Four New England D3 football teams secured spots in the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament, which officially begins Saturday, November 17th with 16 opening round contests.
32 teams were selected to compete in this year’s tournament, including a trio of local teams (Framingham State, Husson University and Western New England) which captured their respective conference crown.
MIT, which also earned a spot in this year’s tournament, secured an at-large bid following an exciting 22-7 win yesterday over Springfield College to secure the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown (the NEWMAC title was the Engineers’ first in program history).
All four teams will hit the road this week with Framingham State visiting Brockport, Husson traveling to RPI, MIT heading to Johns Hopkins and Frostburg State entertaining Western New England. All four match-ups will commence at 12 p.m. eastern.
Both Husson and WNE advanced to the tournament last year, while Framingham State is making its first appearance in three seasons (the Rams last competed in the national postseason in 2015). MIT is making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history after making an impressive debut four years ago with an opening round win against Husson.
We’ll have more on all four match-ups later this week, but as always, stay connected with @Noontime_FB on Twitter for news, notes and more from the New England football world!
The Engineers, who were the lone New England squad to appear on the list, checked-in seventh overall, while Brockport secured the top spot for the second-straight week followed by Frostburg State and RPI at second and third, respectively.
Delaware Valley and Ithaca College rounded out the top five by checking-in fourth and fifth, respectively.
MIT enters the final week with an overall record of 8-1 record and needs to beat Springfield College this Saturday (Nov. 10th) for a chance to compete in the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament, which will kick-off next weekend.
Ashton Robinson powered the Engineers to their eighth win of the season last Saturday over Norwich by rushing for 87 yards on 12 carries and one score, while Sam Cantrell and Ben Wolz each tallied seven total tackles, respectively, Wolz also finished the game with two tackles for a loss of six yards and one sack for a five yard loss, while Tyler Ray registered six total tackles, along with a trio of pass break-ups.
Kickoff for Saturday’s must-see meeting between the Pride and Engineers is scheduled for 12 p.m. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Western Connecticut checked-in seventh overall on the 10 team list while Western New England secured the 10th position.
Brockport was the top team in the East Region followed by Frostburg State and RPI.
The Colonials enter the 10th week of the season with an impressive 8-0 record and will attempt to earn their ninth win against Framingham State, which enters the important conference tilt with a 6-2 mark.
Western Connecticut fell to Framingham State last year on the road, but enter Saturday’s marquee clash with some serious momentum, thanks to the play of senior halfback Kyle McKinnon, who leads the Blue and Orange with 507 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Additionally, senior quarterback David James has helped the offense by tossing 15 touchdowns, while adding an additional two scores on the ground.
Western New England has gained some serious momentum since its opening day, thanks to quarterback Alec Coleman, who has recorded 16 touchdowns in his team’s last three outings, including nine scores on the ground. Coleman’s ability to lead the Golden Bears down the field should continue on Saturday when the Blue and Gold visit Endicott College in a very important conference clash.
A win for the Golden Bears against the Gulls would most likely secure them the conference’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament. However, an Endicott win would make for a very interesting final week of the 2018 season.,
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The second week of the New England D3 football season is upon us – let’s go!
Similar to last week, it is time to dish out our 10 Games to Watch for week two, as well as our predicted winners for each contest.
Last week, we went 6-4 with our picks, so lets see how we do this week (fingers crossed for a perfect 10)!
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Bridgwater State at Endicott College (Friday, Sept. 7th | 7 p.m.): The Bears fended off a late rally by Buffalo State to secure an opening day win last weekend, as well as some momentum heading into Endicott’s first-ever Friday Night Lights home contest. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 24, Endicott 14
Mass. Maritime at SUNY Maritime (Friday, Sept. 7th | 7 p.m.): Who wants some chowder? Perhaps the Privateers? SUNY Maritime captured the Chowder Bowl last year and should win it again this evening. PREDICTION: SUNY Maritime 37, Mass. Maritime 35
MIT at Curry College (Friday, Sept. 7th | 7 p.m.): Coach Brian Bubna earned his first win on the sidelines as a head coach last Friday evening. Can he win his second game against a Curry squad, which produced 44 points in its opener last week? PREDICTION: MIT 28, Curry 21
Salve Regina University at Montclair State (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 12 p.m.): The Seahawks soared back to beat Worcester State last Saturday, so can they do it again on against a team they topped last year by a touchdown? PREDICTION: Salve Regina 24, Montclair State 20
Western Conn. at Dean College (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 12 p.m.): The Bulldogs put up 41 points last week – is this a sign of things to come? Maybe, but can they do it against a solid West Conn. team? PREDICTION: Dean 35, West Conn. 31
WPI at No. 25 RPI (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 12 p.m.): This is almost a ‘must-win’ for the Engineers of Worcester, who have aspirations of winning its first-ever NEWMAC crown this fall. As usual, RPI-WPI is a must-see, must-watch game, so this is a big early season test for coach Chris Robertson‘s squad. PREDICTION: RPI 28, WPI 20
Framingham State at SUNY Cortland (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 12 p.m.): This is a big test for coach Tom Kelley and the Rams, who will look to slow down a Red Dragons squad, which rolled past Fitchburg State last Saturday. Framingham State has the offense to keep-up with the Red Dragons, but can their defense make the big stop when needed? PREDICTION: SUNY Cortland 38, Framingham State 28
Springfield College at Kean University (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 1 p.m.): Junior quarterback Chad Shade stole the show last week, rushing for a career-best six scores in his team’s first-ever win at home against Western New England. He’ll probably have another big game this week against a solid Kean squad. PREDICTION: Springfield 28, Kean 21
Westfield State at Western New England (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 1 p.m.): The Golden Bears will attempt to provide first-year coach Jason Lebeau with his first win on the sideline when they host Westfield State, which captured its first game of the season last Friday over Nichols. PREDICTION: WNE 28, Westfield State 21
Castleton University at Fitchburg State (Saturday, Sept. 8th | 2 p.m.): Both teams will look to bounce back after week one setbacks. Our thought is Castleton will find a way to beat the Falcons on the road. PREDICTION: Castleton 24, Fitchburg State 17
But heading into the Engineers’ upcoming campaign, Herrington, who hails from Clearfield, Pennsylvania, seems confident that last season’s success could translate into even more this year – he certainly would like to cap his four-years with the WPI football program by being perfect in both extra points and field goals.
