Tag: Wilkes University

Noontime’s Northeast College Football Games to Watch (Week Seven)

Rory Sullivan and the FDU-Florham football team will host Delaware Valley on Saturday in an important conference matchup. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sherry Saccoliti)

By Matt Noonan

Sure, we’re a New England sports blog – yes, we’re based right outside of Boston (technically across the river, to be exact in Somerville), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep our eyes on some college football games outside our region, right?

So, today, we’re going to highlight a few matchups to watch this weekend outside of New England, including one taking place in Madison, New Jersey.

Delaware Valley (5-0, 3-0 MAC) at FDU-Florham (4-1, 3-0 MAC) Saturday, October 16 at 12 p.m.:  The Devils have been on a roll since losing their season-opener to the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA).

Last week, FDU-Florham won its fourth consecutive contest by outlasting Lebanon Valley in double-overtime. Connor Perez, who finished with two touchdown receptions, caught the game-winning score in the second overtime session and quarterback Anthony Caserta concluded the conference clash with four touchdown passes.

The Devils’ momentum will certainly be tested against an Aggies squad that has not lost a game this fall – DelVal has produced 114 points in three-straight conference games and scored their fifth consecutive win last weekend with a 48-15 win over King’s College.

DelVal enters Saturday’s contest having won 32 consecutive Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) matchups, dating back to their 2016 campaign. Their 5-0 start is their best since 2017 when they finished 12-1 overall and 9-0 in conference play.

FDU-Florham’s offense will be challenged with scoring points this week as DelVal’s defense is one of six units in NCAA Division III that is limiting opponents to less than 10 points per game. DelVal’s defense has yielded an average of 9.40 points per game.  

Gallaudet University (4-0, 2-0 ECFC) at SUNY-Maritime (1-4, 1-1 ECFC) Saturday, October 16 at 2 p.m.: The Bison enter their third conference matchup with a great deal of momentum.

Last week, Timel Benton and the Bison rushed past Keystone College, 34-14, thanks to five rushing touchdowns. Benton rushed for a team-high 167 yards on 19 carries and two scores while D’Mitri Lofton, Mikka Harvey, and Preston Garrett all rushed for one touchdown.

As a team, Gallaudet leads all Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) teams with 17 rushing touchdowns – Alfred State ranks second with 10 – while the Privateers rank fourth in touchdown passes (Anna Maria College and Dean College are tied for first with 10 touchdowns through the air).   

SUNY-Maritime captured its conference opener with a come-from-behind win against Castleton University before falling one week later to Alfred State.

Saturday’s game is an important one for both teams, but especially the Privateers as two conference losses would make it tough for them to win the league title. But anything is possible, of course.

SUNY-Maritime topped Gallaudet in their last meeting in 2019 by a score of 24-13, while the Bison’s last win against the Privateers came in 2012. The win – the Bison’s seventh of the 2012 season – matched their total from 2007, which was when the squad returned to the “NCAA Division III ranks.”  

Anna Maria College (3-1, 1-0 ECFC) at Alfred State (2-3, 1-0 ECFC) Saturday, October 16 at 12 p.m.:  The AMCATs have been a great story thus far. But can they continue their early-season momentum one week after they were idle? I think so.

Quarterback Alex Cohen leads the conference in passing yards per game (288.0) and passer rating (151.5) and guided the AMCATs to a thrilling 21-20 victory two years ago against the Pioneers.

Cohen will certainly be a player to watch in this matchup, but the same could be said for Alfred State’s Aaron Jenkins, who registered 317 yards of total offense last week, including a game-high 222 yards on 22 carries and one rushing touchdown against SUNY-Maritime. Jenkins also completed 8 of 18 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns – he located both Ben Ba and Shy’rel Broadwater in the end zone.  

Look for Alfred State to rely on its rushing attack on Saturday, which has held them to back-to-back victories.

