Get Read For FCS New England Football This Spring

Most FCS New England football teams will compete in a few contests this spring. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan

The thought of seeing spring football in New England is slowly becoming a reality, especially for a handful of NCAA Division I FCS programs.

Yesterday, the Patriot League announced plans to play a shortened season this spring, which means Holy Cross will have a chance to compete for its second-straight league title after securing the conference crown in 2019.

Maine and New Hampshire will also compete this spring – the two teams will compete against members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) North Division. The CAA’s spring season is slated to begin on Saturday, February 20 with Davidson visiting Elon and James Madison hosting Morehead State.

Rhode Island, which is one of seven teams that makes-up the CAA’s North Division, will also be in action this spring – the Rams are currently scheduled to compete against Bryant on Saturday, February 27.

The CAA will not have a championship game like the Patriot League. Instead, the team with “the best overcall conference record” will secure the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Football Championship, which will begin Saturday, April 24.

The Northeastern Conference (NEC) plans to play a four-game conference schedule, which is good news for fans of Bryant, Central Connecticut, Merrimack, and Sacred Heart. Games will be played on Sundays or midweek with a conference championship expected to take place on either Friday, April 16 or Saturday, April 17.

As noted on Twitter, by Brett McMurphy of Stadium, the FCS national title game will be played Sunday, May 16 in Frisco, Texas.

Decisions On The 2020 College Football Could Come This Week

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The question of if and when college football returns should be answered in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Ken Lund on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA)

By Matt Noonan 

The debate about if and how college football could be played during a pandemic may be answered this week, especially after a flurry of activity this past weekend between Power 5 conferences convening remotely, per reports, to the Mid-American Athletic Conference (MAC) becoming the first F.B.S. league to cancel its 2020 season.

Last night – Sunday, August 9, to be exact – we learned the Big Ten conference, which met twice this weekend, is leaning toward canceling its football season. And if football is canceled, it is likely both the presidents and chancellors of each institution would pull the plug on other fall sports, too.

An announcement from the Big Ten is expected if not today definitely this week, and pending the league’s final decision on the 2020 fall sports season, it is possible other Power 5 conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) could cancel their respective fall sports seasons or perhaps make tweaks to their newly updated schedules.

While nothing official has been announced by the Big Ten or any Power 5 conference as of this morning, Bob Bowlsby, who is the commissioner of the Big 12, did provide some insight into what leagues might take into consideration when deciding to cancel games this fall: players enduring longlasting cardiac issues from contracting the coronavirus (Covid-19) that may prohibit them from future competition.

As noted in a recent story from Sports Illustrated, team doctors and physicians are worried that youth athletes, who are healthy and may be asymptomatic, could develop life-long heart problems, including myocardial, which causes damage to the heart muscle. It appears this issue is just one of many both presidents and chancellors are grappling with when it comes to making a decision on the 2020 fall sports season.

Here in New England, it appears as if both Boston College and the University of Massachusetts will play football this fall, but it is not a given that either program will play or perhaps complete its entire schedule. It is possible, pending future announcements from the Big Ten and other leagues, that both seasons could be canceled or punted to next spring.

Merrimack College, which competes in the Northeastern Conference (NEC), will have to wait and see if their football team will be allowed to play games this fall. According to last month’s update, the NEC President’s council will reconvene on Thursday, October 1 to assess the ongoing pandemic and see if it’s possible to provide not just the Warriors, but every team in the conference with some form of competition.

Other New England schools, including those that compete at both the Division II and III levels, will not be competing this fall, despite some athletic departments still not announcing that fall sports are canceled. But it is likely those announcements could come if not this week later this month once students return to campus.

At the end of the day, these are not easy decisions, so fans and football fanatics need to respect whatever is announced either today or over the next few days. Yes, no college football in the fall would seem strange, but if these decisions result in keeping the student-athletes safe, along with everyone else involved with college athletics safe and healthy, then we should applaud both the presidents and chancellors for making the right call.

New England Football Offseason Notebook: FSU’s Kelley Announces Retirement

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Weeks after guiding his team to a ninth Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title, along with an appearance in the NCAA D-III Football Tournament, Framingham State University football coach Tom Kelley announced his retirement on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020.

Kelley, who is an alum of the program, coached the Rams for 13 seasons. He guided Framingham State to five NCAA Tournaments and four bowl victories, including a 3016 New England Bowl championship.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to have been the head coach of the football program at Framingham State for the past 13 seasons,” Kelley said via Wednesday’s announcement on the Framingham State athletics website.

“As a former player, I could not be more proud of our teams and all the fine student-athletes who have come through the program. I was lucky to be surrounded by great coaches on our staff throughout the years that helped lead our teams to so much success.

“At this point, it is time for me to step away from coaching with the program sitting in a great spot coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.  It’s time to put the horse in the barn.”

