 carries with three touchdowns in his team’s final regular season contest against the Lancers, and now holds the record for most rushing yards in his team’s program history with 6,025 yards.

“It was just an awesome feeling,” Van Alstyne said of eclipsing the 6,000-yard mark.

“When he gets an award like that it’s a team award,” said head coach Tom Kelley. “When you bring in a player like (Melikke), he represents the team, institution and his family most importantly. We’re real proud of him and I am real proud of what we’ve accomplished over his four years.”

Maine Maritime’s Steve Tardif (6,093 yards) and Jim Bower (6,060 yards) were the only two rushers to register 6,000-yards before Van Alstyne surpassed the mark.

“(This achievement) was in the far distance,” Van Alstyne said when asked about reaching this milestone. “I was definitely just trying to get better every year, so hopefully I did so to reach this award.”

Mass. College Football: Week 12 Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

The 12th week of the college football season came to a close on Saturday and below is this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Andre Williams (Boston College) – The senior halfback, who broke the single-game rushing record that he set last week, concluded Saturday’s contest against North Carolina State with 339 yards on the ground and two scores. His 339 yards set the ACC single-game rushing record, passing John Leach of Wake Forrest, who passed for 329 yards against Maryland in 1993.

Kevin Pierre-Louis (Boston College) – The senior linebacker registered eight total stops, six solo tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 20 yards.

Conner Hempel (Harvard) – The junior signal caller amassed 292 yards of total offense and tossed two touchdowns as the Crimson defeated Penn in Cambridge.

Danny Guadagnoli (Bentley) – The senior quarterback broke the Bentley single game and season records for both passing yards and total offense, and accounted for six touchdowns, in a 56-41 shootout victory over Saint Anselm as he completed 30-of-43 passes for 510 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a go-ahead touchdown and 42 yards for a total of 552 on the day.

Jeff Hill (Bentley) – The junior wide receiver set career-bests with 10 catches for 199 yards, with a pair of touchdowns, 77 and 18 yards. The 199 gave him a conference-high 1,225 for the season.

Kendall Dardy-Jones (Assumption) – The sophomore defensive back led the Hounds defense with nine total stops, seven solo tackles, and a pass breakup against New Haven.

Joe Clancy (Merrimack) – The senior quarterback ended the season with four touchdowns as the Warriors defeated the Owls in North Andover. Clancy finished 33-of-52 for 260 yards.

Kristian Jackson (Merrimack) – The sophomore linebacker recorded a game-high 13 total stops, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 14 yards and one-and-a-half sacks for a loss of 11 yards.

Nate Robitaille (Stonehill) – The junior wide receiver led all receivers with six catches for 84 yards and one touchdown in the Northeast-10 Conference championship against American International College.

Brian Harrington (Stonehill) – The junior linebacker recorded a game-best 17 total tackles, 11 solo stops, including one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards.

Kevin Arduino (AIC) – The junior quarterback registered 304 yards of total offense, including 101 yards on the ground and three scores, which helped the Yellow Jackets defeat the Skyhawks in the NE-10 Championship.

Jordan Thompson (AIC) – The senior defensive lineman recorded two total tackles, including one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 12 yards and a fumble recovery.

Carlous Julien (Mount Ida) – The senior linebacker recorded a game-high 14 total stops, including two tackles for a loss of eight yards, one sack for a loss of six yards and a forced fumble. The Mustangs finished their season with a 6-0 victory over Husson.

Robert Small (Anna Maria) – The senior tailback rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s finale against Becker College.

Kevin Card (Anna Maria) – The junior linebacker finished the season with a game-best 12 total stops, 11 solo tackles, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 12 yards and one sack for a loss of nine yards.

Robert Baker (Becker) – The senior quarterback amassed 248 yards of total offense, which included 220 yards through the air as the Hawks defeated the AMCATs in their final contest. Baker tossed three touchdowns, two to DeJahn Dawkins.

DeJahn Dawkins (Becker) – The sophomore wide receiver finished with a game-best 106 yards and two touchdown receptions.

Melvin Booker (Becker) – The senior linebacker led the Hawks defense with 10 total stops including one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards.

Ehab Hamdan (WPI) – The senior wide receiver finished with 10 catches for 131 yards and one touchdown in his team’s setback to Springfield College.

Melikke Van Alstyne (Framingham State) – The senior halfback rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, as well as hauled in one reception for 22 yards in the Rams’ 36-0 victory over Worcester State.

Travis Hayes (Framingham State) – The sophomore wide receiver caught seven passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Jeff Touron (Framingham State) – The senior defensive end recorded five total tackles, four solo stops, including three sacks for a loss of 14 yards.

Mike McCarthy (Bridgewater State) – The senior quarterback capped his career with the Bears by completing 20-of-30 passes for one touchdown and rushing for 119 yards and two scores as Bridgewater State defeated Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 35th Annual Cranberry Bowl.

Matt Green (Bridgewater State) – The junior wide receiver led all receivers with 12 catches for 181 yards and one touchdown.

Garrett Dellechiaie (Fitchburg State) – The first-year quarterback finished his season completing 10-of-19 attempts for 188 yards and five touchdowns as the Falcons soared past the Panthers.

