Catching Up With Middlebury College Quarterback Jared Lebowitz

Middlebury College quarterback Jared Lebowitz has tossed five touchdowns in back-to-back contests this season. (Photo Credit: Middlebury College Athletics)

Middlebury College quarterback Jared Lebowitz has tossed five touchdowns in back-to-back contests this season. (Photo Credit: Middlebury College Athletics)


Middlebury College junior quarterback Jared Lebowitz has enjoyed an impressive start under center this season, tossing five touchdowns in back-to-back games.

In addition to a pair of five touchdown performances, Lebowitz has been tabbed the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Week twice.

On Wednesday, he earned the prestigious Golden Helmet Award following his five-touchdown performance in a 35-14 victory last weekend against Colby College.

Earlier this week, Noontime Sports caught up with the Panthers’ signal-caller to chat some football, Harry Potter and his favorite movies of all-time.

For the second-straight week you tossed five touchdowns passes. Have you ever tossed five TDs in back-to-back games before?

I try not to focus on statistics, but rather what I can do to help the team win. If that means I have to throw five touchdowns, so be it. If it means handing it off 50 times and we win, then I’m fine with that as well.

How have you been able to be so successful under center this season?

All the credit goes to the guys around me, as well as the coaches, too. I am only as good as the routes the receivers run, and we’re all only as good as the offensive line affords us to be. And as you can see, our o-line has been playing very well thus far.

It sounds cliché, but how has Coach Ritter or Coach Caputi helped you progress from last season to this season?

Coach Ritter is obviously our head coach, but he is also our offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He has been extremely patient with me while I’ve learned the offense. I think he has realized I only play well when I know the offense as well as possible, so he has made an emphasis to work with me whether that means extra film, drilling me (on plays), or just talking and making sure that we (coaches and the offense) are on the same page.

Thinking back to preseason practices, what was the biggest goal the team hoped to accomplish this season?

Our goal is to go 1-0 every week. This preseason had a much different tone than last year, however. Last year, we had all the hype and perhaps that made us a bit overconfident and complacent. This year’s team is gritty and has an air of desperation in the sense that we will do whatever it takes to go 1-0.

Have you always played quarterback? If so, when did you start and did you idol your game after a particular professional or college quarterback growing-up?

I have played quarterback since I was in fourth grade (except sixth grade when I played tight end). It’s been nice growing up a New England Patriots fan and although my play style may not be like Tommy Touchdown (Tom Brady), his poise, confidence, leadership, preparation, and grittiness are something any quarterback can aspire to posses.

What do you enjoy most about being quarterback?

I enjoy the challenge of responsibility. Obviously quarterback is a highly visible position and we get far too much credit when the team plays well, but that’s not why I play the game. I play for the guys lining up with me … the guys that are putting their bodies on the line so our team can go 1-0 (every week). I’m just 1/11th of the offense and each piece needs to work for the machine to operate. It’s an indescribable feeling, being successful because all 11 guys on the field did their job. Succeeding as a team, in any context, is one of the greatest things there is.

What is your major and why did you choose it?

I carried over my old major from UNLV, which is political science. I find it very relevant and interesting. Perhaps some local politics are in my future; I can think of few professions more noble than serving Vermonters and our communities.

What is your favorite non-football activity?

To me, family (dogs included) is the most important thing in the world. I love hanging out with them, doing whatever, including board games, hikes, movies. I think I annoy my sister and mom sometimes when I’m bugging them to play board games, but chess and catan are my games.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

I read a couple books this summer. One was the new Harry Potter, which I have a few qualms with that I feel I have to get off my chest.

First, I am not a huge fan of the play format. It took all of the emotional richness out of this made up world. Instead of describing feelings of the characters, it would say something like, ‘Harry is upset by this.’ Don’t tell me he’s excited; describe it! Also, the plot (spoiler alert) heavily involves the use of Time Turners, which allow the characters to travel through time. So the plot literally consists of Harry’s son and Malfoy’s son (who are best friends) traveling back in time to change and destroy the world of Magic that J.K. Rowling spent 7 books cultivating and creating via Butterfly Effects. It was like the authors were trying to destroy my childhood before my very eyes, which made me irrationally upset. Don’t change the best selling and most creative world that we all know and love ever put in print! I also read The Things They Carried, which really resonated with me, as I have studied the Vietnam War in numerous political science classes but to see it from the raw, terrible, view of the soldier made it more real and far worse. I also read All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot, which is a must-read. I aspire to see the world as romantically as he does.

