Tag: New Haven

The 2021 New England College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins, along with a trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England college football — and yes, preps and high schools, too — are slowly ending. But the 2021 season is still on my mind.

After not seeing so many local teams compete last fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an amazing feeling to pace the sidelines these last few months and watch numerous student-athletes compete on the gridiron.

The 2021 New England football season will be one we will all remember — in my opinion, it was worth the wait. (And you can revisit some of our favorite memories from the sidelines by watching our end-of-season highlights on YouTube!).

There were some of the “usual suspects” that either won or were in the mix for their respective conference title to some new teams, especially in NCAA Division III that deserve our attention going forward.

Before we officially say so long and farewell to a fun season of coverage, allow me to revisit a few stories that I certainly will remember from this season.

  • Holy Cross not only won its third-straight Patriot League title, including two in the same year, thanks to a shortened spring season to go with their first postseason victory in program history. And despite losing on Friday in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs to the University of Villanova, the future is very bright for coach Bob Chesney’s squad.  
  • Harvard University captured their 137th meeting with Yale University last month, thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Luke Emge to Kym Wimberly. The 34-31 victory by the Crimson clinched their first eight-win season since 2015. 

  • Sacred Heart University made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament, but came up short to Holy Cross, which edged the Pioneers in the opening round by a score of 13-10. The Red and White will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, but will attempt to win their third-straight Northeast Conference crown next fall.

  • Bentley University and the University of New Haven were two teams to watch in New England NCAA Division II.

    Both teams met twice last month, including in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Two weeks earlier, the Falcons and Chargers squared-off in an early November contest with New Haven not only winning the game, but also securing their first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012.

    The Chargers lost to Kutztown University last weekend in the second round of the playoffs, but they will certainly be a team to watch next season — the same could be said for the Falcons.

  • Bentley’s Stephen Sturm was one of a few NE10 signal-callers to watch this fall as he concluded the season with a league-high 23 touchdown passes.

    Saint Anselm’s Drew Willoughby, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, threw for a league-high 2,803 passing yards to go with 22 touchdowns. He averaged 311.4 passing yards per game.

  • Anna Maria College won its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title with seven wins, which is the most victories any AMCATs squad has recorded in a single season. And despite losing to Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Dan Mulrooney’s squad will certainly be a team to watch next fall, both in and outside of the ECFC.

  • The 2021 Williams College football team made history by becoming the first squad to win nine games in a single season.

    The Ephs capped their campaign with three impressive wins over Amherst College (24-19), Trinity College (42-3), and Wesleyan University (25-0) to clinch a 9-0 record, their first perfect season since 2010.

  • Colby College could be a team to watch next fall as they matched their 2013 squad with four wins.

    The Mules captured their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown with a pair of victories over Bates College (10-2) and Bowdoin College (21-10).  

  • Tom Kelley and the Framingham State University football team won their third-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown outright. The Rams concluded their season with an 8-3 overall record for the third consecutive season, as well as posted a perfect 8-0 league mark for the second-straight year.

    The Rams will continue to be the team to watch (and yes, follow) in 2022, but will certainly be challenged by a slew of teams in the MASCAC.

  • Endicott College captured its first conference crown since 2013, as well as hosted its first-ever NCAA playoff game.

    Coach Paul McGonagle’s Gulls will certainly be a team to watch next fall — the Green and White are young and will return a slew of talent from this year’s squad on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Mike Ingraffia and wide receiver Shane Aylward.

  • After starting its season with a 1-3 record, Springfield College bounced back with six-straight wins to capture its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride ended their season with three important wins against Catholic University (28-14), MIT (17-7), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (28-23).

  • NCAA D-III Football Teams to Watch in 2022: Bridgewater State, Husson University, Salve Regina University, Plymouth State, Trinity College, Tufts University,  UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, and Western Connecticut.

New Haven Looks To Continue Its Early Postseason Momentum Against Kutztown

Connor Degenhardt scored four touchdowns last Saturday as the University of New Haven beat Bentley University in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By Matt Noonan

To secure two wins against a team in a span of three weeks is not an easy feat.

But somehow, the University of New Haven football team was able to come away with its second-straight victory over Bentley University this past weekend to secure a spot in the second round of the NCAA Division II postseason.

Connor Degenhardt registered four touchdowns in his team’s 38-13 win over the Falcons, including three rushing scores while finishing the contest with 38 yards on 11 carries. Zach Mauro led all rushers with 119 yards on 33 carries and Dev Holmes caught four passes for 104 yards and one touchdown.

