Western New England Picked To Capture Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)


WNE Quarterback Anthony Service and the Golden Bears should be in for an exciting 2017 campaign. (PHOTO CREDIT: Western New England Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

The Western New England Golden Bears’ football team was picked to capture the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league this fall, according to the conference’s release this afternoon.

WNE, which captured the final season of the New England Football Conference (NEFC) last fall, secured five of the six first-place votes. Endicott College, which checked-in third overall in this year’s preseason poll, collected one first-place vote.

Salve Regina, which was the runner-up last season in the NEFC, was picked to finish second, while Curry College, Nichols College and Becker College rounded out the final three spots, checking-in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The Hawks of Becker spent the past few season competing in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

WNE captured 11 of 12 games last fall, including a pair of important league tilts against Endicott and Salve Regina. They captured the program’s initial NCAA Division III Tournament win with a 44-27 win over Husson University in the opening round before falling to Alfred University one round later.

The Golden Bears welcome back 15 of 24 starters from last season, including all five members of the team’s o-line, along with quarterback Anthony Service. Also back this season for the Blue and Yellow is Dante Aiken (running back), Dillon Martin (o-line), Sam Edouard (d-line) and Sam Olsson (safety).

WNE begins its campaign against cross-town rival Springfield College on Saturday, September 2 before visiting Westfield State six days later on Friday, September 8. The Golden Bears will conclude its non-conference slate with a visit to RPI before hosting Husson and St. Lawrence.

Prior to being picked to capture the first-ever season of CCC Football, the Golden Bears checked-in 24th overall in the D3Football.com Preseason Poll, which was posted earlier this summer.

Teams To Watch In 2017: Western New England Golden Bears


WNE Quarterback Anthony Service and the Golden Bears should be in for an exciting 2017 campaign. (PHOTO CREDIT: Western New England Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

We continue our preseason New England D3 Football coverage with a preview of the Western New England Golden Bears’ football team. 

Team Name: Western New England Golden Bears

Noontime Sports Preseason Ranking: The Golden Bears checked-in as our top team in New England – the poll was posted on Monday, July 31st.

2016 Season Recap: The Golden Bears’ exciting postseason run concluded last fall in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament with a disappointing 30-24 setback to Alfred. Yet, before the season concluded against Alfred, WNE scored 11-straight wins, including a pair of victories over Endicott College and Salve Regina University. Halfback Nick Connell highlighted his team’s important win over the Seahawks by rushing for four scores and 170 yards on 30 carries. Connell was one of many student-athletes that made the 2016 campaign one to remember.

Key Losses: Nick Connell (Running Back), Mohamed Camara (Wing), Trent Vasey (Tight End), Terrence N’Dabian (Wing), Blair Cook (Linebacker) and Obi Etuka (Defensive Back)

Players to Watch: Anthony Service (Quarterback), Dante Aiken (Running Back), Mark Dietrich (Wide Receiver), Josh Henry (Tight End), Justin Townsend (Wing), Dillon Martin (Guard), Kurtis Jolicoeur (Bear), Sam Olsson (Defensive Back), Sam Edouard (D-Line), Tim Huffam (Linebacker), Kevin McLaughlin (Bear) and Sean Stergas (D-Line).

2017 ScheduleFor the fifth-straight season, the Golden Bears will begin its campaign against Springfield College – kickoff for this game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 2 (at WNE). WNE has won the last three meetings against the Pride, while Springfield captured the 2013 contest by a score of 49-40. WNE will then host Westfield State (one week later) before embarking on an important three week stretch, which includes contests against Husson, RPI, and St. Lawrence. Those three games should tell us a great deal about a squad that should once again be in position to capture its conference’s crown (Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)). Of course, games against Endicott (Oct. 14th) and Salve Regina (Oct. 28th) will be important tests as well – one should also not overlook the team’s final two regular season foes: Curry College and Nichols College. Both teams will be ready to challenge the Golden Bears.

