Tag: Sean McDonnell

Sean McDonnell: We Have Some Very Good Football Players Coming Back

Sean McDonnell believes the University of New Hampshire football team has some “very good” players returning this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: UNH.edu/UNH Today)

By NoontimeSports.com

The University of New Hampshire football team played just one game this spring — unfortunately, the Wildcats opted out of their spring season due to Covid-19 issues.

But despite not being able to compete against additional conference foes this spring, coach Sean McDonnell seems excited — perhaps optimistic? — about his team’s upcoming campaign, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 2 when the Wildcats visit Stony Brook for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Speaking with members of the media during this morning’s Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) virtual media day, the tenured coach noted that the team has some “very good football players coming back.”

One of those players is Evan Horn, a senior safety from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who was named to the CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team. Horn recorded four tackles and a pass break-up in his team’s lone spring contest against the University at Albany in March and was selected to the CAA All-Conference Second Team in 2019 when he led the Silver and Blue in solo tackles (51) and total tackles (70).

Niko Kvietkus, who is a junior defensive tackle, received honorable mention — the Southington, Connecticut native, who played football locally at Xavier High School (Conn.) and Deerfield Academy, played in 11 games in 2019 and recorded career-highs in solo stops (24), total tackles (45), tackles for a loss (eight for 36 yards), and 5.5 sacks for a loss of 34 yards.

Horn and Kvietkus are just two student-athletes to watch this fall, but as McDonnell explained, “I feel very good where we are as a program depth-wise.”

New Hampshire was picked to place fifth in the CAA preseason poll — James Madison University was picked to capture the league crown after finishing its spring season with a 5-0 record.

UNH Wins Colonial Clash, Defeats UMass, 27-21

The Wildcats proved to be the better team on Saturday, as UNH defeated UMass, 27-21! (Photo courtesy UNH's Athletic Website)
By Dan Libon 

FOXBOROUGH, MA — As far as University of Massachusetts (Amherst) is concerned, the rivalry with University of New Hampshire is officially over, as the Wildcats walked away with a 27-21 win over the Division I bound Minutemen at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

“It’s sad. It’s been something special for a long time,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell, when asked to describe the final meeting between both squads.

The Wildcats started the game with a five-yard touchdown run by Dontra Peters (13 carries, 92-yards) and then converted a two-point conversion thanks to quarterback Kevin Decker, who connected with Brian McNally to give UNH a 8-0 lead.

“We felt we had something,” said McDonnell, when asked about his team’s two-point conversion.

“[We were] going to do things like that [because] it gives us an opportunity to get points on the board [and even win games too].”

UNH then added a late first quarter field goal, which didn’t seem to bother UMass, who scored on a 23-yard touchdown run by Julian Talley, but failed to convert on a two-point conversion. Then, on the ensuing possession, Dontra Peters scored literally two minutes later on a one-yard run, which increased the Wildcats lead to 12-points before the Minutemen registered one more touchdown before halftime.

However, this game of cat and mouse concluded late in the third quarter when UNH expanded its lead on a crucial third-down when Decker connected with Sean Cullen for a 23-yard touchdown. UMass then responded with a nine-minute drive, which resulted in a Kellen Pagel five-yard touchdown run, and another failed PAT.

Afterward, both teams added one field goal each before the regulation clock stuck zero.

UMass Is Ready For Division I Football:  Beginning next season, UMass will move on to the MAC, (Mid-American Conference) and based on their coach’s thoughts after the game concluded, the Minutemen aren’t exactly heartbroken over the end of this particular rivalry.

“You move up, [and] move on. We got a future ahead in the MAC Conference. We’ll create some rivalries there,” said UMass head coach Kevin Morris.

Stars of the Colonial Clash: Dontra Peters led the Wildcats with two rushing touchdowns, while quarterback Kevin Decker finished 11-of-15 for 137 yards and one touchdown.

For the Minutemen, Kellen Pagel went 25-of-42 for 249 yards, and Jonathan Hernandez ran for 89 yards and one score. Hernandez had an up and down kind of day where he was a threat at times but was easily wrapped up at other times.

New UNH Rivalry: With UMass gone from the conference, UNH will put the focus on their remaining rival, UMaine.

“All our energy and efforts have to go to the University of Maine it looks like,” said McDonnell.

UMass Return to Gillette Stadium in 2012: UMass meanwhile will be back at Gillette Stadium next year when it becomes their new home stadium.

“We’ll be very excited to make this our home field.” Said Morris.

NEXT UP: UNH will host URI next week while UMass will travel to Richmond next Saturday.