Noontime’s D3 Football Team of the Week: Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

By NoontimeSports.com

The third week of the NCAA D-III spring football season concluded this past weekend, which means it is time to share our second Noontime Sports Team of the Week.

This week’s team includes student-athletes from the following schools: Brevard College, Huntingdon College, Pacific Lutheran University, and Whitworth University.

And in case you missed it, we shared (and posted) our first spring football team of the week earlier this month on Monday, February 8, 2021.

As always, thanks for stopping by to read today’s Team of the Week, and make sure to come back later this week for more spring football posts.


Noontime Sports D-III Spring Football Team of the Week (Feb. 22, 2021)

Dante Anderson (Brevard): Anderson led the Tornadoes defense with 11 total tackles, including seven solo stops, one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of four yards and one pass break-up.

Landon Cotney (Huntingdon): The Hawks signal-caller amassed 249 yards of total offense in his team’s spring season debut last Saturday against Brevard. Cotney completed 25 of 31 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown while rushing for a game-high 84 yards on 13 carries.

Kalen Davis-White (Pacific Lutheran): Davis-White led the Pacific-Lutheran defense with 12 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of five yards and a half-a-sack for three yards.

Jaylen Gonzales (Whitworth): Against Pacific Lutheran, Gonzales led the Pirates defense with 13 total tackles, including five solo stops, two pass break-ups, and one quarterback hurry.

Ethan Peloquin (Whitworth): Peloquin caught five passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 28-10 win over Pacific Lutheran.

Casey Peppers (Huntingdon): Peppers posted a team-high 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 11 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards to go with two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Jaedyn Prewitt (Whitworth): Against Pacific Lutheran, Prewitt recorded 236 yards of total offense, including 207 passing yards and three touchdowns (one of his scores was on the ground). The Pirates’ quarterback completed 18 of 28 passes while rushing for a season-high 29 yards on four carries.

Nate RaPue (Whitworth): Against Pacific Lutheran, RaPue converted all four extra points and punted the ball five times for a total of 208 yards. Three of his punts landed inside his opponent’s 20-yard line. He also registered 273 yards on five kickoffs for an average of 54.6 yards per kick.

Cole Starr (Huntingdon): Starr registered 14 points on a pair of extra points, along with four field goals, including a 34-yard boot. He also recorded seven kickoffs for 375 yards for an average of 53.6 yards per kick.

Tucker Spencer (Huntingdon): Against Brevard, Spencer tallied four solo tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 28 yards, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.

USAC Will Kick Off Its Spring Season This Saturday

By NoontimeSports.com

The USA South Athletic Conference (USAC) is set to kickoff its spring season this weekend, joining a slew of other NCAA D-III, NAIA, and FCS squads that will be in action tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday.

Brevard College will look to continue its success from 2019 on Saturday when they begin their spring season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tommy Moss/Brevard College Athletics)

Brevard College and Huntingdon College will kickoff the truncated season on Saturday, February 20 before other teams return to the gridiron, both next week and the week after – Saturday, March 6, to be exact.

The USAC spring season will conclude with a championship game on Saturday, April 3 between the winner of the East and West Divisions.

Five teams, including Huntingdon, secured first-place nods in last week’s preseason coaches poll while Averett University and North Carolina Wesleyan College garnered a pair of first-place nods as two members of the East Division.

Let’s get you set for the opening weekend of USAC football with a quick preview of Saturday’s match-up between Huntingdon and Brevard:

Huntingdon has not played a football game since November 30, 2019 when they lost to Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The game marked the end of an exciting run for the Hawks, who captured the USAC crown with an 8-4 record, including a 6-1 mark in league play.

Four Hawks earned postseason honors from D3Football.com, securing spots on the 2019 All-South Region Team, including Otis Porter, who departed the Huntingdon program as the all-time leader in receptions (160), receiving yards (3,045), and touchdown receptions (35). Darrell Hixon, who also joined Porter on the same team, returns this spring to anchor an offensive line that helped the Hawks offense average 404.2 yards per game.

Brevard enjoyed one of its best seasons in program history in 2019, posting an 8-2 overall record, which included an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Scotty Whitelaw Bowl win over Carnegie Mellon.

The eight wins were the most recorded by a Tornadoes squad since the 2009 squad won seven contests.

Dante Anderson will be one of many student-athletes to watch on this Tornadoes squad, both on Saturday and this season – the Hartwell, Georgia native, who was named a first-team all-conference defensive back in 2019, guided a Brevard defense that recorded a league-high 21 interceptions and five touchdowns. The Tornadoes defense will certainly be a unit to watch on Saturday as they will square-off against a Hawks offense that will feature nine new starters.

Huntingdon coach Mike Turk, who has won 110 contests with the Hawks, knows Saturday’s contest is an important one for his team, which he says is “playing for a trophy” this spring.

“As long as there’s a trophy on the line, we’re gonna approach it like we always have and try to do everything we can to reach that goal,” said Turk, via Solomon Crenshaw Jr. of the Alabama Newscenter.

Brevard and Huntingon will square-off at 2 p.m. – the game will be played in Montgomery, Alabama and can be seen on the Hawks’ YouTube channel.

Daily Noontime (Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Thursday, everyone!

It is rather gloomy outside our home office, but that won’t stop us from thinking positive thoughts – we are an upbeat, positive media outlet. You know that right?

Alright, let’s get to some news, beginning with yesterday afternoon’s exciting announcement from the Hockey East.

The Hockey East Association plans to drop the puck for the 2020-21 season next Friday, November 20. Games for the opening weekend, as well as the first few weeks will be aired on NESN while other contests will be seen “through its partnership with ViacomCBSDigital.”

