Tag: Mike Lichten

Noontime’s New England D3 Football Top 10 Poll (Sept. 19, 2022)

Nick Helbig highlighted Wesleyan University’s defensive effort last Saturday against Bates College by recording seven total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two forced fumbles. (PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to the fourth week of New England NCAA Division III football season, which technically began yesterday – yes, we know we’re one day late (our apologies!).

Like last week, it’s time to share our latest Top 10 Poll, which saw some teams move up and down, as well as welcome a new member: Western New England.

Despite a 1-2 start to its current campaign, the Golden Bears have shown improvement since its opening day loss to Springfield College – this past weekend, Western New England dropped its second non-league tilt of the 2022 season to Utica College. But despite the loss, it seems like the Golden Bears are headed in the right direction.

Plymouth State moved up one spot following its initial conference win against Bridgewater State while Endicott College remained in the top spot after clinching its third-straight victory of the season against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

Noontime’s Top 10 Poll: Monday, September 19, 2022 (Week Four)

1. Endicott College (3-0, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 1): The last time an Endicott squad began its campaign with three-straight wins was in 2011 when the Gulls competed in the New England Football Conference (NEFC). Endicott clinched its third-straight win last Saturday by defeating TCNJ, 28-7. They will attempt to win their fourth-straight contest on Saturday against Norwich University.

2. Wesleyan University (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC) (LW: No. 4): Wesleyan jumped up two spots after scoring a big opening day win against Bates College. Quarterback David Estevez tossed three touchdowns in the win while Nick Helbig stuffed the stat sheet with seven total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two forced fumbles.   

3. Trinity College (1-0, 1-0, NESCAC) (LW: No. 2): The Bantams scored an opening day win last Saturday but struggled to contain Tufts University in the second half. Tufts outscored the visitors, 20-0, during the final two sessions. This week, Trinity faces a Colby College squad that beat Williams College in its season-opener.

4. UMass Dartmouth (2-1, 1-0 MASCAC) (LW: No. 7): The Corsairs moved up three spots following an important conference win over Framingham State. With the win, UMass Dartmouth returns to the win column for the second time this season – this week, they visit Worcester State, a team they beat last year by a score of 52-7.  

5. Springfield College (1-2, 0-0 NEWMAC) (LW: No. 3): The Pride dropped their second-straight non-league tilt last Saturday to a Union College squad that had produced 40 points or more in its previous two contests. Springfield limited the Dutchmen to just three touchdowns while the Pride produced a pair of field goals. Husson University visits Springfield on Saturday.

6. Anna Maria College (2-0, 0-0 ECFC) (LW: No. 6): Following an exciting opening day victory last Saturday, the AMCATs scored its second-straight win on Saturday by defeating Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 23-14. Anna Maria will conclude its non-conference slate on Saturday when they welcome Coast Guard Academy to Paxton, Massachusetts.

7. Salve Regina University (2-1, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 5): The early-season success vanished last Saturday as the Seahawks fell to Montclair State, 31-14. Despite suffering its first loss of the season, Salve Regina finished its non-league tilt with a game-high 313 yards of total offense while its defense registered three sacks.

8. Western New England (1-2, 0-0 CCC) (LW: NR): For the second-straight week, the Golden Bears recorded more than 400 yards of total offense. Against Utica College, the Blue and Gold produced a season-high 425 yards of total offense on 79 plays. Additionally, they converted a game-high 10 of 21 third down conversions. Utica finished 3 of 12 on third down.

9. Plymouth State (3-0, 1-0 MASCAC) (LW: No. 10): The Panthers matched their start from 2019 by winning its third-straight contest of the 2022 season. Plymouth State topped Bridgewater State this past weekend, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Braden Lynn.  

10. University of New England (2-1, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 8): Coach Mike Lichten’s squad saw its early season momentum disappear last Saturday with a 34-31 setback to Gallaudet University. Despite losing by three points, the Nor’easters defense was able to stop the Bison on 10 of 11 third downs. UNE will be idle this weekend before starting conference play next Saturday, October 1 against Curry College.

On the rise: Colby College (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC), Husson University (1-2, 0-0 CCC), and Nichols College (3-0, 0-0 CCC).

Noontime Football Postgame: UNE Rallies To Beat Bridgewater State, 23-20 (OT)

The University of New England football team rallied to beat Bridgewater State on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Andrew Turco/Bridgewater State Athletics)

By Brian Willwerth


BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Here are five takeaways from the University of New England’s 23-20 overtime victory over Bridgewater State on Saturday afternoon.

  • The Nor’easters came back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force an extra session, and eventually win the game. 

    I talked to coach Mike Lichten and quarterback Matthew Harkins after the game, and they said one of the keys to victory was sticking to the game plan, even when playing from behind in the second half. And It worked.

