Tag Archives: New England Football

Player Perspective: Brendan Costa (Bates College)

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Bates College quarterback Brendan Costa was a player to watch last weekend against Bowdoin College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brewster Burns for Bates College)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Brendan Costa credited his coaches, but also his teammates for last weekend’s win over rival Bowdoin College. It was what many would describe as a true team victory.

“Our guys did a great job of executing assignments, especially our big guys up front,” said the third-year signal-caller, who threw for a season-best three touchdowns against the Polar Bears.

“The offensive line really paved the way for our skill guys to make plays and the offense as a whole took a big step forward (last) week.” 

The win over Bowdoin has seemed to energize both Costa and his Bates College teammates heading into their final game of the 2019 season tomorrow (Saturday, November 9th) against Hamilton College. The hope it seems is for these Bobcats is to duplicate their performance against the Continentals, so they can head into the offseason with some much-needed momentum.

Prior to his team’s final contest, Noontime Sports caught-up with Costa to discuss the program’s first victory since 2017, but also what it meant to provide second-year coach Malik Hall with his initial win at Bates.

How important was it to rebound and score your first win of the 2019 season after falling short to Colby one week earlier? 

This was the first game we put together (a full) four quarters. Each phase of football we played at an exceptional level. We couldn’t let the Colby College game (from one week earlier) dictate our performance in the following games so we put it behind us quickly.

I am proud of us as a team to be able to bounce back in the way we did.

What was it like to celebrate Coach Hall’s first win with the program? Did he say anything to you/your teammates after the game concluded? 

 I was really happy for Coach Hall. He was long overdue for his first win as our coach (of the Bates football program). He works his butt off every day so we can be more successful as a program. Everything he does is for the “B.”

During his post-game speech, he just touched on how proud he was of us for putting together a complete game. You could tell he was just as happy for us, as we were for him.

How will this win help the team heading into the final game of the 2019 season against Hamilton College? Do you sense a different buzz in the air, especially at practice this week? 

There has been a different vibe in practice this week. We now know we can do it, so it is our expectation to put together great games from here on out.

Hamilton is a good squad with a lot of great players. This will be a test for our team to get a win on the road and to start stringing wins together heading into 2020. We are up for the challenge.

What would it mean for you (and your teammates) to cap your season with a win? Would it provide momentum (and some additional energy) heading into the 2020 season? 

It would mean a lot to close the year on a high note. There is no time for us to take steps back, we need to keep progressing and what better way to do that than grabbing a win on the road and gaining momentum for next year. We need to start taking big strides as a program so why not start now? I am very excited about our future.

Player Perspective: Michael Pina (Nichols College)

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Michael Pina threw for a career-best 329 yards this past weekend, along with three touchdowns, which helped Nichols College outlast the University of New England in four-overtimes. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jill Souza)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For quarterback Michael Pina, last Saturday’s four-overtime win against the University of New England had the feel of a dramatic movie – it seemed as if it would never end.

“It was wild to be a part of a game like that,” said Pina. “It felt like we were in a movie.”

But eventually, the game would conclude with Pina’s team scoring the game-winning touchdown – a two-yard plunge by junior halfback Joshua Pierre-Charles – which helped Nichols College escape with a 51-48 victory.

Pina concluded the game by throwing for a career-best 329 yards, while also rushing for a season-high 53 yards on nine carries. He tossed three touchdowns, too, which helped the Bison move to 5-2 for the first time since 2001.

For his effort against UNE, Pina was named this week’s recipient of the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award for Division II/III, which is presented by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Pina, as noted in Monday’s release about the Gold Helmet award, is currently second all-time in program history in touchdown passes (30) and fourth in passing yards (3,442).

Following Saturday’s exciting win, Noontime Sports caught-up with Pina to discuss what it was like to be a part of a four-overtime contest and what his team’s outlook is for this upcoming week’s contest against Husson University.

Tell me about this past week’s effort from your offense and defense. What was the takeaway from both you and your teammates following an exciting four-overtime win against UNE? 

This past week’s game was the most exciting game most of us have ever played in. We fought through a lot of adversity on both sides of the ball to come out with the win.

No matter what I can always count on the guy to my left and right to give it (their best) effort. Our offensive line was huge in the run game and that all starts with the great leadership from senior captain Sam Gallant. We were able to rush the ball for four touchdowns.

You threw for a career-high 329 yards in the win. Did you imagine you would throw the ball that much against the Nor’easters? 

I wouldn’t say that I imagined (I was going to throw that much against UNE), however, I am always ready to do whatever our coaches ask of me. Whether it is throwing the ball, running the ball or even blocking a defender, (I’ll do what is needed to help our team win).

Your team is still in contention for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title, so what is the mindset heading into another game week this week?  

The mindset heading into another game is to go 1-0 this week. That has been our goal every week this season. Whatever week it is, we must give full attention to that opponent.

Do you think the offense and defense are peaking at the right time? 

Yes, I do believe the offense and defense are peaking at the right time. I also believe our special teams are peaking at the right time, too.

I feel as if all three units can attack the opponent in multiple ways, which makes us dangerous (heading into the final three weeks of the regular season).

Finally – and I know it is only Wednesday – but what must you (and your teammates) do to be successful again this Saturday against Husson?

We have to have the best week of practice we’ve had all year long. Husson University is a team that won multiple championships in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). They will be extremely well-coached and will want to come to our home field and beat us.

Player Perspective: Jacob Burke (Norwich University) On Saturday’s Game Against Coast Guard Academy

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Jacob Burke (45) and the Norwich University football team look to continue their winning ways on Saturday against Coast Guard Academy. (PHOTO COURTESY: Norwich University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Saturday will be an exciting day at Norwich University.

The campus will be celebrating the institution’s 200th anniversary and will host Coast Guard Academy in a must-see, must-watch New England Division III football game, which is scheduled to commence at 2:00 p.m. (eastern time).

Both Coast Guard Academy and Norwich enter Saturday’s clash with identical 2-0 records and know a win would keep them atop the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings, as well as possibly tied with WPI, which also enters the third week with the same record.

One of the players that certainly hopes to continue the Cadets’ recent momentum is Jacob Burke. The senior linebacker, who has tallied 14 total tackles this fall, is hoping to help the Cadets snap a two-game losing streak to the Bears since the rivalry resumed in 2017.

Noontime Sports caught-up with Burke to discuss Saturday’s game against the Bears, as well as what he enjoys most about being a part of this rivalry.

What makes this game (and rivalry) so special and unique from your perspective?  

This game (and) rivalry are extremely special and unique because it is steeped in tradition. This year is especially important for a number of reasons.

This year, both teams are 2-0 and have a chance to start the season 3-0 and move into first place in the conference.

2019 marks Norwich’s Bicentennial and it is a privilege to be able to be a part of this game during homecoming (and) alumni weekend.

The winner of Norwich-Coast Guard also is awarded ‘The Mug,’ too, which is arguably the most important trophy to win throughout the season.

Finally, this is not just any college football game. This rivalry is known as the ‘Little Army-Navy Game’ and the name speaks for itself.  The singing of each team’s alma mater after the game concludes is the culmination of a very special college football Saturday.

This game is second to none and it is an honor to be involved with such a storied tradition.

What are a few memories you have from playing in this contest? 

My two most influential memories about this game include the excitement and anticipation during the week of this game last year. The week was more intense, and the entire program was more focused. The same can be said for this year, too.

My second memory of this game was losing on the final play to the Bears last year. That is a feeling you never want to repeat and that is exactly what our program promised each other.

What is the build-up to this game like on campus? Do people talk about this game outside the practice field?  

The build-up to this game is always exciting. Considering it is (our) alumni/homecoming weekend, the campus is quickly filling up and the buzz around the school is extremely high. Professors and peers are (also) there to support the team, too.

When preparing for this contest, does it have a different feel than other weeks of the season? 

We prepare for this week just like any other week. However, everyone in the program understands just how important this game is and how much this rivalry means so this week is more intense.

The team remains really focused despite all the distractions which allow us to prepare well.

What must your team do to be successful/score a win on Saturday? 

We must play together and stick together throughout the game. We must limit mistakes and be ready to adjust on the fly while still being able to play fast and tough. We can’t beat ourselves.

What do you imagine this year’s game day atmosphere to be like? Do you anticipate a big crowd? 

The game-day atmosphere is going to be awesome. The school expects a huge crowd so extra seating has been placed around Sabine Field. The entire team is looking forward to a crazy and loud atmosphere on Saturday.

D3 Football: Zelos Athletics’ Players of the Week (Monday, Sept. 16th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the second week of the New England Division III Football season in the books, it is time to unveil our initial players of the week, which is powered by Zelos Athletics.


Our Noontime Sports ‘Players of the Week’ post is powered by Zelos Athletics, which uses FusionSport Technology to track an athletes’ performance metrics during speed, agility, and plyometric drills.

Zelos Athletics also provides individual and team speed and agility training, combined with strength & conditioning training, too


This season, Noontime Sports will select one player for our three weekly honors: offensive, defensive and special teamer of the week.

The ‘Players of the Week’ post will be published every Monday throughout the season.


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Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak hauled in five touchdowns last Friday evening to help the Golden Bears beat Westfield State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

Offensive Player of the Week: Steven Fedorchak (Western New England | Wide Receiver | Guilderland, N.Y.): The third-year receiver for the Golden Bears turned in a record-breaking performance last Friday evening to help Western New England defeat Westfield State in the annual Presidents’ Cup Game.

Fedorchak established two new single-game program records with five touchdown receptions and 319 receiving yards.

Through two contests, Fedorchak has recorded 16 catches for 437 yards and six touchdowns. He is currently tied for first in NCAA Division III with Jacolby Maxwell (Aurora University) for touchdown receptions.


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Javien Delgado led the UMass Dartmouth defense last Saturday in a thrilling overtime win over Husson University. (PHOTO COURTESY: UMass Dartmouth Athletics)

Defensive Player of the Week: Javien Delgado (UMass Dartmouth | Linebacker | Lynn, Mass.): Against Husson University, Delgado recorded a career and season-high 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops and three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 10 yards.

The nine solo stops and three-and-a-half tackles for a loss were both season-highs, too.

Through two contests, Delgado has tallied 19 total tackles, including 14 solo stops and five assists. He also has one sack for a loss of 11 yards, which occurred in week one against Alfred State.


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Wesleyan University’s Mason Von Jess enjoyed a successful collegiate debut with the Cardinals last Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin)

Special Teamer of the Week: Mason Von Jess (Wesleyan University |Kicker | Lakeville, Conn.): The first-year kicker enjoyed a successful collegiate debut with 12 points off three extra points and three field goals.

Von Jess recorded two first-half field goals of 38 and 39 yards before booting a 40-yarder early in the fourth quarter to provide the hosts with a 23-10 lead over Colby College. He would record his final point of the contest minutes later when Wesleyan recorded its final touchdown with 10:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.

D3 Football: Getting To Know The 2019 Framingham State Rams

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Joshua Onujiogu (91) will be counted on to lead the Framingham State Rams defense this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

In just two days, the Framingham State University football team will take the field for the first time this season when they visit Endicott College for an important week one contest.

Framingham State and Endicott have met 14 times – the series is tied at 7-7 – but the Rams have won the last six meetings, dating back to a 35-23 win in week one of the 2013 season.

