Tag: Shane Aylward

Leftover CCC Football Thoughts: Can Endicott win a third-straight crown?

Endicott College quarterback Clayton Marengi will be a player to watch on the Gulls in 2023. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

Another season of New England small college football has concluded, which means it is time to look back and reflect on what we learned from covering not one, but five NCAA Division III conferences.

Our 2022 rewind – well, more leftover thoughts, to be exact – begins with a simple question: Can Endicott College win its third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)?

My initial answer is yes – expect the Gulls to contend for another CCC title next fall.

The Gulls clinched their first-ever undefeated regular season (10-0) in program history this fall, thanks to a defense that pitched four shutouts.

Entering their initial postseason contest with Springfield College earlier this month, Endicott’s defense had yielded 6.5 points per game in 10 contests – sure, they allowed more than a touchdown in their final two contests to the Pride and Western New England, but this unit has potential to be even better next season.

Endicott’s defense will look different next fall but expect Hector Johnson to continue his success from this season, which saw the Worcester, Massachusetts native tally 21.5 tackles for a loss, including 14.5 sacks. Johnson will lead a unit that will feature linebacker Matthew Licciardi, strong safety Zachariah Twardosky, and defensive lineman Colin Meropoulos.

Halfback Yavier Cosme-Diaz and quarterback Clayton Marengi will be two players to watch on offense next fall with the duo combining for 12 rushing touchdowns in 11 contests this season. Marengi added 15 passing touchdowns while completing 146 of 230 passes for 1,667 yards with four of those scores landing in the hands of wide receiver Shane Aylward.

The Endicott offense averaged 355.2 yards per game, which was the third best average amongst the seven CCC squads.

With some key returners expected to return, along with some new recruits, Endicott should be able to contend for a third-straight conference title. But don’t be surprised if Husson University or Western New England provide the Blue and Green with some challenges along the way.

Additionally, one should not count out the University of New England, which has certainly improved every season since its initial campaign in 2018.

One other team to watch next fall in the CCC is Curry College. Can the Colonels begin to make the climb under soon-to-be second-year coach Todd Parsons?

Finally, one team that won’t stand in the way of potential three-peat is Salve Regina University, which is joining the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) next school year as a full-time member.

D3 Football Roundup: Springfield Tops Endicott In The NCAA D3 Tournament

Arsen Shtefan and the Springfield College football team won its first postseason contests since 2006 as the Pride topped Endicott College.
Arsen Shtefan powered the Springfield College football team to an exciting 17-14 postseason win on Saturday over Endicott College. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

For the second-straight week, Arsen Shtefan eclipsed the century mark, rushing for a season-high 156 yards and one touchdown as Springfield College raced past Endicott College, 17-14, in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament.

With the win, Springfield clinched its first playoff win since beating Curry College in 2006 to secure a second-round date with Ithaca College next Saturday, November 26.

Ithaca advanced to the second round with a 63-20 win over UMass Dartmouth.

Shtefan’s lone touchdown came midway through the opening session before Springfield tacked on two more scores in the second half to provide the Pride with their ninth win of the season.

Blane Hart rushed for a seven-yard touchdown in the third quarter before Christian Hutra capped his team’s offensive output with a 33-yard field goal with 7:25 remaining in the final stanza.

Endicott’s Clayton Marengi completed 14 of 25 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns with his final score landing in the arms of Jaeden Baxter. Shane Aylward, who caught Marengi’s first touchdown early in the third quarter, led all receivers with three catches for 68 yards.

Saturday marked the first time Endicott and Springfield have squared off on the gridiron – additionally, the three-point win over the Gulls provided coach Mike Cerasuolo with his initial postseason with his alma mater.

Endicott entered the game riding a 10-game winning streak – the Gulls clinched their second-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown two weeks earlier with a win over Salve Regina University before concluding their regular season with a come-from-behind win against Western New England.

Ithaca 63, UMass Dartmouth 20: Max Perry completed five of six passes for 95 yards and one touchdown to go with 83 rushing yards and two scores as the Bombers cruised past the Corsairs in the opening round of the postseason.

