A brand new season of NCAA Division III football is quickly approaching. And we’re excited about the upcoming season. Are you?
As a part of our early preseason coverage, we will be producing a list of 10 to 12 teams we will be watching this fall in regions one and two — yes, the NCAA has divided 239 teams into six regions for the upcoming season compared to previous years, which saw programs listed in the North, South, East, and West. These changes were highlighted on D3Football.com earlier this month.
So, without further ado, let’s begin our early preseason watch with our teams to watch in Region 1 this fall!
Delaware Valley: As noted last week on our podcast — well, we need to give some credit to James Baker of In The D3FB Huddle— the Aggies will most likely be the top team this fall in this particular region. DelVal did not play last fall or earlier this spring, but posted an 11-2 record in 2019, which included eight conference wins in Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC). The Aggies will begin their 2021 campaign at Kean University on Friday, September 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Endicott College: The Gulls improved from 2018 to 2019. And despite not appearing on the gridiron last fall, it is expected the trend will continue this season when coach Paul McGonagle leads the Blue and Green onto the field on Saturday, September 4 against St. Lawrence University.
Framingham State University: Aynsley Rosenbaum will make his head coaching debut on Labor Day Weekend — Saturday, September 4 at 12 p.m., to be exact — when the Rams welcome Brockport to Bowditch Field. Rosenbaum spent 12 seasons with the Black and Gold as the offensive coordinator, and has helped the Rams win nine conference championships.
Merchant Marine: The Mariners competed one last fall — they defeated their rival Coast Guard Academy in the Secretaries Cup. Quarterback Ian Blankenship highlighted his team’s lone win of the 2020 season and will certainly be a player to watch this fall.
Middlebury College: In 2019, the Panthers were perfect, winning all nine New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) matchups to become just the fourth team in league history to record an undefeated season.
Misericordia University: First-year coach John Davis and the Cougars will be a team you certainly will want to keep your eyes on this fall — Davis arrives in Dallas, Pennsylvania after three successful seasons with The Apprentice School in Newport News, Virginia. Under Davis, the Builders posted back-to-back winning seasons in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Davis and the Builders beat Oakland University in the NCFA National Championship.
MIT: The Engineers have averaged 7.66 wins in their last three seasons — they have also represented the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. MIT’s previous success should continue this fall, but like previous years, they will face some challenges against two local conference foes: Springfield College and WPI.
Stevenson University: Similar to the Aggies, the Mustangs will also be a team to watch in this particular region — they open their season against Johns Hopkins, which finished its 2019 campaign with an 8-3 record, including a 6-3 mark in the Centennial Conference (CC). Their matchup with the Blue Jays will be followed by two VERY iroad trips at RPI and Delaware Valley.
Trinity College: Look for the Bantams to bounce back this fall after posting a 5-4 record in 2019. Prior to their five-win season, the Bantams produced three eight-win seasons, including a perfect 8-0 mark in 2016.
Western New England: The Golden Bears have won eight games or more since 2014, and will once again be one of a few teams to watch in New England this fall. And like most teams, they did graduate some talent on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Alec Coleman, but expect Jason Lebeau‘s squad to be ready come week one when they host Springfield College on Saturday, September 4 at 1 p.m.
Wilkes University: Coach Jonathan Drach and the Colonels enjoyed a successful 2019 season, which saw the team post eight wins for the first time since finishing 8-3 in 2005. Despite losing to Susquehanna University in the Centennial/MAC Bowl, the Colonels should be able to continue to their momentum this fall when they kickoff their season at Schmidt Stadium against Keystone College on Saturday, September 4 at 1 p.m.
Babson College becomes our biggest mover this week, checking in second overall following a trio of impressive wins last week against Amherst College (No. 6), Salem State, and Tufts University (No. 10).
The Beavers, who captured this past weekend’s New England Big 4 Challenge, matched their program’s best start to a season with their ninth consecutive victory.