What is your favorite movie of all-time?

My top three are Remember the Titans, Warrior, and Inglorious Bastards. I’ve probably seen each one two dozen times and can recite (much to the annoyance of my viewing companions) nearly 100% of the dialogue of each. It’s a Sophie’s choice as to which is my actual favorite.

Lastly, what is a game day like at Middlebury?  

It’s the most unique atmosphere I’ve ever encountered. First off, our field is extremely gorgeous. It’s a very casual environment – no tickets necessary, kids and dogs in the stands and on the field after the game, golfers teeing off a few dozen yards away from the south end zone. It’s how football is meant to be played …Middlebury is how football is supposed to be.

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode Seven (James Bakers | @ITHuddLLe)

Noontime Sports Podcast


Noontime Sports the Podcast returned this week as James Baker from @ITHuddLLE joined Matt Noonan to chat about the opening month of NCAA Division III Football, specifically the New England region.

Baker gave his ‘two-cents’ on Western New England, Husson and multiple New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools, while he and Noonan also shared their excitement for Plymouth State, which is off to its best start since 2007.

New England D3 Football: It’s All About Having A Great Day At Amherst College

Amherst College's football team is focused on having a great day every day. (Photo Credit: Amherst College)

Amherst College’s football team is focused on having a great day every day. (Photo Credit: Amherst College)

By Matt Noonan 

E.J. Mills has one goal for his Amherst College football team: have a great day.

Having a ‘great day’ maybe the rallying cry behind the Purple and White’s recent success as Amherst has won a quartet of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crowns since 2009.

In 2013, the Purple and White shared the crown with Middlebury College and Wesleyan University.

Two years later – last season to be exact – Amherst clinched its seventh perfect season in program history, finishing its slate 8-0 for the second consecutive season. Their win against rival Williams College – a 17-7 victory – extended the Purple and White’s winning streak to 19 games, which dates back to October 26, 2013.

“The biggest goal (for us) is to win the day and if we spend time worrying about Hamilton or Trinity (College) … that won’t help us, so we just have to stay focused and have a great day,” said Mills, who is a three-time NESCAC Coach of the Year honoree.

Mills and his staff have been hard at work since their final contest of 2015 and eager to lead the Purple and White onto the field this Saturday when they host Hamilton College for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.

Amherst and Hamilton last met in 2013 with the Purple and White claiming a 23-7 win in Clinton, New York. Amherst defeated Hamilton one year earlier at home behind a pair of touchdown passes by Max Lippe.

If the Purple and White are going to be successful this season, they’ll need to lean on their defense, which limited opponents to roughly 10 points per game last fall.

Additionally, Amherst will need its rushing attack to be at its best too.

Last season, the Purple and White led the conference in rushing yards (1,612), thanks to Kenny Adinkra, who caped his four-year career with a career-best 504 yards on the ground.

Sophomore Jack Hickey enjoyed an impressive first-season at tailback, rushing for 319 yards on 47 carries and two touchdowns.

In front of Hickey and the halfbacks will be senior quarterback Alex Berluti, who will be tasked with leading an offense that converted 27 of 31 red zone opportunities last fall. Berluti appeared in one game last season, but has tossed four touchdowns in his career, while rushing for one score during his initial season in 2013.

“Alex has worked hard,” said Mills. “I have seen tremendous growth (since he arrived on campus) and I think he’s going to take advantage of this opportunity.

“The ball has been thrown in his court and I am confident that he will be able to do to lead this football team.”

One of Berluti’s top targets this season could be his brother Bo Berluti, who appeared in four games last season.

In addition to Bo, keep an eye on senior wide-out Devin Boehm, who led the Purple and White last season in receptions (41) and yards (555).

On defense, Amherst returns five of their front seven from a year ago, including seniors Evan Boynton (56 total tackles, 33 solo stops, 4.5 sacks and eight tackles for a loss) and Parker Chapman (44 total tackles, 24 solo stops, one sack and one tackle for a loss.).

Behind the front seven will be a young secondary, however, Mills anticipates his linemen and linebackers should assist them, especially with getting to the quarterback, stopping the run or dropping back in coverage.