Anna Maria has won two of three meetings – Saturday’s contest will mark the fourth meeting between the two schools.  

More Games to Watch:

  • Wilkes University at Widener University (10/16 at 1 p.m.): A pair of five-win teams will tangle in Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Utica College (4-1, 1-0 E8) at Brockport (3-2, 1-1 E8) (10/16 at 6 p.m.): The Golden Eagles look to bounce back against the Pioneers, who needed to rally past Hartwick to score their first conference win.
  • RPI (6-0, 2-0 LL) at Hobart College (4-1, 0-1 LL) (10/16 at 1 p.m.): The Statesmen look to bounce back against an Engineers team that continues to find ways to win games.

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.

The Early Outlook: New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference

Brian Bubna and the MIT football team have represented the NEWMAC in the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2018 and 2019. (PHOTO COURTESY: Paul Rutherford)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early season/preseason college football coverage has begun — you may have seen our initial post on the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), but now, it is time to turn our attention to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

NEWMAC Teams:

  • Catholic
  • Coast Guard Academy
  • Merchant Marine Academy
  • MIT
  • Norwich
  • Springfield
  • WPI

2019 Conference Refresh: For the second-straight season, Brian Bubna and the MIT Engineers secured the league crown — the Engineers of Cambridge shared the title with the Engineers of Worcester (WPI).

MIT represented the conference in the NCAA Division III playoffs, but saw their bid for a national title conclude in the opening round against Muhlenberg College, which advanced to the national semifinals against North Central. The Cardinals edged the Mules before rolling past University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to secure the national championship.

WPI ended its 2019 campaign with a 9-1 record, along with a 35-6 victory over Western Connecticut in the New England Bowl.

Both teams are expected to be in the mix for the conference crown this fall — the same could be said for Merchant Marine and Springfield College. And perhaps a few more?

Merchant Marine outlasts Coast Guard in lone 2020 contest: The Mariners captured their 16th Secretaries Cup last November with a 24-14 win over Coast Guard, thanks to a game-high 151 rushing yards and one touchdown from Ian Blakenship.

Blakenship will be back under center this fall when the Mariners begin their 2021 campaign at FDU-Florham on Friday, September 3 at 7 p.m. The senior signal-caller from McRae, Georgia has rushed for six touchdowns in three seasons, including four during his team’s 2019 campaign, and has tallied 451 rushing yards in 11 contests. He will certainly be a player to watch for the Mariners this fall — the same could be said fullback Ceaser Gonzalez (103 rushing yards and one touchdowns against Coast Guard last November), Eric Davidson (linebacker) and Joshua King (linebacker).

Last November’s contest also provided us a glimpse of a few Coast Guard players to watch this year, which include Jared Colletti (wide receiver), Finnegan Hall (kicker), and Michael Palermo (linebacker).

Catholic will play six home games this fall: For the first time since 2014, the Catholic Cardinals will compete on their home turf six this time this season, including three times in September against McDaniel College (Sept. 4), Endicott College (Sept. 18), and Christopher Newport (Sept. 25).

Coach Mike Gutelius and the Cardinals did compete once this spring when Catholic outlasted Wilkes University, 27-22. The game was highlighted by an impressive 65-yard touchdown pass from Brady Berger to Preston Jeffrey.

Berger graduated this past spring after being named the Jone Dowd Role Model Award Winner. Jeffrey will be back for his final season with the Cardinals after recording career-highs in games played (eight), receptions (12), receiving yards (205), and touchdown receptions (two) during the 2019 season.

From a local angle, keep your eyes on three Massachusetts natives that will be competing this fall for the Cardinals: Mark Cheffers (wide receiver/Winchendon), Austin Haggerty (defensive back/Westford), and Griffin Renzella (linebacker/Wellesley).

Our Early-Season Favorite(s): It was just one game last November, but the Mariners of Merchant Marine should certainly be in the mix for the NEWMAC title — the same could be said for MIT, Springfield, and WPI.

