Football Notebook: What Are The Best New England D3 Football Rivalries?

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By Matt Noonan | @MattNoonan11

What are some of the best New England D3 Football rivalries?

That is a tough one, eh?

You know the list includes a fair number of contests, including Amherst-Williams to Framingham State-Bridgewater State to Endicott-WNE.

But are there others? Of course!

Here are some of my favorite New England D3 Football rivalries (below!) – let me know what you think of my list by sending either a tweet to @MattNoonan11 or an email to MattNoonan@NoontimeSports.com.


Amherst vs. Williams: This has to be atop the list, right? This is one of the games to circle, no matter each team’s record. Last season, we saw the Ephs score an exciting win in overtime, thanks to an 11-yard burst by quarterback Bobby Maimaron. Amherst forced the extra session midway through the fourth quarter by scoring a pair of touchdowns in a span of 25 seconds. Both teams enjoyed successful 2017 campaigns, which means this year’s game in Amherst will be one to follow.

Framingham State vs. Endicott: This game has always been my welcome back to college football contest. Sure, they’re two different teams that are headed in different directions at the moment, but you know this is a game both players circle when schedules are released. Framingham State has dominated the series most recently, but this year could be different with Paul McGonagle pacing the Endicott sidelines.

Framingham State vs. Bridgewater State: This is has always been a go-to game in the MASCAC. A lot of the players on both rosters played either with or against each other in high school. So there is some bragging rights on the line. Bridgewater State needed some late heroics in 2016 to beat Framingham State – the win provided the Bears with the conference crown, along with an automatic invite into the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Jaquan Harris clinched the victory for the Rams with a late fourth quarter interception. Framingham State escaped Bridgewater with a six-point (19-13) win.

MIT-WPI: This has become a classic NEWMAC matchup – crazy to think it is a young rivalry, but it keeps getting better every season. Last fall, WPI managed to recover a crucial onside kick with with 20 seconds remaining to secure a 24-21 win over MIT. In 2016, Blaine Bursey kicked a 19-yard game-winning field goal in overtime to send WPI past the Engineers of MIT, 37-34. Bursey was also the difference in 2015 when the two teams met in Worcester as he booted a 26-yard field goal midway through the fourth to provide WPI with a 31-28 win.

Springfield-Western New England: Who will win this year’s Pynchon SAW? Springfield captured it last season, downing Western New England, 35-21. Perhaps this year’s game will be different – it is scheduled for Friday evening of Labor Day Weekend. Both programs are expected to be in the hunt for their respective conference crowns, so this is a great way to begin a new campaign with a solid win against a talented opponent.

Trinity vs. Wesleyan: It’s the battle of Connecticut! These two teams will once again be in the mix for a NESCAC crown this fall, so you know how important this game is, especially since it is the final contest for both squads. Trinity scored a convincing 28-3 victory last fall, so you have to wonder how the Cardinals of Wesleyan will respond this November.


Other Rivalries to Watch in New England D3 Football 

  • Salve Regina-Western New England: This game has often decided the conference championship.
  • Husson-Western New England: The Eagles of Husson proved they are a team to keep an eye on in New England last year with an impressive win over Springfield. These two teams met last year with WNE winning the game by a touchdown (21-14)
  • Becker-Nichols: If you’re looking for another ‘battle of Worcester’ then look no further than Becker-Nichols.
  • Bates-Bowdoin, Bates-Colby & Bowdoin-Colby (CBB Trophy): Bates captured last season’s CBB (Colby, Bates & Bowdoin) trophy with victories over Bowdoin and Colby. Can they do it against this fall?
  • Castleton-Norwich: It’s the battle for the Sap Bucket! Castleton won it last season, so can Norwich win it this year?
  • Coast Guard-Merchant Marine: This game was on ESPN last year and will continue to be a game to circle with both teams playing in the NEWMAC.
  • Fitchburg State-Worcester State: Looking for another Worcester rivalry? Then look no further than Falcons-Lancers.

Stay connected with our Noontime Sports Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

New England Football: Players To Watch In 2018 Coming Soon!

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By Noontime Sports | @NoontimeSports 

It maybe early July, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about football, right?

As we inch closer toward a brand new season of New England college football, Noontime Sports will begin to generate a list of players and teams to watch for the upcoming season, as well as our first of many Top 10 polls, too (our first poll will be a preseason poll, which will be posted later next month).