“I think we have a chance to be pretty good back there,” Mills said of his secondary. “They’re just going to be young, so hopefully those guys up front can take some of the pressure off the guys on the back end … Our philosophy is don’t bend, don’t break and don’t give up big plays.”

While Mills knows every player on both sides of the ball will need to execute properly to help Amherst contend for a NESCAC title, he also believes everyone must have a great day too.

“That is really the consistent message,” Mills said of his team’s so-called rallying cry. “We have preached it around here (for a while) and the kids have bought into it.”

So, what exactly is Mills’ outlook for today?

“Today is all about Thursday,” said Mills, “so let’s have a great Thursday.”

New England D3 Football: Noontime Sports Preseason Team



For the first-time in Noontime Sports (and history, we are pleased to unveil our first-ever preseason Noontime Sports Team for New England Division III Football.

Quarterbacks: Brandon Basil (Salve Regina)| Cory Burnham (UMass Dartmouth) | Garrett Dellechiaie (Fitchburg State) | Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (Becker) | Derek Victory (Coast Guard Bears)

Backfield: Chance Brady (Tufts) | Nick Connell (Western New England) | Moe Harris (Castleton) | Michael Nicol (West Conn.) | Adis Ojeda (MIT) | Kenny Pierce (Mass. Maritime Academy)

Receiving Core:  Abbi Bamgbose (UMass Dartmouth) | Travis Bassett (Bridgewater State) | Pierre Noel (Norwich) | Jake Pelletier (Endicott) | Soren Pelz-Walsh (Castleton) | Devin Summiel (Fitchburg State) | Nick Vailas (Bowdoin) | Bryan Vieira (Trinity) | Derrick Warren (Nichols) | Deon Wiggins (Husson)

Offensive Line (as a unit): Mass. Maritime Academy | Middlebury College | Springfield College | Western New England | Worcester State

Defensive Line: Craig Anderson (Endicott) | Bryan Ballenilla (West Conn.) | Christopher Ford (Maine Maritime Academy) | Raoul Khouri (MIT) | Campbell Marchant (Framingham State) | Emmanuel Omere (Bridgewater State) | Dereck Pacheco (WPI) | Luke Washburn (Husson)

Linebackers: Darren Callan (Castleton) | Sean Chinova (Mount Ida) | Svenn Jacobson (Framingham State) | Marshall McCarthy (Mass. Maritime Academy) | Brian Murtagh (WPI) | John Ollari (Westfield State) | Mamour Samb (Fitchburg State) | Zach Thomas (Tufts)

Secondary: Obi Etuka (Western New England) | Tyler Higley (Castleton) | Kevin Hopsicker (Middlebury) | Paul McCarthy (Trinity) | Paul Sances (Mass. Maritime Academy) | Tim Preston (Tufts) | Brandon Williams (Bates)

Kickers & Punters: Willie Holmquist (Tufts) | Stefano Marziale (Anna Maria) | Wesley Medeiros (Norwich) | Charlie Wall (Amherst) | Bobby Webster (Williams)

New England D3 Football Notebook: Quick Takes And Thoughts On 2016 Season

Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/

Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/

By Matt Noonan 

It is never too early to start thinking about New England Division III football.

The countdown to training camp – and the first game – is on!

Below are some quick pre-season takes on each conference. As the season gets closer, we’ll have team and conference previews, so stay tuned!

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): After a successful 7-3 campaign last season, Becker will be a team to watch this fall. Can they continue their success under first-year head coach Frank Forcucci?

Absolutely, but they will need to play their best football against Husson, Norwich and Castleton State.

Keep an eye on Castleton State – the Spartans ended their season by capturing the Maple Sap Bucket Trophy with a 31-13 win over the Cadets. Rising sophomore Moe Harris will be one of many players to watch this season after he concluded his initial season with the Green and White by leading the rushing attack in yards (1,065), touchdowns (14) and yards per game (106.5).

Liberty League (Springfield & WPI): The Engineers of WPI enjoyed one of their best seasons under head coach Chris Robertson, finishing 7-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play.

WPI earned some impressive wins, defeating MIT (31-28), Norwich (27-10) and Springfield (19-17). They will look to keep their momentum going this season, but the biggest question facing the squad is who will be their number one halfback? Zach Grasis graduated, so that could open the door for rising sophomore Connor Sakowich.

Springfield will have a new head coach this season as Mike Cerasuolo was tabbed the program’s head coach earlier this year. A former player, Cerasuolo will look to continue his former head coach Mike DeLong’s success. DeLong retired last fall after an impressive 32-year run with the Pride.

