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.

Noontime Rewind: The Best New England D-III Football Teams of the 2010s

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Sunday, everyone! And welcome back for yet another Noontime Sports rewind post where we reflect on coverage from both the current year and decade (the twenty-tens!).

This particular post will highlight some of the best teams we covered in New England D-III football – let the debate and conversations begin.

As usual, if you have any thoughts (or inputs) please comment below, but again, thanks for stopping by and reading a brand new rewind – let’s go!


The 2010 Williams College Ephs: Williams secured its third outright title with a perfect 8-0 mark which was capped by an end of season win over Amherst College. Additionally, the Purple and Gold captured the Little Three crown while producing their seventh perfect season in program history.

The 2011 Endicott College Gulls: In 2011, the Gulls captured 10 of 11 contests while averaging 40.5 points per game. The offense, led by quarterback Phil Konopka, was impressive, but the same could be said for the Endicott defense, which limited opponents to 16.5 points per contest. Kevin Eagan, who played just one season for the Gulls at defensive line, tallied 104.0 total tackles in 11 contests, including 55 solo stops and 23 tackles for a loss of 87 yards. Endicott finished the season with back-to-back wins, including an ECAC North Atlantic Bowl victory over Mount Ida College.

The 2012 Framingham State Rams: After finishing their 2011 campaign with a 7-4 mark, these Rams flipped the switch following an opening day loss to Endicott College by winning ten-straight contests, including a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship against Salve Regina University. Salve Regina was projected to win this particular meeting, but the Seahawks struggled to contain FSU halfback Melikke Van Alstyne, who rushed for 96 yards and two scores. James Muirhead concluded the contest with eight total tackles, including six solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble. FSU would advance to the NCAA D-III Tournament but see their bid toward a national title conclude at Cortland State.

The 2013 Endicott College Gulls: Drew FrenetteSpencer Walsh, and Nate Lewis, along with the Endicott defense highlighted an exciting end of season win over Salve Regina to secure the program’s second NEFC crown in four seasons, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Endicott recorded its first shutout of the season and finished 2013 with an 8-3 record. The Gulls entered the postseason with a seven-game winning streak after starting its 2013 campaign with a 2-2 record.

The 2014 MIT Engineers: MIT advanced to the postseason for the first time in school history and won an exciting opening round contest against Husson University before falling to Wesley College in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. The Engineers finished 10-1 in 2014 – they scored some exciting wins over Western New EnglandEndicott College, and Coast Guard Academy to secure their initial New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship in program history. MIT averaged 446.8 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per contest.

The 2015 Western New England Golden Bears: Western New England captured 10 of 11 contests in 2015, including a pair of conference victories against Endicott and Salve Regina. The Golden Bears produced 40 points or more in five contests and secured a spot in the NCAA D-III Tournament in late November.

The 2016 Western New England Golden Bears: Despite ending their season with a six-point setback to Alfred in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament, the 2016 Golden Bears were very impressive, winning 11 of 12 contests by an average score of 39.8 to 19.0. WNE averaged 460.1 yards of total offense in 12 contests and limited opposing offenses to just 110.1 yards on the ground per game. They scored impressive wins over Springfield CollegeUnion College, and Endicott College before beating Husson University in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The 2017 Husson University Eagles: Coach Gabby Price led the Eagles to not just an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown in 2017, but also an upset win over Springfield College in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament. Husson beat a very impressive Springfield team, which entered the postseason on a ten-game winning streak. Halfback John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two touchdowns while Elvin Suazo and the defense limited the Pride to a season-low 264 yards of total offense.

The 2018 Trinity College Bantams: The Bantams concluded their 2018 campaign not just with a 9-0 win over rival Wesleyan University, but also with their third consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. Trinity won eight of nine contests and was able to win their ninth conference crown due to a 27-16 win earlier in the season against Amherst College. Trinity averaged 464.3 yards of total offense and 36.0 points per game while limiting opposing defenses to 67.7 rushing yards and 10.0 points.

The 2019 Middlebury College Panthers: Coach Bob Ritter led the Panthers to their first-ever 9-0 season in program history, along with a 2019 NESCAC championship. The team averaged 410.6 yards of total offense, including 227.4 passing yards while limiting opponents to 108.0 rushing yards per game. Middlebury scored some exciting wins this fall, along with some nail-bitters against Amherst College and Colby College. They scored 45 points against Wesleyan University in late October before producing 47 points one week later against Bowdoin College.

Western New England Secures Our New England D-III Women’s Team of the Month

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Emily Farrell and Meghan Orbann have been two players to watch on Western New England this season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Western New England has enjoyed a very successful start to its 2019-20 season.

The Golden Bears have won six of seven contests and head into their final week of the semester with some serious momentum. And that momentum, as well as their impressive play has earned WNE our Noontime Sports Women’s Basketball Team of the Month honor for November.

