D3 Football Fan Vote: Plymouth State Tabbed Team of The Week

Plymouth State TOW 101618

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

After earning a hard-fought victory on the road last Saturday, the Plymouth State University football team scored an additional win two days later as our Noontime Sports New England D3 Football Team of the Week.

The New England D3 Football Team of the Week is decided by a Twitter poll, which was (and will continue to be) seen throughout the remainder of the season on Sunday and Monday’s through @NoontimeSports.

The Panthers secured a first-place nod in this week’s poll by collecting 57 percent of the votes, while Nichols College placed second with 26 percent. Middlebury College and Coast Guard Academy rounded out the the poll, finishing third (10 percent) and fourth (seven percent), respectively.

Against Framingham State, the Panthers used a late touchdown drive to push ahead, 29-28, before clinching the victory with a fourth down stop on the ensuing possession.

The win was the Panthers’ second-straight regular season victory against the Rams – they defeated Framingham State last season en route to sharing the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown. The win provided the Green and White an opportunity to compete in last year’s NCAA Division III Tournament, too.

Quarterback Zack Edwards concluded this past Saturday’s contest with two touchdowns, including the go-ahead strike to Max Osgood late in the fourth quarter. Halfback David Hamilton rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries (4.3 yards per carry) and one touchdown, while Jacob Szulc caught four passes for 149 yards and one touchdown.

Matt Shea highlighted the Panthers’ defense with a team-high eight total tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for a loss of three yards. Elijah Bussell ended the game with five total tackles, including four solo stops and one fumble recovery.

Kicker Jeremy Martin tallied nine points in the win on three extra points and two field goals. His longest field goal was a 35-yard boot with 30 second remaining in the second quarter, which provided the Panthers with a 10-7 advantage at the break.

Plymouth State, which is now 3-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play, will look to continue its momentum on Saturday, October 20th when they host Massachusetts Maritime Academy at 1 p.m.

Noontime Sports Top 10 New England D3 Football Poll: Week Three (Sept. 10th, 2018)

NS Week Three Poll

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports  & @Noontime_FB 

The third week of the New England D3 Football season has arrived, which means it is time to unveil our newest Top 10 poll of the season, as well as our ‘teams are on the rise.’

Springfield College secured the top spot for the third-straight week, while a trio of NESCAC teams checked-in second, third and fourth, respectively – the NESCAC football season officially begins this weekend, so we will be keeping our eyes on Trinity CollegeAmherst College and Wesleyan University.

Additionally, we will also be watching Middlebury College, which some believe could be a team to watch this fall.

Husson University returned to the poll following a bounce back win over University of New England – they face Western New England this week, which moved up one spot.

This year’s Noontime Sports Top 10 New England D3 Football poll is assembled by local coaches and media members. 


New England D3 Football: Week Three Poll | Monday, September 10th, 2018 

1. Springfield College 

2-0 | Last Week No. 1Week Three: Union (9/15)

2.  Trinity College

0-0 | Last Week No. 3

Week Three: Colby (9/15)

3. Amherst College 

0-0 | Last Week: No. 5

Week Three: Bates (9/15)

4.  Wesleyan University 

0-0 | Last Week: NR

Week Three: Middlebury (9/15)

5. Framingham State 

1-1 | Last Week: No. 2

Week Three: Bridgewater State (9/15)

 6. WPI 

1-1 | Last Week: No. 4

Week Three: Becker (9/15)

7. Plymouth State 

1-0 | Last Week: No. 6

Week Three: West Conn. (9/15)

8. MIT 

2-0 | Last Week: No. 8

Week Three: Endicott (9/15)

 9. Western New England 

1-1 | Last Week: No. 10

Week Three: Husson (9/15)

10. Husson Univ. 

1-1 | Last Week: NR

Week Three: WNE (9/15)

ON THE RISE: Bridgewater State (1-1), Castleton (1-1), Endicott (1-1), Middlebury (0-0), Salve Regina (1-1), Western Conn. (1-0), Williams College (0-0) and Worcester State (1-1) 


2018 Noontime Sports Top 10 New England D3 Football Polls 

Preseason Poll | Week One Poll | Week Two Poll 


Want more New England football coverage? Then make sure to toss @Noontime_FB a follow on Twitter NOW! 

