Tag: Nathaniel Larkins

Five New England D2 Teams To Watch This Fall

Khyon Fitzpatrick and the New Haven Chargers will once again be a squad to watch in the Northeast-10 this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our preseason college football coverage continues by highlighting five New England NCAA Division II teams to watch this fall – all the teams listed below compete in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10).

In case you missed it, make sure to check out our New England FCS and Division III teams to watch, as well.

American International College (AIC): After beginning their 2021 campaign with three-straight wins, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Pace University, the Yellow Jackets’ winning ways vanished with a hard-fought loss to Bentley. AIC would lose its next five contests before ending its season with a 14-7 victory over the Setters.

The hope for the Yellow Jacket is they can use their final contest from 2021 as motivation – perhaps a learning lesson? – for what they must do to contend for a conference title.

AIC was competitive last fall – they certainly provided challenges for the top teams in the league but look for coach Kris Kulzer’s squad to finish with a few more wins this fall.

Wide receivers Jaheim McGuire and Jaxon Ramsay return after combining for 64 catches, 1,079 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns.

Bentley University: A new signal-caller will be spotted under center this fall – quarterback Stephen Sturm graduated following an impressive career with the Falcons, which saw him throw for 7,166 yards and 58 touchdowns in four seasons.

Additionally, Bentley will have a new coach as Alvin Reynolds takes over for Bill Kavanaugh, who stepped down as the head football coach in March. Reynolds has been with the Falcons since 2018 – prior to arriving in Waltham, he spent time with a slew of NFL teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Jacksonville Jaguars

Reynolds will guide a Falcons squad that finished 9-2 overall last year, as well as secured a bid to the NCAA Division II postseason for the first time since 2004.

Halfback Nathaniel Larkins, who finished second on the team with 558 rushing yards, returns, along with wide receiver Noah Neville (32 catches for 555 yards and six touchdowns). Linebacker Salvatore Lupoli Jr. also returns – he placed second on the team in total tackles with 90.0.

Saint Anselm College: Quarterback Drew Willoughby will be the player to watch on the Hawks this fall.

Named the NE10 Rookie of the Year last November, Willoughby enjoyed an impressive debut with the Royal Blue and White by completing 251 of 431 passing attempts for 2,803 yards and 22 touchdowns. Additionally, he added three scores on the ground.

Willoughby led Saint Anselm’s to three conference wins last year – the hope is he can continue his impressive play this fall, beginning in the opening week against Millersville University.

Halfback Vincent Wagner returns, as well, along with wide receiver Anthony Brown, who led the Hawks with nine touchdown receptions.

Southern Connecticut State University: The Owls won four of 10 contests last fall, including a non-league victory over Central Connecticut State University in the opening week (the Blue Devils, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) squad, compete in the Northeast Conference (NEC)).

As a team, SCSU averaged 332.4 yards per game – most of their offensive yards came through the air, thanks to wide receivers Tylon Papallo and Izaiah Sanders, who represented the program on the league’s second team. Papallo and Sanders combined for 10 touchdown receptions to go with 76 catches for 1,196.

The expectation is both student-athletes will return this fall, which will certainly pose problems for opposing defenses.

Linebacker Robert Nunez, who earned NE10 All-Rookie honors, will also be a player to watch on the Owls. He finished second on the team in total tackles

 (63.0) and solo stops (29.0).

University of New Haven: 27 graduate students helped the Chargers not only finish atop the NE10 final standings last fall with 10 victories but also advance to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament (UNH beat Bentley in the opening round before falling to Kutztown University).

It’s possible a few of these student-athletes will return this fall, but UNH will return some underclassmen, including defensive back Khyon Fitzpatrick, who finished second on the team with 62.0 total tackles.

Fitzpatrick was recently named a preseason first-teamer by The College Football Network (TCFN) – he, along with Bentley’s Cedie Dashiell II, was the only two student-athletes from the NE10 on the list.  

New Haven has been the team to watch (and follow) these last few years in the NE10 so the expectation is they will once again be in the hunt for a league crown.

