Tag: Secretaries Cup

Noonan: The 2021 Small College Football Season Was Worth The Wait

The first ten week of the small college (NCAA Division II and Division III) college football season have been very exciting. But what will happen in the 11th week? We’ll just have to wait and find out. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By Matt Noonan

We have reached the final week of the small college football regular season – that went by fast!

And while there is still more football to be played after the final whistle sounds for most contests tomorrow, I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on the last 10 weeks.

To say the 2021 New England Division II and Division III college football season has been fun would be an understatement. It has been a blast – can I say incredible?

Many fields, bleachers and press boxes sat quietly at this time one year ago – yes, Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy did compete in the Secretaries Cup, but that was the closest we would get to a small college football experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic (other teams outside our region did compete once, twice or a few times last fall or this spring).

Tomorrow, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine will meet again – the contest will mark coach Mike Toop’s final regular season game with the Mariners while a slew of other teams, including Amherst College, Anna Maria College, Husson University, Bentley University, and the University of New Haven will also be in action.

There will be games that will decide conference champions.

There will be contests pitting two rivalries.

And there will be matchups between two teams – excuse me, two programs – looking to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the offseason.

But no matter the outcome of every small college football game tomorrow, both locally and around the country, a celebration should be in store for everyone as this will be a season we should all remember five, ten and yes, 50 years from now.

The 2021 small college football season provided us with a sense of joy and excitement that maybe we did not have before the pandemic. But it also provided us with some new (and exciting) storylines like Anna Maria winning its most games in a single season with six victories as of this evening to New Haven capturing its first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012 with an impressive win one week ago against Bentley.  

Framingham State won another Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown after starting 0-2 for the second consecutive season, and American International College was one of a handful of teams to watch from the get-go, especially when they were winning dramatic road games, including a come-from-behind 40-33 victory in week two against Pace University.

Of course, there were others – and yes, there are still more stories being written as I type this somewhat “ode-to-the 2021 small college football season.” But no matter what, it has been so much fun seeing the local teams back on the gridiron this fall – enjoy the final day of the regular season, everyone, and make sure to stop by for a few blog posts throughout the weekend.  

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week 11)

Joel Nicholas and the Williams College football team will look to cap their 2021 campaign with a win over Amherst College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s hard to believe, but somehow, we made it to the final week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season – where did the time go?

The final week pits some real intriguing matchups that will determine conference winners. Others feature teams looking to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the offseason.

We’ll have plenty of time over the next few weeks to look back on the regular season, but for now, let’s get ready for the final jam-packed Saturday with 10 Games to Watch (and yes, our picks, too).

And just for those keeping track at home, we enter the final week with a 71-29 record when it comes to selecting games. Not bad, eh?

Catholic University (6-3, 4-1 NEWMAC) at Springfield College (6-3, 5-0 NEWMAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: The Pride are on a roll and should be able to conclude their conference slate with a victory, along with a league crown. PREDICTION: Springfield 30, Catholic 22

Merchant Marine Academy (7-1, 4-1 NEWMAC) at Coast Guard Academy (2-7, 0-5 NEWMAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: The Mariners will look to send coach Mike Toop off with one last win in the Secretaries Cup against the Bears.  PREDICTION: Merchant Marine 30, Coast Guard 20

Endicott College (7-2, 4-1 CCC) at Nichols College (2-7, 0-5 CCC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: A win for the Gulls over the Bison would most likely secure them a spot in the upcoming postseason. PREDICTION: Endicott 30, Nichols 16  

Williams College (8-0, 8-0 NESCAC) at Amherst College (5-3, 5-3) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: The Ephs can make history on Saturday by becoming the first team in program history to win nine games in a single season. PREDICTION: Williams 30, Amherst 14

Alfred State (5-4, 4-1 ECFC) at Dean College (2-7, 1-4 ECFC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: A win for the Pioneers and an AMCATs loss would provide the Blue and Yellow with their first-ever conference crown, so this is a must-win for Alfred State. PREDICTION: Alfred State 24, Dean 14

Bridgewater State (5-4, 5-2 MASCAC) at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (4-5, 3-4 MASCAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: Mother Nature should cooperate for the 42nd Annual Cranberry Bowl in Buzzards Bay – the rain today should vanish by kickoff tomorrow. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 23, Mass. Maritime 20

Plymouth State (5-4, 5-2 MASCAC) at UMass Dartmouth (7-2, 5-2 MASCAC) Saturday, November 13 at 12 p.m.: Second place in the conference is on the line — of course, Bridgewater State is in the mix for second place, as well, but this outcome could determine who will represent the conference in the New England Bowl. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 28, Plymouth State 20  

Christian Schiavone and the SUNY-Maritime football team will compete against Anna Maria College in a highly anticipated matchup on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Alan Schaefer)

Husson University (7-2, 4-1 CCC) at Western New England (6-3, 4-1 CCC) Saturday, November at 1 p.m.: The Eagles soar into Springfield with a great deal of end-of-season momentum. PREDICTION: Husson 28, WNE 24

SUNY-Maritime (3-5, 3-2 ECFC) at Anna Maria College (6-2, 4-1 ECFC) Saturday, November 13 at 1 p.m.: The AMCATs are one win away from capturing their first-ever conference crown. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 28, SUNY-Maritime 15

Bowdoin College (1-7, 1-7 NESCAC) at Colby College (3-5, 3-5 NESCAC) Saturday, November 13 at 5 p.m.: The Mules can secure their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown on Saturday with a win over the Polar Bears. PREDICTION: Colby 24, Bowdoin 14