 

Under The Helmet with Framingham State’s Quron Wright & Joshua Onujiogu

FSU Social Noontime Helmet

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

A new season of Framingham State football is set to begin tomorrow, (Saturday, September 1st) when the Rams host Endicott College in a non-conference clash at 12 p.m.

Last season, the Rams went 10-1, earning a share of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with Plymouth State before capturing its second-straight New England Bowl championship.

This season, the Rams hope to continue its  momentum from last year by leaning on its upperclassmen, including senior halfback Quron Wright and junior defensive end Joshua Onujiogu. Both players will be counted on to lead the offense and defensive, respectively.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with both student-athletes to share their outlook for the upcoming season, but also what they must do to help their respective unit, too.


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Quron Wright (2) will once again be asked to lead the Framingham State ground game this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

Quron Wright | Senior Halfback | Worcester, Mass. 

On the upperclassmen leading this year’s team: We have a bunch of new guys on this year’s team, so coach (Tom Kelley) is really putting an emphasis on the upperclassmen with helping the young guys learn their roles, while also learning where they need to be on the field (during different situations).

On this year’s offense: We’re keeping the focus on the same things we did last year, which is just trying to be a little bit faster, while keeping opposing defenses on their heels. Our biggest goal is making sure the upperclassmen make plays when needed.

On preparing for his final season: I worked out a lot this summer. I was coming off a good season from last year, so I just want to keep improving. I watched a lot of film and found things I needed to improve on this season. But for me, my goal is to be more involved in the blocking game on offense, so that has been something I have been working on this offseason.

On what motivates you to be successful: I keep the focus on myself (and improving every day). I personally think I am one of the best (running) backs in the area, so I am extremely motivated and want to end (my final season with the Rams) on a high note.

On facing Endicott College: We don’t have much film on them, so we don’t (always) know what to expect. We just try to go in there and get a feel for them, and then go from there. But it is always fun playing against them. It should be even more fun this year since we will be at home.

On qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this fall: We finished 10-1 last year, but it wasn’t what we expected, so this year we have emphasized trying to take that next step (to contend for a national title).


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Joshua Onujiogu (91) will be counted on to lead the Framingham State Rams defense this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)

Joshua Onujiogu | Junior Defensive End | Wareham, Mass.

On the team’s defense: I think we’re getting better, but there is a lot more work we need to do (due to some key graduation losses from last year’s squad), but we just need to keep working hard. We will be fine.

On what the defense must improve on: We need to improve our communication.

On facing your team’s offense in practice every day: I think we’re facing one of the best offenses that we are going to see this year, so it definitely helps us get better.

On qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this season: Yeah, that is the top goal and we really want (to compete for a national championship this season).


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

New England D3 Football 2018 Predictions

Preseason Predictions

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the first New England D3 football game scheduled for Thursday, August 30th – University of New England will travel to New London, Connecticut to play its first-ever varsity contest against Coast Guard Academy – it is time to unveil our Noontime Sports 2018 Season Projections, which includes our five picks to win each conference, along with teams to watch and dark horses.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)

Projected Conference Winner 

Western New England: A new era has officially begun at WNE with Jason Lebeau taking over for Keith Emery. The Golden Bears are certainly the favorite in this conference, but do have some questions heading into a new season. However, we expect WNE to celebrate another CCC title, but they could encounter some challenges along the way. Look for junior tailback Peter Hoff to lead the offense, while senior linebacker Mike Chirco will oversee the defense.

Team to Watch

Curry College: Sure, the Colonels may have graduated some key pieces from last year’s squad, but there seems to be some early season excitement surrounding the Purple and White. Once again, coach Skip Bandini will ask everyone to step-up, especially when the game is on the line.