Drew Frenette (Endicott) – The junior quarterback tossed three touchdowns and completed 14-of-30 passes for 250 yards as the Gulls defeated Salve Regina in the New England Football Conference championship.

Justin Wallace (MIT) – The junior running back rushed for 217 yards and two scores as the Engineers defeated Coast Guard in their final game.

Kevin Fruwirth (Curry) – The senior quarterback ended his career with the Colonels by passing for six touchdowns and rushing for 42 yards on five carries. Fruwirth finished with a total of 370 yards of total offense in his team’s win against Maine Maritime.

Kevin Cook (Western New England) – The junior half back rushed for three scores and 189 yards as the Golden Bears concluded their season with a win against Nichols.

Mass. College Football: Week 11 Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

With another weekend of college football in the books, it is time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Andre Williams (Boston College) – The senior tailback, who is the current leading rusher in the ACC and No. 2 in the nation among FBS (Football Subdivision) players, rushed for a single-game school record of 295 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 48-34 win over New Mexico State

Chase Rettig (Boston College) – The senior quarterback passed for 230 yards and tossed three scores.

Peter Pujals (Holy Cross) – The first-year signal caller amassed 292 yards of total offense in his team’s setback to Lehigh, along with one touchdown pass.

Matt Pedone (Assumption College) – The senior halfback rushed for a career-high 209 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries, which helped the Hounds defeat LIU Post, 37-27, and finish 5-0 on the road in league play.

Tad Beuchert (Assumption) – The senior placekicker was a perfect 3-for-3 in field goals and 4-for-4 in extra-point attempts.

Sterry Codrington (Stonehill) –The junior defensive back helped the Skyhawks hold Merrimack to just 14 points and 359 total yards by registering a career-best 12 tackles, including one for a loss of two yards, a forced fumble, interception and pass breakup.

Kevin Arduino (American International) – The junior quarterback rushed for three scores and passed for 94 yards in his team’s win over So. Connecticut.

Mike Bates (Assumption) – The senior linebacker recorded 11 total tackles, five solo stops, one interception, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.

Jere Brown (Merrimack) – The sophomore wide receiver hauled in nine receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown.

Colin Markus (Stonehill) – The sophomore halfback recorded a career-high 31 carries for 185 yards in his team’s win over the Warriors.

Brian Harrington (Stonehill) – The junior linebacker recorded a game-best 16 tackles, eight solo stops, one sack for a loss of nine yards and a pass breakup.

Nate Robitaille (Stonehill) – The junior wide receiver caught seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Taylor Russell (Stonehill) – The junior defensive lineman matched his career-high with five tackles, including one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 10 yards, one sack, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Robert Baker (Becker) – The senior quarterback amassed 243 yards in the Hawks’ 20-3 win over Castelton State. Baker tossed two touchdowns and rushed for 41 yards on 14 carries.

Melvin Booker (Becker) – The senior linebacker recorded a game-high 18 total stops, which included four-and-a-half sacks for a loss of 31 yards and five tackles for a loss of 31 yards.

Zach Grasis (WPI) – The junior tailback rushed for 155 yards and two scores in the Engineers’ 31-21 victory over Rochester.

Sean Murphy (WPI) – The sophomore defensive back recorded five solo tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery against Rochester.

Melikke Van Alstyne (Framingham State) – The senior running back rushed for a game-best 158 yards and three scores as the Rams defeated the Bears and claimed the inaugural MASCAC crown.

Mike McCarthy (Bridgewater State) – The senior quarterback completed 10-of-19 passes for 117 yards and rushed for 95 yards and three scores on 27 carries.

Patrick McGrath (Framingham State) – The senior linebacker finished with 13 total tackles, 10 solo stops and a fumble recovery.

Trevor McNeil (UMass Dartmouth) – The first-year linebacker recorded 10 total tackles, five solo stops, which included two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, one sack for a loss of six yards, a forced fumble and fumble recovery against the Falcons of Fitchburg State.

Steph’fon Teague (Fitchburg State) – The junior halfback rushed for 182 yards and one score on 27 carries. He also caught one pass for five yards and one touchdown in the Falcons’ 25-20 victory.

Mike Stanton (Mass. Maritime) – The senior quarterback completed 15-of-24 passes for 203 yards and tossed four touchdowns, as well as rushed for 57 yards and one score in his team’s 46-44 win over Plymouth State.

Sam Calley (Curry) – The senior defensive lineman finished his team’s contest against Nichols College with nine total tackles, which included six sacks for 21 yards, eight tackles for a loss of 24 yards and two forced fumbles.

Drew Frenette (Endicott) – The junior quarterback tossed three touchdowns and completed 17-of-32 passes for 323 yards in the Gulls’ win over Western New England.

Peter Williams (MIT) – The junior quarterback completed 15-of-18 passes for 264 yards and five touchdowns against Maine Maritime.

Chris Tamasi (Amherst) – The junior linebacker concluded his team’s season with six solo tackles, which included two tackles for a loss of eight yards and one sack for a loss of seven yards.