Tag: New England Bowl

Game of the Week Preview: St. Lawrence at Endicott (Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021)

Jamie Battaglia and the Saint Lawrence football team begin their 2021 season on the road Saturday, September 4 against Endicott College. (Tara Freeman – St. Lawrence University)

By Matt Noonan

The first official weekend of the New England (and northeast) college football season has finally arrived, which means it is time to preview our first “Game of the Week,” which pits Endicott College and Saint Lawrence University.

Before the Gulls and Saints square off on Saturday, September 4 at 12 p.m., let’s learn a bit more about each team, as well as make a prediction for who wins (and why?).

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The early outlook for Endicott College: The Gulls enter their first game of the 2021 season as our second-ranked team in this week’s New England Top 20 Poll (for week one) — Endicott is certainly one of many teams I (and others) in the area/region believe will be in the mix for their conference crown.

Coach Paul McGonagle has led the Gulls to eight wins or more in two seasons — in 2019, Endicott matched its win total from 2012 with nine wins while capping their campaign with a New England Bowl victory over Dean College.

The early outlook for Saint Lawrence: After posting a 9-1 record in 2016, the Saints have averaged three wins in their last three seasons — they did, however, finish 5-5 in 2019, including 3-3 in the Liberty League (LL).

When we last saw the Saints compete, they finished their 2019 season with back-to-back wins after starting their campaign with a pair of losses to Norwich University and Utica College.

Like the Gulls, the Saints enter 2021 with some believing they can challenge the top teams in the conference, including Union College, which checked in 15th in the most recent D3Football.com poll.

The Last Meeting (September 17, 2016): The Saints defeated the Gulls, 38-0 to clinch their third win of the 2016 season.

Quarterback Sean Richardson highlighted his team’s third win by completing 24 of 32 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns while halfback Rodrick Payne rushed for a game-high 114 yards on 21 carries.

The game was played at Hempstead Stadium in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Players to Watch on Endicott: RB John Kenney (Wilmington, Mass), WR Anthony Bracamonte (Saco, Maine), WR Shea McManaway (Lisbon, Conn.), DL Sam Opont (Bridgeport, Conn.), LB Tim Russell (Stoneham, Mass.) and LB Mehdi Squalli (Rochester, N.Y.)

Players to Watch on Saint Lawrence: QB Tyler Grochot (Ottawa, Ontario), RB Jamie Battaglia (Brewerton, N.Y.), WR Andrew Murphy (Glens Falls, N.Y.), OL Max Warden (Potsdam, N.Y.), DL Caleb Null (Carthage, N.Y.), DL Ryan Reinke (Schenectady, N.Y.), LB Kyle Frimel (Cream Ridge, N.J), and DB Max Gilbert (Newburyport, Mass.)

Prediction: Endicott 28, St. Lawrence 27: As I said on this week’s podcast when discussing the first week of games with James Baker, I like the Gulls in this one – I think they will feed off their home crowd to score a late touchdown and squeak out a win. However, I do think the Gulls defense will be challenged by an up-tempo offense led by quarterback Tyler Grochot.

All in all, Saturday will be an exciting day for everyone as we celebrate the return to the field.

The Early Outlook: MASCAC

Stephen Gacioch will be spotted under center this fall for the UMass Dartmouth football team. (PHOTO COURTESY: UMass Dartmouth Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Our preseason New England college football coverage rolls on with some early thoughts on the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), which certainly has the making of a multi-team race for the top spot.

In case you missed it, make sure to read our previous early-season outlooks for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), and Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC).

MASCAC Teams

  • Bridgewater State
  • Fitchburg State
  • Framingham State
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Plymouth State
  • UMass Dartmouth
  • Western Connecticut
  • Westfield State
  • Worcester State

2019 Conference Refresh: For the sixth time in seven seasons, Framingham State secured the top spot with an 8-2 overall record, including an 8-0 league record. The Rams advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament but saw their championship hopes dashed to Wesley College by a score of 58-21.

Western Connecticut also finished its 2019 campaign with an identical 8-2 record — the Colonials, who finished tied for second in the conference with Bridgewater State with a 6-2 record, ended their season against WPI in the New England Bowl (the Engineers won the game by a score of 35-6).

The biggest surprise of the 2019 season was UMass Dartmouth — the Corsairs posted seven wins for the first time since 2004 when they represented the conference in the ECAC Northwest Bowl. Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was named the MASCAC Offensive Player of the Year — the junior signal-caller finished second in the conference in efficiency (143.2) while completing 59.2 percent of his passes.

Additionally, Gacioch competed in eight games and recorded career-highs in passing touchdowns (20), passing yards per game (277.6), rushing yards (356), and rushing touchdowns (six).

Massachusetts Maritime ended its season with six wins, which is the most the Buccaneers have tallied since posting an 8-2 record in 1999.

New Coaches at Fitchburg State and Worcester State: The MASCAC will feature two new coaches at Fitchburg State and Worcester State this fall — Adam Peloquin will lead the Lancers (he was a three-year offensive guard for the blue and gold) while Scott Sperone will lead the Falcons after spending three seasons as a defensive coordinator with WPI.