    UNE dominated the second half, and finally scored the game’s final two touchdowns, including the tying score with six remaining in the fourth quarter.
  • UNE’s defense was exceptional in the second half, and was key part of their victory of the season. 

    After allowing 20 points and 359 yards of offense in the first half, the Nor’easters pitched a shutout and held the Bears to just 52 yards of total offense the rest of the way.
  • Special teams were critical in this one. 

    OK, I’m sure every coach in the country can tell you something about that, but there were five missed kicks in this game, including two that ‘doinked’ off an upright. The only ball that went through the uprights was the field goal in overtime by Abe Ruelas Villasenor.  He’s a freshman offensive lineman in addition to a kicker, and the Nor’easters’ blocking the Bears’ kick on the ensuing possesion resulted in a wild celebration, with UNE players rushing the field.
  • Despite the setback, I was impressed by the Bears’ quarterback James Cahoon, who completed 18 of 31 pases for 308 yards and two touchdowns. And it was also a big game for wide receiver Kyle Torres, who finished with 184 yards and one score.
  • Finally, one other player that was fun to watch — and yes, quite impressive — was halfback Adam Couch, who rushed for a season-high 101 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown. The Winchendon, Massachusetts native reached the end zone once last weekend against Ithaca College, but did not tally 100 yards on the ground. Instead, he finished his team’s season-opener against the Bombers with 68 yards.

Next up: Both teams return to the field next Saturday, September 18 with Bridgewater State hosting Plymouth State at 3 p.m. and UNE traveling to Alfred State for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

Noontime’s Teams To Watch Heading Into Week Two

Errol Breaux
Errol Breaux caught five touchdowns while rushing for one score against Fitchburg State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photography)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Monday, everyone — I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend, but also enjoyed seeing football games played, both in-person or on television over the past few days.

Starting today and every week throughout the remainder of the New England D-III college football season, I’ll be producing a weekly post called “Noontime’s Teams to Watch,” which will highlight some programs fans should watch (and yes, keep their eyes on) heading into the upcoming week.

So, without further ado, let’s highlight some teams to watch this week.

MIT: The Engineers scored an opening day win against Curry College — the offense really kicked into gear in the second half as they outscored the Colonels by a score of 27-0. Quarterback Chris Mauck was one of a few players to watch as the Wellington, Florida native completed 17 of 29 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns.

Halfback Jay Theriault, who played high school football at Masconomet, led the Engineers with 58 yards on ten carries and one touchdown while linebacker Paul Calvetti paced the MIT defense with 13 total tackles.

The Engineers, who moved up three spots in our week two poll, certainly proved they’re going to be a team to watch this fall, but we should get a better gauge on this MIT squad, especially the defensive unit this weekend when they visit Salve Regina University. MIT limited the Curry rushing attack to just 96 yards, but will certainly be challenged this week against a Seahawks squad that is led by halfback Joey Mauriello.

WPI: Despite a slow start to their first game since November of 2019, the Engineers of Worcester found their groove in the second half against Worcester State by outscoring the visitors, 35-7. Coach Chris Robertson‘s squad leaned heavily on its ground game as Hunter Carey and Brandon Winn combined for 240 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Nica Hesel highlighted the WPI defensive effort with four total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 20 yards, one sack for a loss of 17 yards, and one forced fumble. Of course, Hesel wasn’t the only one providing challenges for the Lancer’s offense as Derrick Doncaster and Evan Wertz combined for 15 total tackles, one fumble recovery, and one tackle for a loss of 17 yards.

WPI faces a challenging test on Friday evening against second-ranked Endicott College — the Gulls rallied to beat St. Lawrence University on Saturday after trailing the Saints, 14-6, at the break.

Dean College: Wide receiver Errol Breaux was a player to watch last Saturday as the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native tallied six touchdowns (five receiving, one rushing) against Fitchburg State. The senior wideout concluded the game with 251 yards of total offense — he averaged 30.9 yards per reception.

Quarterback David Curry concluded Saturday’s outing with the Falcons by completing 18 of 30 passes for 327 yards and five touchdowns — I’ll certainly be watching him and Breaux on Saturday when they visit the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs.

In addition to the dynamic duo on offense, keep your eyes on Dre Kidd this Saturday — the Manassas, Virginia native was the only member of the Bulldogs defense to record double-digits in total tackles: 13.

Castleton University: Noah Crossman was the player to watch in the Spartans’ initial contest of 2021 against Plymouth State as the North Chittenden, Vermont native booted a pair of field goals in the opening half before Devin Wollner capped a four-play, 62 yard drive with a 40-yard touchdown in the third quarter to secure the victory.

Chris Rice led the Castleton defense with nine total tackles, including three solo stops, three-and-a-half tackles for loss of 16 yards and two-and-a-half sacks for a loss of 13 yards. Rice was a player to watch in 2019 and will certainly be someone all New England D-III fans will want to watch as the season progresses.