Season Outlook: Last season’s setback to Alfred in the NCAA Tournament should provide this squad with some motivation as they attempt to return to the postseason for the second-straight season. WNE returns 15 of 24 starters from last season’s squad, but there are some question marks surrounding its running game and secondary. Halfback Dante Aiken, who rushed for 617 yards and seven touchdowns last fall, will most likely be the lead-back – he will be asked to fill the void left by Nick Connell, who rushed for 13 touchdowns last fall, along with 1,231 yards. Connell is back, however, but as an assistant coach – he could certainly help Aiken become one of the best backs in the league. The other question mark: the team’s secondary. Defensive back Obi Etuka graduated last spring, but luckily the team does return a good chunk of secondary players that should be able to step-up when needed. Coach Keith Emery and his staff seem optimistic about their team’s secondary. Excluding the two question marks, WNE does return a great deal of talent that will make them ‘the team to watch’ this fall.

Noontime Sports Week 7 Poll: WNE Remains Number One, Middlebury & Salve Regina Move Up

Western New England, Middlebury & Salve Regina highlight our week seven poll.

Western New England, Middlebury & Salve Regina highlight our week seven poll.

By Matt Noonan 

Ah, the seventh week of the New England Division III Football season has arrived. And earlier this evening, we released our poll for the week, which featured some movement, along with one newcomer, too.

Western New England earned the top spot again – the Golden Bears sat idle this past weekend, but return to the gridiron this Saturday, October 15th when they host MIT with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m.

Quarterback Anthony Service has been one of many players to watch this season– through five games; he has tossed 16 touchdowns, while completing 79 of 116 pass attempts for 1,194 yards. The Golden Bears’ signal-caller currently leads the NEFC in yards per game (238.8) and touchdowns (16).

In addition to Service, wide-out Mark Dietrich – the team’s leading receiver with 24 receptions – has been a go-to target, hauling in six touchdown receptions, while registering 382 receiving yard.

On defense, the Golden Bears are led by defensive back Sam Olsson, who leads the Gold and Blue with 32 total tackles – he has also tallied 17 solo stops this season, along with one interception. Isaiah Berrios Smith leads the unit with a pair of interceptions and four pass-break-ups.

Below WNE is Middlebury College – moving up a few spots to the second position following an important win last weekend against Amherst College. The Panthers edged the Purple and White, 27-26. Amherst entered the contest riding a 21-game winning streak.

Carter Massengill this week’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Special Teams Player of the Week – helped Middlebury secure the win by booting his second field goal in the fourth quarter. Massengill connected on a trio of extra points, along with a pair of field goals.

Through three games, Massengill has tallied 14 points on eight extra points (8-for-8) and two field goals (2-for-2).

Next up for the Panthers: a trip to Williamstown, Massachusetts to face the Ephs of Williams College.

Below Middlebury is Salve Regina, appearing in the third position for the first time this season.

Similar to the Golden Bears, the Seahawks were idle this past weekend, but return to action Saturday when they entertain Nichols College at 12 p.m.

The Seahawks have been a great story this season, winning four-straight contests, along with an exhibition game against Dean College last month.

In their last outing against Curry College, halfback Sam Pascale led all rushers with 225 yards on 13 carries, along with a pair of scores. Tailback James Dawson also had a big day, registering 112 yards on 12 carries for three scores.

Through four games, Pascale has recorded 667 yards on 82 carries and nine touchdowns. He has also hauled in a trio of receptions for 38 yards and one score.

Pascale’s nine touchdowns are a career-best – his 667 yards and 166.8 yards per carry are both career-highs. Additionally, he is averaging 8.1 yards per carry – pretty impressive, eh?

Finally, let’s welcome Wesleyan University to the poll – the Cardinals check-in at number 10. This is the first time this season Wesleyan has cracked our poll.

Wesleyan is current 2-1 overall and has featured a high-powered offense this season, which has gained over 500 yards of total offense in back-to-back weeks.

This past weekend, the Cardinals soared past Colby College, defeating the Mules, 37-6. Devon Carrillo highlighted his team’s outing with three touchdowns, including a third quarter passing touchdown.

The Cardinals return to Maine this weekend to visit Bates on Saturday – kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

We’ll have more week seven coverage later this week, but make sure to follow-us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports and @MattNoonan11) and on Facebook, too.