Bentley, which was making its third appearance in the national postseason, secured its first and only lead early in the second quarter when Nathaniel Larkins capped an 18-play, 75-yard drive with a four-yard rushing touchdown.

Larkins’ touchdown, however, did not shift momentum toward the visitors as the Chargers countered with five touchdowns, including a pair of rushing scores in the second quarter by Degenhardt that provided New Haven with a 17-6 advantage that would expand over the next two frames.

While New Haven’s offense headlined an impressive opening round win, its defense did its job, holding Bentley to a season-low 13 points. Two weeks earlier in a game that determined the winner of the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10), Bentley registered 14 points while New Haven tallied 31.

The first-round victory over the Falcons secured New Haven a date with Kutztown University, which captured the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title with a 10-1 overall record (the Golden Bears won all seven league matchups).

New Haven has won all three matchups with Kutztown, dating back to their initial meeting in 1994. The Chargers also beat the Golden Bears in the 2011 NCAA Tournament with the 44-37 victory providing New Haven a spot in the quarterfinals.

Kutztown, which secured an opening-round bye, has won nine-straight contests, including six games at Andre Reed Stadium. The Maroon and Gold are averaging 26.55 points per game while limiting opponents to roughly two touchdowns (13.91).

The Golden Bears are led by Eric Nickel, a quarterback from Bridgewater, New Jersey that has recorded 24 touchdowns this fall, including 11 on the ground.

On defense, linebacker Amani Justice is the player to watch – through 11 contests this fall, the redshirt-senior has recorded a team-best 87.0 total tackles, including 37 solo stops, 50 assists, and four quarterback hurries.

Saturday’s game will begin at 12:05 p.m. with the winner advancing to next Saturday’s quarterfinals.  

Inside The Matchup: Bentley University @ University of New Haven

Stephen Sturm has been a quarterback to watch this fall in the Northeast-10 — he has thrown 22 touchdown passes while rushing for six scores. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bentley University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Bentley University and the University of New Haven met two weeks with the Chargers scoring an impressive 31-14 victory over the Falcons.

This weekend, the two teams will meet in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Division II Tournament with the winner advancing to next week’s second round against top-ranked Kutztown University.

Let’s go inside the matchup to learn more about these two teams, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) standings.


Game Time & Location: Saturday’s meeting between the Falcons and Chargers will occur in New Haven, Connecticut with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

Team Schedules: Bentley | New Haven

Team Statistics: Bentley | New Haven


Bentley’s journey to the postseason: Despite seeing a 13-game winning streak that dated back to October 2019 snapped earlier this month to the Chargers, Bentley secured a spot in the 2021 NCAA Division III, checking in as the fifth seed on the upper left-hand side of the bracket. Bentley won nine of ten contests this fall, including every matchup in September and October.

New Haven’s journey to the postseason: An early November win against Bentley allowed the Chargers to secure their first NE10 crown since 2012 — they entered the last week of the regular season as the fourth-best team in Super Region One, which is the seed they received in this year’s tournament. New Haven won nine of ten contests with their only loss coming earlier this year to Bowie State, which entered the week three contest ranked No. 24.

The Bulldogs also secured a spot in the postseason — they will begin their potential title march on Saturday against Lenoir-Rhyne.

Bentley’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament: Believe it or not, Bentley has not competed in the postseason since 2004 — crazy, right? Yes, they captured the NE10 crown in 2019 but did not compete for a national championship after capping their season with a 38-0 victory over American International College.

In 2004, their national title dreams were dashed in the opening round as they lost to Edinboro University by a score of 47-44. The Fighting Scots would see their postseason run conclude in the following round with a 36-32 setback to East Stroudsburg University.

New Haven’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament: In 2018, the Chargers scored an opening-round win over West Chester, thanks to a go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) touchdown by Ajee Patterson, who rushed for a one-yard score. Patterson concluded his team’s opening-round victory with 44 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. One week later, the Chargers’ postseason run concluded with a 59-20 setback to Slippery Rock, which outlasted LIU Post in the opening round by a score of 20-14. LIU Post captured the NE10 crown in 2018.

Bentley’s NCAA Tournament history: Saturday’s contest with the Chargers will mark the third time in program history that the Falcons have competed in the NCAA Tournament with their first appearance coming in 2003. Bentley is seeking its initial postseason win after seeing both appearances conclude with opening round setbacks.

