Tag: Stephen Gacioch

Noontime’s D-III Football Region One Conference Predictions

Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak and the Golden Bears will once again be a team to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

A brand new season of NCAA Division III football is set to kick off tomorrow before a few New England squads compete for the first time since 2019 on Friday and Saturday.

Before we officially begin a brand new season of college football — yes, we know some FBS and FCS teams began their respective campaigns last weekend during Week 0 — let’s dish our conference predictions and teams to watch for Region One.

Best of luck to all teams competing, both this weekend and over the next few days/weeks, and if you’re craving more New England (and NCAA D-III) football coverage, then make sure to check out our first Top 20 poll of the season and our preseason team.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

Predicted conference winner: Western New England: Quarterback Alec Coleman has graduated, but these Golden Bears return a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball that should position the Blue and Gold to win their fourth-straight CCC title.

Teams in the mix: Endicott College, Husson University, Nichols College, and Salve Regina: All four squads will certainly provide challenges for the Golden Bears as the season progresses, but one should not overlook the Eagles of Husson, who return some key pieces from their 2019 squad that will keep the Green and Gold in the mix for the top spot. 

Keep your eyes on the University of New England: The Nor’easters are trending in the right direction — the Blue and White could enter their initial week of conference play with two or three non-conference victories.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Predicted conference winner: Dean College: The Bulldogs enter 2021 with a target on their back after winning their first conference crown in 2019.  

Teams in the mix: Anna Maria College, Alfred State, and SUNY-Maritime: The Privateers have posted five wins or more since 2015, so don’t be surprised to see them challenge the Bulldogs for the top spot this fall. Also, keep your eyes on the AMCATs of Anna Maria, which enter the 2021 season with high hopes. 

Keep your eyes on: Keystone College: The Giants enter the 2021 season as an unknown, but will certainly be a program to watch throughout the fall. 

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) 

Predicted conference winner: UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch is back for his final season with the Corsairs, along with some key pieces of the 2019 defense, which will help UMass Dartmouth contend for the conference crown.

Teams in the mix: Bridgewater State, Framingham State, and Western Connecticut: There are some questions about who will be under center for all three of these teams, both this weekend and throughout the season, but despite some key graduation losses from 2019 (and yes, 2020), all three units will be in the mix for the conference crown this fall.

Keep your eyes on: Fitchburg State: The Falcons begin a new chapter in their program history with Scott Sperone, who will coach his first game on Saturday against Dean. Also, don’t overlook Plymouth State, which was picked to finish fifth in the preseason conference poll.

Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC)

Predicted conference winner: Delaware Valley: The Aggies are our favorites heading into the 2021 season — yes, they will be challenged by Stevenson and Wilkes — maybe Lycoming College? — but at the end of the day, Duke Greco‘s squad will win the conference and advance to the postseason.

Teams in the Mix: Stevenson University and Wilkes University: Both teams were in the mix in 2019 and will once again challenge the Aggies for the top spot in the MAC.

Keep your eyes on Misericordia University: John Davis begins his first season with the Cougars on Saturday — expect the first-year coach to duplicate his success with the Blue and Gold from his previous stop with The Apprentice School.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC):  

Predicted conference winner: Williams College: The Ephs finished with seven wins in 2019 — Williams ended its season with a victory over rival Amherst College and should return a slew of talent on both sides of the ball that should make them one of the top teams in the conference.

Teams in the mix: Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University: While the Cardinals. and Panthers are certainly expected to contend for the top spot in the conference, the same could be said for the Bantams and Jumbos, who look to bounce back from a five and four win season, respectively.

Keep your eyes on: Colby College: These Mules will certainly surprise a few NESCAC fans this fall — fans of the Mules and NESCAC football will be able to see them compete in 17 days against Wesleyan.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC):  

Predicted conference winner: Merchant Marine: We saw the Mariners compete last fall — they beat Coast Guard Academy, thanks to an impressive outing by quarterback Ian Blankenship, who is back for his final season. Joshua King and Matt Strong were recently elected captains, and will lead a squad that garnered three first-place votes in the preseason poll.

Teams in the mix: MIT, Springfield College, and WPI: All three Massachusetts squads will look a bit different than they appeared two years ago, but are certainly equipped to challenge the Mariners for the top spot in the conference.

