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New England Small College Football Conference Race Watch (Week Eight)

Isaiah Cashwell-Doe and the Springfield College football team head into the eighth week of the 2021 season with a great deal of momentum. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Seven weeks of New England small college football are in the books.

And with four weeks remaining in the regular season, it is time to highlight – and yes, share some thoughts, too – on the various conference races to watch in both Division II and Division III.

Let’s begin with the Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10).


Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10)

The Leader: Bentley University (7-0, 5-0)

In the Hunt: Assumption College (3-3, 3-1), University of New Haven (5-1, 4-0), and Stonehill College (5-1, 3-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • New Haven at Stonehill (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • American International College at Assumption College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Falcons will be idle this upcoming weekend but have stretched their winning streak from 2019 to 12 games, thanks to a 34-20-win last Saturday against Southern Connecticut. Bentley has been impressive thus far — they appear destined to repeat as conference champions, but they will face some challenges over the final few weeks, especially in November when they compete against Assumption (again) and New Haven (the Falcons’ win earlier this season against the Greyhounds was a non-league victory).

New Haven is also a team to watch — like Bentley, they have yet to drop a conference game this fall, but will be challenged over the next few weeks, including this Saturday when they visit Stonehill.


Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

The Leader: Endicott College (6-1, 3-0)

In the Hunt: Husson University (4-2, 1-1), Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1), University of New England (3-2, 1-1), and Western New England (4-3, 2-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Endicott at Salve Regina (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
  • Husson at UNE (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Nichols College at Western New England (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: Endicott enters the fourth week of conference play with a great deal of momentum heading into an important matchup with Salve Regina. A win against the Seahawks would provide the Green and White with the inside track to the conference crown.

Endicott beat Salve Regina in 2019 by six points (30-24) but lost to the Seahawks one year earlier after beating Western New England.

A win for the Seahawks would make the next few weeks rather interesting, despite suffering a 41-3 setback to Western New England earlier this month.

Western New England rebounded from its 45-21 setback to Endicott with a 23-10 win over Curry College — they will be the favorite heading into this week’s matchup with the Bison.

The winner of Husson-UNE will remain in the mix with one conference setback.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

The Leaders: Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0) and Gallaudet University (5-0, 3-0)

In the Hunt: Alfred State (2-4, 1-1) and Castleton University (3-3, 1-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Alfred State at Gallaudet (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Dean College at Anna Maria (Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: If things remain the way they are currently in two weeks, then Anna Maria-Gallaudet in Paxton, Massachusetts will be the game that most likely decides the conference champion.

Both Anna Maria and Gallaudet appear to be the “teams to beat” heading into the eighth week of the season, but the Pioneers of Alfred State can change that with a win on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Like Alfred State, Castleton is still in the mix, too, but they must win their remaining contests so they can keep pace with Anna Maria and Gallaudet.


Elijah Nichols and the Framingham State Rams have won their last five contests. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photograph)

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

The Leaders: Framingham State (5-2, 5-0) and Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0)

Matchup to watch this week:

  • Westfield State at Bridgewater State (Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Bears and Rams have yet to drop a single conference contest while a few teams have suffered two or three setbacks.

So, these are the two teams to watch over the next few weeks – the Rams are idle this weekend but will conclude the month by visiting Massachusetts Maritime Academy while Bridgewater State will play back-to-back games at home against Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth.  

After hosting the Corsairs, the Bears will visit Framingham State with the outcome most likely deciding who will represent the conference in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Framingham State has scored two important wins against UMass Dartmouth and Western Connecticut while Bridgewater State has only beaten one of those teams.

While Bridgewater State and Framingham State will certainly be the two teams to watch over the next few weeks, keep your eyes on UMass Dartmouth down the stretch as they could possibly conclude the season in second place, as well as secure a bid to the New England Bowl.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

The Leaders: Trinity College (5-0, 5-0), Wesleyan University (5-0, 5-0), and Williams College (5-0, 5-0)

In the Hunt: Amherst College (3-2, 3-2)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Williams College at Bates College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Trinity College at Colby College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Middlebury College at Wesleyan University (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The final four weeks of the NESCAC are going to be interesting – maybe we should not overlook Amherst College, which has won three of five matchups this fall?

The Mammoths, along with the Bantams, Cardinals, and Ephs will all compete against each other during the final three weeks, which makes us think that maybe the Purple and White could play spoiler to these three undefeated teams. Perhaps they finish second or third?

Trinity has been fun to watch (and follow), but rather impressive from what we have watched on film. The same could be said for coach Mark Raymond’s Ephs.

As for Wesleyan – sorry, the “Cardiac Cardinals” – they have found ways to win games, especially these last three weeks against Bates, Bowdoin College, and Tufts University.

The Bantams are “the team” we believe will finish with either eight or nine wins, along with the conference crown, but anything is possible – get ready for an exciting ending to the 2021 NESCAC football season!  


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

The Leaders: Catholic University (5-2, 3-0), Springfield College (3-3, 2-0), and United States Merchant Marine Academy (6-0, 3-0)  

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Springfield at WPI (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
  • Catholic at Merchant Marine (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)

Synopsis: Before every NEWMAC team began competing against each other, the Mariners of Merchant Marine appeared to be well on their way to securing the league title. But things have changed.

Heading into this weekend, the Mariners are one of three teams that have yet to lose a conference matchup – this week, Merchant Marine hosts Catholic in a very important contest that we’ll be watching from afar.

Catholic has been a great story this season – the Cardinals have won five of seven matchups thus far, including a non-league tilt with Endicott College last month. Their two setbacks came against Randolph-Macon College and Christopher Newport University, but it seems as if both losses provide the Cardinals with a better understanding of what they must do to be successful once conference play commenced.

After starting its season with a 1-3 record, the Pride of Springfield have rebounded by winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy (60-0) and Norwich University (56-7), thanks to an impressive ground attack that is led by Isaiah Cashwell-Doe, Patrick Ladas, and Tim Callahan.

Look for the ground game to carry Springfield to their fourth win on Saturday when the Pride heads to Worcester to compete against WPI.