Tag: Pace University

Five New England D2 Teams To Watch This Fall

Khyon Fitzpatrick and the New Haven Chargers will once again be a squad to watch in the Northeast-10 this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our preseason college football coverage continues by highlighting five New England NCAA Division II teams to watch this fall – all the teams listed below compete in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10).

In case you missed it, make sure to check out our New England FCS and Division III teams to watch, as well.

American International College (AIC): After beginning their 2021 campaign with three-straight wins, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Pace University, the Yellow Jackets’ winning ways vanished with a hard-fought loss to Bentley. AIC would lose its next five contests before ending its season with a 14-7 victory over the Setters.

The hope for the Yellow Jacket is they can use their final contest from 2021 as motivation – perhaps a learning lesson? – for what they must do to contend for a conference title.

AIC was competitive last fall – they certainly provided challenges for the top teams in the league but look for coach Kris Kulzer’s squad to finish with a few more wins this fall.

Wide receivers Jaheim McGuire and Jaxon Ramsay return after combining for 64 catches, 1,079 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns.

Bentley University: A new signal-caller will be spotted under center this fall – quarterback Stephen Sturm graduated following an impressive career with the Falcons, which saw him throw for 7,166 yards and 58 touchdowns in four seasons.

Additionally, Bentley will have a new coach as Alvin Reynolds takes over for Bill Kavanaugh, who stepped down as the head football coach in March. Reynolds has been with the Falcons since 2018 – prior to arriving in Waltham, he spent time with a slew of NFL teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Jacksonville Jaguars

Reynolds will guide a Falcons squad that finished 9-2 overall last year, as well as secured a bid to the NCAA Division II postseason for the first time since 2004.

Halfback Nathaniel Larkins, who finished second on the team with 558 rushing yards, returns, along with wide receiver Noah Neville (32 catches for 555 yards and six touchdowns). Linebacker Salvatore Lupoli Jr. also returns – he placed second on the team in total tackles with 90.0.

Saint Anselm College: Quarterback Drew Willoughby will be the player to watch on the Hawks this fall.

Named the NE10 Rookie of the Year last November, Willoughby enjoyed an impressive debut with the Royal Blue and White by completing 251 of 431 passing attempts for 2,803 yards and 22 touchdowns. Additionally, he added three scores on the ground.

Willoughby led Saint Anselm’s to three conference wins last year – the hope is he can continue his impressive play this fall, beginning in the opening week against Millersville University.

Halfback Vincent Wagner returns, as well, along with wide receiver Anthony Brown, who led the Hawks with nine touchdown receptions.

Southern Connecticut State University: The Owls won four of 10 contests last fall, including a non-league victory over Central Connecticut State University in the opening week (the Blue Devils, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) squad, compete in the Northeast Conference (NEC)).

As a team, SCSU averaged 332.4 yards per game – most of their offensive yards came through the air, thanks to wide receivers Tylon Papallo and Izaiah Sanders, who represented the program on the league’s second team. Papallo and Sanders combined for 10 touchdown receptions to go with 76 catches for 1,196.

The expectation is both student-athletes will return this fall, which will certainly pose problems for opposing defenses.

Linebacker Robert Nunez, who earned NE10 All-Rookie honors, will also be a player to watch on the Owls. He finished second on the team in total tackles

 (63.0) and solo stops (29.0).

University of New Haven: 27 graduate students helped the Chargers not only finish atop the NE10 final standings last fall with 10 victories but also advance to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament (UNH beat Bentley in the opening round before falling to Kutztown University).

It’s possible a few of these student-athletes will return this fall, but UNH will return some underclassmen, including defensive back Khyon Fitzpatrick, who finished second on the team with 62.0 total tackles.

Fitzpatrick was recently named a preseason first-teamer by The College Football Network (TCFN) – he, along with Bentley’s Cedie Dashiell II, was the only two student-athletes from the NE10 on the list.  

New Haven has been the team to watch (and follow) these last few years in the NE10 so the expectation is they will once again be in the hunt for a league crown.

Noonan: The 2021 Small College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

The first ten week of the small college (NCAA Division II and Division III) college football season have been very exciting. But what will happen in the 11th week? We’ll just have to wait and find out. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By Matt Noonan

We have reached the final week of the small college football regular season – that went by fast!

And while there is still more football to be played after the final whistle sounds for most contests tomorrow, I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on the last 10 weeks.

To say the 2021 New England Division II and Division III college football season has been fun would be an understatement. It has been a blast – can I say incredible?

Many fields, bleachers and press boxes sat quietly at this time one year ago – yes, Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy did compete in the Secretaries Cup, but that was the closest we would get to a small college football experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic (other teams outside our region did compete once, twice or a few times last fall or this spring).