The Spartans will travel to Fitchburg State on Saturday — Castleton lost to the Falcons by a score of 12-10 in 2019 but defeated the Gold and Green in 2018.

University of New England: Despite an opening day loss to Coast Guard Academy, the Nor’easters defense was the story as Keegan Stanton-Meas led all defenders with 12 total stops, including seven solo tackles and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of four yards.

UNE, which secured the final spot on today’s poll, is certainly trending in the right direction — the Nor’easters under coach Mike Lichten have shown improvements since their first varsity contest in 2018, and could surprise some squads this fall with a defense that combined for eight tackles for a loss of 20 yards, two quarterback hurries, and one interception returned for 38 yards last Saturday against the Bears.

Player Perspective: Brian Peters (University of New England)

D7K_6635
Brian Peters and the University of New England football team have enjoyed a successful start to their 2019 season. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Bates)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For Brian Peters and the University of New England football team, 2019 has been a successful season thus far.

The Nor’easters, who are in their second season as a Division III football program, have won two of three contests and will attempt to win a third on Saturday, September 28th when they welcome Western New England to Biddeford, Maine.

For UNE to be successful against its Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) foe, they will need both its offense and defense, as well as its special teams, too, to continue its recent play from a week ago when the Nor’easters defeated Castleton University, 31-21.

Against the Spartans, Peters threw for a career-high 354 yards and three touchdowns, while Joe Kucky led the defense with eight total tackles.

In addition to a career day for Peters, the third-year signal-caller also connected with Cobey Johnson for an 89-yard pass late in the first quarter, which was the longest play from scrimmage in program history.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Peters about the 89-yard connection between him and Johnson, but also how he feels the team has done thus far through three games.

Your team is off to a 2-1 start. How has the season gone from your perspective? 

I think this season has gone well so far, but I think we have yet to play our best game.

The games we have won we have left a lot of points on the board. If we play a complete game on both sides of the ball you will notice how far this program has progressed (since our first game as a Division III program last September).

This past weekend, you threw for a career-high 354 passing yards. Did you expect to throw the ball that much against Castleton?

I expected to throw the ball a little more in that game, but I am glad we didn’t. We had a great day rushing the football – we finished the game with more than 500 yards of total offense. If we can continue to have a balanced attack like (we did against Castleton) then we can be a lethal offensive unit.

Tell me about the 89-yard touchdown pass from you to Cobey Johnson. How did the play develop and when Cobey caught the ball did you think he was going to score a touchdown? 

Cobey made a heck of a play on that ball. Basically, he took it from one high safety.

Looking back I should not have thrown that ball (in a different direction), but Cobey saved me with his athleticism. He is a great player and is probably our most improved player on offense.

How do you feel the past three games will help the team be successful in conference play, beginning this Saturday against Western New England? 

The first three games of the season showed how competitive we are as a team.

When we face adversity we may bend but we will not break. This is something that coach (Mike) Lichten instills in us. We try to be the toughest team, but also a team that will never quit. If we continue to play with that passion we will be competitive in every conference game.

Do you feel your experience from last season, especially down the stretch has helped you understand the Nor’easters offense and feel more comfortable under center/in the pocket this fall? 

Absolutely. Having a year under my belt has helped me get comfortable with the speed and physicality of college football.

The coaching staff and my experience from last year have taught me to control what I can control, and to not try to make the hero play all the time. I just have to do a better job of taking care of the football and trusting my offensive line and playmakers on the outside.

Finally, with this week’s game being a home contest, tell me what a game-day atmosphere is like at the University of New England. 

For this being the second year of varsity football at the University of New England, I think the game-day atmosphere is incredible. The fans are passionate and they make sure that they are a factor in the game for all four

Mass. College Football: Frank Forcucci Named Becker College Interim Head Coach

Becker College Athletics announced Frank Forcucci has been promoted to interim head coach of the football team. (Photo Credit: Becker College Athletics)
Becker College Athletics announced Frank Forcucci has been promoted to interim head coach of the football team. (Photo Credit: Becker College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

The Becker College football program will have a new head coach this fall as Director of Athletics Frank Millerick announced the promotion of Frank Forcucci, who has been named the interim head coach. Forcucci replaces Mike Lichten, who resigned Monday evening.

Forcucci spent the past three seasons with the Hawks as an associate head coach and defensive coordinator.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to lead this program and to work with this group of enthusiastic and hard-working student-athletes as we build on the foundation established by Coach Mike Lichten, “Forcucci said in the athletic department’s release.

Last season, the Hawks concluded their campaign 7-3 overall and 5-2 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play. The team’s seven victories was a program-record for win. Becker ended its campaign with an exciting 35-21 victory against Castleton, which resulted in a third place finish for the Hawks.