Babson is off until the end of the month when they face Eastern Connecticut in the Trinity Holiday Invitational.
Colby College also moved-up this week, checking-in third overall following their ninth-straight win this past weekend against Colby-Sawyer. The Mules are one of two undefeated teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and will certainly be a team to watch once the calendar turns to 2020.
Finally, we welcomed Albertus Magnus to this week’s poll – the Falcons have won eight-straight contests after starting their current campaign with an opening day loss to the University of Lynchburg.
The Falcons visit St. Lawrence University on Saturday before enjoying a few weeks off for the holidays.
New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week Five Poll| Monday, December 9th, 2019
1. Middlebury College
9-0, 0-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 1
2. Babson College
9-0, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 8
3. Colby College
9-0, 0-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 5
4. Springfield College
7-0, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 7
5. Hamilton College
8-1, 0-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 2
6. Amherst College
4-2, 0-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 6
7. Albertus Magnus
8-1, 0-0 GNAC
Last Week: Not Ranked
8. Nichols College
6-1, 1-0 CCC
Last Week: No. 3
8-2, 0-0 NEWMAC
Last Week: No. 9
10. Tufts University
6-2, 0-0 NESCAC
Last Week: No. 4
ON THE RISE: Brandeis University, Emmanuel College, Rhode Island College, and UMass Dartmouth
Both Coast Guard and Norwich enter Saturday’s must-see (and must-watch) clash with identical 2-0 records. Coast Guard has scored wins thus far over Nichols College (24-23 OT) and University of New England (27-17), while Norwich has beaten Salve Regina (22-19) and St. Lawrence University (30-24).
The winner of Saturday’s contest will remain in first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) – it’s possible Coast Guard Academy or Norwich could be tied for first with WPI, which looks to extend its current unbeaten streak against Husson University.
In anticipation of Saturday’s must-see (and must-watch) contest between two local rivalries, we caught up with the Coast Guard Academy captains, Scott Pierce, R.J. Robiskie, and Mark Wicke to learn more about this match-up, but also how they and the team are preparing to contend for ‘The Mug.’
What makes this game/rivalry so special and unique from your perspective?
Scott Pierce: “It’s the intensity of this game in particular that makes it unique. It’s always a packed stadium, everyone tends to play a little harder, and raising that mug up at the end makes it feel more special.”
R.J. Robiskie: “I think what makes this rivalry so great is that you are playing for something more than just football. You are playing for that mug and the alumni that came before you whom you would like to make proud and remember their good days when they battled Norwich.
“And of course, the fact that it was titled the ‘Little Army-Navy Game’ adds a little bit more hype to it, as well.”
Mark Wicke: “The longstanding traditions of each program paired with the excitement surrounding a game involving two service academies make this game special.”
What are a few memories you have from playing in this contest?
Robiskie: “This will be my third time playing the Cadets. We are currently 2-0 against them (since I joined the Bears’ program), but my favorite memory was my sophomore year when we went up to Norwich and played on a day that was 95 degrees. It was an absolute dogfight. My favorite play was when my roommate, Kane Alletzhauser, ran about 80 yards down the field and made a touchdown-saving tackle and then we went on to hold them to a field goal and beat Norwich 13-9.
Wicke: “My favorite memory from this game came two years ago when Kane Alletzhauser saved the game for us by stopping (one of their) wide receivers at the two-yard line. He chased the Norwich wide-out down the field.”
What is the build-up to this game like on campus? Do people talk about this game outside the practice field?
Pierce: “I think this game is talked about more by (our) alumni rather than the current cadets only because the rivalry returned in 2017. This game brings out great stories from the past and it makes the game mean more.”
Robiskie: “The build-up at the academy is real. Our Admiral is excited for us to go up and compete and a lot of cadets understand the magnitude of this game while playing for that mug to come back to New London for the third year in a row.
Wicke: “There is a different energy that surrounds these rivalry games. We are excited to play in front of their crowd.”