There are certainly some unknowns when it comes to MIT, Springfield, and WPI, but all three programs have been in the mix in the past, which makes us think it could be a four or possibly five-team race for the top spot.

Coast Guard and Catholic could also be in the mix, and perhaps the dark horse is Norwich, which will begin its 2021 campaign against Salve Regina University, a team that should certainly content for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.

Similar to the ECFC, there are some early-season favorites, but also some teams that could surprise us.

The Early Outlook: Eastern Collegiate Football Conference

Anna Maria Football
Dan Mulrooney and the Anna Maria College football team will be one of a few teams to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley/Anna Maria College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

A brand new season of college football is quickly approaching — are you ready for some football?

As we inch closer to the upcoming season, we’ll be producing some early-season outlooks for a slew of Northeast conferences. And today, we’ll begin our early-season outlook with some thoughts (and ideas) on what fans of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) should expect this fall.

ECFC Teams:

  • Alfred State
  • Anna Maria
  • Castleton
  • Dean
  • Gallaudet
  • Keystone
  • SUNY-Maritime

2019 Conference Refresh: With a 4-1 conference mark, the Dean Bulldogs secured their initial league crown, despite ending the regular season with a 38-20 setback to Castleton on Saturday, November 9, 2019. Weeks later, the Bulldogs competed in their final contest of season — they were one of four New England teams selected to compete in the New England Bowl against Endicott College.

SUNY-Maritime represented the conference in the NCAA Division III Tournament but saw their championship hopes dashed in the opening round of the national postseason to Salisbury University.

Anna Maria enjoyed one of its best seasons under coach Dan Mulrooney by posting two wins after averaging one win during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, while Alfred State produced a three-win season, which is the most recorded by any team in the Pioneers’ program history.

Despite producing just two wins, Gallaudet recorded back-to-back wins in mid-October against Castleton and Alfred State — they scored a season-high 62 points against Alfred State.

Finally, Castleton ended its 2019 campaign on a high note by scoring back-to-back wins against Anna Maria and Dean. The Spartans recorded just two wins during the 2019 season but certainly made things difficult for both conference and non-conference foes.

ECFC Soundbite (Dan Mulrooney of Anna Maria College on the Noontime Sports Podcast):

A 2021 Storyline to Follow: Keystone College reintroduced its football program in January 2018 — the Giants played a limited schedule during the 2019-20 school year but will play their first game as a member of the ECFC on Saturday, September 4 when they visit Wilkes University for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

The Giants produced three wins during their first season in 2019 — they scored their initial win on September 23, 2019, against Morrisville State College, which was the program’s first victory since last competing in 1948.

Keystone will enter the upcoming season with 52 first-year players on their roster — sure, there are some unknowns about the Blue and Orange, but they will certainly be a team we’ll be watching this fall, especially when they begin conference play at home on Saturday, October 2 against Anna Maria.

Our Early-Season Favorite(s): It’s a toss-up — we could see Anna Maria or Castleton secure the conference crown, but also believe Dean and SUNY-Maritime will be able to contend for the league title. As Mulrooney told us during a recent podcast sit down, the AMCATs return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball that should help them return to the title game for the first time since November 9, 2013.

Noontime’s Teams To Watch in NCAA D-III Region 2

Michael Hnatkowsky and the Muhlenberg College football team will be a team to watch this fall in NCAA Division III Region 2. (PHOTO COURTESY: Muhlenberg College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our early preseason college football coverage continues by highlighting 10 teams we will be watching this fall in the NCAA Division III’s second region.

Yesterday — Tuesday, July 20, to be exact — we highlighted the first region, which included teams in our backyard here in New England, along with a few squads in Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

Alright, without further ado, let’s share our list (below) with teams from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Brockport: Since 2016, Jason Mangone and the Golden Eagles have tallied seven wins or more — they posted a 13-1 record in 2017 and advanced to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division III postseason after edging Western New England, 33-28. Brockport did graduate some key pieces from its 2019 squad, including linebacker Alex West, but should certainly be a team to watch in the Empire 8 Athletic Conference.

