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

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Eric Savage (Tufts University)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our Noontime Senior Salutes continue with honoring Eric Savage, who guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team to its first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Championship last month, along with a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament wins.

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Eric Savage helped Tufts University win a pair of NCAA Tournament games last month, as well as the program’s first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship. (PHOTO COURTESY: Dan Saunders)

Savage, who started all 29 contests this past season, netted his 1,000th career point last November during the Jumbos’ 96-65 win over Lasell University before drilling the game-tying basket during the final seconds of the second half months later against Colby College in the NESCAC Tournament Finals. The game-tying basket provided the Powder Blue and White with enough momentum to outlast the Mules, 102-94, in double-overtime and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

After helping his team rally to beat Western Connecticut in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, Savage scored 19 points on 5 of 11 shooting to go with seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal against RPI in the second round.

An economics major from South Brunswick, New Jersey, Savage averaged 15.8 points per game this past season along with 6.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He scored 1,408 points in 105 games while tallying 615 rebounds, 290 assists, and 126 steals.


What will you remember most about your senior year?

Winning our first-ever NESCAC (Tournament) Championship.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games?

Our entire postseason run, both our conference tournament and the first NCAA weekend were extremely memorable. Being able to host (all five postseason games) on our home court in front of our families, friends, and fans were awesome. The energy in Cousens Gymnasium was electric and we were able to win all five contests, which made it all the more special.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Tufts men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

The friendships and relationships I have built over the last four years mean so much and are so special to me. The Tufts basketball program has brought me so much joy over the course of my career and I am happy to have given back to the school by helping to deliver their first (NESCAC) championship.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

I would love to be a coach at some point in the future. I am not sure what my specific plans are regarding basketball moving forward, but one thing is for sure and that is I am not ready to say goodbye to the sport just yet.

What interested you in pursuing a major in economics? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

From a young age, I actually wanted to be an astronaut, but when I came to Tufts I was originally majoring in astrophysics. A variety of factors (including my ironic discovery that astronauts cannot be colorblind) forced me to pivot.

In high school, I developed an interest in business and entrepreneurship which led me to an economics major with minors in finance and entrepreneurial leadership studies.

Noontime’s All-Decade Connecticut & Rhode Island D3 Football Team

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Our Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) All-Decade Week continues with a brand new team: The Connecticut & Rhode Island D3 Football Team from 2010-2019.

This was a fun walk down memory lane, highlighting a slew of student-athletes we covered and interviewed over the past ten years that earned a variety of end of season honors, including D3Football.com All-American honors to first or second-team nods to program record-holders to the final Gold Helmet Recipients from the New England Football Writers (NEFW).  And as usual, we did our very best to highlight as many student-athletes from across both Connecticut and Rhode Island.


The All-Decade Noontime Sports Conn. & R.I. D3 Football Team (Offense)

Will Arndt (QB) Western Connecticut Sandy Hook, Conn.
Octavias McKoy (RB) Western Connecticut Stratford, Conn. 
Max Chipouras (RB) Trinity College Longmeadow, Mass.
Sam Pascale (RB) Salve Regina University Cheshire, Conn. 
Shea Dwyer (RB) Wesleyan University Marlborough, Conn. 
Christopher Hunt (TE) Trinity College Westford, Mass. 
Austin Baiardi (OT) Trinity College Smithtown, N.Y.
Nick Seara (OT) Wesleyan University South Ozone Park, N.Y.
Adam Iskra (OT) Salve Regina University North Haven, Conn.
Floyd Shaffer (OT) Salve Regina University Conshohocken, Pa.
Joe Magardino (OT) Trinity College  Chappaqua, N.Y.


The All-Decade Noontime Sports Conn. & R.I. D3 Football Team (Defense)

Hayden Stanton (DL) Salve Regina University Wallingford, Conn.
Taj Gooden (DL) Wesleyan University Brooklyn, N.Y.
John Salute (DL) Salve Regina University Mahwah, N.J.
Walter Fallas (LB) Trinity College Everett, Mass. 
Joe Rizzardi (DB) Coast Guard Academy Ashburn, Va.
Ben Thaw (CB) Wesleyan University Westport, Conn.
Jake Bussani (CB) Wesleyan University Pleasanton, Calif.
Phil Terio (CB) Salve Regina University Trumbull, Conn.
Harry Melendez (CB) Trinity College Holyoke, Mass.
Spencer Donahue (S) Trinity College Naperville, Ill.
Rae Haynes (S) Trinity College  Hartford, Conn. 

The All-Decade Noontime Sports Conn. & R.I. D3 Football Team (Special Teams)

Eric Sachse (K) Trinity College Jefferson, Mass. 
Michael Killoran (K) Western Connecticut  West Hartford, Conn. 
Chip Crowley (P) Coast Guard Academy San Marino, Calif.
Kyle Pulek (P) Trinity College Cheshire, Conn.