Dante Aviles-Santos, who has been the player to watch on the Corsairs this fall, tossed two touchdowns while JP Mason tallied a team-high 15 total tackles.

Saturday’s game marked the second time UMass Dartmouth has competed in the NCAA Tournament.

Plymouth State 21, Husson University 20: Manny Sanchez rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 30 carries and one touchdown as the Panthers rallied to beat the Eagles and win their first-ever New England Bowl.

Husson’s Nic Visser completed 24 of 32 passes for 227 yards to go with a team-high 56 rushing yards and one touchdown. Elijah Garnett rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown.

Bridgewater State 34, Catholic University 24: Quarterback James Cahoon completed 24 of 33 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns while Isaiah Wright added 120 rushing yards on 23 carries as the Bears topped the Cardinals to clinch their second New England Bowl.

Catholic’s Nico Casares completed 25 of 44 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

Inside The Matchup: Springfield College at Endicott College

Hector Johnson and the Endicott College defense will look to continue their success this fall against Springfield College on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Endicott College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Springfield College has competed against multiple New England football teams but has never squared off against Endicott College.

On Saturday, the Pride will visit the Gulls in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Both teams are making their second-straight appearance in the national postseason – Springfield won the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) for the second consecutive season while Endicott claimed another Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown.

Let’s “go inside” this in-state matchup with the victor advancing to next weekend’s second round against the winner of Ithaca College vs. UMass Dartmouth.

Game Time & Location: Springfield will make the trek to Beverly, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 19 to compete against Endicott at 12 p.m.

Endicott College’s 2022 Season Review: The Gulls clinched their first-ever 10-0 season in program history, thanks to a come-from-behind victory last weekend against Western New England.

Endicott has been the team to watch in the CCC this year, thanks to a defense that pitched four shutouts, including a pair at the beginning of the season against St. Lawrence University (27-0) and WPI (24-0).

The Gulls’ defense yielded its first touchdown in week three against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

Endicott’s defense has limited opponents to 6.5 points per game with Western New England’s 21 points being the most the Gulls have yielded in 10 contests.

In addition to its defense, the Gulls’ rushing attack has been impressive – five student-athletes have rushed for at least one touchdown this fall, including quarterback Clayton Marengi, who has located the end zone with his feet eight times.

Springfield College’s 2022 Season Review: For the second-straight season, the Pride overcame a slow start – well, more a 1-2 start, to be exact, by winning its last seven contests.

In a way, Springfield has been in “playoff mode” for the last three weeks, needing to beat Merchant Marine, MIT, and Catholic University to secure its third NEWMAC crown since 2017.

As expected, the Pride have leaned on its rushing attack to score some important wins this fall, along with senior quarterback Armando Torres, who stepped in for David Wells last week to guide the Pride to an end-of-season win against the Cardinals.

Torres operated the team’s triple-option offense quite well against Catholic – he completed two of three passes for 17 yards and one touchdown to go with 62 rushing yards on seven carries and one score.

Springfield’s win against Catholic, along with their come-from-behind victory against MIT, could provide the Maroon and White with enough momentum to win its first national postseason contest in 16 years (the Pride’s last postseason win came in 2006 when they beat Curry College in the opening round).

Common Foes: Endicott and Springfield both scored wins this fall against Husson University, Norwich University, Western New England, and WPI.

The Matchup within the Matchup: The biggest question heading into Saturday’s contest is will Endicott’s rushing defense be able to stop Springfield’s triple-option offense?

Endicott has limited opposing rushing attacks to 81.9 yards per game but will need to find a way to stop a Springfield rushing attack that is averaging 357 yards per game.

Additionally, Springfield’s offense has been on the field for an average of 35:02, which is something to watch, as well – what happens if the offense is on the field for less than 35 minutes on Saturday? Does that mean Endicott will win this matchup?

With the way Endicott’s defense has been playing these last few weeks, don’t be surprised if this turns into a low-scoring affair.