Cortland: It’s hard to rule out the Red Dragons on a yearly basis, which have averaged 7.2 wins since 2015. They produced an eight-win season in 2019 but ended with a setback in the New York Bowl to Hobart. The two teams are not scheduled to compete in the regular season, but could perhaps see each other later this year in the postseason.

Franklin & Marshall: The Diplomats have produced seven wins or more since 2016, as well as finished atop the Centennial Conference (CC) in 2017 with a 10-1 overall record. They will look to continue their momentum two years after posting a 7-4 mark in 2019, which was capped by a bowl victory against Misericordia University.

Hobart: After posting a 5-4 record in 2018, the Statesmen bounced back with a nine-win season in 2019, which was capped with a New York Bowl victory. One should expect the Purple and Orange to continue their momentum from two years ago when they commence their 2021 campaign at Alfred University on Friday, September 3 at 7 p.m.

Ithaca College: The Bombers have produced a trio of eight-win seasons in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and will look to continue that momentum this fall when they commence their 2021 campaign against Bridgewater State on Saturday, September 4 at 1 p.m. 2019 was a special season for the Blue and White as they not only won the 60th Cortaca Jug Game against Cortland at MetLife Stadium, but saw Will Gladney become the program’s all-time leading receiver in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

Johns Hopkins: The Blue Jays capped their 2019 campaign with a 51-28 Centennial-MAC Bowl game victory over Stevenson University — quarterback David Tammaro highlighted the win by completing 22 of 33 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high 101 yards on 11 carries and concluded his career as the program’s record holder in total offense (11,369 yards), touchdown passes (85), 200-yard passing games (34), and 300-yard passing games (13). He also recorded three 400-yard passing games, too — crazy, right? — but this season, fans of the Blue Jays will see someone different under center, but expect the program’s recent success to continue.

Muhlenberg College: Quarterback Michael Hnatkowsky will be spotted under center this fall — the Philadelphia Pennsylvania native, who was named the Centennial Conference (CC) offensive player in the year in 2019, will look to continue his previous success after an impressive third season with the Mules that saw him record career-bests in completions (270), touchdown passes (46), passing yards (3,640), and efficiency (175.81).

Salisbury University: The Sea Gulls competed twice this year, beating Christopher Newport and Wesley College in back-to-back contests in March to gain some momentum heading into their 2021 season-opener at Albright College on Friday, September 3 at 6 p.m. Quarterback Jack Lanham accounted for three touchdowns in both spring games, including a pair of rushing scores, and will once again be a player to watch this fall after being named the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) co-offensive player of the year with Ruhann Peele of Wesley.

Susquehanna University: The River Hawks concluded their 2019 campaign by capturing their third consecutive Centennial-MAC Bowl with a 88-24 win over Wilkes University. Susquehanna was one of two teams in the Centennial Conference to post 10 wins or more in 2019, and will once again be in the hunt for a league title as quarterback Michael Ruisch returns after finishing third in the conference in passing yards per game (215.9). Halfback Da’Avian Ellington is also back this season — the New Jersey native led all CC rushers with 112.3 yards per game in 2019.

Union College: 2019 was a very successful season for Jeff Behrman‘s Dutchmen — the sixth-year head coach guided the Maroon and White to an 11-1 season, which included a 33-0 shutout against RPI in their regular-season finale. Despite not playing last season, Union will once again be a team to watch this fall in the Liberty League (LL) as quarterback William Bellamy returns for his final season — he will be joined by a slew of other key pieces from the 2019 squad, including halfbacks Ike Irabor, who played locally at Xaverian Brothers High School, and Joseph Ferreira, a Rocky Hill, Connecticut native that rushed for a career-high nine touchdowns in 2019.