“We’re excited to make this announcement today, and very appreciative of all the hard work by so many in making it happen,” said Steve Metcalf, who is the league’s commissioner, in a statement.

Metcalf would continue by adding, “We’ve worked closely with all our member institutions in establishing protocols in an effort to play as safely as possible, while also giving our teams a complete and meaningful season.”

According to Wednesday’s release from the Hockey East, the league’s 11 men’s teams will compete in 20 contests this winter while its 10 women’s programs will skate in 18 games.

Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey shared similar news last month about its ‘return to play‘ with games beginning later this month.

Staying in the college sports world, the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) also made an announcement yesterday about winter sports – the CCC remains “hopeful that our winter teams will have the opportunity to compete in the 2020-21 academic year.

Other New England NCAA D-III conferences have canceled winter sports competition, mainly conference play and championships, but did leave the door open for its various schools to pursue non-conference contests, pending it safe to do so.

According to D3Hoops.com, only a small number of conferences and schools have elected to cancel or “call off” competition for its winter sports teams. And there are a few schools on this list from both Massachusetts and other parts of New England.

While we do like to keep things positive, we do need to share a heartbreaking (and very sad) report: Penn State‘s Journey Brown is retiring from football due to heart condition, which the 21-year-old halfback discovered during “a routine COVID-19 test in early September.”

The news of Brown’s retirement was announced last night by his coach James Franklin, who did tell reporters that the condition is not related to COVID-19.

Brown shared an emotional tweet last night to his followers – he admitted he did not “expect to make it this far, but it’s about the Journey.”

We wish Brown all the best in the coming days and weeks – maybe we could see him on the sidelines as a coach with Franklin?

Alright, that will do it for now, but make sure to stop by later for another blog or two, and remember to keep smiling, everyone!

Four D-III Football Games Have Been Played This Fall

By NoontimeSports.com

The fourth NCAA D-III football game of the 2020 season is in the books as Bluffton University captured its only contest of the fall semester yesterday by defeating Adrian College, 28-21.

Bluffton University won its only game of the fall semester on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bluffton University Athletics)

Bluffton, which won’t return to Salzman Stadium until next February, was led by Darian Greeley, who rushed for a game-high 285 yards on 41 carries and three touchdowns while Brady Hauenstein paced the Beavers defense with seven total tackles. He also registered one forced fumble.

Yesterday’s contest marked the end to a few games that have been played this month – one more D-III game remains on the calendar for next month with Coast Guard Academy visiting Merchant Marine for the Secretaries’ Cup.

Coast Guard Academy is the only New England school competing this fall – as of now, nothing has been confirmed or reported about the potential for other teams in the region, including here in Massachusetts, to play a few games next spring.

As of this morning, Bluffton and Trine University remain the only D-III squads without a single setback – the Thunder have scored wins this month over Adrian and Manchester University.

For more NCAA D-III football coverage and news, make sure to check out the latest In The D3FB Huddle show with Frank Rossi and James Baker!

Basketball Notebook: Sheldon Announces Retirement From Tufts University

Bob Sheldon, who has coached the Tufts University men’s basketball team for three decades, announced his retirement Thursday. (PHOTO COURTESY: TuftsNow)

By Matt Noonan 

Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regarding an update on the upcoming winter sports season, which has been canceled, Bob Sheldon, who has guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team for the past 33 years, announced he will be stepping down effectively on Thursday, December 31, 2020. 

Matt Malone, who has been an assistant under Sheldon for the past 15 years, will take over as the interim coach, according to Wednesday’s (Oct. 7) release from the Tufts University athletic department

Sheldon and the Jumbos matched a program record for wins (23) this past winter while capturing their first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship by outlasting Colby College in double-overtime

“I was getting near the end of my career as it was, and then when Covid came up and the craziness with that, I just felt that it was time for me to go,” said Sheldon, via the Tufts athletic department story, which can be seen (and read) on the school’s athletic website. 

Sheldon noted he “went back and forth” with his decision to retire, but seems content with his choice to leave a program that he believes is in “a good spot going forward.” 

Prior to their season concluding earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tufts won a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament games in Medford, including a come-from-behind win over Western Connecticut in the opening round. 

Sheldon, who is the program’s all-time winningest coach, would have entered his team’s 2020-21 season as one of the Top 25 NCAA D-III winningest coaches after being named the NESCAC and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Region Coach of the Year in March. 

The 2020-21 NESCAC winter sports season has been canceled: As noted above, the NESCAC became the first New England D-III conference to cancel its upcoming winter sports season on Thursday, October 7, after postponing its fall season on Friday, July 10

While health and safety were stressed in yesterday’s release regarding the decision by the conference’s presidents, the NESCAC did note that some of their schools have made “significant modifications” to their current academic calendar, which would limit the number of games each program would be able to compete in.  

The NESCAC has made no announcement regarding spring sports – an update will most likely come in a few months – but the conference did say the league’s 11 schools could schedule non-conference games if they choose to. However, D3Sports.com has reported that some schools within the conference have already made decisions for its various winter sports programs, including Middlebury College, which announced yesterday that they “will not hold any athletic competitions during the winter season.” 

Elms College to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): While it is uncertain if and when Elms College will resume athletic competition in the next few weeks or months, the athletic department did announce some exciting news earlier this week about joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the 2022-23 school year. 

The Blazers currently compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and would join a former member of the eight-team league – that would be Dean College – which joined the GNAC as a full-time member at the start of the current academic year (2020-21)

Both Elms College basketball teams competed last winter in the NECC Tournament with the women’s squad advancing to the conference championship game against Mitchell College

The GNAC has welcomed a few new schools to its conference over the past few years, including Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts in 2017, and Colby-Sawyer in 2018.