When preparing for this contest, does it have a different feel than other weeks of the season?
Pierce: “Definitely. Norwich is a great team and we know it’s going to (most likely) come down to the fourth quarter. To get your mind and body ready for that makes it more challenging than other weeks.”
Robiskie: “I think to prepare for this (opponent) is almost like preparing for Merchant Marine. You must completely buy into this week because this is no easy task in which we are about to face. We must bring our A-game if we want to win.
Wicke: “No, it is just another week of preparation. We do our best to approach this week as we would any other (week of the season).”
What must your team do to be successful to score a win on Saturday?
Pierce: “I would say this game is going to come down to turnovers. It’s always a tight game and every possession matters. We also have stay composed and not let the crowd get to us.”
Robiskie: “We need to mentally and physically prepare (ourselves) and have one of the best weeks of practice we are going to have all year. Then the rest will fall into place.”
Wicke: “We have to correct the mistakes we made against UNE and Nichols. If we remain focused on playing our best football then winning will take care of itself.”
What do you imagine this year’s game day atmosphere to be like? Do you anticipate a big crowd?
Robiskie: “I imagine this year’s crowd and atmosphere will be like (my) sophomore year when we played them. I imagine it to be hostile and absolute chaos. It is their 200th anniversary so they will have alumni and a bunch of people (in attendance) but what can be better than playing football on a Saturday against your rival in a hostile environment and coming away with a win?”
Wicke: “I imagine the game day environment to be loud and packed- the type of atmosphere you’d expect for a game between two long-standing rivals.”
Happy Monday! With another weekend of college football in the books, it is time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Offensive, Defensive and Special Team units of the week, as well as our offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, too.
Offensive Player of the Week: Joe Germinerio (Brockport): Germinerio accounted for five touchdowns in his team’s 48-7 win over Morrisville State, along with 298 yards of total offense. The Golden Eagles’ signal-caller completed 19 of 23 passes for 288 yards and three scores, while rushing for two scores on five carries for 10 yards.
Co-Defensive Player of the Week: Liam Kenneally (Trinity): Kenneally turned in a monstrous performance against Tufts, tallying eight total tackles, including six solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 15 yards, one sack for a 14 yard loss and one fumble recovery. Kenneally also registered one quarterback hurry, too.
Co-Defensive Player of the Week: Jean Gabriel (Husson): Against Castleton, Jean Gabriel stuffed the stat sheet with six total tackles, including four solo stops, one sack (seven yards), one interception, one pass break-up, one quarterback hurry and two blocks.
Special Teams Player of the Week: John Rak (Amherst): Rak concluded Saturday’s contest against the Mules with 10 points. He was a perfect four-for-four on extra points, while connecting on a pair of field goals with his longest boot coming from 32 yards out.
Offensive Team of the Week:
Abbi Bamgbose (UMass Dartmouth): Bamgbose led the Corsairs with 124 receiving yards on five receptions, while recording a pair of touchdowns in his team’s 24-22 setback to Bridgewater State.
Cory Brandon (Husson): Against Castleton, Brandon completed 15 of 17 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns.
Mike Breuler (Wesleyan): Breuler hauled in a game-high 10 receptions for 164 yards and one touchdown as the Cardinals rallied to defeat Bates, 41-23.
Kiegan Brown (Alfred State): Against Gallaudet, Brown rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries for one score, while recording one catch for five yards.
Max Chipouras (Trinity): Chipouras tallied 165 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown to lead Trinity passed Tufts, 23-16.
Brendan Costa (Bates): Against Wesleyan, Costa tallied 170 yards on 18 carries and one score.
Corey Creeger (Maine Maritime): Creeger amassed 329 yards of total offense, including 212 yards on 26 carries for one score as Maine Maritime topped Coast Guard in NEWMAC play. Creeger ended the game three for seven through the air for two touchdowns and 117 yards.
