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

New England College Football Roundup

Framingham State may have lost to Endicott in week one, but can the Rams overcome early season injuries on Friday against Nichols College? (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, MA – On Wednesday, the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston reconvened for their 84th season, and various coaches from the region provided some thoughts on their team’s first game, as well as an outlook on this weekend’s match.

Here are some tidbits and notes from Wednesday’s luncheon.

University of New Hampshire: Wildcats wide receiver R.J. Harris earned a Golden Helmet Award, the first Division I player of the season, for his performance last week against Holy Cross. Harris caught 12 passes for 102 yards and rushed four times for 57 yards. Harris’ 12 receptions matched a career high from last season against Richmond.

The Wildcats will look to earn their second victory of the season when they travel out to Minnesota to face the Gophers, who’re coming off an impressive triple-overtime victory against UNLV.

Castleton State: The Spartans initiated their fifth season with a 35-7 victory against Plymouth State. Quarterback Shane Brozowski tossed four touchdowns and completed 22-of-35 passes for 400 yards. His performance earned him the first Golden Helmet Award for a Division II or III player.

“This award means a lot for our new program [at] Castleton,” Brozowski said upon receiving the award. “I just want to thank the lineman for blocking, the wide receivers for having a big game, and most of all the coaching staff for preparing us for the success we have on Saturday’s.

“We have a tough game coming up this Saturday, a team we’ve never played before, but I think we’re as ready as we’ll ever be.”

The Spartans will look to earn their second win of the season when they travel to Beverley, Massachusetts to face Endicott College.

Endicott College: After earning an impressive New England Football Conference victory last Saturday, the Gulls will look to earn their second win of the season against the Spartans on Saturday, which happens to be their home opener.

The Gulls defense will once again have their hands full, as they’ll attempt to keep Brozowski and the Spartans offense off the field. Endicott will also attempt to maintain the time of possession.

Framingham State: The Rams began their season with an excruciating loss to the Gulls of Endicott. However, it wasn’t exactly the loss that remains on the mind of head coach Tom Kelley, but his squad’s injuries, as quarterback Matthew Silva and Mitchell Johnson each dislocated their shoulders last week, which paved the way for third-string quarterback Al Krasco, who concluded the contest going 0-for-3.

Kelley voice a smite remark about his team’s health after he disclosed the news of his quarterbacks by saying, “maybe it’s our shoulders?” Yet, whether it’s a shoulder or an arm issue, Framingham State cannot afford to start their season with two back-to-back losses, as they’ll travel to Dudley, Massachusetts on Friday to face Nichols College.

“Nichols is a much improved team, [but] we’re just hoping to put forward our best effort on Friday night,” said Kelley.

Becker College: The Hawks soared to a 13-3 victory last Friday against Fitchburg State. However, as head coach Mike Lichten noted, his team has a lot to work on.

Against the Falcons, the Hawks recorded nine penalties for 119 yards. They also accounted for 126 yards of total offense and one fumble. Fitchburg also dictated the time of possession, too.

“Nine penalties for 119 yards almost always leads to a loss no matter how well you play on either offense or defense, so [there’s] a lot of work to be done,” stated Lichten.

Becker will look to build off their first win of the season on Saturday when they travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts to face the Engineers of MIT.

“[MIT is] a team we’ve seen the last two years. They’ve beaten us both times,” Lichten explained. “[They’re] obviously a very disciplined team, they don’t make big mistakes, they don’t lose the game for themselves, [and they certainly exhibit] discipline.”

Becker has never won more than two games in a season, so Lichten hopes this particular game will propel his squad to future success.

“It would be nice to go 2-0 for the first time in three years. At Becker, we’ve never won more than two games in a season, so starting off 2-0 would be tremendous for us,” added the Hawks head coach.

Merrimack College: The Warriors started their season with a tough loss to New Haven, a ranked squad in Division II. Yet, despite the outcome, the Warriors will have to turn the page to this week’s opponent, Rowan.

“[Rowan] is coming off a huge win last week against [the fifth-ranked] team in the country, so we’re going to have a huge challenge in front of us, [but] we’re just glad to be home [because] we’ve played really well at home, 4-1 at home last year,” said head coach John Perry. “I know going into our first home game the kids are going to be fired up and hopefully we can avoid the turnovers and punch the ball in when we get down and close.”

Other Notes:

* Massachusetts Maritime kicks off its season on Friday when they travel to New York Maritime. The Buccaneers are coming off a five-win season, which they hoe to build off of this year.

* Bentley University earned their first win of the season against a young Pace University squad last Friday in Waltham. This week, the Falcons will hit the road to face West Virginia Wesleyan, a squad that features NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana’s son at quarterback, Nate Montana.