“I would like to see my stats (at the end of the season read) 15 for 15 or 16 for 16 on field goals and 40 for 40 on extra points,” said Herrington.
Herrington has the right attitude to accomplish his preseason goal, but plans to take it “game-by-game” this fall – he doesn’t seem interested in thinking about his kicks in October or November.
Prior to his team’s preseason practice on Monday, Noontime Sports caught-up with the senior place kicker and punter to chat about his personal goals heading into the upcoming season, as well as some important advice he received as a camper years ago from Robbie Gould, who is currently kicking field goals for the San Francisco 49ers.
What’s the biggest goal for you heading into a brand-new season?
“I think there is a lot of expectations (for me). Obviously last year, I didn’t have a lot of expectations because I had never started before, but I think my biggest goal is to put (any preseason expectations) aside and take it game-by-game.”
What helped you enjoy a successful season last year?
“I think it was confidence. I know for me, as long as I go out there with the mentality that I am going to make the field goal or extra point or I am going to punt well – it usually happens, but like for me it is all about keeping my form. I do watch some of my film to make sure some of my mechanics are the same every time, but honestly it is just like confidence. This summer I worked on (improving) my power by lifting.”
You connected on 10 of 12 field goals last fall. Do you ever think about those two kicks that missed?
“Yeah, both (attempts that missed) hit off the upright, so it’s kind of frustrating that I missed them by inches, but I still need to make those. Obviously, you want to get every kick back, but you can’t think about them too long (because) you have to move onto the next (kick) and make it.”
The MIT-WPI football games seem to come down to field goals or have been decided by three points. And one of those games happened to be the 2016 overtime win over MIT.
“Yeah, when Blaine Bursey made that (19-yard-field goal in overtime) to beat MIT, I was there for it. I thought it was cool, but it is kind of funny (how the games have been decided by three points the past few years). Last year it didn’t come down to me. There wasn’t that much pressure (on me) because I kicked a field goal (before they came back). I don’t think I really had too many pressure kicks (last fall).”
Do you enjoy being a part the MIT-WPI rivalry?
“I think MIT and RPI – well, I guess there is something a little bit more with RPI because of the (transit trophy), but all three schools’ mascots are the Engineers, so there is a little bit of a rivalry there (with MIT, as well). But I think everybody goes into every game with the same mentality, but maybe just a little bit more juice with those games.”
Do you think special teams gets overlooked when offenses or defenses makes big plays?
“(Special teams) is a part of the game that needs to be there because games are won through special teams. Whether it is a mistake on special teams or whether it is winning a game with special teams, games can be won or lost through special teams, but I think (the kicking game) can be overlooked by fans. It is certainly not overlooked by coaches or players because they understand how much special teams means to winning games and being competitive in games.”
Do you have an all-time favorite kicker? If so, who?
“Robbie Gould, who is currently with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s been in the league a longtime and he is so consistent. When he played for the Chicago Bears, I went to his camp and met him, and he is just so consistent and may not have the biggest leg – I don’t have the biggest leg either. He is someone that I try to base my game off of and that is what the coaches are looking for, which is me making field goals.”
When you went to Robbie Gould’s camp, what advice did he give you as a young kicker?
“I asked him how he has stayed in the league so long and he said the biggest thing for him is that he doesn’t kick that often during practices. He said that he kicks roughly 10 to 20 balls each day and then does an ice bath followed by lots of resting and recovery. He (also) said that as long as he is doing (this routine) then he will be fine.”
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