Tag: NEWMAC

Four New England D3 Football Teams Are Headed To The NCAA Tournament

Endicott College will make its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament this week since 2013. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway Sports Photography)

By Matt Noonan

In just a few hours, we will learn the opening round matchups of the 2021 NCAA Division III Tournament with four New England teams scheduled to compete in the opening round.

One of the four teams — Framingham State — is making its third-straight trip to the national postseason while the other three, including Endicott College, are making their first appearance in a few seasons.

Let’s highlight the four local teams that will be competing in the national postseason, as well as how things played out in their previous appearances.

Anna Maria College (7-2, 5-1 ECFC): Coach Dan Mulrooney and his AMCATs made history this fall by winning their first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title on Saturday with a 31-7 victory over SUNY-Maritime. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Privateers, dating back to Anna Maria’s first season as a varsity program, but this particular trip will be the team’s initial appearance in the national tournament.

Endicott College (8-2, 5-1 CCC): Saturday’s 37-3 victory over Nichols College provided the Gulls with their first conference crown since 2013 when they beat Salve Regina in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship game. Endicott secured a matchup with Rowan University but saw their second trip to the playoffs conclude in the opening round with a 24-0 setback. The Gulls’ initial trip to the national tournament came in 2010 — they lost to SUNY Cortland by a score of 49-35 after edging Maine Maritime Academy in the NEFC Championship one week earlier.

In addition to two trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Gulls have appeared in four bowl games, winning a pair of ECAC North Atlantic bowls against Mount Ida College and Norwich University, along with two appearances in the New England Bowl (beat Dean College in 2019, lost to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2018).

Framingham State (8-2, 8-0 MASCAC): The Rams are heading back to the postseason for the third consecutive season after winning eight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchups this fall.

Framingham State is seeking its initial postseason win — the Black and Gold have competed in the national tournament five times in the last nine years. They made their first appearance in 2012 after beating Salve Regina in the New England Football Conference championship — Framingham State lost to SUNY Cortland by a score of 20-19.

In addition to competing in the NCAA Tournament, coach Tom Kelley‘s Rams have won two New England Bowls in 2016 and 2017 to go with a pair of ECAC Bowl games.

Springfield College (7-3, 6-0 NEWMAC): The Pride punched their ticket to the postseason with a 28-14 victory on Saturday over Catholic University.

Springfield will represent the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in the postseason for the second time in program history — they captured the conference crown in 2017 with a 10-0 overall record but lost their opening-round matchup to Husson University.

The Pride’s initial appearance in the national postseason came in 1998 when coach Mike DeLong‘s squad lost its opening-round contest to Buffalo State by a score of 38-35. They would return two years later, winning back-to-back contests against Montclair State (first round) and Brockport (second round) before losing to Widener University in the NCAA East Regional Final.

Springfield’s 2000 postseason run was the furthest any Pride team would advance in the national tournament — they did advance to the second round in 2006 but lost to St. John Fisher by a score of 27-21. One round earlier, Springfield rolled past Curry College, 42-14.

Springfield Inches Closers To A NEWMAC Title

Christian Hutra botted a 33-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter on Saturday to cap a come-from-behind win for Springfield. (PHOTO COURTESY: Roy Chambers)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Springfield College football team is one win away from capturing their second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown in program history, thanks to a 17-7 victory last night against MIT.

With a win on Saturday against Catholic University, the Pride will secure the league’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament, which will begin Saturday, November 20.

David Wells highlighted his team’s win against the Engineers by rushing for a game-high 142 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns while completing two passes for 19 yards.

Christian Hutra’s 33-yard field goal with 4:55 remaining in the fourth quarter sealed the come-from-behind win as the Engineers led the Pride, 7-6, at the break, thanks to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Chris Mauck to Dennis Gastel with 6:48 remaining in the second quarter.

Springfield produced 402 yards of total offense on 85 plays while MIT finished with 181 yards on 50 plays.

The Pride was picked to win the league crown prior to their initial game of the 2021 season – Springfield garnered two first-place votes and started their campaign with one win and three losses. They have not lost a game since losing to Husson University at the end of September.

Noontime’s Small College Football Roundup: Springfield Edges USMMA, 28-23

DJ Brown and the Springfield College football team outlasted the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) on Saturday to keep their conference title hopes alive. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Tim Callahan rushed for a team-high 137 yards and one score – his lone touchdown with 10:39 remaining in the third quarter proved to be the difference as Springfield College outlasted the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), 28-23, to secure the inside track to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title.

Springfield, which moves to 5-3 overall and 4-0 against league foes, snapped the Mariners’ seven-game winning streak that included some impressive conference victories against Catholic University and MIT, two teams the Pride will face next month.  

USMMA’s Ian Blankenship produced 313 yards of total offense, including 178 yards on the ground on 23 carries.

Springfield’s Patrick Ladas and David Wells combined for 148 yards and three rushing touchdowns while DJ Brown led the Pride’s defense with 10 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one fumble recovery.

The Pride will visit MIT next Saturday, November 6 – the Engineers will enter the game on a two-game winning streak, thanks to a 21-7 victory against Coast Guard Academy.

WPI snapped a six-game losing streak with a 28-2 victory over Norwich University for the team’s first conference win since November 16, 2019 (their last conference win was also against the Cadets).

Brendan Olexa completed 15 of 25 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns while Brandon Winn and Zachary Levy each located the end zone once while combining for 90 yards rushing.

UMass Dartmouth snapped a six-game losing streak to Bridgewater State with a 26-20 victory to become the first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) squad to win seven games this season.