New Signal-Callers: A majority of the quarterbacks from 2019 have graduated, so the expectation is we will see some new signal-callers this fall for some of the “usual” contenders.

Stephen Gacioch is the only starting quarterback returning (that I know of at this time), but it is expected that we’ll see someone new running the offense at Bridgewater, Fitchburg, and Framingham this fall.

Westfield State excited to be back on the field: Like many teams in our region, getting back to the gridiron after a year away due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is certainly something the Owls of Westfield State were happy to do a few days ago, despite a mini-heatwave. But with cooler weather now arriving to the area, the Blue and White will use this time, as well as the next few days and weeks to prepare for their season-opener against Nichols College on Friday, September 3 at 6 p.m.

Nichols and Westfield last met in the opening week of the 2018 season when the Owls topped the Bison, 25-14, thanks to 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns from halfback R.J. Darby.

Early-Season Favorite(s): It might be easy to pick the Rams of Framingham State, but the Black and Gold enter the upcoming season with some question marks on both sides of the ball, including who will be their starting quarterback. Adam Wojenski has graduated, so it will be interesting to see who coach Tom Kelley selects to lead his offense.

While Framingham State will certainly be a team to watch, the same could be said for these three squads: Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut. Like Framingham, all three have some question marks heading into their respective 2021 campaign, but the Colonials will welcome back some key members of its 2019 squad, including wide receiver Will Daniels and cornerback Jarius Bailey.

Don’t rule out Plymouth State, which finished its 2019 campaign with a 6-4 record. The Panthers concluded their 2019 campaign by winning one of their final four contests, but I expect the Green and White to be in the mix this fall.

The Early Outlook: Commonwealth Coast Football

Salve Regina University’s Joey Mauriello will be one of many players to watch on the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league this fall. PHOTO COURTESY: George Corrigan

By Matt Noonan

Our preseason New England college football coverage rolls on with some early-season thoughts on the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC).

In case you missed it, make sure to check out our recent “early outlook” posts on the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) and New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference(NEWMAC).

CCC Teams

  • Curry College
  • Endicott College
  • Husson University
  • Nichols College
  • Salve Regina University
  • University of New England
  • Western New England

2019 Conference Refresh: The Golden Bears of Western New England capped their 2019 campaign with a 9-2 record — the Blue and Gold won seven conference tilts, including a 42-31 victory over Endicott in early November before finishing the regular season with back-to-back wins over Becker College and Husson.

Western New England advanced to the NCAA Division III postseason, but were edged in the opening round by Brockport by a score of 33-28 in the opening round. The Golden Eagles would conclude its “second season” one week later against Muhlenberg College.

Despite missing the national postseason, the Gulls did play one more game — Endicott competed in its second New England Bowl and defeat Dean College, which captured the ECFC. Quarterback Joe Kalosky highlighted his team’s final win by tossing four touchdowns, including two to Shea McManaway, who led the Gulls receiving core with six receptions for 120 yards.

Nichols and Husson secured a two-way tie for third place — the Bison scored six wins in 2019, matching their win total from 2016 when they competed in the New England Football Conference (NEFC).

Finally, UNE doubled its win total from 2018 with four victories while Curry ended its 2019 campaign winning one of its final three contests.

Early-Season Excitement from Salve Regina, Western New England: Like many New England teams, the Western New England football team is “excited” for its 2021 campaign — the Golden Bears will face some unique challenges in the opening weeks against Salisbury University and Springfield College.

“I could not be more excited for the 2021 season,” WNE coach Jason Lebeau said via the team’s schedule release last month.

That excitement to return to the field was echoed by Salve Regina coach Kevin Gilmartin, who recently joined us for a brand new Noontime Sports Podcast (listen to the show on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and Spotify).

“This whole season we’ve got ten games of teams that every game where we can go 0-10 or we could go 10-0, which is exciting, scary, and could put a couple of more gray hairs up there,” said Gilmartin.

Indeed, there is a great deal of excitement from both teams, as well as throughout the league as it does seem as if the CCC could be a real interesting conference to watch and follow this fall — maybe we’ll see Nichols, Husson or UNE challenge Endicott and Western New England for the top spot?

Husson announces its 2021 captains: The Golden Eagles recently announced their captains for the upcoming season.

And they are the following: Frank Curran (defensive line), Jake Cameron (offensive line), Tyler Halls (wide receiver), and Kaleb Caron (linebacker).

Halls will be one of many offensive players to watch on the Golden Eagles this fall — the Lisbon, Maine native recorded career-bests in 2019 in receptions (71), receiving yards (1,057), and touchdown receptions (10).

Curran ranked second on the defense behind Zach Connolly when it came to total tackles (60.0) while Caron finished third with 51.0 total stops. Both players tallied a team-high seven tackles for a loss.

Joey Mauriello’s final year with Salve Regina: The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year will be one of many players to watch in the CCC — the Colts Neck, New Jersey native enjoyed a very impressive second season with the Seahawks, which saw him tally career-highs in rushing attempts (195), rushing yards (1,334), rushing yards per game (148.2), and rushing touchdowns (20).