Framingham State won 107 games under the direction of Kelley, including 100 games in the last 13 seasons. Kelley has coached two AFCA All-Americans while being named the coach of the year eight times by five different organizations, including the New England Football Writers in 2012 when he led the Rams to a New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship, NEFC Bogan Division title, a MASCAC crown, and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Kelley will remain in his current role as the school’s Director of Athletics while an announcement of a new coach should be coming within the next few weeks.

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Endicott College’s Nick DiCairano will represent the Gulls in The Dream Bowl on Monday, January 21dt, 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nick Grace)

Endicott College senior kicker Nick DiCairano will be representing the Gulls’ football program next Monday, January 21st, 2020 at The Dream Bowl in Salem, Virginia at the Salem Football Stadium, as announced earlier this week on the athletic department’s website.

The Dream Bowl, which started seven years ago, “is a College Football All-Star Showcase of the best FCS, D-II, and D-III players from across the country.”

DiCairano will compete on the 2020 Crusaders team – he will be joined by a few other New England college football players, including Framingham State’s Dwayne Hunter-Parker.

Last month, DiCairano represented Endicott in the National Bowl College All-Star Game after producing an impressive senior season with the Gulls, which included career-bests in field goals (13), extra points made (57) and points (96). His longest field goal of the 2019 season was a 47-yard kick, which he recorded three times against Framingham State, Curry College, and Salve Regina University.

In addition to DiCairano, a few other New England college football players will be competing next Monday at The Dream Bowl, including Sacred Heart wide receiver Kezio Snelling, who was named to the Northeastern Conference (NEC) second team last November.

Also on the Crusaders is Derek Mountain and Corey Stefanik of Holy Cross and Momodou Mbye and Kevin Lawrence of Rhode Island College.

Mass. High Schools: Somerville Unveils 2019 Football Schedule

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The Somerville Highlanders will play a trio of regular-season games at Dilboy Stadium this fall. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com) 

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

The Somerville High School football team’s schedule for the 2019 season has been released with the Highlanders scheduled to host a trio of regular-season contests, including their season-opener against Falmouth on Saturday, September 14th with kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Six days after hosting the Clippers the Highlanders will entertain Malden on Friday, September 20th for their initial Greater Boston League (GBL) meeting before visiting the defending Division I champions St. John’s Prep (Danvers) one week later.

The Highlanders will commence October with a visit from Ipswich on Saturday, October 5th before embarking on a three-game road trip with visits to Concord-CarlisleEverett, and Medford.

Somerville will spend the month of November competing in postseason or non-postseason contests before capping the month with their annual pre-Thanksgiving Day meeting with Cambridge to compete for the Picket Fence. Somerville captured the Picket Fence last season, thanks to a late fourth-quarter touchdown run by quarterback Louis Montina.

The Highlanders concluded 2018 with a 4-7 record – they snapped their seven-game losing streak with a trio of non-postseason wins against Wilmington, Wakefield, and North Reading before edging Cambridge, 23-19.

2019 will mark the first time since in three years that Somerville will compete in the GBL after competing the past two seasons in the Northeastern Conference (NEC).

Coach Makonnen Fenton will welcome back some key pieces from last year’s squad, including Montina, halfback Fred Castin and wide receiver Miyard Joseph.


Somerville High School 2019 Schedule

  • Saturday, August 31st – Jamboree at Everett High School (3 p.m.)
  • Saturday, September 14th – Falmouth at Somerville (12 p.m.) 
  • Friday, September 20th – Malden at Somerville (7 p.m.) 
  • Friday, September 27th – Somerville at St. John’s Prep (7 p.m.)
  • Saturday, October 5th – Ipswich at Somerville (2 p.m.) 
  • Friday, October 11th – Somerville at Concord-Carlisle (7 p.m.)
  • Friday, October 18th – Somerville at Everett (7 p.m.)
  • Friday, October 25th – Somerville at Medford (7 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, November 27th – Somerville at Cambridge (6 p.m.)

Stay connected with our Massachusetts high school sports coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS

Mass. High Schools: The Greater Boston League Returns

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

The Greater Boston League (GBL) is back in business.

As confirmed through a press release this morning, the league is ready to begin a new era with five schools beginning next school year.

The five schools that will make-up the GBL are EverettMaldenMedfordSomerville, and Revere.

All five schools currently compete in the Northeastern Conference (NEC) but elected to reform the GBL following a two-year trial merger, which began in the spring of 2017.

Prior to merging with the NEC, the GBL was considered one of the state’s top leagues, which featured some impressive competition at all levels that would be represented in both the college and professional sports worlds.

The league’s reformation certainly has excited many, including the coaches, student-athletes, and administrators, who are ready to restart the competition between the five communities this fall.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports high school coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS