Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Championship Preview

Castleton State and Mount Ida College will compete on Saturday for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Crown! (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth

By Matt Noonan 

We’re less than 24 hours away until Championship Saturday commences, and excluding AIC-New Haven and Framingham State-Salve Regina, another key matchup to watch tomorrow will be the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Championship between Castleton State and Mount Ida College.

The winner of this particular match will win the conference and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Div. III Championship.

Here is a preview of this particular contest.

Records: Both teams are 7-2 overall. Castleton is 6-0 in the conference, while Mount Ida is 5-1.

Last Meeting: The last time these two squads met was during the final week of the 2011 season. The Mustangs defeated the Spartans in Newton, 54-34.

Biggest Win: The Spartans biggest win occurred in week one when they defeated non-conference foe Plymouth State, 35-7. Senior quarterback Shane Brozowski tossed four touchdowns and recorded 400 yards through the air.

The Mustangs biggest win came against conference foe Maritime (N.Y). Senior kicker Bobby Hemmann kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to secure a 24-21 victory.

Biggest Setback: Castleton’s biggest loss came a week after their first win in Beverley, Massachusetts against Endicott College. The Gulls soared past the Spartans, 66-14. Castleton held a lead midway through the first quarter, but Endicott managed to erase the deficit and go onto earn their second win.

As for Mount Ida, their worst loss came in week three against Springfield College. The Mustangs held a 14-point advantage in the third quarter, but the Pride rallied to defeat the visitors, 49-42. Senior quarterback Scott Drosendahl tossed five touchdowns in the loss, while sophomore Chris McNally rushed for 112 yards on 21 carries.

Castleton’s New Quarterback: Last week, Brozowski suffered a season ending injury in his team’s win against Husson. So, without their starting gunslinger, the Spartans will rely on freshman George Busharis. The former Mansfield High School quarterback has appeared in six games this season and completed 11-of-22 passes for 152 yards. He’s recorded one touchdown and one interception, too.

The Mustang Way: Throughout the season, head coach Michael Landers has preached his team’s new motto: 1-0. It’s a theory that forces players to be discipline, but also focus on the task at hand. And ever since Landers first muttered the words of “going 1-0,” Mount Ida has been a different team.

Overview: Both these teams are evenly matched, but without Brozowski in the lineup, it could be a long day for Castleton State’s offense. However, the Spartans passing attack ranks second in the nation so don’t expect Busharis to struggle too much, especially if he’s able to connect with junior Brandon Boyle.

Drosendahl will be the main focal point for Mount Ida. The Mustangs senior quarterback ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency and is second in the conference in touchdown passes (26).

Castleton’s defense is the top squad in the conference when it comes to defending the pass, so Drosendahl will have to be at his best against an impressive Spartans secondary.

Prediction: Mount Ida College 31, Castleton State 28

Mass. College Football: Mount Ida 24, Maritime (N.Y.) 21

By Brian Willwerth 

NEWTON, MA – Mount Ida kicker Bobby Hemmann knew he had it the moment the ball left his foot.

His 38-yard field goal as time expired gave the Mustangs a dramatic, 24-21 victory over Maritime College on Saturday afternoon, and set off a big-time celebration on the home team’s sideline.

“I felt like the first game that we did against UMass,” said Hemmann. “I was in the zone once again. The crowd’s going wild, [so] just wanted to get another one for my brothers.”

The drama began to unfold in the final minutes. With the game tied at 21, the Privateers had the momentum, were marching down the field, chewing up the clock, and in position for a game-winning score. But the Mustangs’ first big play came when Frank Greene intercepted Maritime quarterback Tyler Trodden in the back corner of the end zone with 49 seconds on the clock. It was the last of three picks on the day by the Mount Ida defense.

“They were killing us on the hitches the whole second half,” said quarterback Scott Drosendahl. “I told the DB’s to make a play. Frank looked at me and said ‘I got this’, and they went hitch-and-go. They were setting it up the whole second half, and Frank just got back on it and made a good play.”

But there was still work to be done. Drosendahl still had to lead his team down the field to get into field goal range.

“It was kind of like Norwich, “said Drosendahl, referring to his team’s last-second victory on Sept. 29.

On this day, he was up to the challenge once again. He moved the chains with a 12-yard completion to Dejhuan Williams. Then on 3rd and 9, Drosendahl threw an incomplete pass, but the Mustangs’ drive remained intact thanks to a personal foul and late hit penalty. Two plays later, he found Matt Valentini over the middle for 24 yards, which put his team in position for Hemmann’s heroics.

For the first 15 minutes, it didn’t look like there would be any need for such heroics. Mount Ida built a 21-0 lead on touchdown receptions by Williams and Jordan Hyman, and a 14-yard run by Kareem Cope. Drosendahl was 15-of-25 for 167 yards. Trodden had 188 yards passing for Maritime.