I expected the senior tailback to be a focal part of the Seahawks’ offense this fall — fans of the Seahawks will have a chance to watch him and his teammates compete in the opening week on Friday, September 3 against Norwich University.

Early-Season Favorite(s): We’re still a few days and weeks away from the first week of the 2021 season, but my early-season favorite is Western New England based off their previous success.

However, I do think this might be the year that Paul McGonagle‘s Endicott Gulls capture the conference and make their first national postseason appearance since 2013. I have seen the Gulls a few times since McGonagle was named the head coach of the program ahead of the 2018 season and believe they have taken the steps to get closer to winning their first-ever CCC title.

A few others teams I expect to be in the mix: Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina. I think all three squads will provide challenges for Endicott and Western New England this fall, and the same could be said for UNE.

New England Football Offseason Notebook: Sperone Named Fitchburg State Head Coach

10 GAMES WEEK FIVE

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Wednesday was an exciting day for the Fitchburg State University football program as they introduced Scott Sperone as their next head coach.

Sperone, who spent the past three seasons down the road directing the WPI defense, becomes the school’s first full-time head football coach.

“I’m eager to officially step into my role and recruit for our incoming class,” Sperone said in Wednesday’s release. “I’m excited to work with our student-athletes this spring, both on and off the field. I believe that a team working towards a unified goal can achieve great things and I’m looking forward to getting the Falcons ready to fly for the 2020 season.”

Sperone’s path to Fitchburg has featured multiple stops throughout New England over the past two decades with teams in all three divisions, including his alma mater Springfield College. He also spent time as the defensive coordinator with Fairleigh Dickinson University from 2011-17.

Under Sperone’s watch, the WPI defense was a unit to watch, especially this past season as the Engineers concluded their 11-game slate by yielding an average of 14.7 points per game. WPI limited opponents to 277.9 yards per game, including 89.5 rushing yards.

Fitchburg State concluded its 2019 campaign with a 2-8 record, including 1-7 mark against Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opponents.

Sperone isn’t the only new coach in the MASCAC as Framingham State University announced last week that Aynsley Rosenbaum had been named the new coach of the Rams, as announced by former head coach and Director of Athletics Tom Kelley.

Rosenbaum, who is an alum of the Framingham State football program, has been the Rams’ offensive coordinator for the past 12 seasons. He has helped the program win nine conference titles, make five appearances in the NCAA Tournament and win four bowl games, including the inaugural New England Bowl against Salve Regina University in 2016.

Additionally, Rosenbaum’s offenses have been units to watch, especially last fall as the Rams led all MASCAC offenses in points, rushing yards, total offense, and touchdowns.

“I’m honored to take over at my alma mater as its head football coach and follow in the footsteps of Tom Kelley, my mentor, and friend,” Rosenbaum said via last Tuesday’s release on the Framingham State athletics website. “Framingham is a special place with people I truly care about and I look forward to continuing relationships with players, administration, and alumni.”

Framingham State finished 8-3 last fall – they posted an 8-0 mark in conference play and advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to the announcements of Rosenbaum and Sperone, Worcester State University‘s Adam Peloquin was elevated to the interim head football coach. As noted in the release from last November, ” (Adam) will assume the role through the 2020 fall playing season.”

D3 Football: WPI Tops SUNY Maritime For First-Ever New England Bowl Victory

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Sean McAllen and the WPI Engineers ended their season with a 17-3 New England Bowl victory. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Sean McAllen and Lain Zembek each rushed for one touchdown, while Spencer Herrington booted a 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which helped WPI defeat SUNY Maritime, 17-3, in the New England Bowl on Saturday evening at Alumni Stadium in Worcester.

Earlier today, Framingham State defeated Curry College, 48-14, to win its second-straight New England Bowl after winning the initial title game one year ago against Salve Regina.

Herrington, who connected on all three kicks he attempted, put WPI on the board early in the second quarter before McAllen added to the Engineers’ lead late in the session with a 10-yard burst, which provided the hosts with a 10-0 advantage at the break.

Zembek made it a three score game (17-0) late in the third quarter when he capped a nine-play, 61 yard drive with a two-yard score before SUNY Maritime trimmed the deficit with a Matthew Murphy field goal mid-way through the final frame.

SUNY Maritime did have two more chances to score, but saw both series end in either a punt or interception.

WPI’s defense concluded the contest with six tackles for a loss of 23 yards, five sacks for a loss of 15 yards and three interceptions for 68 yards. The unit also combined for four pass break-ups and a pair of quarterback hurries. 

Sam Malafronte led the WPI defense with nine total tackles, including seven solo stops, while Luca Cerasani registered a team-high four tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two sacks for a loss of 14 yards.

SUNY Maritime’s Wesley Joseph led the Privateers defense with four tackles for a loss of five yards, while recording a fumble recovery.

WPI, which concludes its 2017 season at 9-2 overall, matches the 1992 squad with nine wins (most in a single-season, per Saturday’s release). They also conclude their season with a seven-game winning streak, too.

SUNY Maritime also concludes its season at 9-2 after placing second in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).