James Dawson (Salve Regina): Against Nichols, Dawson rushed for a pair of scores on 25 carries for 119 yards as the Seahawks improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) play.
Brandonn Drumgole (SUNY Maritime): Drumgole led all receivers with 10 receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown.
Zach DeNike (Endicott): DeNike led all receivers with five grabs for 96 yards and a touchdown against Western New England.
Jake Eglintine (Springfield): Eglintine tallied four touchdowns – two through the air, two on the ground – as the Pride improved to 7-0 and 4-0 in NEWMAC play. The Pride’s signal-caller completed three of seven passes for 76 yards, while rushing for 79 yards on 15 carries.
Quinn Fleeting (West Conn.): Against Mass. Maritime, Fleeting completed 11 of 21 passes for 208 yards and three scores, including two touchdown passes to Jawad Chisholm.
Maleke Fuentes (Alfred): Fuentes rushed for 113 yards on 23 carries and one score in his team’s initial setback of the season to SUNY Cortland.
Peter Hoff (Western New England): Hoff averaged 7.2 yards per carry, finishing the day with 115 yards on 16 carries for two scores as the Golden Bears picked-up their initial conference win.
Kyle Hoppy (Buffalo State.): Hoppy completed 20 of 39 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 30 yards on 10 carries for one score as the Bengals topped the Saints of St. Lawrence.
Jack Lavanchy (Bridgewater State): Lavanchy led all receivers with seven grabs and 124 yards, while hauling in one touchdown in his team’s 24-22 win over UMass Dartmouth.
Jared Lebowoitz (Middlebury): Lebowitz completed 24 of 37 passes for 304 yards, while tossing a trio of touchdown passes in his team’s 27-26 setback to Williams. The senior signal-caller also rushed for 34 yards on eight carries.
Bobby Maimaron (Williams): Maimaron completed 21 of 29 passes for 195 yards, while tossing two touchdowns, including the game-winning score with no time remaining to lift the Ephs to an exciting 27-26 win over Middlebury. The first-year signal-caller also rushed for 93 yards on 15 carries and one score.
Chris Olberding (SUNY Maritime): Olberding led all rushers with 132 yards on 15 carries, while sprinting for a pair of touchdowns in his team’s 51-15 win over Anna Maria.
Rodrick Payne (St. Lawrence): Against Buffalo State, Payne rushed for 99 yards on 21 carries and two scores.
Richie Phillips (Mass. Maritime Acad.): Phillips led all rushers in his team’s 28-21 setback to West Conn. with 212 yards on 39 carries, while recording one touchdown.
Mark Piccirillo (Wesleyan): Piccirillo helped the Cardinals overcome a two-point (23-21) setback at the break by finishing the game 29 of 42 for 370 yards, while rushing for 84 yards on 11 carries. Piccirillo also concluded the game with three touchdowns, including two through the air.
Sonny Puzzo (Trinity): Puzzo completed 18 of 31 passes for 200 yards, while tossing one score – he also rushed for 37 yards on 21 carries.
Anthony Service (Western New England): Service amassed 210 yards of total offense, while account for three touchdowns, including two through the air as the Golden Bears topped Endicott in Springfield, Massachusetts.
John Smith (Husson): Smith rushed for a trio of touchdowns on 16 carries for 95 yards in his team’s 49-0 win over Castleton.
Shane Sweeney (Hobart): Sweeney completed 19 of 29 passes for 305 yards and four scores in his team’s 49-27 win over Hartwick.
Koree Reed (Hartwick): Reed hauled in a game-high nine receptions for 156 yards and three touchdowns in the Hawks’s 49-27 setback to Hobart.
Maxwell Rye (Middlebury): Rye led the Panthers’ receiving core with seven grabs for 133 receiving yards and one score.
Nick Villanueva (Curry): Villanueva led all receivers with 118 yards on four receptions, while hauling in a pair of touchdown passes as Curry defeated Becker, 40-0.