Dark Horse   

Endicott College: Similar to WNE, Endicott will be under new leadership this fall with first-year coach Paul McGonagle returning to the Beverly campus to lead a squad that certainly has potential to make 2018 an exciting fall. They have solid pieces on both sides of the ball and will certainly provide challenges to both their conference and non-conference foes.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) 

Projected Conference Winner 

Husson University: The John Smith era may have ended last November, but don’t overlook these Eagles, who will once again be a team to watch in New England. Senior quarterback Cory Brandon returns and should be in for a solid final season with the Green and Gold – look for him to target classmate and wide out Kyle Gaudet and junior Quintarian Brown. On defense, senior linebacker Elvin Suazo will lead a unit that limited opposing offenses to an average of two touchdowns per game last season. Classmate and defensive lineman Tarik Smith is back, as well, and will certainly be a player to watch up front.

Team to Watch 

SUNY Maritime: The Privateers certainly have what it takes to challenge the Eagles for the top spot – they also have what it takes to make another postseason appearance after finishing its 2017 campaign 9-2 overall, as well. Senior quarterback Thomas Wright has some of his favorite targets back from last season, so look for him to connect with classmates Brandonn Drumgole and Curtis Smith. Wright should have enough time to go through the motions with two key members of last year’s line back this fall: seniors Nick Acevedo and Dean Lynch. Junior linebacker Liam Bailey will lead the Privateers defense – he will receive some help from classmate and defensive end Payton Campbell. SUNY Maritime will be under new leadership this season as Vincent DiGaetano returns to Throggs Neck, New York – he was with the program from 2005-2015.

Dark Horse 

Gallaudet University:  The Bison could surprise some folks this fall – they were picked to finish fifth in the ECFC Coaches Preseason Poll, but could perhaps finish maybe a spot or two higher by the conclusion of the 2018 season. Look for senior Dylan Mento (wide receiver) and junior Timel Benton (quarterback) to power the offense, while senior Louie Akuffo (linebacker) lead the defense after recording a career-best 55 solo stops last fall.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Projected Conference Winner 

Framingham State: It’s hard to pick against these Rams, who graduated some key pieces of last year’s squad. However, the same determination from a year ago remains with this team – they are coming off back-to-back New England Bowl championships and hope to return to the NCAA Tournament in mid-November. Senior halfback Quron Wright should lead the offense once again – look for sophomore wide-out Shaq Joseph to become a familiar target for junior quarterback Adam Wojenski. Junior defensive end Joshua Onujiogu returns – he will be tasked with leading a unit that does have some question marks heading into a new campaign, but should definitely improve as the season progresses.

Team to Watch 

Plymouth State: Picked to finish second in this summer’s MASCAC Preseason Coaches Poll, the Panthers welcome back a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, which should once again keep them in the mix for a conference crown. Offensively, the team returns most of its returners (and contributors) from last season, including senior quarterback Zack Edwards and junior wide-out Jacob Szulc. Senior halfback Mitch Banuskevich is also back, as well – he led the team’s rushing attack last fall with 668 yards on 166 carries. Defensively, the Panthers graduated some key players, but do return junior defensive back Matt Shea.

Dark Horse 

Worcester State: Keep an eye on the offensive combo of senior quarterback Noah Brum and junior tight end Jacob Maher. These two will be tasked with leading the Lancers offense, along with senior halfbacks Dexter Andrews and Hunter Paupaw. Sophomore linebacker Mike Quinn enjoyed a successful first season with the Lancers – he led all defenders with 100 total tackles, and will certainly be the player to watch on defense.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Projected Winner 

Trinity College: The Bantams return 14 starters from last season, including senior  running back Max Chipouras, who will certainly be a player to watch this fall. Chipouras should be the focal point of the Bantams’ offense as quarterback Sonny Puzzo graduated – they will also have to make up for the loss of two-time All-American Chris Simmons on the line, as well. Senior defensive end Corey Jean Jacques should anchor one of the best defenses in both the NESCAC and New England.