New Haven’s NCAA Tournament history: It’s only been three years since the Chargers last competed for a national title, but fans of the program know the Blue and Yellow have appeared in the postseason a few times over the years with their first trip occurring in 1992 with New Haven scoring a pair of wins, including a victory over Ferris State at the Yale Bowl. Their quest for a national crown, however, concluded one week later with a 46-35 setback to Jacksonville State in the national semifinals.

The Gamecocks would go on to win the D-II title against Pittsburgh State — the nine-win season for New Haven was a big improvement from one year earlier when they posted a 3-7 record. New Haven was coached by Mark Whipple in 1992, who is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.

Players to Watch on Bentley: Stephen Sturm (QB), Andrew Brazicki (RB) Noah Neville (WR), Cedie Dashiell II (DL/LB | NE10 Defensive Lineman of the Year), Steven Paulino (DL), Cole McCubrey (LB | NE10 Defensive Player of the Year), Jailen Branch (DB), and Charlie Ogletree (P)

Players to Watch on New Haven: Connor Degenhardt (QB), Dev Holmes (WR), Kevin Foelsch (TE), Khalim Cisse (DL), Michael Montecalvo (DL), Khyon Fitzpatrick(LB), Ryan Hodgins (LB), Ryan Dolce (DB), Shawn Tafe (DB), and Briant DeFelice (PK)

New England Small College Football Conference Race Watch (Week Eight)

Isaiah Cashwell-Doe and the Springfield College football team head into the eighth week of the 2021 season with a great deal of momentum. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Seven weeks of New England small college football are in the books.

And with four weeks remaining in the regular season, it is time to highlight – and yes, share some thoughts, too – on the various conference races to watch in both Division II and Division III.

Let’s begin with the Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10).


Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10)

The Leader: Bentley University (7-0, 5-0)

In the Hunt: Assumption College (3-3, 3-1), University of New Haven (5-1, 4-0), and Stonehill College (5-1, 3-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • New Haven at Stonehill (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • American International College at Assumption College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Falcons will be idle this upcoming weekend but have stretched their winning streak from 2019 to 12 games, thanks to a 34-20-win last Saturday against Southern Connecticut. Bentley has been impressive thus far — they appear destined to repeat as conference champions, but they will face some challenges over the final few weeks, especially in November when they compete against Assumption (again) and New Haven (the Falcons’ win earlier this season against the Greyhounds was a non-league victory).

New Haven is also a team to watch — like Bentley, they have yet to drop a conference game this fall, but will be challenged over the next few weeks, including this Saturday when they visit Stonehill.


Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

The Leader: Endicott College (6-1, 3-0)

In the Hunt: Husson University (4-2, 1-1), Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1), University of New England (3-2, 1-1), and Western New England (4-3, 2-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Endicott at Salve Regina (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
  • Husson at UNE (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Nichols College at Western New England (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: Endicott enters the fourth week of conference play with a great deal of momentum heading into an important matchup with Salve Regina. A win against the Seahawks would provide the Green and White with the inside track to the conference crown.

Endicott beat Salve Regina in 2019 by six points (30-24) but lost to the Seahawks one year earlier after beating Western New England.

A win for the Seahawks would make the next few weeks rather interesting, despite suffering a 41-3 setback to Western New England earlier this month.

Western New England rebounded from its 45-21 setback to Endicott with a 23-10 win over Curry College — they will be the favorite heading into this week’s matchup with the Bison.

The winner of Husson-UNE will remain in the mix with one conference setback.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

The Leaders: Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0) and Gallaudet University (5-0, 3-0)

In the Hunt: Alfred State (2-4, 1-1) and Castleton University (3-3, 1-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Alfred State at Gallaudet (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Dean College at Anna Maria (Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: If things remain the way they are currently in two weeks, then Anna Maria-Gallaudet in Paxton, Massachusetts will be the game that most likely decides the conference champion.

Both Anna Maria and Gallaudet appear to be the “teams to beat” heading into the eighth week of the season, but the Pioneers of Alfred State can change that with a win on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Like Alfred State, Castleton is still in the mix, too, but they must win their remaining contests so they can keep pace with Anna Maria and Gallaudet.