Trai Weaver (Anna Maria): Weaver led all Anna Maria receivers Saturday by hauling in nine catches for 149 yards and one touchdown.
Jordan Wilcox (Springfield): Wilcox led all rushers with 169 yards on 25 carries, while rushing for one score in his team’s seven-straight win.
Thomas Wright (SUNY Maritime): Wright completed 26 of 36 passes for 334 yards, while tossing a pair of touchdowns in his team’s win over Anna Maria.
Defensive Team of the Week:
Luke Apuzzi (Williams): Against Middlebury, Apuzzi registered 16 total tackles, including 10 solo stops, including one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of four yards.
Derek Breunig (Maine Maritime): Against Coast Guard, Breunig registered 10 total stops, including four solo tackles, one sack (nine yards) and two tackles for a loss of 25 yards.
Jesse Byorth (Merchant Marine): Byorth led the Mariners with 10 total tackles, including a pair of stops for a loss of six yards and one forced fumble against Springfield.
Joe Esposito (Plymouth State): Esposito concluded Saturday’s 16-13 win over Framingham State with eight total tackles, including a trio of solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 18 yards and one forced fumble.
Dylan Ferrari (SUNY Cortland): Ferrari concluded Saturday’s upset win over Alfred with six total stops, including three tackles for a loss of 16 yards and two sacks for a loss of 13 yards.
Daniel George (Anna Maria): Against SUNY Maritime, George tallied 12 total tackles, including seven solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of four yards. He also recorded one forced fumble, too.
Nick Giorgio (Springfield): Giorgio concluded Saturday’s game against Merchant Marine with eight total tackles, including seven solo stops and four tackles for a loss of 23 yards.
Michael Hall (Anna Maria): Hall matched George for 12 total stops, but concluded Saturday’s game against SUNY Maritime with nine solo tackles, along with one tackle for a loss for four yards and two fumble recoveries (19 yards).
Geno Iozzino (Alfred): Against SUNYCortland, Iozzino recorded six solo stops, including a pair of tackles for a loss (10 yards) and one sack (seven yards).
Paul Krowel (Buffalo State): Krowel tallied seven total stops, including four solo tackles, two quarterback hurries, two-and-a-half tackles for a loss (11 yards) and two sacks (10) in the Bengals’ 24-21 win over St. Lawrence.
Marvey Mathurin (UMass Dartmouth): Against Bridgewater State, Mathurin tallied 15 total stops, including 12 solo tackles and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of six yards.
Brandon Morris (Wesleyan): Against Bates, Morris tallied 14 total tackles, including 10 solo stops and two tackles for a loss of six yards.
William Rivera (Endicott): Against Western New England, Rivera registered 11 total stops, including five solo tackles, two tackles for a loss of nine yards and one sack for an eight yard loss.
Tylor Scales (Tufts): Scales completed Tufts’ most recent contest against Trinity with eight total tackles, including seven solo stops, two tackles for a loss of nine yards, one sack for an eight yard loss and one forced fumble.
Aaron Slodowitz (Middlebury): Against Williams, Slodowitz led all defenders with 18 total tackles, including 11 solo stops and two tackles for a loss of five yards.
Skyler Williamson (St. Lawrence): Against Buffalo State, Williamson registered 15 total tackles, including seven solo stops, four tackles for a loss (16 yards) and one sack (eight yards).
Special Teams of the Week:
Jordan D’Onofrio (West Conn.): D’Onofrio punted the ball six times on Saturday with a pair of boots landing inside the Mass. Maritime Academy 20. He also registered two touchbacks, while connecting on all four extra point attempts.
William Holscher (SUNY Cortland): Holscher’s 20 yard field goal in overtime helped the Red Dragons secured an exciting upset over Alfred in Cortland, New York. Holscher completed the game with eight points – he was a perfect two for two on extra points.