Keep your eyes on: Norwich University: Mark Murnyack‘s squad may have been picked to finish sixth in the conference, but don’t be surprised if these Cadets score a few exciting and dramatic wins this fall.

Noontime’s New England D3 Top 20 Poll (Aug. 30, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

A brand new season of New England D-III football has officially arrived — welcome to week one, by the way! — which means it is time to unveil our first Top 20 Poll of the 2021 season.

In addition to reading/seeing which teams made today’s poll, make sure to check out our first-ever New England D-III preseason team, which was posted last Friday.

Best of luck to everyone competing, both later this week and weekend (or later in September!), and make sure to stop by later this week for future New England football content and coverage!

Noontime’s New England D-III Top 20 Poll (Week No. 1 | August 30, 2021)

  1. Western New England (9-2, 7-0 CCC in 2019): The Golden Bears begin a brand new season as our initial favorite — WNE welcomes back some key pieces from both side of the ball from 2019, including wide receiver Steven Fedorchak and linebacker Erich Keutmann.

  2. Endicott College (9-2, 6-1 CCC in 2019): When we last saw the Gulls, they were celebrating a New England Bowl victory in November 2019. Expect that end-of-season momentum to continue two years later when Endicott begins its 2021 campaign on Saturday against St. Lawrence University.

  3. UMass Dartmouth (7-3, 5-3 MASCAC in 2019): Quarterback Stephen Gacioch returns for his final season with the Corsairs — UMD enjoyed one of their best seasons in program history in 2019, and should be able to duplicate that success this fall.

  4. Williams College (7-2, 7-2 NESCAC in 2019): The Ephs return some key pieces from its 2019 squad, including wide receiver Frank Stola, who “almost rewrote the entire Williams record book” two years ago.

  5. Middlebury College (9-0, 9-0 NESCAC in 2019): Similar to the Ephs, the Panthers welcome back some key pieces from their 2019 squad, including quarterback Will Jernigan, who was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Year.

  6. Wesleyan University (8-1, 8-1 NESCAC in 2019): The Cardinals return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball — Bryce Jenkins, who was named to our preseason team, will anchor an offensive line that will be ready to provide quarterback Ashton Scott with plenty of time to go through his progressions.

  7. Western Connecticut (8-3, 6-2 MASCAC in 2019): Look for wide receiver Will Daniels to lead the offense while Jarius Bailey to quarterback a defense that will provide some challenges for William Paterson University on Saturday.

  8. Trinity College (5-4 5-4 MASCAC in 2019): The Bantams are poised to bounce back this fall after producing just five wins two years ago.

  9. Springfield College (6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC in 2019): Fullback Tim Callahan will be tasked with leading one of the best rushing attacks in Division III two years ago.

  10. Bridgewater State (6-4, 6-2 MASCAC in 2019): Coach Joe Verria and the Bears enter the 2021 season “excited,” but also optimistic about their chances to compete for a conference crown.

  11. Nichols College (6-4, 4-3 CCC in 2019): The Bison enter the 2021 season as a squad to watch — look for them to challenge Endicott and WNE later this fall.

  12. MIT (7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC in 2019): The Engineers were a bit higher in our “Way Too Early” preseason poll earlier this summer, but we expect them to move up as the 2021 season progresses.

  13. WPI (10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC in 2019): Similar to the Engineers of Cambridge, the Engineers of Worcester should make the climb on this list — yes, they graduated some key pieces from their 2019 squad, but this unit appears “pumped” to be back on the field together.

  14. Tufts University (4-5, 4-5 NESCAC in 2019): Like the Bantams of Trinity, the Jumbos are expcted to bounce back this fall — both teams will meet in the conference’s season-opener in a few weeks, so let the countdown begin for Saturday, September 18.

  15. Husson University (4-6, 2-5 CCC in 2019): Coach Nat Clark and the Eagles are excited to be back on the field — the Eagles were picked to finish fourth in the conference preseason poll, but have potential to surprise some New England fans this fall.

  16. Salve Regina University (4-6, 3-4 CCC in 2019): The Seahawks will begin their 2021 campaign with a challenging test against Norwich University.