Cerasuolo has been the program’s offensive coordinator for the past 15 seasons.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State will remain the favorite, but don’t overlook Bridgewater State and Fitchburg State.

The Bears won five of their final seven contests last season, including a 64-42 win over Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 37th Annual Cranberry Bowl. Rising junior Alex McLaughlin will look lead the rushing attack – he rushed for 16 touchdowns last season – while rising senior Danny Higgins should navigate the unit’s air attack after tossing 13 touchdowns.

Fitchburg State graduated some key defensive players, but return rising seniors Mamour Samb (linebacker) and Ousame Samb (cornerback). Mamour Samb finished second on the team in total tackles (67) and tackles per game (7.4), while Ousame Samb led the unit with eight pass breakups. Rising senior Garrett Dellechiaie is back under center after an impressive junior season, which saw him toss 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high four touchdowns, too.

Framingham State graduates some key pieces, including quarterback Matt Silva, but again, don’t overlook a Rams team that has depth on both sides of the ball.

 New England Football Conference (NEFC): The Golden Bears won 10 consecutive regular season games last fall thanks to an impressive defensive unit that registered 22 sacks (third in NEFC), 15 interceptions (first in NEFC) and 282.2 yards per game (first in NEFC).

The Golden Bears maybe the favorite heading into the 2016 season, but don’t overlook Endicott, MIT, Salve Regina or U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Seahawks capped their season by defeating Husson in the ECAC Clayton Chapman Bowl Championship thanks to an impressive performance by quarterback Brandon Basil, who tossed five touchdowns, while completing 25 of 49 passes for 421 yards.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Amherst College will certainly be the favorite heading into the 2016 season, but let’s not forget about Tufts, which finished its 2015 campaign 6-2 following a 31-28 win over Middlebury.

The Jumbos return a pair of rising seniors – quarterback Alex Snyder and running back Chance Brady – while rising junior Steve DiCenzo and rising senior Shane Thomas should lead the defense.

Other teams to watch in the NESCAC include Middlebury and Trinity – the Bantams finished second last season and yielded the second fewest points in the conference (81 points).

Amherst’s 17-7 win last fall over Williams marked the second straight season the Purple and White finished their campaign undefeated (8-0). Can they make it three years in a row? We’ll find out!

New England D3 Notebook: NCAA Tournament Basketball, Hockey Weekend Roundup

Johnny McCarthy and the Amherst College men's basketball team advanced to the semifinals following a sectional final victory over Tufts. (Photo Credit: Amherst College Athletics)

Johnny McCarthy and the Amherst College men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals following a sectional final victory over Tufts. (Photo Credit: Amherst College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Amherst College’s Connor Green netted a game-high 25 points to lift the Purple and White past Tufts University in last night’s Sectional Final in Medford, Massachusetts.

With the win, the Purple and White advance to its third NCAA Final Four appearance in four seasons, and seventh appearance in program history. Amherst will face Benedictine University on Friday, March 18 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia.

David George and Johnny McCarthy combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Michael Riopel came off the bench and netted 12 points.

Tom Palleschi and Stephen Haladyna paced Tufts, netting 20 points, respectively. Ryan Spadaford registered 11 rebounds, while pouring in seven points.

Amherst led by five points (40-35) at the break before outscoring the host Jumbos, 46-38, during the final 20 minutes.

George hit one of two free throws late in the second session to provide the visitors with the lead before Green converted a three-point play (layup and free throw) with 2:41 remaining to push Amherst ahead for good.

Tufts ended its season at 23-7 following a trio of NCAA Tournament victories, which all occurred in Cousen’s Gymnasium.

Amherst, Tufts advance to Women’s Semifinals: The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) will have a pair of teams vying for the national championship. Both Amherst and Tufts captured their respective sectional finals yesterday with the Purple and White defeating Rochester (78-50) while the Jumbos beat Scranton (57-48).

Amherst will now face Thomas More, while Tufts takes on Wartburg with both contests scheduled for Saturday, March 19.

Michela North highlighted the Jumbos’ effort, recording a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win, while Melissa Baptista netted a team-high 23 points.

All five starters netted double-figures for Amherst with Meredith Doswell pouring in 24 points, including six trifectas. She also recorded six rebounds, three blocks and one assist.