Brian McGovern (Hartwick): Against Hobart, McGovern tallied nine points by connecting on a pair of field goals and three extra points.
Matthew Murphy (SUNY Maritime): Against Anna Maria, Murphy connected on seven extra point attempts, while tallying 496 yards on eight kickoffs with five kicks resulting in touchbacks.
Saturday marks the final day of the NCAA Division III regular season. So, in honor of the 11th week of college football here in New England, I present 11 Games to Watch in Week 11.
Trinity at Wesleyan: The Bantams flexed their muscles a few weeks ago, proving they’re the team to beat in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a convincing win over Middlebury. Can they finish their campaign unbeaten? It won’t be easy, but expect a big day from sophomore tailback Max Chipouras, who will lead the Bantams to a conference crown. Prediction: Trinity 27, Wesleyan 20
Williams at Amherst: This is the biggest D3 game in the country tomorrow, hands down. Williams has shown improvement under first-year head coach Mark Raymond, and I think this is the game they finally break through. Prediction: Williams 20, Amherst 14
Hamilton at Bates: Winners of two-straight, the Bobcats will look to cap their 2016 campaign with a season-finale win over the Continentals of Hamilton. Bates’ defense was impressive last week, holding Bowdoin to just one score, while tallying three interceptions and two sacks. Prediction: Bates 21, Hamilton 7
Tufts at Middlebury: Jay Civetti’s squad has enjoyed another impressive season, winning six of seven contests thus far. The Jumbos have a chance to share the NESCAC crown with a win – they would also need Wesleyan to defeat Trinity. I think Chance Brady caps his impressive career with the Powder Blue and White by scoring the game-winning touchdown to send Tufts past Middlebury for the second-straight season. Prediction: Tufts 31, Middlebury 24
Husson at Mount Ida: The Eagles provided an early season scare to perhaps the best team in the East Region – that would be Alfred. Since then, Coach Gabby Price’s squad has been on a roll, winning eight-straight contests. Can they make it nine in a row? It won’t be easy, especially against an up and coming Mount Ida squad, but look for halfback John Smith and quarterback Cory Brandon to lead the Eagles to their ninth-straight victory. Prediction: Husson 27, Mount Ida 14
Castleton at Norwich: The annual Maple Sap Bucket Trophy is on the line. The Spartans have won the last two meetings, but I think this year the Cadets will find a way to secure the coveted trophy for the first time since 2013. Prediction: Norwich 21, Castleton 17
Endicott at Curry: For the second-straight season, Coach Kevin DeWall’s Gulls have a chance to end their campaign at 5-5. Don’t expect this clash with the Colonels to be easy – last season both teams needed four extra sessions to determine the eventual winner. Let’s go with a late touchdown by the Gulls to send Endicott past Curry on the road. Prediction: Endicott 28, Curry 21
Coast Guard Academy at Western New England: Can the Bears slow down the Golden Bears? It’s possible, but expect Western New England to finish their season with a win, along with some additional momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: WNE 30, CGA 14
Salve Regina at Maine Maritime Academy: Despite a disappointing outcome last week, the Seahawks can cap their season by finishing undefeated on the road. Halfback Sam Pascale will be guide the ground attack – and his squad – to their eight win of the season. Prediction: Salve Regina 28. MMA 14
Mass. Maritime Academy at Bridgewater State: The Bears clinched the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown last weekend with an impressive road win over Framingham State. Expect this squad – now winners of seven-straight – to cap their regular season campaign with not only an eight consecutive win, but also winners of the Annual Cranberry Bowl, too. Prediction: Bridgewater State 28, MMA 14
St. Lawrence at WPI: Last weekend, the Engineers engineered a dramatic comeback to defeat Rochester on the road. Can they cap their respective campaign with a win over St. Lawrence? It won’t be easy, but how about a last minute field goal to send WPI past the Saints? Prediction: WPI 30, St. Lawrence 28