  17. Framingham State (8-3, 8-0 MASCAC in 2019): This placing may come as a surprise for many, but the Rams enter the 2021 season with some question marks on both sides of the ball. However, some members of the 2019 squad is back, including Joshua Onujiogu.

  18. Dean College (4-6, 4-1 ECFC in 2019): The Bulldogs were picked to capture the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) this fall — Dean won the league two years ago and will face some challenging tests in September.

  19. Colby College (2-7, 2-7 NESCAC in 2019): We mentioned this on our early summer poll, but keep your eyes on the Mules this fall.

  20. Coast Guard Academy (5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC in 2019): The Bears return some pieces from last year’s squad that competed against Merchant Marine Academy — they were picked to finish fifth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conferece (NEWMAC) preseason poll.

On The Rise: Amherst College, Anna Maria College, Norwich University, and University of New England

Noontime’s New England D-III Preseason Team

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Friday, everyone — we’re excited to cap the last Friday without football being played in New England with our final Noontime Sports Preseason D-III Team.

In case you missed it, we unveiled our first-ever NCAA D-I and D-II teams last week, so make sure to stop by and see which local student-athletes made our lists.

Alright, without further ado, here is our first-ever New England NCAA D-III Preseason Team — as usual, please let us know by connecting with us on social media or sending us an email!

Noontime’s New England Preseason Division III Offense

QB: Stephen Gacioch (UMass Dartmouth) | Tiverton, R.I.

QB: Bobby Maimaron (Williams College) | Duxbury, Mass.

RB: Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina) | Colts Neck, N.J.

RB: Devaun Ford (Framingham State) | Mashpee, Mass.

FB: Tim Callahan (Springfield College) | Enfield, Conn.

WR: T.J. Hairston (Bridgewater State) | Watertown, Mass.

WR: Tyler Halls (Husson University) | Lisbon, Maine

WR: Steven Fedorchak (Western New England) | Guilderland, N.Y.

WR: Will Daniels (Western Conn.) | Bethel, Conn.

WR: Errol Breaux (Dean College) | Marietta, Ga.

WR: Frank Stola (Williams College) | Northport, N.Y.

TE: Aidan Hogan (Husson University) | Morgan, Vt.

OL: Daniel Flores (Bridgewater State) | Hyde Park, Mass.

OL: Cade Watkins (Western New England) | Point Pleasant, N.J.

OL: Lou Cocozza (Springfield College) | Marstons Mills, Mass.

OL: Jacob Cameron (Husson University) | Conway, N.H.  

OL: Bryce Jenkins (Wesleyan University) | Tampa, Fla.

OL: Tucker Gaudette (Castleton University) | Georgia, Vt.


Noontime’s New England Preseason Division III Defense

DL: Jovan Nenadovic (Tufts University) | Washington, D.C.

DL: Joshua Onujiogu (Framingham State) | Wareham, Mass.

DL: Sean Reall (UMass Dartmouth) | North Providence, R.I.

DL: Mekhi Geter (UMass Dartmouth) | West Haven, Conn.

DL: Sam Opont (Endicott College) | Bridgeport, Conn.

DL: Lou Duh (WPI) | Monroe, Conn.

DL: Chris Rice (Castleton University) | Bethel, Conn.

DL: Will Peters (Univ. of New England) | Dracut, Mass.

LB: Joe Cox (Nichols College) | Mansfield, Mass.

LB: Erich Keutmann (Western New England) | Washingtonville, N.Y.

LB: Keegan Stanton-Meas (Univ. of New England) | Portland, Maine

LB: TJ Rothmann (Williams College) | Norwell, Mass.

LB: Jack Pistorius (Middlebury College) | Park Ridge, Ill.

LB: Brian Casagrande (Trinity College) | Madison, Conn.

DB: Jaren Alves (Bridgewater State) | East Providence, R.I.

DB: Bailey Devine-Scott (Western New England) | Wattle Grove, Australia

DB: Tucker Hartmann (Western New England)

DB: Jarius Bailey (Western Conn.) | Cromwell, Conn.

DB: Dylan Kehoe (Nichols College) | Bourne, Mass.  


Noontime’s New England Preseason Division III Special Teams

K/P: Pat Walsh (Tufts University) | Concord, Mass.

