Noontime’s Way Too Early D-III Football Conference Predictions

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Frank Stola and the Williams College football team will be one of the favorites in the NESCAC this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Our WAY too early New England D-III football preseason coverage rolls on with some predictions on who we think will win their respective conference this season.

Yes, we know these are VERY early predictions and they will certainly change once we get closer to kick-off, but for now, enjoy some way too early thoughts (from your friends at Noontime Sports) on who we think will celebrate a conference championship in November.



Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Endicott College or Western New England
  • Teams to Watch: Husson UniversityNichols College, and Salve Regina University
  • Quick Synopsis: Yes, we know the Gulls and Golden Bears will be the teams to watch this fall, but don’t overlook Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina as these three teams that will certainly challenge Endicott and Western New England for the CCC crown. Western New England has won the conference the last three years while Endicott has come close the past two seasons to snatching the title from its rival.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

  • Predicted Winner: Dean College
  • Teams to Watch: Maritime (N.Y.) 
  • Quick Synopsis: With a 4-1 conference mark, the Bulldogs were able to win their first-ever ECFC title last fall, so expect that momentum to continue one year later. Maritime (N.Y.) will also be a team to watch this season, while the other ECFC teams should provide challenges to both the Bulldogs and Privateers.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Framingham State or UMass Dartmouth 
  • Teams to Watch: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut 
  • Quick Synopsis: The Rams of Framingham State have enjoyed a great deal of success the past few years, but could this be the year of the Corsairs? With quarterback Stephen Gacioch leading the UMass Dartmouth offense this fall, expect the Corsairs to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the MASCAC.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Wesleyan University or Williams College
  • Teams to Watch: Middlebury CollegeTrinity College, and Tufts University
  • Quick Synopsis: As of now it seems as if this conference could be a two-team or five-team race for the NESCAC crown. Williams will welcome back an impressive senior class that should help them overcome the challenges to secure their first outright title since 2008. Keep your eyes on Trinity and Tufts – these two teams could play spoiler – and, of course, don’t overlook the Cardinals of Wesleyan, who will return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball.

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

  • Predicted Winner: MIT
  • Teams to Watch: Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Springfield College  
  • Quick Synopsis: Coach Brian Bubna and the Engineers have won back-to-back NEWMAC championships so it is hard to pick against MIT, which will once again be one of a few teams to watch in this conference. The Bears of Coast Guard Academy could also be a team that takes that next step, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine and Springfield College. Also, let’s not count out WPI, which did graduate a big senior class, but will carry over some momentum from its 10 win season.

The Early D3 Football Outlook: Teams To Watch In 2020

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Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak will be one of many players to watch on the Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early New England D-III football coverage has begun with our ‘Way Too Early‘ Top 20 Poll – what did you think? 

Now, it is time to dig a bit deeper and highlight a few teams we believe fans should watch (and keep their eyes on) once the season officially kicks-off in a few months.

Dean College: After winning their first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title last November, the Bulldogs enter the 2020 season with a great deal of momentum. Sure, their 2019 campaign concluded with a difficult loss to the Gulls of Endicott College in the New England Bowl, but with a slew of starters expected to return this fall, including quarterback Terrell Watts, wide receiver Errol Breaux, and defensive end Wadell Alceus, don’t expect these Bulldogs to take a step backward.

Endicott College: The Gulls – like most squads highlighted on this list – did graduate some key players from last year’s squad, as well as their 2018 campaign, too. But Endicott does return some important pieces on both sides of the ball, including tight end Riley Shanley, defensive back Dylan Gardner, quarterback Dylan Bonfilio, and linebackers Tim Russell and Kevin O’Brien. All five players, along with some newcomers and returners will make the Gulls a team to continue to watch in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) conference.

Framingham State: After a slow start to its 2019 campaign, the Rams scored a must-needed win over Westfield State, which provided Framingham with all the momentum they needed to win their conference’s crown. This year, the Rams will look a bit different – they won’t have quarterback Adam Wojenski under center – but will have return some key pieces on both sides of the ball, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Year. On defense, look for Joshua Onujiogu to lead a unit that limited opposing rushing attacks to less than 100 yards per game.