Tomorrow, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine will meet again – the contest will mark coach Mike Toop’s final regular season game with the Mariners while a slew of other teams, including Amherst College, Anna Maria College, Husson University, Bentley University, and the University of New Haven will also be in action.

There will be games that will decide conference champions.

There will be contests pitting two rivalries.

And there will be matchups between two teams – excuse me, two programs – looking to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the offseason.

But no matter the outcome of every small college football game tomorrow, both locally and around the country, a celebration should be in store for everyone as this will be a season we should all remember five, ten and yes, 50 years from now.

The 2021 small college football season provided us with a sense of joy and excitement that maybe we did not have before the pandemic. But it also provided us with some new (and exciting) storylines like Anna Maria winning its most games in a single season with six victories as of this evening to New Haven capturing its first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012 with an impressive win one week ago against Bentley.  

Framingham State won another Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown after starting 0-2 for the second consecutive season, and American International College was one of a handful of teams to watch from the get-go, especially when they were winning dramatic road games, including a come-from-behind 40-33 victory in week two against Pace University.

Of course, there were others – and yes, there are still more stories being written as I type this somewhat “ode-to-the 2021 small college football season.” But no matter what, it has been so much fun seeing the local teams back on the gridiron this fall – enjoy the final day of the regular season, everyone, and make sure to stop by for a few blog posts throughout the weekend.  

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.

D3 Football: Endicott Enters The 2019 Season With Some Additional Motivation

Endicott FB ONE
Endicott College senior Andrew Tudino prepares to snap the ball in practice. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nicholas Grace/Endicott College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

In the words of coach Paul McGonagle, last season was “good, but not great” for the Endicott College football team.

The Gulls posted their first winning season since 2013 but struggled to maintain their mid-to-late season momentum down the stretch when they lost back-to-back contests to Merchant Marine and Salve Regina.

Both setbacks, according to McGonagle, provided the unit with some additional motivation heading into the offseason.

“It’s given us some good drive in the offseason, spring ball, winter, and for the guys in the summertime,” said McGonagle, who is entering his second season with the Endicott football program.

That extra motivation will be put to the test this Friday, September 6th when the Gulls entertain Framingham State in their season-opener at 7 p.m.

Endicott has high hopes for this season and hopes last year’s ending will provide the squad with the motivation it needs to capture its first conference crown en route to a national postseason appearance.


What you should know about the 2019 Endicott Gulls 

The Gulls’ schedule2019 will present some unique challenges for the Gulls, who are scheduled to compete against a trio of NCAA Tournament teams from last season, including Husson University and Western New England, two teams that compete against Endicott in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).

McGonagle considers the 2019 schedule “a challenge,” but also a “very competitive schedule” that will certainly test his returners and newcomers.

“We play three NCAA playoff teams (from a year ago),” said McGonagle when discussing the team’s schedule.

“We have Husson joining our conference this year, which will make it more competitive, and then we have Framingham and Wesley (College) coming up from Delaware, so it is a great challenge for our guys and hopefully they will be ready for it.”

Endicott FB 2
Senior quarterback Joe Kalosky will once again be a focal point of the Endicott College offense. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols Grace/Endicott College Athletics)

The second year of Endicott’s new offenseLast season, the Gulls implemented a new offense that seemed identical to what the Philadelphia Eagles ran during their 2017 march toward their first-ever Super Bowl championship in franchise history. And that was a run-pass option (RPO) offense, a scheme the Gulls used frequently with moving the ball up and down the field.

Operating an RPO offense was something quarterback Joe Kalosky seemed to like – he is excited to apply what he learned in the offseason from studying his team’s game film – but as McGonagle said, “we are a whatever it takes” offense.

“Football is a copycat (game), so we do RPO’s, but we also do other stuff, too,” said McGonagle.

“(Last season), there were three games where we rushed for over 300 yards and there were games where we threw for over 300 yards, so we are not one dimensional. There are RPO’s, there are regular old school dropbacks, play action, three-step drops (and much more), so I think it helps us out when it is a sunny game or a rainy game.”

McGonagle praised Kalosky’s effort to improve his game this past spring and summer and believes “the sky is the limit” for the Plymouth, Connecticut native, who did run some RPO plays in high school.

Kalosky enjoyed his best season with the Gulls last fall, recording career-bests in competition percentage (56.5%) and touchdown passes (24). He also rushed for a career-high 365 yards on 40 carries for two touchdowns.

Last season’s ending has motivated Endicott’s defenseFor junior linebacker Kevin O’Brien, last year’s final two contests against Merchant Marine and Salve Regina has become the motivation for this year’s defense.

“The defense would like to have those last two games back,” said O’Brien, who played high school football at Braintree High School.

“The two games were high-scoring and we were one or two stops away from a different outcome, so we’re going to focus on putting all four quarters together, putting the whole season together and having to not rely on Joe and this offense to put up big numbers for us to win.”