Before the Rams and Gulls tangle under the lights in Beverly, Massachusetts, here are some things you need to know about this year’s Framingham State football team, which will once again be led by coach Tom Kelley.


Framingham State Rams | 2019 Team Capsule

The Rams’ 2018 Season: Framingham State won eight of 11 contests last fall en route to claiming a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title and spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Coach Tom Kelley was tabbed the MASCAC Champion’s Choice Coach of the Year, while 13 student-athletes landed on the first and second all-conference teams, including defensive lineman Joshua Smiley and quarterback Adam Wojenski.

Framingham State captured one of two non-conference games while ending the regular season on a four-game winning streak.

The Rams drew The College at Brockport in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament but saw their bid toward a national championship dashed with a 40-27 setback. Wojenski concluded the game with 450 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Wojenski’s New Targets: Heading into his final season with the Rams, quarterback Adam Wojenski is adjusting to some new wide receivers and tight ends he will be throwing the ball to this fall, including Jacob Maher, who transferred from Worcester State.

Maher, who played high school football for Marshfield High School, was recently named to the D3Football.com Preseason All-American team after earning a pair of New England Football Writers Division II/III All-New England honors as a member of the Lancers.

“He’s a beast,” said Wojenski when asked about building a rapport with his new tight end.  “(Once) we get our timing down then we’ll be good to go.”

Maher won’t be the only wide receiver or tight end Wojenski will be targeting this fall as the Stratford, Connecticut native is expected to target Austin NunnElijah Nichols, and Manny Exilhomme, too.

Wojenski is confident in his new receivers, who he claims have “stepped up” in preseason practices. “They will be ready,” he said.

New Leadership on DefenseSimilar to the Rams’ offense, the defense will also look a bit different than last year due to some key graduation losses, but that doesn’t seem to faze Josh Smiley, who claims “(the) defense (has) bought into our system and we’re all ready to go.” 

Smiley is just one of a few returners on defense this fall – he will be joined up front by Rufus RushinsFacundo Isas, and Joshua Onujiogu.

The unit also returns linebackers Brian Donahue and Cully Curran, and strong safety Carls Alphonse

Framingham State’s defense will be guided by Mike Landers, who coached the wide receivers last fall.

Onujiogu has enjoyed working with Landers, who he claims has helped both him and his teammates understand more than just the typical x’s and o’s.

“(We’re) learning more things (that) we may have not thought of before,” said Onujiogu of Landers’ defensive formations and schemes.

Added Smiley, “We do (get) more freedom, but this is going to be a fast-moving defense.”

Youth Movement: For the Rams to enjoy a successful campaign this fall, they will need some first-year players to step-up on both offense and defense.

The Rams’ 2019 roster features a slew of first-year players, including halfback Devaun Ford, who is expected to start on Friday against Endicott.

Ford played locally for Mashpee High School and competed for a trio of Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Super Bowl teams, including the 2017 Division 7 squad that beat Blackstone Valley, 22-16.

Danny Marinaccio is also a first-year back that is expected to step up and help the offense this fall.

On defense, Issac Nascimento is a student-athlete that can help the secondary – he will certainly learn a great deal from the upperclassmen and coach Shawn Theriault

“We’re going to be young and we’re going to have to count on some of the young guys to step up,” said Kelley.

In the past, both first and second-year players have done quite well in Kelley’s system, and have helped the squad by making some key plays when needed.

Conference Favorites: The Rams were picked to win the MASCAC this fall, according to the 2019 preseason coaches poll.

Framingham State secured seven first-place votes, while Western Connecticut, which secured the second position, earned a pair of first-place nods.

Bridgewater StatePlymouth State, and UMass Dartmouth rounded out the top five, checking-in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, while Westfield State secured the sixth position.

Fitchburg State checked-in seventh, Massachusetts Maritime Academy secured the eighth position, while Worcester State placed ninth.

Conference play for most teams will begin in week three with the Rams hosting Westfield State at 12 p.m.


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