Middlebury College: After winning nine consecutive contests last fall, it is hard to pick against these Panthers, who will certainly be challenged from the get-go. Yes, the Panthers bid farewell to some key players from a year ago, but welcome back quarterback Will Jernigan for one more season. Jernigan will be tasked with leading an offense that averaged 30.6 points per game while registering 410.6 yards per contest.

UMass Dartmouth: Quarterback Stephen Gacioch was fun to watch last season – he recorded career-bests in passing yards per game (277.6) and touchdowns (20) while rushing for a career-high six scores. Gacioch should be the player to watch again with these Corsairs, who ended their 2019 campaign with seven wins.

Wesleyan University: Quarterback Ashton Scott enjoyed a successful 2019 season – he finished with 17 touchdowns while completing 147 of 240 passes for 1,939 yards. Scott will be one of a few players to watch on offense – keep your eyes on halfback Glenn Smith and wide receiver Matthew Simco – while Taj Gooden will be asked to lead a defense that limited opponents to 19.1 points per game.

Williams College: We believe this Ephs team has a chance to win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) this fall. They will be challenged, of course, but with quarterback Bobby Maimaron guiding the offense to linebackers Jarrett Wesner and TJ Rothmann leading the defense, these Ephs should be well-prepared to combat whatever they will face once their season begins in September.

Western New England: Some believed the Golden Bears were a bit lower than anticipated on our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll last week. And you know, we agree – these Golden Bears should have been a bit higher on our poll. Wide receiver Steven Fedorchak and linebacker Erich Keutmann should be able to help the Blue and Gold defend their conference crown not just against Endicott, but also other league foes.

A few other teams worth noting – we will certainly have more on them – include MIT, Salve Regina, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Western Connecticut. 

The Way Too Early New England D3 Football Top 20 Poll (June 2, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com 

Sure, college football is not happening today or tomorrow, but a new season appears to be on the horizon.

So, like we did last year, it is time to unveil our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll – we will have a preseason poll once we get closer to the 2020 season.

Program Note: Our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 was based on our final poll from the 2019 season, as well as statistics. 


The 2019 Way Too Early New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll

The Final 2019 New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll 


Noontime Sports Way Too Early New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll 

1. Williams College 7-2, 7-2 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 11

2. Endicott College

9-2, 6-1 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 3

3. UMass Dartmouth

7-3, 5-3 MASCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 9

4. Wesleyan University

8-1, 8-1 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 8

5. Middlebury College

9-0, 9-0 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 4

6. Salve Regina University

4-6, 3-4 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 20

7. Trinity College 

5-4, 5-4 NESCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 13
8. Western New England 9-2, 7-0 CCC 2019 Final Spot: No. 1
9. Framingham State  8-3, 8-0 MASCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 5

10. MIT 

7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 6

11. Springfield College

6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 7

12. Western Connecticut

8-3, 6-2 MASCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 10

13. Tufts University

4-5, 4-5 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: NR

14. Nichols College 6-4, 4-3 CCC 2019 Final Spot: No. 14
15. WPI 10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 2
16. Amherst College  4-5, 4-5 NESCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 15
17. Bridgewater State 6-4, 6-2 MASCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 12
18. Husson University 4-6, 4-3 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 17

19. Coast Guard Academy

5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 18

20. Univ. of New Eng.

4-6, 2-5 CCC

2019 Final Spot: NR

On The Rise: Anna Maria College and Dean College

Noonan: Revisiting My First Lacrosse Championship Game

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Tufts University’s Beau Wood (No. 18) netted the game-winning goal for the Jumbos against Bowdoin College in the 2012 NESCAC Championship game. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan 

The month of May, in my opinion, will always be associated with the sport of lacrosse.

It is a month that features a slew of college tournaments and championships to NCAA postseason runs that concludes on Memorial Day weekend.

But while the sport of lacrosse, as well as other games, remain sidelined for the moment, memories of games covered, including my first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Final, is on my mind. And it is hard not to think back to that gorgeous day – May 6, 2012, to be exact – when Tufts University outlasted Bowdoin College, 9-8, in double-overtime

At the time, I didn’t know much about lacrosse. I thought it was hockey on grass – maybe basketball, too – but it was a sport I grew to love from watching a talented Tufts team (and program), which had won its first-ever national championship two years earlier against Salisbury University.

I got my first glimpse of these Jumbos in mid-April of 2012 when Tufts rolled past Amherst College, 15-5. It was an impressive win.