Dante Aviles-Santos tossed four touchdowns in the win, including the go-head score with 13:58 remaining in the final stanza when he located Douglas Machado for an 18-yard strike.

Bridgewater State led UMass Dartmouth, 20-14, at the break, thanks to a 25-yard touchdown run by Adam Couch, who became the ninth halfback in program history to record 1,000 yards or more in a single-season.

Despite the loss, the Bears remain in contention for the conference crown, but need to win their final two contests, including next week’s matchup with Framingham State.

The Rams inched closer to securing the conference crown by defeating Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 23-14, in Buzzards Bay. Devaun Ford recorded two touchdowns in the win, including a 75-yard rushing touchdown with 8:55 remaining in the third quarter that provided the visitors with the lead for good.

Amherst College forced overtime and then beat Wesleyan University in the fourth extra session, 16-14, thanks Brad Breckenridge, who threw for 170 yards and one touchdown.

Breckenridge’s lone touchdown pass to PJ Clementi with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter sent the game to extra sessions where the Mammoths were able to convert a two-point conversion in the fourth overtime.

Wesleyan entered the ninth week of the season with a perfect record – the same could be said for Trinity College and Williams College. The Ephs rolled past the Bantams, 42-3, in Williamstown to secure the top spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with two weeks remaining in the regular season.  

Other outcomes to note from a very busy Saturday: Castleton University outlasted Anna Maria College, 38-31, Colby College beat Bates College, 10-2, and Plymouth State topped Westfield State, 17-7.  

Bentley University and the University of New Haven both scored important Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) wins this afternoon as the Falcons soared past Franklin Pierce University while the Chargers topped Assumption College, 16-10.

Both teams will meet next weekend in New Haven, Connecticut with the top spot in the NE10 up for grabs.  

Noontime’s D3 Football Teams to Watch in Week Six

Joshua Onujiogu and the Framingham State defense shined last week against Plymouth State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Frank Poulin Photography)

By Matt Noonan

The second half of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III football season begins this weekend – man, that first half went by quick, eh?

Luckily, there is still plenty of football left to be played, and as usual, it is time to highlight our five teams to watch this weekend.

Amherst College (2-1, 2-1 NESCAC): Through three weeks of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season, the Mammoths have been a pleasant surprise, winning two of three contests, including a 24-21 victory last weekend against Tufts University.

Quarterback Brad Breckenridge concluded last week’s game with 223 yards of total offense, including 103 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Saturday’s performance against the Jumbos was Breckenridge’s most impressive outing this fall after struggling one week earlier against the Colby College defense.  

As a team, Amherst’s best effort occurred two weeks ago in an opening day win against Bates College when the Purple and White recorded 432 yards of total offense. Can they duplicate that performance this week against Middlebury College?

In addition to watching Brad Breckenridge, make sure to keep your eyes on defensive back Matt Durborow, who concluded last week’s game against Tufts with 12 total tackles, including five solo stops (Ryan Monteleone also recorded 12 total tackles, too).

Framingham State (3-2, 3-0 MASCAC): Tom Kelley’s squad has seemed to click into gear heading into the stretch run.

After starting its season with back-to-back losses, the Rams have won three consecutive conference tilts, including a 33-0 win over Plymouth State last Saturday.

Devaun Ford rushed for a pair of scores while Elijah Nichols hauled in a game-high 12 receptions for 116 yards. Cully Curran paced the defense with five solo tackles while the unit combined for four sacks and eight tackles for a loss of 44 yards. Framingham’s defense also recorded four pass breakups and one quarterback hurry.

This week, the Rams visit Fitchburg State, which is seeking its first win under Scott Sperone. A win for Framingham State certainly would provide them with additional momentum heading into next week’s conference clash with Western Connecticut.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (3-1, 2-0 MASCAC): The Buccaneers enter the sixth week of the season riding a two-game winning streak that will be tested on Saturday against a UMass Dartmouth squad that suffered its second setback of the 2021 season last weekend to Western Connecticut.

A win over the Corsairs would keep the Buccaneers in the race for the top spot for the conference crown.

Cole Keefe, Hunter Lassere, and Mack Brown led the Massachusetts Maritime defense last week against Westfield State – the unit tallied five sacks and 12 tackles for a loss of 56 yards to go with one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. Expect the Buccaneers defense to provide the UMass Dartmouth offense with some challenges.

Norwich University (2-3, 1-0 NEWMAC): The Cadets looked pretty good last weekend against Coast Guard Academy – Norwich beat the Bears, 24-21, for its initial New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory.

Norwich concluded the game with 492 yards of total offense and converted two fourth-down attempts.

Trevor Chase led all receivers with eight grabs for 155 yards and two touchdowns while Jeremy Henault stuffed the stat sheet with five solo stops, including one tackle for a loss of four yards, two interceptions, and one pass breakup.

Last week’s win resulted in Norwich securing a spot on our weekly Top 20 poll.

This weekend, Norwich will need to play its best football against the top team in the conference: the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Western Connecticut (3-2, 2-1 MASCAC): With a 34-19-win last week over UMass Dartmouth, the Colonials have found themselves back in the conference crown mix.

Mack Driver highlighted his team’s third win of the season by rushing for 119 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns while Ambrose Richards registered eight total tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 12 yards.

Coach Joe Loth praised his team for their effort against the Corsairs, saying his squad “executed three great game plans” on offense, defense, and special teams.

All three units will be tasked with executing great game plans again this week against Plymouth State.

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.