K/P: Mason Von Jess (Wesleyan University) | Lakeville, Conn.

P: George Lampros (Mass. Maritime Academy) | Bridgewater, Mass.

P/K: Bryce Wade (WPI) | Modesto, Calif.

The Early Outlook: MASCAC

Stephen Gacioch will be spotted under center this fall for the UMass Dartmouth football team. (PHOTO COURTESY: UMass Dartmouth Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Our preseason New England college football coverage rolls on with some early thoughts on the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), which certainly has the making of a multi-team race for the top spot.

In case you missed it, make sure to read our previous early-season outlooks for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), and Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC).

MASCAC Teams

  • Bridgewater State
  • Fitchburg State
  • Framingham State
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Plymouth State
  • UMass Dartmouth
  • Western Connecticut
  • Westfield State
  • Worcester State

2019 Conference Refresh: For the sixth time in seven seasons, Framingham State secured the top spot with an 8-2 overall record, including an 8-0 league record. The Rams advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament but saw their championship hopes dashed to Wesley College by a score of 58-21.

Western Connecticut also finished its 2019 campaign with an identical 8-2 record — the Colonials, who finished tied for second in the conference with Bridgewater State with a 6-2 record, ended their season against WPI in the New England Bowl (the Engineers won the game by a score of 35-6).

The biggest surprise of the 2019 season was UMass Dartmouth — the Corsairs posted seven wins for the first time since 2004 when they represented the conference in the ECAC Northwest Bowl. Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was named the MASCAC Offensive Player of the Year — the junior signal-caller finished second in the conference in efficiency (143.2) while completing 59.2 percent of his passes.

Additionally, Gacioch competed in eight games and recorded career-highs in passing touchdowns (20), passing yards per game (277.6), rushing yards (356), and rushing touchdowns (six).

Massachusetts Maritime ended its season with six wins, which is the most the Buccaneers have tallied since posting an 8-2 record in 1999.

New Coaches at Fitchburg State and Worcester State: The MASCAC will feature two new coaches at Fitchburg State and Worcester State this fall — Adam Peloquin will lead the Lancers (he was a three-year offensive guard for the blue and gold) while Scott Sperone will lead the Falcons after spending three seasons as a defensive coordinator with WPI.

New Signal-Callers: A majority of the quarterbacks from 2019 have graduated, so the expectation is we will see some new signal-callers this fall for some of the “usual” contenders.

Stephen Gacioch is the only starting quarterback returning (that I know of at this time), but it is expected that we’ll see someone new running the offense at Bridgewater, Fitchburg, and Framingham this fall.

Westfield State excited to be back on the field: Like many teams in our region, getting back to the gridiron after a year away due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is certainly something the Owls of Westfield State were happy to do a few days ago, despite a mini-heatwave. But with cooler weather now arriving to the area, the Blue and White will use this time, as well as the next few days and weeks to prepare for their season-opener against Nichols College on Friday, September 3 at 6 p.m.

Nichols and Westfield last met in the opening week of the 2018 season when the Owls topped the Bison, 25-14, thanks to 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns from halfback R.J. Darby.

Early-Season Favorite(s): It might be easy to pick the Rams of Framingham State, but the Black and Gold enter the upcoming season with some question marks on both sides of the ball, including who will be their starting quarterback. Adam Wojenski has graduated, so it will be interesting to see who coach Tom Kelley selects to lead his offense.

While Framingham State will certainly be a team to watch, the same could be said for these three squads: Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut. Like Framingham, all three have some question marks heading into their respective 2021 campaign, but the Colonials will welcome back some key members of its 2019 squad, including wide receiver Will Daniels and cornerback Jarius Bailey.

Don’t rule out Plymouth State, which finished its 2019 campaign with a 6-4 record. The Panthers concluded their 2019 campaign by winning one of their final four contests, but I expect the Green and White to be in the mix this fall.

Noontime’s Teams To Watch In NCAA D-III Region 1

MIT will be one of a few teams to watch in the NEWMAC this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

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.

UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch is back to quarterback the Corsairs for one more season — in 2019, he led the Blue and Gold to a 7-3 season. UMass Dartmouth last recorded seven wins in 2004 when they were a member of the New England Football Conference (NEFC).

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.