Mike Daly, who was the coach of the Jumbos, told me neither he or his coaching staff anticipated his team was going to beat Amherst by ten goals on this particular afternoon. Instead, Daly, who is currently the head coach of the Brown University men’s lacrosse team, told me that his team “just put together a pretty complete effort today.” And that effort would certainly be on display weeks later when I covered Tufts’ dramatic win over a Bowdoin, which would conclude its 2012 campaign in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

Bowdoin was a good team. They had scored some impressive conference wins in 2012, as well as some important non-league victories against Keene State and Springfield College. They beat Wesleyan University in the NESCAC quarterfinals before knocking off Trinity College in the semifinals shortly after Tufts topped Connecticut College.

Tufts had beaten Bowdoin prior to their championship meeting – the Jumbos topped the Polar Bears, 15-7, in Medford, Massachusetts, which made me think the young men who wore the powder blue, brown and white jerseys that day would duplicate that performance on the same field. But I was wrong.

Instead, I, along with fans and friends of each program, was treated to an amazing back and forth affair that saw Bowdoin erase a two-goal deficit during the final minutes of the fourth quarter to force not one, but two extra sessions.

Tufts had a chance to win the game in the first overtime but neither Nick Rhoads and Beau Wood were able to deposit their attempt past Bowdoin’s, Chris Williamson. Bowdoin would also have a chance to clinch the victory but watched Conor O’Toole‘s shot sail wide of the Tufts cage.

So, with the score still knotted at 8-8, we quickly advanced to a second overtime period. And like many, I wondered which team would score that game-winner? Would it be Bowdoin, since they seemed to have all the momentum, thanks to back-to-back fourth-quarter goals by Keegan Mehlhorn and Will Wise, or Tufts, which had not located the back of the net since the final seconds of the third quarter?

That question would be answered during the sixth and final period when Tufts scored on its third attempt of the session with 1:50 remaining. Beau Wood fired home the game-winner after receiving a pass from Geordie Shafer. And once the ball slipped past Bowdoin’s Chris Williamson, the Jumbos rushed the field to celebrate a hard-fought yet exhilarating win.

“We knew we had to just end (the game) it as soon (as we got the ball),” Wood remarked shortly after his team’s one-goal win.

Indeed, the Jumbos did end it, but not until they forced their second turnover of the second overtime.

Tufts would advance to the NCAA semifinals two weeks later but saw their run toward a national title conclude against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons, which beat the Jumbos by a score of 12-10, would end up losing in the finals to Salisbury, who had beaten Tufts in the national title game one year earlier.

Sure, it was disappointing to see a team you had covered fall short of winning the ultimate prize, but I knew eventually this team (and program) would celebrate a championship in the future. And that they did. Tufts would win a pair of titles in the coming years, including their second national championship against Salisbury in 2014. They would also make a third-straight appearance in the championship game in 2016 but lose by one goal to the Sea Gulls of Salisbury.

Tufts will return to the title game again soon. But for now, I consider myself lucky to have covered and chronicled their various campaigns these past few years through NoontimeSports.com. I will always be thankful for the time both Mike Daly and his players provided me after the three contests I covered in 2012 and will continue to look back on this time fondly. I was a young journalist (and blogger), but also someone that wanted to learn more about a sport that I had only played once in my life. And because of Tufts, I am now an avid lacrosse fan, as well as a high school and middle school official here in Massachusetts.

I miss watching and covering games, especially on gorgeous days like today, but I do know better days are ahead for all of us, and they will certainly include exciting and dramatic one-goal victories.

New England Small Colleges In The NFL & AFL Draft

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Bates College fullback Tom Carr, who is one of two Bobcats to rush for 30 touchdowns in a career, was drafted by the Boston Patriots in 1966. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bates College.)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The 2020 NFL Draft is just a few hours away – are you excited?

While we anxiously await to hear who will be this year’s first-round pick – most likely Joe Burrow, right? – we wanted to highlight some former New England small college players that heard their names announced during past NFL and American Football League (AFL) Drafts.

Our list was created with the help of ProFootballReference.com’s NFL and AFL Draft History.


