Tag: Mike Toop

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.

UMass Dartmouth, WNE To Compete In 2021 New England Bowl

Western New England’s football team will compete once more this fall as they, along with UMass Dartmouth secured spots in the 2021 New England Bowl. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

The New England Bowl is back.

This weekend, four teams, including two Massachusetts squads will compete in it as Western New England will host the United States Merchant Marine Academy while UMass Dartmouth will entertain Alfred State.

Both games will be played this Saturday, November 20 with kickoff times to be announced later this week.

Merchant Marine will look to capture its second New England Bowl in program history after beating Endicott College in 2018 by a score of 38-22.  

The Mariners won eight of nine contests this season and finished second in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). This week’s contest will mark the final game for coach Mike Toop, who announced he would be retiring at the conclusion of the 2021 season last Friday. Toop has paced the sidelines for 45 years, including the last 17 in Kings Point, New York.

Alfred State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western New England will all be making their inaugural appearance in the New England Bowl series – all three squads placed second in their respective conferences.

The New England Bowl series began in 2016 with Framingham State and Salve Regina University competing in the inaugural contest, and features teams from the NEWMAC, Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), and Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).

Endicott, Dean College, WPI, and Western Connecticut were the last four teams to compete in the New England Bowl series in 2019.

Noonan: The 2021 Small College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

The first ten week of the small college (NCAA Division II and Division III) college football season have been very exciting. But what will happen in the 11th week? We’ll just have to wait and find out. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By Matt Noonan

We have reached the final week of the small college football regular season – that went by fast!

And while there is still more football to be played after the final whistle sounds for most contests tomorrow, I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on the last 10 weeks.

To say the 2021 New England Division II and Division III college football season has been fun would be an understatement. It has been a blast – can I say incredible?

Many fields, bleachers and press boxes sat quietly at this time one year ago – yes, Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy did compete in the Secretaries Cup, but that was the closest we would get to a small college football experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic (other teams outside our region did compete once, twice or a few times last fall or this spring).

Tomorrow, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine will meet again – the contest will mark coach Mike Toop’s final regular season game with the Mariners while a slew of other teams, including Amherst College, Anna Maria College, Husson University, Bentley University, and the University of New Haven will also be in action.

There will be games that will decide conference champions.

There will be contests pitting two rivalries.

And there will be matchups between two teams – excuse me, two programs – looking to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the offseason.

But no matter the outcome of every small college football game tomorrow, both locally and around the country, a celebration should be in store for everyone as this will be a season we should all remember five, ten and yes, 50 years from now.

The 2021 small college football season provided us with a sense of joy and excitement that maybe we did not have before the pandemic. But it also provided us with some new (and exciting) storylines like Anna Maria winning its most games in a single season with six victories as of this evening to New Haven capturing its first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012 with an impressive win one week ago against Bentley.  

Framingham State won another Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown after starting 0-2 for the second consecutive season, and American International College was one of a handful of teams to watch from the get-go, especially when they were winning dramatic road games, including a come-from-behind 40-33 victory in week two against Pace University.

Of course, there were others – and yes, there are still more stories being written as I type this somewhat “ode-to-the 2021 small college football season.” But no matter what, it has been so much fun seeing the local teams back on the gridiron this fall – enjoy the final day of the regular season, everyone, and make sure to stop by for a few blog posts throughout the weekend.  

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week 11)

Joel Nicholas and the Williams College football team will look to cap their 2021 campaign with a win over Amherst College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s hard to believe, but somehow, we made it to the final week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season – where did the time go?

The final week pits some real intriguing matchups that will determine conference winners. Others feature teams looking to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the offseason.

We’ll have plenty of time over the next few weeks to look back on the regular season, but for now, let’s get ready for the final jam-packed Saturday with 10 Games to Watch (and yes, our picks, too).

And just for those keeping track at home, we enter the final week with a 71-29 record when it comes to selecting games. Not bad, eh?

Catholic University (6-3, 4-1 NEWMAC) at Springfield College (6-3, 5-0 NEWMAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: The Pride are on a roll and should be able to conclude their conference slate with a victory, along with a league crown. PREDICTION: Springfield 30, Catholic 22

Merchant Marine Academy (7-1, 4-1 NEWMAC) at Coast Guard Academy (2-7, 0-5 NEWMAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: The Mariners will look to send coach Mike Toop off with one last win in the Secretaries Cup against the Bears.  PREDICTION: Merchant Marine 30, Coast Guard 20

Endicott College (7-2, 4-1 CCC) at Nichols College (2-7, 0-5 CCC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: A win for the Gulls over the Bison would most likely secure them a spot in the upcoming postseason. PREDICTION: Endicott 30, Nichols 16  

Williams College (8-0, 8-0 NESCAC) at Amherst College (5-3, 5-3) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: The Ephs can make history on Saturday by becoming the first team in program history to win nine games in a single season. PREDICTION: Williams 30, Amherst 14

Alfred State (5-4, 4-1 ECFC) at Dean College (2-7, 1-4 ECFC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: A win for the Pioneers and an AMCATs loss would provide the Blue and Yellow with their first-ever conference crown, so this is a must-win for Alfred State. PREDICTION: Alfred State 24, Dean 14

Bridgewater State (5-4, 5-2 MASCAC) at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (4-5, 3-4 MASCAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: Mother Nature should cooperate for the 42nd Annual Cranberry Bowl in Buzzards Bay – the rain today should vanish by kickoff tomorrow. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 23, Mass. Maritime 20