Team to Watch 

Amherst College: Don’t overlook this Mammoths squad, which on paper looks like a team that could contend for some NESCAC hardware this season. Junior quarterback OIlie Eberth is back and will have a few familiar targets to throw to, including classmate James O’Regan and senior Bo Berluti. On defense, look no further than senior Andrew Yamin, who will  once again provide nightmares for opposing offenses.

Dark Horse 

Williams College: Coach Mark Raymond led the Ephs to an impressive 6-3 mark last fall, which included a season finale win over rival Amherst College. The win over the Mammoths could be the momentum Williams needs to contend for a NESCAC crown this season. Sophomore quarterback Bobby Maimaron was extremely impressive in his first season – he will once again be a player to watch on offense this fall.

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

Projected Winner 

Springfield College: Sure, some pieces from last year’s unit graduated, but that won’t slow down the Pride’s momentum, which should certainly continue this season. Junior tailback Hunter Belzo will be tasked with carrying the load – the same could be said for classmate and quarterback Chad Shade. And the good news is both Belzo and Shade will be able to run behind junior center Nick Bainter, who will be tasked with anchoring Springfield’s o-line. Senior Nick Giorgio will be the player to watch on defense for the Pride – he should receive some help from classmates Josh Corporan (linebacker), Marlowe Scott (defensive back) and Johnny Bianchi (strong safety).

Team to Watch 

WPI: This Engineers squad seems extremely determined to challenge Springfield College for the top spot in the NEWMAC. A good chunk of last year’s team returns, including junior halfbacks Sean McAllen and Connor Field, seniors Luca Cerasani (d-line) and Sam Malafronte (linebacker), along with junior Nick Ostrowski (linebacker). WPI also returns place kicker and punter Spencer Herrington – he will be ready for the big kick when his number is called.

Dark Horse 

Merchant Marine: Sure, the Mariners will look a tad bit different this fall than last year – and the year before, too – but this young squad could provide some challenges on both sides of the ball when they enter NEWMAC play in a few weeks. Senior fullbacks Wiley Martin and Joseph Bellomo will be tasked with leading an offense that will be without quarterback Bryce Moorse, who graduated in the spring. Senior defensive back Brooks Cannell will be a player to watch on defense this fall, as well.

Want more New England football? Then make sure to toss us a follow on Twitter: @Noontime_FB 

D3 Football: Early Preseason Noontime Top 10 Poll

Noontime Early Preseason Poll

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Happy Monday, New England D3 Football fans and friends!

We are a few weeks away from unveiling our first Noontime Sports New England Top 10 Football Poll for the upcoming season, so get excited! Additionally, we are about to kick-off our preseason coverage, too.

So, in honor of a brand new season of coverage, it is time to unveil our first-ever ‘Early Preseason Poll,’ highlighting our early 10 teams to watch heading into camp in a few weeks, along with what teams are ‘on the rise.’


Noontime Sports New England Top 10 Football Poll | Early Preseason Poll
Monday, July 30th, 2018

1. Springfield College 

2017 Record: 10-1 (NEWMAC)

2. Framingham State 

2017 Record: 10-1 (MASCAC)

3. Trinity College 

2017 Record: 8-1 (NESCAC)

4. Western New England 

2017 Record: 8-3 (CCC)

5. Husson University

2017 Record: 10-2 (ECFC)

6.  WPI 

2017 Record: 9-2 (NEWMAC)

7. Plymouth State 

2017 Record: 9-2 (MASCAC)

8. Amherst College 

2017 Record: 7-2 (NESCAC)

9. Curry College 

2017 Record: 8-3 (CCC)

10. MIT   

2017 Record: 7-3 (NEWMAC)

ON THE RISE: Middlebury College (2017 Record: 7-2 NESCAC) & Williams College (2017 Record: 6-3 NESCAC)


For more Noontime Sports Football coverage, make sure to FOLLOW @Noontime_FB on Twitter!