But from that point on, Maritime started to seize control, and worked its way back into the game. Gary Bigham scored three times on the ground for the Privateers, the final one coming early in the fourth quarter. The ensuing two-point conversion completed a comeback from a 21-point deficit.

But in the end, Mount Ida made the key plays down the stretch to pull out the win.

This whole season has been a roller coaster, ups and downs,” said Hemmann. “I think we’ve been doing a great job coming back from having our backs against the wall.”

Mount Ida improves to 6-1 on the season. The six wins tie a school record. The Mustangs will play their final home game against Becker next Saturday. The Privateers fall to 3-4, and will host Husson next weekend.

Video courtesy of Greg Antonelli, who is the sports information director at Mount Ida College. 

Mount Ida Looks To Overcome Penalties, Seeks Win Against Husson

Mount Ida College recorded 23 penalties last weekend against Anna Maria, but hopes to overcome their miscues this week against Husson! (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth)

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Following Saturday’s win against Anna Maria College, Mount Ida College currently finds itself atop the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference with a 4-1 overall record.

However, the Mustangs aren’t the only squad in their conference with an impressive mark through six weeks, as Castleton and Gallaudet each have three or more wins, as well as two victories in conference play.

“We only have four wins right now, so we just have to attack every week and try to get a little bit better,” explained Mount Ida head coach Michael Landers.

Landers’ crew adopted a mentality at the beginning of the year of going undefeated in practices, film sessions and games, which maybe the secret behind their current success.

Although, Landers knows his team has a great deal of work to do, especially after they were whistled 23 times last weekend against Anna Maria.

“[Players] need to concentrate on [their] job, do [their] job as hard as [they] can and there is some negative reinforcement that goes with that too, so we’ll build in a system from here on out to make sure that those things don’t happen again and that we’re clear with our guys,” explained the head coach.

According to the league statistics, Mount Ida ranks last in the conference with 57 penalties and 500 penalty yards.

Yet, despite the numerous errors, Landers knows his team will rebound and continue look to senior quarterback Scott Drosendahl to guide the Mustangs to victory.

“It’s a matter of all 11 guys doing their job, but he is the leader, he’s the captain, he’s the guy that steers the ship for us,” said Landers.

“Scott has done a tremendous job of understanding what we need to do to win football games and I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve survived the last four wins.”

Drosendahl has accounted for 16 touchdowns through the air and five scores on the ground, but excluding his effort, the Mustangs have also received some help from freshman running back Melquan Pinkney, who ranks second on the team in rushing touchdowns.

This week, Mount Ida will travel to Bangor, Maine to face Husson, a squad that hasn’t earned a victory since September. And while it maybe easy for the Mustangs to overlook their opponent, Landers and his coaching staff know that in order for their squad to be successful, they need to execute properly.

“We’ve found ways to pull it out in the end, we found ways to kind of learn the lessons from week-to-week,” Landers stated.

“We really just have to concentrate on us and the things that we do and eliminate penalties, execute better,[and play] better assignment football.”

Mount Ida has been impressive this season, but as any good coach knows, one can’t assume they’re great until they finish the season with a championship. And while the Mustangs coaches and players would love to earn an ECFC crown, they know they need to focus on their current tasks and do their jobs in order to claim some hardware.

Championships aren’t earned after six weeks, so if Mount Ida wants to achieve greatness prior to the conclusion of their season then they’ll need to keep the flags off the gridiron and play fundamental football each week.

Mass. College Football: Week 6 Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

Week six has officially concluded, and while we’re slowly turning the page to week seven, here is this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Colton Chapple (Harvard): The senior quarterback not only returned to our list for the second week, but also earned some additional honors, too. Chapple was named this week’s Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week after he completed 24-of-36 passes for 362 yards with four touchdowns, while rushing for 53 yards and one score against Cornell University.

Steve Hopkins (Bentley): Against Saint Anselm, Hopkins had three takeaways, which led to 17 points in the Falcons fifth win of the season. Hopkins had two interceptions on Saturday, which included one he returned for a 40-yard touchdown, as well as a fumble recover in the end zone that resulted in a field goal by the offense following a 14-play drive. Finally, the senior concluded the contest with seven tackles and a pass break-up.

Kevin Arduino (American International College): The sophomore quarterback led all rushers wit 100 yards, as well as completed 8-of-17 passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for one touchdown in his team’s fourth win of the season.

Danny Chun (Amherst College): Despite dropping their team’s first game of the season to Middlebury, the junior linebacker finished the game with 13 tackles (10 solo) and one sack.

Justin Weaver (Tufts University): The first-year halfback tallied 91 total yards (66 yards on 18 carries, five catches for 25 yards) and one touchdown. His touchdown tied the game at 10-10 in the third quarter. However, the Jumbos dropped their third consecutive contest to the Bowdoin College, 17-10.

Brian Staub (Springfield College): The senior cornerback led the Pride’s defense against Hobart with 11 tackles (nine solo), along with one tackle for a loss, one interception and one break-up.