American International College (AIC)

  • 1944: Myron Majewski (Tackle): Majewski was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 328th pick in the 32nd round.
  • 1953: Bill Murray (End): Murray was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 272nd pick in the 23rd round.
  • 1957: Tom Rychlec (End): Rychlec was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 119th pick in the 10th round. The Meriden, Connecticut native played one season with the Lions before competing for the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (AFL)from 1960 to 1963.
  • 1961: Joe Scibelli (G): Scibelli was drafted by two teams – the New York Titans of the AFL and Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. He elected to play for the Rams and played for Los Angeles from 1961 to 1975. He started 195 of 202 games on defense. The Springfield, Massachusetts native competed in six postseason contests.
  • 1961: Andy Griffith (RB): Griffith was drafted by the New York Titans of the American Football League with the 198th pick in the 25th round.
  • 1967: Bill Delaney (TE): Delaney was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 112th pick in the fifth round.
  • 1970: Glen Dumont (RB): Dumont was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 364th pick in the 14th round.
  • 1972: Bruce Laird (DB): Laird was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the 152nd pick in the sixth round. The Lowell, Massachusetts native played ten seasons in the NFL – eight with the Colts and two with the San Diego Chargers. He started in 127 of 164 contests while competing in five postseason games.
  • 1977: Terry Randolph (DB): Randolph was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 290th pick in the 11th round.
  • 1992: Gabe Mokwuah (LB): Mokwuah was drafted by the Green Pack Packers with the 287th pick in the 11th round.

Amherst College 

  • 1972: Jean Fugett (TE): Figett was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the 338th pick in the 13th round. The Baltimore, Maryland native played eight seasons in the NFL – he played four seasons with the Cowboys (1972-1975) before finishing his career with the Washington Redskins.
  • 1974: Freddie Scott (WR): Scott was selected by the Baltimore Colts with the 174th pick in the seventh round. The Grandy, Arkansas native played 10 seasons in the NFL – he spent the majority of his career with the Detroit Lions (1978-1983) while competing in four postseason contests. He never won a playoff game.
  • 1978: Bill Swiacki (TE): Swiacki was drafted by the New York Giants with the 232nd pick in the ninth round.
  • 1978: Sean Clancy (LB): Clancy was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the 217th pick in the eighth round. The Manhasset, New York native played two seasons in the NFL – he spent one year with the Dolphins and his final season with the St. Louis Cardinals. He also competed in just one postseason contest.

Bates College

Bentley University

  • 2008: Mackenzy Bernadeau (G): Bernadeua was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 250th pick in the seventh round. The Waltham, Massachusetts native played seven seasons, including four with the Dallas Cowboys from 2012 to 2015. He started 49 of 111 games, including all 16 for the Cowboys in 2012. He also played in two postseason games with the Cowboys in 2015 against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

Bowdoin College

  • 1966: Paul Soule (HB): Soule, who was from Portland, Maine, was drafted by the Boston Patriots in the 1966 AFL Draft with 174th pick in the 20th round.
  • 1978: Steve McCabe (G): McCabe, who grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts, was drafted the Washington Redskins with the 324th pick in the 12th round. McCabe is the only member of the Polar Bears football program to be drafted by an NFL team after becoming the school’s first and only student-athlete to earn Kodak Division III All-American honors.

Brandeis University  

Colby College 

  • 1955: John Jacobs (E): Jacobs was selected by the New York Giants with the 224th pick in the 19th round.
  • 1959: Bob Sargent (T): Sargent was drafted by the Washington Redskins with the 292nd pick in the 25th round.

Middlebury College

  • 1949: John Corbisiero (B): Corbisiero was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 169th pick in the 17th round.
  • 1955: Al Dennis (E): Dennis was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals with the 191st pick in the 16th round.
  • 1958: Dick Fusco (T): Fusco was drafted by the New York Giants with the 214th pick in the 18th round.

Norwich University

  • 1943: Walt Domina (HB): Domina was selected by the New York Giants with the 106th pick in the 12th round. A two-spot athlete with the Cadets, Domina was remembered for his impressive play on the gridiron – he still holds individual records for points (31) and most touchdowns scored (five) in a single-game. Both records were recorded against Middlebury in 1940.