WNE secured the fourth spot in our weekly Top 10 New England D-III Women’s Basketball Poll yesterday for the second-straight week following a post-Thanksgiving Day win over Roger Williams.

Before their win over the Hawks, the Golden Bears picked-up some impressive regional wins against Babson CollegeEastern Connecticut State, UMass Dartmouth, and Worcester State.

WNE’s lone loss of the season came early last month against Springfield College.

This week, the Golden Bears will look to conclude the first semester with two more wins when they host Salve Regina University on Wednesday, December 4th before visiting Endicott College on Saturday, December 7th. Following their visit to Beverly, Massachusetts, the Golden Bears will be off until the first week of January when they host Westfield State.

WNE is currently third in field goal percentage (38.6%) in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), but first in free throw percentage (75.9%). Meghan Orbann is seventh in the conference in points per game (13.1), while Emily Farrell is tied for eighth with 13.0 points per game.

Players to Watch on Western New England: 

  • Meghan Orbann: The senior is averaging a career-best 13.1 points per game – she has tallied 92 points in seven games this season on 29 of 69 shooting … Orbann has converted 14 of 31 three-pointers and has pulled down 45 rebounds … Through seven contests, Orbann has recorded 14 steals and 13 assists.
  • Emily Farrell: The senior guard is averaging 13.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in seven contests this season … Farrell is second on the team in points (91) and third in rebounds (33) … She leads the Golden Bears with 30 assists and is tied for second with eight steals.
  • Courtney Carlson: Carlson is third on the team in points (9.9), rebounds (4.7), and assists (2.0) per game … The senior forward’s 9.9 points per game is currently a career-best … Through seven contests, Carlson has recorded 32 rebounds, 14 assists, and 14 steals.

D3 Football: The Final Noontime Top 20 Poll (Nov. 25th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

It’s time to unveil our final New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll of the 2019 season.

The 2019 season was an exciting one, filled with some new storylines, along with some teams that will certainly be on our radar next fall.

Thanks for a great season and enjoy our final poll (and breakdown, too).


1. Western New England (9-2, 7-0 CCC): The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) champions may have fallen short to The College of Brockport last Saturday in the NCAA Tournament, but did not lose to a single game to a D-III squad this season.

2. WPI (10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers of Worcester were impressive in all three phases this year, but will certainly miss their senior class next fall.

3. Endicott College (9-2, 6-1 CCC): Despite falling short to the Golden Bears a few weeks ago, these Gulls proved they can compete with some of the best teams, both in and outside the region. Endicott finished its season with nine wins for the first time since 2012.

4. Middlebury College (9-0, 9-0 NESCAC): These Panthers found ways to win some hard-fought (and dramatic) games this fall and will certainly be on our radar going forward.

5. Framingham State (8-3, 8-0 MASCAC): After starting their season with back-to-back losses, Framingham State ripped off eight-straight wins to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

6. MIT (7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers’ improbable run to the postseason was impressive with some hard-fought (and important) wins over Coast Guard AcademySpringfield College, and WPI.

7. Springfield College (6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC): Losing to MIT was not an ideal way to end a season. Springfield overcame a 1-3 start to position themselves for a potential national playoff run, thanks to some key wins down the stretch.

8. Wesleyan University (8-1, 8-1 NESCAC): The Cardinals were one of the biggest surprises this season. Despite a lopsided loss to Middlebury a few weeks ago, Wesleyan proved they are (and will continue to be) one of the top teams in the conference going forward.

9. UMass Dartmouth (7-3, 5-3 MASCAC): The Corsairs enjoyed one of their best seasons, matching the 2004 squad with seven victories. UMass Dartmouth was impressive from the get-go and should certainly be in the mix for a conference crown in 2020.

10. Western Connecticut (8-3, 6-2 MASCAC): For the second-straight season, the Colonials ended their campaign with eight wins. Western Connecticut may have not been the juggernaut from last season (or past seasons), but should once again be in the mix for a conference title next season.

11. Williams College (7-2, 7-2 NESCAC): Despite losing a heartbreaking to Middlebury in their season-opener, Williams proved they are (and will continue to be) one of the top teams in the conference. The squad returns some impressive talent next season, which should help the Ephs contend for a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown.

12. Bridgewater State (6-4, 6-2 MASCAC): The Bears were tough to gauge this season, especially with so many seniors back from last year’s eight-win squad. BSU had a chance to win the conference and compete in the postseason, but saw their playoff hopes dashed with a week ten setback to the Rams of Framingham State.

13. Trinity College (5-4, 5-4 NESCAC): The Bantams’ four-peat never happened, but they did end their season winning three of their final five contests. It will be interesting to see how Trinity rebounds from a five-win season.