Plymouth State (5-4, 5-2 MASCAC) at UMass Dartmouth (7-2, 5-2 MASCAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: Second place in the conference is on the line — of course, Bridgewater State is in the mix for second place, as well, but this outcome could determine who will represent the conference in the New England Bowl. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 28, Plymouth State 20  

Christian Schiavone and the SUNY-Maritime football team will compete against Anna Maria College in a highly anticipated matchup on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Alan Schaefer)

Husson University (7-2, 4-1 CCC) at Western New England (6-3, 4-1 CCC) Saturday, November at 1 p.m.: The Eagles soar into Springfield with a great deal of end-of-season momentum. PREDICTION: Husson 28, WNE 24

SUNY-Maritime (3-5, 3-2 ECFC) at Anna Maria College (6-2, 4-1 ECFC) Saturday, November 13 at 1 p.m.: The AMCATs are one win away from capturing their first-ever conference crown. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 28, SUNY-Maritime 15

Bowdoin College (1-7, 1-7 NESCAC) at Colby College (3-5, 3-5 NESCAC) Saturday, November 13 at 5 p.m.: The Mules can secure their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown on Saturday with a win over the Polar Bears. PREDICTION: Colby 24, Bowdoin 14

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week Five)

Devaun Ford and the Framingham State Rams will attempt to earn their third-straight conference win on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photograph)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s time to get ready for another BUSY weekend of New England college football, including a slew of Division III games to watch.

Last weekend, we picked eight of ten games correctly, which is not bad, right?

We head into this weekend’s slate with 30-10 record when it comes to picks, so let’s see if we can continue our early season momentum (fingers crossed!).


FEATURED GAME: Salve Regina University (4-0, 0-0 CCC) at Western New England (2-2, 0-0 CCC) (Saturday, October 2 at 1 p.m.): After rallying back from a 35-16 deficit at the break last week against Rowan University, Salve Regina enters its first conference game with a great deal of momentum. Sure, the Seahawks have not beaten the Golden Bears on the road since 2012, but we think their early season momentum will carry them to an exciting win in Springfield. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 30, Western New England 28

FEATURED GAME: Middlebury College (1-1, 1-1 NESCAC) at Trinity College (2-0, 2-0 NESCAC) (Saturday, October 2 at 1 p.m.): The Bantams have looked pretty good through two weeks and should be able to make a few more plays down the stretch – or perhaps at the beginning of the game? – that will allow them to secure a third-straight conference victory. PREDICTION: Trinity 27, Middlebury 20

FEATURED GAME: UMass Dartmouth (3-1, 1-1 MASCAC) at Western Connecticut (2-2, 1-1 MASCAC) (Saturday, October 2 at 5 p.m.): This is a VERY important game for both squads as a loss could derail hopes of a conference crown. Western Connecticut almost beat Bridgewater State on the road last week while UMass Dartmouth bounced back with a 52-7 win over Worcester State. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 35, Western Conn. 31  


Curry College (2-1, 0-0 CCC) at Endicott College (3-1, 0-0 CCC) (Saturday, October 2 at 12 p.m.): Both teams enter their initial conference clash with some momentum from some impressive non-league wins, but something tells us that these Gulls of Endicott will find a way in the end to score their fourth victory of the 2021 season. PREDICTION: Endicott 27, Curry 24

Anna Maria College (2-1, 0-0 ECFC) at Keystone College (0-4, 0-0 ECFC) (Saturday, October 2 at 12 p.m.): The AMCATs enter their initial conference tilt with a great deal of momentum that should carry them past the Giants in their first-ever meeting. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 30, Keystone 14

Dean College (1-3, 0-0 ECFC) at Gallaudet University (1-0, 0-0 ECFC) (Saturday, October 2 at 12 p.m.): Dean is seeking its first win since beating Fitchburg State in the opening weekend of the 2021 season — can the Bulldogs score an important (and early) conference win against a Bison squad that scored a BIG win one week ago? We think so (or believe they can!). PREDICTION: Dean 32, Gallaudet 22

Hamilton College (1-1, 1-1 NESCAC) at Colby College (1-1, 1-1 NESCAC) (Saturday, October 2 at 1 p.m.): A 10-7 victory last week over Amherst College has us thinking the Colby defense will be the unit to watch in this one as they look to score their first win at home of the 2021 season. PREDICTION: Colby 17, Hamilton 14

Framingham State (2-2, 2-0 MASCAC) at Plymouth State (0-3, 0-1 MASCAC) (Saturday, October 2 at 1 p.m.): The Rams enter their fifth contest of the 2021 season with a great deal of momentum, which will certainly be challenged against a Panthers squad that almost came back to beat Bridgewater State. Don’t expect too many touchdowns in this one. PREDICTION: Framingham State 13, Plymouth State 10

MIT (2-1, 0-0 NEWMAC) at Catholic University (2-2, 0-0 NEWMAC) (Saturday, October 2 at 1 p.m.): MIT’s ground game, along with its defense shined last week against Dean College – we expect that to continue again this week against the Cardinals. PREDICTION: MIT 24, Catholic 17

WPI (1-3, 0-0 NEWMAC) at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (3-0, 0-0 NEWMAC) (Saturday, October 2 at 1 p.m.): Coach Mike Toop’s Mariners have been quite impressive through three contests, averaging 53.67 points. Look for the early-season success to continue Saturday against the Engineers of Worcester. PREDICTION: USMMA 40, WPI 16