Elijah Nichols and the Framingham State Rams have won their last five contests. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photograph)

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

The Leaders: Framingham State (5-2, 5-0) and Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0)

Matchup to watch this week:

  • Westfield State at Bridgewater State (Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Bears and Rams have yet to drop a single conference contest while a few teams have suffered two or three setbacks.

So, these are the two teams to watch over the next few weeks – the Rams are idle this weekend but will conclude the month by visiting Massachusetts Maritime Academy while Bridgewater State will play back-to-back games at home against Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth.  

After hosting the Corsairs, the Bears will visit Framingham State with the outcome most likely deciding who will represent the conference in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Framingham State has scored two important wins against UMass Dartmouth and Western Connecticut while Bridgewater State has only beaten one of those teams.

While Bridgewater State and Framingham State will certainly be the two teams to watch over the next few weeks, keep your eyes on UMass Dartmouth down the stretch as they could possibly conclude the season in second place, as well as secure a bid to the New England Bowl.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

The Leaders: Trinity College (5-0, 5-0), Wesleyan University (5-0, 5-0), and Williams College (5-0, 5-0)

In the Hunt: Amherst College (3-2, 3-2)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Williams College at Bates College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Trinity College at Colby College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Middlebury College at Wesleyan University (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The final four weeks of the NESCAC are going to be interesting – maybe we should not overlook Amherst College, which has won three of five matchups this fall?

The Mammoths, along with the Bantams, Cardinals, and Ephs will all compete against each other during the final three weeks, which makes us think that maybe the Purple and White could play spoiler to these three undefeated teams. Perhaps they finish second or third?

Trinity has been fun to watch (and follow), but rather impressive from what we have watched on film. The same could be said for coach Mark Raymond’s Ephs.

As for Wesleyan – sorry, the “Cardiac Cardinals” – they have found ways to win games, especially these last three weeks against Bates, Bowdoin College, and Tufts University.

The Bantams are “the team” we believe will finish with either eight or nine wins, along with the conference crown, but anything is possible – get ready for an exciting ending to the 2021 NESCAC football season!  


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

The Leaders: Catholic University (5-2, 3-0), Springfield College (3-3, 2-0), and United States Merchant Marine Academy (6-0, 3-0)  

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Springfield at WPI (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
  • Catholic at Merchant Marine (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)

Synopsis: Before every NEWMAC team began competing against each other, the Mariners of Merchant Marine appeared to be well on their way to securing the league title. But things have changed.

Heading into this weekend, the Mariners are one of three teams that have yet to lose a conference matchup – this week, Merchant Marine hosts Catholic in a very important contest that we’ll be watching from afar.

Catholic has been a great story this season – the Cardinals have won five of seven matchups thus far, including a non-league tilt with Endicott College last month. Their two setbacks came against Randolph-Macon College and Christopher Newport University, but it seems as if both losses provide the Cardinals with a better understanding of what they must do to be successful once conference play commenced.

After starting its season with a 1-3 record, the Pride of Springfield have rebounded by winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy (60-0) and Norwich University (56-7), thanks to an impressive ground attack that is led by Isaiah Cashwell-Doe, Patrick Ladas, and Tim Callahan.

Look for the ground game to carry Springfield to their fourth win on Saturday when the Pride heads to Worcester to compete against WPI.   

Observations & Thoughts From Five Weeks of New England D2 & D3 Football

Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak set the program record for touchdown receptions last weekend against Salve Regina. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By Matt Noonan

We’re slowly reaching the halfway mark of the 2021 college football season – crazy, right?

But the good news is there is still plenty of football left to be played.

While yesterday – Sunday, October 3, 2021 – technically marked the beginning of the sixth week of the season, here are some observations from what I have witnessed over the past few weeks.

Let’s begin in the Northeast 10 Conference (NE10) where Bentley University has won five straight contests to stretch its current winning streak to 10 games, dating back to October 2019.  

The Falcons, who currently occupy the top spot in the conference, have won three consecutive league matchups this fall, including a 34-21 contest this past weekend against Saint Anselm. Quarterback Stephen Sturm account for four touchdowns – three passing, one rushing – and 379 yards of total offense against the Hawks while Cole McCubrey registered a team-high 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops (Rene Nunez also recorded nine solo tackles).

Bentley enters the sixth week of the season as the 18th best team in Division II, according to the latest American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Poll. The Falcons are one of nine teams on this week’s list that have won five consecutive contests this fall.

West Florida and Northwest Missouri State, which secured the first and second positions in this week’s AFCA D-II Poll, boast identical 4-0 records.