14. Nichols College (6-4, 4-3 CCC): The Bison won six games for the first time since 2003. They scored some exciting wins over Salve Regina and the University of New England and should be back in the mix for the conference crown next fall.

15. Amherst College (4-5, 4-5 NESCAC): The Mammoths entered the 2019 season with hopes of winning a conference crown. Instead, they ended their campaign with four-straight setbacks, including a heartbreaking defeat to Hamilton College. Amherst won just four games in 2016 before rebounding with back-to-back winning seasons in 2017 and 2018.

16. Norwich University (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): The Cadets began their season with four-straight wins. And for a moment it appeared as if the Maroon and Gold would be the team to beat in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). But unfortunately, the team’s winning ways concluded over the next few weeks as the Cadets mustered just one victory in its final six contests.

17. Husson University (4-6, 4-3 CCC): The Eagles may have finished with four wins – all four victories came against conference opponents – but they looked pretty impressive against Nichols and Salve Regina.

18. Coast Guard Academy (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): Afer starting their season with a 4-1 mark, the Bears mustered just one win during their final five contests. The defense was impressive but struggled down the stretch against Merchant Marine and WPI.

19. Mass. Maritime Academy (6-4, 4-4 MASCAC): After a successful start to their 2019 campaign, the Buccaneers struggled to maintain their momentum by seesawing between the win and loss columns. The Bucs lost three of their final four contests but did score an impressive win on the road at UMass Dartmouth.

20. Salve Regina University (4-6, 3-4 CCC): The Seahawks may have finished with four wins this fall, but proved they are (and will continue to be) a team to watch every season in the CCC. They provided challenges for both Endicott and WNE before ending their season with wins over Curry College and UNE, which should provide the unit with some momentum heading into the 2020 season.

On The Rise: Dean College (4-6, 4-1 ECFC) and University of New England (4-6, 2-5 CCC). 

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Nov. 16th, 2019)

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Hello, Friday – how are you?

Forgive me for fighting back tears as this is my final ’10 Games to Watch’ post of the New England D-III Football season. But like most weekends, we should be in for some exciting football.

Last Week: I selected eight of ten contests correctly to bump my overall record to 68-32. Let’s see if I can continue that momentum once more! 

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

Also, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes – you will enjoy our hyperlocal sports chatter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


New England D-III Football Week 11 Predictions | Saturday, Nov. 16th, 2019

Rankings based off this week’s Noontime Top 20 Poll 

No. 3 Endicott College at No. 14 Nichols College (12 p.m.): This is an enticing match-up – I could make the case for both teams winning this contest, but in the end, I am expecting the Gulls to cap their regular-season slate with a victory in Dudley. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Nichols 24

Curry College at Salve Regina (12 p.m.): The Seahawks lost a heartbreaker last week against the Eagles of Husson, but should be motivated to cap their campaign with a win to provide the Seahawks with some momentum heading into the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 30, Curry 20 

No. 11 Bridgewater State at No. 18 Mass. Maritime Academy (12 p.m.): The Buccaneers scored an exciting win last week against UMass Dartmouth and should be able to use that momentum to beat the Bears in the 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl. PREDICTION: Mass. Maritime 31, Bridgewater State 20 

No. 4 Framingham State at Worcester State (12 p.m.): The Rams are headed back to the postseason, but will look to wrap-up their conference slate with a win against the Lancers. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Worcester State 10 

Merchant Marine at No. 17 Coast Guard Academy (12 p.m.): This is the final game for coach Bill George, who announced his retirement earlier this week. Look for the Bears to deliver their longtime sideline boss a win, along with the Secretaries Cup. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 22, USMMA 21 

No. 2 WPI at No. 16 Norwich University (12 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Engineers of Worcester. WPI can clinch its conference crown with a win over the Cadets and MIT loss to Springfield. PREDICTION: WPI 30, Norwich 17 

No. 7 MIT at No. 6 Springfield College (12p.m.): This is a hard match-up to predict – I keep going back and forth – but I am going to take the Pride in this one to beat the Engineers of Cambridge. Springfield needs to beat MIT and have WPI lose to Norwich to secure the conference crown. PREDICTION: Springfield 28, MIT 20 

No. 12 UMass Dartmouth at Westfield State (12 p.m.): Look for the Corsairs to bounce back from last week’s setback to the Buccaneers with an end of season win against the Owls. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 27, Westfield State 13 

Becker College at University of New England (12 p.m.): The Nor’easters will be motivated to end their season with a victory after falling to Endicott last weekend. PREDICTION: UNE 28, Becker 10 

No. 19 Husson University at No. 1 Western New England (1 p.m.): The Golden Bears are playoff-bound, but can gain some additional momentum heading into the postseason with a season-ending win over the Eagles. PREDICTION: WNE 34, Husson 24