Players to Watch on Endicott: Clayton Marengi (QB), Tyler Bridge (RB), Anthony Caggianelli (RB), Yavier Cosme-Diaz (RB), Anthony Bracamonte (WR), Shane Aylward (WR), Everett Knowlton III (TE), Quinten Fox (P), Matthew Licciardi (LB), Jackson DeAngelo (LB), Tyler Davis (DB), Colin Meropoulos (DL), and Hector Johnson (DL).      

Players to Watch on Springfield: David Wells (QB), Armando Torres (QB), Joseph Cannizzaro (FB), Arsen Shtefan (FB), Dante Vasquez (HB), Jacob Silvester (HB), Noah Wagnblas (WR), Christian Hutra (K), DJ Brown (LB), Tyler Pohlman (DB), Billy Carr (LB), and Aiden Lewin (LB).         

Endicott, Gallaudet Punch Their Ticket to the NCAA D-III Playoffs

Brandon Washington rushed for three touchdowns on Saturday to lead Gallaudet University past Alfred State in the Bison’s regular-season finale. (PHOTO COURTESY: Gallaudet University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Endicott College and Gallaudet University are heading to the NCAA Division III postseason.

The Gulls clinched their second-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown Saturday afternoon with a 42-10 win over Salve Regina University while the Bison topped Alfred State, 36-22, to secure the program’s second Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title since 2013.

Endicott has been the team to watch in the CCC this fall – the Blue and Green have pitched four shutouts and have outscored its conference foes by a combined score of 205-24.

Anthony Caggianelli rushed for a game-high 79 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown against the Seahawks while the Endicott defense recorded two interceptions to go with a pair of fumble recoveries that were returned for touchdowns.

Everett Knowlton III, who plays tight end for the Gulls, tossed his first collegiate touchdown pass on Endicott’s initial offensive series to Shane Aylward.

Endicott will conclude its regular season slate next Saturday, November 12 with a visit to Western New England.

Gallaudet leaned on Brandon Washington to lead the Bison past the Pioneers on Saturday. Washington rushed for a game-high 228 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns while Mikka Harvey added 71 rushing yards on 12 carries and one score.

The Bison’s defense concluded the week 10 meeting by recording a pair of interceptions and sacks. Laron Thomas returned one of Justin Horvath’s interceptions for a 30-yard touchdown with 6:20 remaining in the final session.  

Gallaudet will be idle next week after concluding its regular season with seven wins and two losses. They, along with Endicott, will find out who they will face in the opening round of the national postseason on Sunday, November 13 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Next Sunday’s selection show will be streamed on NCAA.com.

Endicott Picked To Capture The CCC Football Crown

Endicott College will enter the 2022 season as the favorite in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Endicott College football team will begin its 2022 campaign next weekend as the squad to beat in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).

Endicott, which captured the CCC crown last fall, was named the favorite in today’s preseason coaches’ poll, garnering four first-place votes. Salve Regina University checked in second with a pair of first-place selections with 40 points.

Salve Regina topped Endicott last season, but the Gulls were able to bounce back by winning its final two contests against Nichols College and the University of New England.

Western New England earned a third-place projection and one first-place vote while Husson University and UNE rounded out the top five, checking-in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Nichols secured the sixth position and Curry College placed seventh.  

If the Gulls are to defend their conference crown from last season, they will need to rely on some key returners, including wide receiver Shane Aylward, who led the squad in receptions (65), receiving yards (712), and touchdowns (five). Aylward will certainly be a go-to target for quarterback Mike Ingraffia, who competed in nine contests last season – the Kings Park, New York native completed 128 of 209 passes for 1,531 yards and 11 touchdowns.  

Tyler Davis (defensive back) and Colin Meropoulos (defensive line) will anchor a defense that limited Endicott’s 2021 opponents to 19.5 points per game.

A brand new season of CCC football begins one week from today with three teams in action, including Western New England, which will make the short trek to Springfield College in the Pynchon SAW Game.