O’Brien will be one of many returners to lead a unit that limited opposing offenses to 27.5 points per game last season. Endicott graduated some key pieces from last year’s defense, including linebacker William Rivera, who recorded 114.0 total tackles in 11 contests.

Replicating Rivera’s production won’t be easy, but as O’Brien said of this year’s linebacking core, “it will be more of a group effort.”

In addition to O’Brien, Endicott will certainly rely on defensive back Steven Abbott, who recorded a career-high 61.0 total tackles last fall, as well as Tim Russell, who transferred from Hamilton College after posting 74.0 tackles in two seasons with the Continentals.

Sam Opont will also be a player to watch on defense, too – the Bridgeport, Connecticut native tallied a career-high 53.0 total tackles last fall as a defensive lineman, including 6.5 tackles for a loss.

Nick DiCairano is focused on “consistency” this fall: Heading into his second and final season with the Gulls, Nick DiCairano, who began his collegiate career kicking for Pace University in the Northeast-10 Conference, seems focused on being more consistent this fall after tallying 80 points on 44 extra points and 12 field goals.

“I think this year (I am) mostly focusing on cosistency, ” said DiCairano, who was tabbed our Noontime Sports Special Teamer of 2018.

“Whatever happened last year, happened last year. I am not even thinking about it. The coaches and even everyone on the team have really helped me get into the mindset of one kick at a time (and) focus on what I can control.

“I am fortunate enough to have an amazing snapper and holder, which takes the weight off my shoulders, and helps me be more consistent, too. But I think just going into the year I have been really focusing on being consistent and taking every kick one at a time.”

While DiCairano has certainly been a player to watch on extra points and field goals, he is also someone McGonagle can rely on for opening kickoffs, too.

“Nick is a very valuable player to this program,” said McGonagle.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

Mass. College Football: 10 Games To Watch This Weekend

By NoontimeSports.com 

The 10th week of the college football season kicks-off this weekend and below are 10 Games to Watch.

Virginia Tech at Boston College (Saturday, 12 p.m.): The Eagles will look to bounce back their 34-10 loss to North Carolina last weekend. BC’s Steve Addazio won’t be making any quarterback changes, but expects Chase Rettig to have a good game.

Pace at Stonehill (Saturday, 12 p.m.): The “Comeback Kids” will entertain a winless Pace squad on Saturday. The Skyhawks have won three straight, including their exciting victory a few weeks ago against New Haven, and will look to conclude their “Senior Day” festivities with a victory.

Norwich at Mount Ida (Saturday, 12 p.m.): “Mustang City” has won three straight and currently resides in second place in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) with three other teams. One of those teams happens to be the Cadets, a squad they defeated a year ago in Newton. A win against Norwich would keep Mount Ida’s conference championship hopes alive.

Merrimack at Assumption (Saturday, 1 p.m.): The Warriors will take their high-powered offense on the road this weekend to face an impressive Hounds unit that’s 5-3 overall. Merrimack quarterback Joe Clancy leads the Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) with 38 touchdowns and 405.9 passing yards per game.

AIC at New Haven (Saturday, 1 p.m.): The Yellow Jackets will take their four-game winning streak on the road against a Chargers squad, which earned a 40-21 victory a week ago against Southern Connecticut. AIC, New Haven and Stonehill are tied for first in the NE-10, so this game is important for both units.

Mass. Maritime at Framingham State (Saturday, 1 p.m.): Are you ready for another edition of the Kelley Cup? The Buccaneers and Rams will meet for the second straight year in Framingham, and you can expect Massachusetts Maritime to have a chip on their shoulder, especially after losing in overtime a year ago.

Trinity at Amherst (Saturday, 1 p.m.): The Lord Jeffs returned to the win column last week by defeating Tufts in Medford, 17-7. This week, they’ll face a Trinity squad that’s coming off a three-point setback to Middlebury. Trinity enters the contest as the second best scoring offense in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), while Amherst checks in as the second best scoring defense.

So. Connecticut at Bentley (Saturday, 2 p.m.): The Falcons will look to snap its two-game skid on “Senior Day” against a quality Owls unit. As always, keep an eye on wide receiver Jeff Hill and quarterback Danny Guadagnoli.

Dartmouth at Harvard (Saturday, 5 p.m.): Coming off a triple-overtime loss to Princeton, the Crimson will look to rebound against a quality Big Green opponent. As usual, keep an eye on sophomore halfback Paul Stanton Jr., who rushed for two scores last weekend.

Endicott at MIT (Saturday, 5 p.m.): After earning an impressive win on the road last weekend at Western New England, MIT will look to continue their momentum against a talented Gulls squad, which hasn’t lost a contest since September 21 against Kean. Endicott’s defense has done its job over the past two weeks against Coast Guard and Nichols, but will definitely need to pressure quarterback Peter Williams, as well as stop the halfback duo of Justin Wallace and Brad Goldsberry.