So, consider this an early plug for our 2018 preseason football coverage – yes, we are eager for football to return, but are enjoying some down time before camps and games officially commence.

If you do crave some football then make sure to check out our Football Friday Podcast – we do have a few new podcast interviews, including a recent conversation with the new Bates College coach Malik Hall and Western New England‘s Jason Lebeau.

Additionally, you can click FOLLOW to our new football Twitter handle, as well: @Noontime_FB. Trust us, you will want to follow this handle as we inch closer to football season – we will be producing some fun content that you won’t want to miss.

Our preseason football coverage will officially begin in a few weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy these long, summer days – the weather is pretty nice today in Boston!

D3 Football: Sammy Morris Named Assistant Coach at Dean College

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Former New England Patriots running back Sammy Morris was named an assistant coach at Dean College. (PHOTO CREDIT: NBC Sports)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Former New England Patriots running back Sammy Morris will be returning to the area this fall as an assistant coach for the Dean College football team, per this morning’s release.

Morris joins a Bulldogs squad that competed at the Division III level for the first time in school history last fall.

Dean, which is a member of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), concluded its 2017 campaign 4-6 overall.

“We are extremely excited to announce the hiring of Sammy Morris to coach the running backs and special teams at Dean College,” Dean coach Steve Tirrell said in Tuesday’s press release. “His knowledge and experience will make an immediate impact on our coaching staff and student athletes.”

A 2000 draftee (fifth round) by the Buffalo Bills, Morris played four seasons in upstate New York before signing with the Miami Dolphins prior to the start of the 2004 season. Morris tallied 523 yards on 132 carries and six touchdowns in his first year with the Dolphins in 13 games.

Three years after joining the Dolphins, Morris inked his name on a new contract with the Patriots, assisting them to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2007 season before leading the squad in rushing in 2008 with 727 yards on 156 carries. He also led New England’s ground attack with seven rushing touchdowns, too.

Morris would conclude his career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, competing in just three games.

Prior to enjoying a successful career in the NFL, Morris played two seasons of college football at Texas Tech before graduating from the Harvard Business School’s NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program in 2009.

Dean kicks-off its 2018 campaign on Saturday, September 1 when they visit Curry College at 1 p.m. One week later, the Bulldogs will host Western Connecticut State for a 12 p.m. kick-off.

Want more Noontime Sports Football coverage? Then make sure to follow @Noontime_FB on Twitter! 

Flaherty: BC Eagles Have Pieces In Place For A Successful 2018 Campaign

Steve Addazio
Steve Addazio has some key pieces in place to make an exciting run this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Dan Flaherty (@TheSportsNotebo)

Boston College has been as predictable a college football program as any in the country, at least since Steve Addazio became head coach back in 2013.

In Addazio’s five seasons, he’s finished 7-6 four different times, including the last two years. That’s what made the Over/Under win totals released in Las Vegas earlier this month so interesting—BC was listed at 5.5.

Furthermore, this doubt comes in a year when Addazio returns 14 starters. He brings back his entire offensive line. He brings back A.J. Dillon, a sophomore running back who rushed for nearly 1,600 yards last year. He brings a quarterback in Anthony Brown who got valuable experience last year as a freshman.

Defensively, the Eagles can build around defensive end Zach Allen, a disruptor that has the NFL in his future.

The doubt on Boston College also comes at a time when the opportunity to move up the ladder in the ACC’s Atlantic Division is there for the taking. While Clemson is firmly entrenched at the top, the Florida State program is in flux after the departure of coach Jimbo Fisher and Louisville’s rise under Bobby Petrino seems to have crested. Boston College beat both FSU and Louisville last season.

But the Eagles lost decisively to Wake Forest and N.C. State – both teams are divisional rivals. They are each more highly regarded on the Vegas Strip at the moment.

Addazio’s program is a throwback, built on physical football and tough defense that works to overcome mediocre play (at best) from the quarterback position. Brown’s numbers last year—52% completion percentage, 5.3 yards-per-attempt and 11 touchdowns versus nine interceptions—look straight out of the 1970s.

In an era where everything is seen to be about the quarterback, BC is not going to have believers as long as this current trend continues. Nor is there any reason to expect a change of course this season.