New Haven Looks To Continue Its Early Postseason Momentum Against Kutztown

Connor Degenhardt scored four touchdowns last Saturday as the University of New Haven beat Bentley University in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By Matt Noonan

To secure two wins against a team in a span of three weeks is not an easy feat.

But somehow, the University of New Haven football team was able to come away with its second-straight victory over Bentley University this past weekend to secure a spot in the second round of the NCAA Division II postseason.

Connor Degenhardt registered four touchdowns in his team’s 38-13 win over the Falcons, including three rushing scores while finishing the contest with 38 yards on 11 carries. Zach Mauro led all rushers with 119 yards on 33 carries and Dev Holmes caught four passes for 104 yards and one touchdown.

Bentley, which was making its third appearance in the national postseason, secured its first and only lead early in the second quarter when Nathaniel Larkins capped an 18-play, 75-yard drive with a four-yard rushing touchdown.

Larkins’ touchdown, however, did not shift momentum toward the visitors as the Chargers countered with five touchdowns, including a pair of rushing scores in the second quarter by Degenhardt that provided New Haven with a 17-6 advantage that would expand over the next two frames.

While New Haven’s offense headlined an impressive opening round win, its defense did its job, holding Bentley to a season-low 13 points. Two weeks earlier in a game that determined the winner of the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10), Bentley registered 14 points while New Haven tallied 31.

The first-round victory over the Falcons secured New Haven a date with Kutztown University, which captured the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title with a 10-1 overall record (the Golden Bears won all seven league matchups).

New Haven has won all three matchups with Kutztown, dating back to their initial meeting in 1994. The Chargers also beat the Golden Bears in the 2011 NCAA Tournament with the 44-37 victory providing New Haven a spot in the quarterfinals.

Kutztown, which secured an opening-round bye, has won nine-straight contests, including six games at Andre Reed Stadium. The Maroon and Gold are averaging 26.55 points per game while limiting opponents to roughly two touchdowns (13.91).

The Golden Bears are led by Eric Nickel, a quarterback from Bridgewater, New Jersey that has recorded 24 touchdowns this fall, including 11 on the ground.

On defense, linebacker Amani Justice is the player to watch – through 11 contests this fall, the redshirt-senior has recorded a team-best 87.0 total tackles, including 37 solo stops, 50 assists, and four quarterback hurries.

Saturday’s game will begin at 12:05 p.m. with the winner advancing to next Saturday’s quarterfinals.  

Bentley Outlasts AIC In Battle of Unbeatens

Nathaniel Larkins rushed for a game-high 131 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday against AIC. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bentley University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Three second-half touchdowns were all Bentley University needed to defeat American International College in Saturday’s battle of unbeaten squads in the Northeast-10 Conference.

The Falcons, who rallied to tie the game at the break, secured a hard-fought 35-27 victory over the Yellow Jackets to secure the top spot in the conference, along with its fourth consecutive victory.

Halfback Nathaniel Larkins rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns with his second score providing the visitors with their first and only lead of the game, which grew to a two-score advantage with 5:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Bentley quarterback Stephen Sturm completed 8 of 18 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown while adding 103 rushing yards on 14 carries.

AIC, which concluded the contest with 405 yards of total offense, was led by quarterback Jayson DeMild, who accounted for 298 yards of total offense, including 265 passing yards and three touchdowns. DeMild tossed two scores in the opening frame to Tommy Smith and Jaxon Ramsay before connecting with Jaheim McGuire in the fourth quarter to bring his team within one score (28-21) with 9:19 remaining.

Bentley’s Cole McCubrey intercepted DeMild on his team’s ensuing possession for a 45-yard touchdown return to provide the Falcons with a 35-21 lead with 5:17 remaining.

McCubrey concluded the game with a team-high eight total tackles, including three solo stops ad one forced fumble.

With the win, Bentley has now beaten AIC in six of their last seven meetings to bump their all-time series advantage to 15-12.

Bentley will look to continue its early-season momentum next Saturday, October 2 when they visit Saint Anselm College for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

AIC, which was competing at home for the first time since November 9, 2019, will look to bounce back next Friday, October 1 when they travel to Southern Connecticut State University for a 7 p.m. kickoff.