As noted above, there is still a lot of football left to be played, but Bentley has certainly found ways to score hard-fought wins, both this past weekend and at the end of September against American International College.

This week, the Falcons host a Pace University squad that provided challenges for New Haven, which broke open a 14-14 tie with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Last week’s Pace-New Haven contest marked the first time the Chargers competed on the road this school year.

Coach Chris Pincince seemed proud of his team’s effort against the Setters, saying that “a win is a win, we look forward. We took another step toward another goal (of winning the Northeast 10 title) that we have.”

New Haven hosts Saint Anselm this week – the Chargers defense will be tasked with slowing down an impressive Hawks passing attack that is led by quarterback Drew Willoughby, who has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 1,410 yards in four contests.

As of now, it appears as if both Bentley and New Haven are the frontrunners for the conference crown as neither squad has dropped a league contest thus far, but don’t overlook Southern Connecticut (3-2, 2-1), Assumption College (2-3, 2-1), and Stonehill College (3-1, 1-1). All three, along with possible American International College could conclude the season in the top spot.

Sure, we picked against Western New England this past weekend in the previous 10 Games to Watch – I thought Salve Regina University would continue its early-season momentum against the Golden Bears – but the Blue and Gold proved me wrong as they defeated the Seahawks, 41-3, in their initial Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) contest.

Steven Fedorchak highlighted his team’s big win over the Seahawks by setting a new program record for touchdown receptions with 23. He concluded the contest with a game-high 87 yards on six catches.

With the win, the Golden Bears returned to the top spot in our weekly poll and seem destined to occupy that position for the remainder of the season baring a future setback to say Endicott College this week or another conference foe later this fall.

We’ll share our weekly picks later this week, but from what I have seen from Western New England thus far, as well as this past weekend, they certainly are the favorite to win their fourth-straight CCC title.

Alex Cohen recorded six touchdowns last weekend in his team’s first-ever win against Keystone College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley/Anna Maria College)

Here are a few more teams to keep an eye on over the next few weeks:

Anna Maria College: The AMCATs have been a great story this fall.

Anna Maria has won three of four meetings, including its first-ever with Keystone College, which saw quarterback Alex Cohen account for six touchdowns – five passing and one rushing.

Last Saturday’s win provided coach Dan Mulrooney with his seventh victory as the AMCATs head coach – the seven wins are the most recorded by a head coach in program history, dating back to their initial season in 2009.

Anna Maria has never won the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) but could be in line for the title, pending how the next few weeks play out.

Framingham State: After losing back-to-back non-conference games earlier this season, the Rams have bounced back, winning three straight, including their first conference clash of the season with UMass Dartmouth.

Coach Tom Kelley’s squad enters the sixth week of the season tied with Bridgewater State for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) – the two teams will compete next month in Framingham.

The Rams pitched their first shutout of the season last weekend against Plymouth State (33-0) and will attempt to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday when they visit Fitchburg State for a 3 p.m. kick-off.

Norwich University: The Cadets scored a big win last weekend against Coast Guard Academy to secure a three-way tie atop the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings.

After starting their 2021 campaign with back-to-back losses, Norwich has rebounded quite well – hey, they did not make things easy on Endicott, which rallied to beat the Cadets on their home field.

Keep an eye on the Cadets moving forward – maybe their win against Coast Guard Academy is just the start of an exciting second-half run.

Trinity College: I watched the Bantams game last weekend against Middlebury College and came away impressed.

Trinity blanked the defending champions by a score of 28-0, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Spencer Fetter, who has thrown eight touchdowns this fall while completing 62 of 91 passes for 952 yards.

Fetter was impressive, but the same could be said for others, including halfback William Kirby and linebacker Brian Casagrande, who both scored one touchdown last weekend.

Trinity is one of three New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams that have yet to drop a game this season – they will attempt to continue their winning ways on Saturday when they visit Hamilton College for a 1 p.m. kick-off.

University of New England: The Nor’easters are one win away from matching their program record for wins in a single season after capturing their last three matchups, including a pair of non-league wins over Alfred State and Bridgewater State.

Last Saturday, UNE scored its first win in program history against Nichols College, thanks to three rushing touchdowns from Jack Mahoney, Jaymeson Maheux, and Connor Sirois.   

UNE travels to Salve Regina this weekend for its second conference tilt of the 2021 season.