Southern Connecticut State University

  • 1963: Ralph Ferrisi (RB): Ferrisi was drafted by two teams – Boston Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. Ferrisi, who was born in Bronx, New York, but graduated from Weymouth High School, played professionally for the Vikings.
  • 1967: Tom Reale (OT): Reale was selected by the New York Giants with the 369th pick in the 15th round.
  • 1967: Dick Nocera (RB): Nocera was selected by the Boston Patriots with the 414th pick in the 16th round of the AFL Draft.
  • 1985: Travis Tucker (TE): Tucker was picked 287th overall in the 11th round by the Cleveland Browns. The Brooklyn, New York native played three seasons for the Browns while competing in a trio of postseason contests.
  • 1987: Scott Mersereau (DT): Mersereau was selected 136th overall in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Rams. The Riverhead, New York native never played for the Rams, however, but competed for the New York Jets from 1987 to 1993. He started in 91 of 102 contests and finished his career with three interceptions and three forced fumbles. He only played in one postseason contest in 1991 against the Houston Oilers.

St. Anselm College

  • 1940: Ray McLean (HB): McLean was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 192nd pick in the 21st round. The Lowell, Massachusetts native played eight seasons with the Bears, making seven starts in 76 contests. He rushed for five scores while catching 21 touchdowns.

Trinity College

  • 1937: Mickey Kobrosky (QB): Kobrosky was drafted by the New York Giants with the 44th pick in the fifth round. The Springfield, Massachusetts native played seven games for the Giants in 1937, completing 2 of 13 passes for 18 yards while rushing for 41 yards on 13 carries.
  • 1959: Roger LeClerc (LB): LeClerc was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 177th pick in the 15th round. The Springfield, Massachusetts native was transformed into a kicker with the Bears where he connected on 76 of 152 attempts while drilling 154 of 160 extra points. He did play one season for the Denver Broncos in 1967 before retiring.
  • 1985: Joe Shield (QB): Shielf was selected by the New York Giants with the 44th pick in the fifth round. The Brattleboro, Vermont native played just three games with the Packers during the 1986 season.

Tufts University 

  • 1946: George Feldman (HB): Feldman was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 208th pick in the 22nd round.
  • 1958: George Kurker (T): Kurker was selected by the New York Giants with the 149th pick in the 13th round.
  • 1977: Daryl Brown (DB): Brown was picked 240th in the ninth round by the Cleveland Browns.

UMass Boston

  • 1974: Erle Garrett (DB): The only student-athlete to be drafted in UMass Boston’s history, Garrett was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 441st pick in the 17th round.

University of New Haven

  • 1958: Lou Pitney (C): Pitney was drafted by the New York Giants with the 345th pick in the 29th round.
  • 1959: Dick Splain (T): Splain was selected by the Washington Redskins with the 185th pick in the 16th round.
  • 1982: Mile McPherson (DB): McPherson was selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the 256th pick in the 10th round. The Queens, New York native never played a down for the Rams but did play four seasons for the San Diego Chargers while playing in two postseason games against the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • 1991: Harry Boatswain (G): Boatswain was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 137th pick in the fifth round. The Brooklyn, New York native played began his five-year career with the 49ers before competing for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1995 and the New York Jets in 1996. He also competed in seven postseason games, including four contests against the Dallas Cowboys.

Wesleyan University 

  • 1947: Burt VanderClute (G): Vander Clute was picked 69th overall in the ninth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • 1947: Jack Medd (C): Medd was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 89th pick in the 11th round.
  • 1948: Jim Burton (E): Burton was drafted by the Boston Yanks with the 69th pick in the ninth round.
  • 1949: John Geary (T): Geary was selected by the New York Bulldogs with the 93rd pick in the 10th round.

Williams College

  • 1970: Jack Maitland (RB): Maitland was selected by the Baltimore Colts with the 408th pick in the 16th round. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native played just one season for the Colts, starting two of the 14 games. He rushed for 209 yards on 74 carries for one score while catching nine passes for 67 yards and one touchdown. One year later, Maitland suited up for the New England Patriots where he played for the hometown team in 1971 and 1972.
  • 1976: Scott Perry (DB): Perry was picked 147th overall in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pleasanton, California native played four seasons with the Bengals before ending his career with both the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. Perry played in two postseason games in 1981 with the Chargers.
  • 1996: Ethan Brooks (T): Brooks was selected 229th overall in the seventh round by the Atlanta Falcons. Brooks played seven seasons of professional football, including three with the Baltimore Ravens from 2002-04.