Chris Turner (WPI): Against Union College, the sophomore running back recorded a career-high 154 yards on the ground on 20 carries and a touchdown. He also earned Robert Pritchard Award, too.

Nick Chambers (WPI): The senior, who also earned the Robert Pritchard Award, recorded two sacks in his team’s 21-6 loss against Union. His award signified him as the Most Outstanding Lineman on Homecoming Weekend.

Rob Bambini (Curry College): Against Western New England College, Bambini caught the game-winning score with one second remaining, which clinched Curry College’s third victory of the season. The senior established a few program records on Saturday, too, which included receptions (181), receiving yards (2,537) and touchdown receptions (32). Yet, against the Golden Bears, he caught four touchdowns and led his receiving core with 14 receptions for 177 yards.

Liam Cosgrove (UMass Dartmouth): In his first collegiate start, the freshman gunslinger completed 24-of-45 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns.

Brad Goldsberry (MIT) – The sophomore running back recorded a career-high 121 rushing, yard in the Engineers 28-7 victory against Plymouth State. He racked up 191 all-purpose yards in the contest, which included 31 receiving yards and 44 yards on kick returns.

Matt Begley (Worcester State): Against Mass. Maritime, the junior linebacker recorded 18 tackles (16 solo), and a sack. He also had an interception in the third quarter, which provided the offense with the ball to score the game-winning score.

Justin Ehrhardt (Westfield State): The Owls senior linebacker had a game-high 11 tackles (eight solo) with three sacks, which resulted in a loss of 28 yards. He also had a forced fumble and fumble recovery, too.

Scott Drosendahl (Mount Ida College): The senior quarterback tallied six touchdowns against Anna Maria on Saturday — four through the air, two on the ground, which lifted the Mustangs to their fourth win of the season.

Mass. College Football: Mount Ida 48, Anna Maria 35

The Mustangs earned their fourth win on Saturday, as they defeated Anna Maria, 48-35! (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth for NoontimeSports.com)

By Brian Willwerth 

NEWTON, MA – There are three things worth noting about this game: 1) there was a lot of offense, 2) there were a lot of points scored and 3) there were a lot of penalties.

Behind a stellar performance from quarterback Scott Drosendahl, Mount Ida rolled to victory over visiting Anna Maria on Saturday afternoon, 48-35, in a Eastern Collegiate Football Conference matchup. The senior quarterback accounted for six touchdowns on the day – four through the air, two on the ground.

It didn’t take the Mustangs long to start lighting up the scoreboard. They recovered a fumble on the AmCats’ first play from scrimmage. Three plays later Drosendahl connected with Dejhaun Williams on a 25-yard scoring play for a 7-0 lead. Anna Maria quickly responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive.  The AmCats tied the game it on Robert Small’s 1-yard run. Small had a great day: 115 yards on 19 carries.

Mount Ida took the lead for good later in the quarter when Melquan Pinkney’s 14-yard run capped a 59-yard drive. In the second period, the Mustangs broke the game open. They increased their lead to 21-7 when Drosendahl found a wide-open Matt Valentini for a 38-yard touchdown. After Small’s second rushing touchdown of the game cut the margin to seven, Drosendahl took matters into his own hands, scoring on a quarterback sneak, then hitting Jordan Hyman for a 30-yard score to make it 35-14 at halftime. Drosendahl finished the game with 244 yards passing. He only had seven yards on six rushing attempts, but he found the end zone on two of them.

“That’s what a quarterback does,” said Mount Ida coach Michael Landers, whose team improved to 4-1, 2-0 in the ECFC. “He doesn’t just deliver the ball and throw the ball. He works the clock, manages the game, it’s like having another coach on the field.”

In the second half, Anna Maria could not get any closer than a two-score deficit, despite two touchdown passes from Santino Simone to Domenique Concepcion. That pair hooked up 13 times for 181 yards. Simone’s numbers are impressive: 346 yards and no interceptions. But the Mustangs were pretty much in control in the final 30 minutes. They relied heavily on the running combination of Pinkney and Chris McNally, who ran for a combined 280 yards. Drosendahl scored on another quarterback keeper, and also hit Williams for his second touchdown reception of the day.

“I just came out as a freshman, and did what I had to do. I played my hardest,” said Williams.

As for those penalties: the numbers are mind-boggling. Mount Ida was flagged 23 times in this game for 200 yards. Two of those penalties wiped out touchdowns.

“Obviously there’s a lot of procedure things that we have to take care of,” said Landers. “Those are the mistakes that we’ve got to limit.”

After the game, Landers told his team that it was ugly, but a win is a win.  It’s hard to argue with that assessment, despite the fact these two teams combined for well over 1,000 yards of total offense.

Mount Ida travels to Husson University next Saturday, while Anna Maria (1-4, 0-2 in the ECFC) hosts Maritime College.