NCAA Division III Hockey Tournament: Williams College and UMass Boston extended its respective seasons, winning first round contests yesterday. The Ephs defeated Salem State, 7-1, while the Beacons dislodged the defending champion Bantams by a score of 4-0.

Both teams will compete in this upcoming weekend’s quarterfinals with Williams taking on SUNY Geneseo, while UMass Boston will head to Hobart for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.

SUNY Geneseo advanced to the quarterfinals following a 7-1 win over Salve Regina.

The Middlebury College women’s ice hockey team advanced to the semifinals after defeating UMass Boston in the quarterfinal round by a score of 4-0. The Panthers will face Plattsburgh State, which blanked Amherst College, 5-0.

The semifinals are scheduled for Friday, March 18 with the championship taking place on Saturday, March 19.

D3 New England Notebook: NESCAC Tournament Starts Saturday, Brandeis Baseball Sweeps First Series

Luke Westman and the Colby men's basketball team travels to Trinity for a first round NESCAC Tournament matchup on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Colby College)

Luke Westman and the Colby men’s basketball team travels to Trinity for a first round NESCAC Tournament matchup on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Colby College)

By Matt Noonan

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) basketball tournaments commence this Saturday, February 20 with eight games – four men’s and four women’s contests – with the winners advancing to next weekend’s semifinals.

Trinity and Amherst earned the first and second spots, respectively, on the men’s side, while Tufts and Amherst secured the top two positions on the women’s side.

Trinity men’s basketball – the top seed for the second straight season – faces a Colby squad that ranks first in the conference in field goal percentage. Luke Westman leads all scorers in field goal percentage, while placing ninth in assists.

As a team, Colby is third in the league in points per game, while Trinity is sixth. Trinity’s Ed Ogundeko is the top rebounder in the conference, averaging 10.7 caroms per contest.

Trinity finished its conference slate winning nine of 10 league games, while registering an 18-6 overall record. Colby won four conference tilts and recorded a 16-8 overall ledger.

Last season, Trinity edged Colby, 66-63, in the opening round before going onto capture the conference title. Sam Wilson – a current senior on the Colby men’s basketball team – led all scorers with 24 points.

NESCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Schedule: Trinity-Colby is just one of four games to follow on the men’s side, but below is the entire Saturday quarterfinal lineup:

* Wesleyan at Middlebury, 2 p.m.

* Colby at Trinity, 3 p.m.

* Bowdoin at Amherst, 4 p.m.

* Williams at Tufts, 4 p.m.

Connecticut College hosts first-ever NESCAC Tournament game: As noted in the conference release, tomorrow marks the first-time the Camels will be hosting a NESCAC Tournament contest in program history. The Camels will entertain Colby with tip-off scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

Connecticut earned the fourth seed thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Mules as they defeated Colby earlier this month, 69-63.

A win for the Camels would send the program to its first-ever semifinal tilt.

Top seed Tufts will entertain Middlebury at 2:00 p.m., Amherst will welcome Bates for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off, while Williams visits Bowdoin for a 3:00 p.m. start.

Emmanuel, Salve Regina kick-off 2016 D3Lax Season in New England: The Division III lacrosse season returns to New England tomorrow as the Saints of Emmanuel College begin its Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title defense when they visit Salve Regina – the Seahawks were picked to finish fourth in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) preseason poll.

Emmanuel was picked to capture their conference crown again, but their road to a GNAC title won’t be easy. The Saints will have to contend with Johnson & Wales, Mount Ida, Lasell and Rivier – four teams that will certainly challenge Brendan McWilliams’ squad.

Face-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in Newport, Rhode Island. This is the first-ever meeting between the Seahawks and Saints.

Brandeis Baseball completes a three-game sweep: An 8-2 win on Friday afternoon secured a three-game sweep of St. Joe’s (Brooklyn) as the Brandeis baseball team commenced its season with three straight victories.

According to the school’s release, the Judges improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2008. This was also the third consecutive win for Derek Carlson, who is in his first season with Brandeis.

Greg Heineman finished Friday’s contest 3-for-4 with a double. He drove in four of the team’s eight runs with a pair of RBI, while crossing the plate twice.

Brandeis returns to the diamond on Sunday, March 6 when they take on Case in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Tournament. Brandeis will host its initial home contest of the season on Tuesday, March 15 when they entertain Bridgewater State with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m.