We’re inching closer to the start of the sixth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season.
Before another busy few days of football begins, let’s highlight five teams to watch (and yes, follow).
Norwich University (2-3, 1-0 NEWMAC): After beginning their season with two-straight losses to Salve Regina University and St. Lawrence University, the Cadets have bounced back, winning two of three contests.
Norwich scored its first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) win last Saturday by defeating Coast Guard Academy, 31-23.
The team’s second win of the 2022 season was highlighted by wide receiver Trevor Chase, who became the program’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions (24) when he cashed in on the team’s initial play with a 71-yard catch-and-run.
Chase concluded his team’s contest with the Bears with 12 catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns. The 185 receiving yards is the most he’s logged in a game this season.
Chase, along with quarterback Mitchell Theal, who tossed four touchdowns last week, will be two players to watch on Saturday when Norwich visits the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
Like Norwich, the Mariners won their initial conference meeting by defeating WPI, 41-14.
Salve Regina University (3-1, 0-0 CCC): The Seahawks were idle last weekend but will begin conference play this Saturday when they visit Curry College.
Salve Regina beat Curry last season, but this year’s Colonels squad is one nobody should overlook – the Purple and White were competitive last weekend against the University of New England.
The Seahawks have won three of four non-league tilts, but all four opponents presented unique challenges for coach Kevin Gilmartin’s squad that has had to lean on some players that are not named Joey Mauriello or Jack Maguire.
Jake Stack has been the player to watch under center – he has tossed four touchdowns in three contests while adding two scores on the ground. Justan Luzzi, a first-year tailback, leads the Salve Regina rushing attack with 121 yards on 26 carries. Josh Letellier, who is listed as a quarterback, leads the receiving core with 15 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Let’s see if the Seahawks’ early-season momentum can continue against Curry.
Springfield College (2-2, 0-0 NEWMAC): After a week away from the gridiron, the Pride return to the field this week when they visit Coast Guard Academy.
Springfield concluded its non-league schedule with a 49-7 victory over Husson University – the win was highlighted by three rushing touchdowns by Arsen Shtefan.
Quarterback David Wells was perfect against Husson, completing a pair of passes for 111 yards and one touchdown.
Springfield topped Coast Guard Academy last season by a score of 60-0 en route to winning their second NEWMAC crown since 2017.
The Pride concluded their previous meeting with the Bers by producing 548 yards of total offense on 74 plays. Springfield’s defense limited Coast Guard Academy to just 42 yards on 45 plays.
Tufts University (2-1, 2-1 NESCAC): Let’s not overlook this year’s Jumbos.
Tufts currently resides in a three-way tie for second place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) standings with Colby College and Wesleyan University. They almost beat Trinity College in their season-opener – they kept the Bantams off the scoreboard in the second half – but have scored back-to-back wins over Bates College and Williams College.
Quarterback Michael Berluti tossed three second-half touchdowns against the Ephs to help Tufts edge last year’s conference champions. Berluti connected with Jaden Richardson for two touchdowns before locating Jackson Butler early in the fourth quarter to provide the visitors with a 35-21 lead (Williams did tack on one more score before last Saturday’s contest concluded).
In addition to Berluti’s impressive play, Tufts received a major momentum boost at the end of the first half when Victor Garza returned a blocked field goal.
The Jumbos will go for their third-straight win on Saturday when they host Bowdoin College for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.
University of New England (3-1, 1-0 CCC): Like the Seahawks of Salve Regina, the Nor’easters have quietly produced a 3-1 record, including a 1-0 mark in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).
UNE bounced back from a 34-31 setback to Gallaudet University last weekend with a 37-21 victory over Curry, thanks to quarterback Jarrett Henault, who tossed a season-best four touchdowns.
Will Peters led a defense that recorded three sacks – additionally, the Nor’easters limited the Colonels to 257 yards (4.4 yards per play) on 59 offensive plays.
In addition to Henault and Peters, UNE has received a major boost from linebacker Keegan Stanton-Meas, who leads the Nor’easters defense with 25.0 total tackles, including 20 solo stops.
UNE will visit Husson this weekend to compete in the 2nd Annual Lobster Trap Game, which the Eagles won last season. The Nor’easters’ last win over Husson came in 2019.