While it’s reasonable to expect improvement from Brown, I don’t think there will be too many comparisons to Matt Ryan floating around the Heights. And on the positive side, there is every reason to think Boston College can take what it usually does well under Addazio and simply do it better.

Dillon is one of the best halfbacks in college football. His most impressive number isn’t the yardage totals—you can attribute at least some of that to the workload he gets in this offense. The most impressive number is his 5.3 yards-per-rush. That’s good under any circumstances, and especially when opposing defenses know you’re getting the ball.

Dillon, with that veteran offensive line in front of him, molded by the hard-nosed Addazio, can make a run at ACC Player of the Year. If he breaks 2,000 yards, an invite to the Heisman banquet in early December could be in the offing.

How far Dillon can carry the Eagles will be apparent by mid-October. After tuneup games with Massachusetts and Holy Cross, Boston College faces two road games that will provide a good early gauge on where they’re at. They go to Wake Forest on a Thursday night and then visit Purdue, a Big Ten Conference team on the rise, the following Saturday.

After a game with Temple to close September, BC has a road game at N.C. State and a home date with Louisville. By this point in the schedule, the Eagles need to be 5-2. They’ll go into a bye week and on the far side of that bye are four games in four weeks—against Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State. The Eagles have to hope they can steal one win during this stretch and then close the season at home by beating Syracuse. That gets them to seven wins again.

I’m one who likes old-fashioned football and I really hope Addazio can do it. The schedule is difficult and in a different environment, the head coach might be in real trouble. But in a market where media hype and fan intensity hones in on pro sports, the BC boss can keep people happy if he just keeps winning seven games each season, while  providing a little Saturday afternoon diversion.

As long as the benchmark stays that reasonable, I think he’ll continue to do it in 2018.

Dan Flaherty is the owner of TheSportsNotebook.com and the author of Great 1980s Sports MomentsStay connected with Dan on Twitter at @TheSportsNotebo 

Football Friday Notebook: 10 Weeks Away From A Brand New D3 Football Season

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By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Welcome to Football Friday Notebook, fans and friends!

As see on Twitter earlier today, our good friends from In The (D3FB) Huddle tweeted that we are 10 weeks away from some major week one games.

What games are we most excited for? Hmm … well everyone, duh! We actually dished out some games to watch the first week earlier this month. And yes, we included one of our favorite Labor Day Weekend games between Springfield College and Western New England, along with Endicott College and Framingham State.

Yesterday, the National Football Foundation tweeted Maine Maritime Academy‘s Cody O’Brien was the NFF Scholar-Athlete of the Day. As noted in the tweet, O’Brien is a marine engineering technology major. Way to go, Cody!

Good news from Pro Football Talk regarding Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. As noted in this morning’s blog post, the former Bills signal-caller is doing well following his latest surgery, per an Instagram post. Jim’s wife Jill Kelly wrote that he is doing well under the circumstances.

Kelly announced five years ago that he had been diagnosed with cancer in his jaw, but has undergone numerous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We wish the best for both Jim and Jill, as well as their families – stay strong, Jim!


New England D3 Football Posts from earlier this week: 

Malik Grove to join the Amherst College football coaching staff as their running backs coach. 

Malik Hall tabbed the next coach at Bates College


We’re still a few weeks away from the start of New England Patriots Training Camp, but Patriots Wire has a few blockbuster trades the team could do to shake-up the roster for the upcoming season. One of the potential trades includes sending Rob Gronkowski to another team like the Houston Texans or San Francisco 49ers for two first-round picks.

As noted in the New Canaan AdvertisersZach Allen of Boston College was named to to Athlon’s Preseason All-America teams on Tuesday. Allen, who is from Connecticut, decided to forgo this year’s NFL Draft to stay with the Eagles for his senior season.

In addition to Allen, AJ DillonLukas DenisChris Lindstrom and Michael Walker were also named to the Athlon’s Preseason All-America teams. Dillon was selected to the second team – he will certainly be a running back to watch this fall.

Speaking of the Eagles’ football team, they recently announced their theme days for the 2018 season, which includes Senior Day, Youth & High School Football Day when they host Syracuse University on Saturday, November 24th.

Finally, Sports Illustrated highlighted five true freshmen that could make an impact this fall, including Georgia‘s James Cook.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage by following us at @Noontime_FB