Middlebury College quarterback Will Jernigan guided the Panthers to its third perfect season in program history in 2019. (PHOTO COURTESY: Will Costello)
By Matt Noonan
Happy Friday, everyone.
And welcome to our first of many ‘Football Friday’ posts, which will revisit (and yes, highlight, too) previous campaigns, stories, and games we have covered since our blog began pressing the publish button back in May 2009.
Today, we’re revisiting last year’s perfect season by the Middlebury College football team, which saw the Panthers win nine games, as well as capture the 2019 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title.
The 2019 NESCAC crown was the team’s first outright title since 2007. It was also the program’s fourth championship – they shared the crown in 2000 and 2013.
Middlebury’s run toward its first conference crown in nearly a decade featured many twists and turns, including an epic double-overtime win over Amherst College (34-31), along with two hard-fought season-ending victories against Hamilton College (14-7) and Tufts University (31-24).
While the team’s three-point win over the Mammoths may have been their most thrilling victory of the 2019 season, they also scored some dramatic (and last second) victories against Colby College (27-26) and Williams College (17-13).
The one-point win over the Mules was something I discussed with Colby’s head coach Jack Cosgrove earlier this summer – he told me it “would have been a great win for (his) program.”
Middlebury, which entered the game riding a four-game winning streak, was held to just seven points in the final frame while the visitors produced 13 points on two touchdowns – they almost finished the frame with 16 points, but a game-ending 29-yard field goal sailed wide of the goalposts.
“Yeah, we were in a football game,” Cosgrove said of his team’s heartbreaking defeat to the Panthers.
But beyond their epic and dramatic finishes, Middlebury’s most impressive performance of the 2019 season occurred one week after their win over Colby when they defeated Wesleyan University in a battle of undefeated teams.
Jack Pistorius led the Panthers defense with 10 total tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 11 yards while Nick Leone finished with four total stops, which included three tackles for a loss of 12 yards.
Middlebury College’s Will Jernigan was named the 2019 NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year. (PHOTO COURTESY: Will Costello)
Middlebury would continue its winning ways over the next three weeks to cap its perfect season, but as noted above, their final two victories over Hamilton and Tufts were certainly not easy.
The Continentals of Hamilton limited the Panthers to their fewest points in a single contest (14) – they also kept Middlebury off the scoreboard for three-straight quarters.
Against the Jumbos, Middlebury needed its defense to fend off a late rally by Tufts, which came within one touchdown with 13 seconds remaining. The Panthers recovered the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff to not only seal the win but cap its magical season with a perfect season.
Unfortunately, the Panthers won’t have a chance to defend their conference crown this fall due to the conference canceling competition because of the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but you can bet that Middlebury would have been ready to go toe-to-toe with its conference foes, including both Wesleyan and Williams College, which finished their respective campaigns with identical 8-1 records.
The 2019 NESCAC football season was exciting, but the wait for its next kickoff – not just Middlebury’s, but all 10 teams – will certainly be worth it.
Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak will be one of many players to watch on the Golden Bears this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Chris Marion)
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 Wojenskiunder 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.
Welcome to a brand new week here at Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com), which will be highlighting some of our favorite games we have watched or covered, beginning with ten of our favorite games from the D3 Football world last fall.
Our list highlighted ten games from last season in no particular order – we hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane as much as we enjoyed producing it.
Share your thoughts on our list below or send us a tweet to either @NoontimeNation or @NoontimeSports.
Top 10 D3 Football Games from 2019
Joe Kalosky and the Endicott College Gulls began their 2019 season with an opening day win over Framingham State. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nick Grace)
The win – the team’s first since beating the Rams, 34-7, in 2012 – was highlighted by Joe Kalosky‘s five touchdown passes while the defense recorded four interceptions and one sack. Endicott’s Justin McEwen concluded the game with five receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
The opening day win over the Rams certainly provided the Gulls with momentum to finish its 2019 slate with nine wins. And those nine victories matched the 2012 squad, which also finished with an identical record of 9-2.
Framingham State outlasts UMass Dartmouth for a much-needed week five victory. The Corsairs entered their week five meeting with the Rams with a great deal of momentum – they had won four-straight contests leading up to the highly anticipated contest, including an impressive 48-41 win over Husson University.
UMD was certainly ready (and prepared) to go toe-to-toe with the Rams, who needed a second-half rally to beat the Corsairs, 39-33.
Framingham State overcame a 13-point differential at the break by outscoring the visitors, 26-7, thanks to Adam Wojenski, who concluded the game with five touchdown passes, along with 53 yards on 11 carries.
Jernigan, Maldjian leads Middlebury College past Wesleyan University: Both Middlebury and Wesleyan entered their mid-October meeting as the top two teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). And the winner – as both teams knew – would secure sole possession of first place heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.
Middlebury broke open a tie game early in the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown run by Alex Maldjian, which helped the Panthers push ahead for good. Maldjian concluded the marquee matchup with 95 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns while Will Jernigan completed 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns.
As for the Middlebury defense, the unit recorded four sacks for a loss of 27 yards, three pass break-ups, and one interception.
Hamilton College Stuns Amherst College with a last-second field goal. The last time the Continentals beat the Mammoths was more than two decades ago, but on Saturday, October 19th, 2019, the Blue and Gold scored an exciting 31-28 victory, thanks to a 40-yard field goal by Sam Thoreen as time expired. The win evened Hamilton’s mark at the time at 3-3 while Amherst fell to 4-2.
Thoreen finished the game with 11 points off three field goals and two extra points.
Keithen Shepard’s lone touchdown in overtime helped the Engineers of MIT beat the Engineers of WPI in overtime in November 2019. (
Mauck, Shepard lead MIT past WPI in overtime. In a must-win game for the MIT football team, the Engineers of Cambridge found a way to outlast WPI and keep their title hopes alive.
With less than 90 seconds remaining, Chris Mauck drove the Engineers into field goal range where Mark Wright drilled a 41-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session – well, the second additional session, to be exact – the Engineers again relied on Mauck, who connected with Keithen Shepard for a 23-yard game-winning touchdown that provided MIT with its first win over WPI since 1900.
The loss snapped an impressive seven-game winning streak by WPI, which included wins over RPI and Springfield College.
MIT would go onto win their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title two weeks later against Springfield College.
Kingsley’s Fourth-Quarter Touchdown sends Anna Maria past Alfred State. Trailing Alfred State, 20-6, with 13:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, the AMCATs of Anna Maria needed to score two touchdowns as well as stop the Pioneers’ offense. And that is exactly what they did.
Kingsley concluded the game with 192 passing yards on 12 of 31 pass attempts while Tyshawn Anderson led all defenders with 24 total tackles, including 16 solo stops, three tackles for a loss of seven yards, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Terrell Watts threw for seven touchdowns while completing 18 of 29 passes for 260 yards. Errol Breaux led all receivers with eight catches for 125 yards and five touchdowns.
Two weeks after scoring an exciting four-point win over the Pioneers, the Bulldogs competed in their first-ever New England Bowl game against Endicott.
Fedorchak’s record day highlights Western New England’s win over Westfield State. In an early-season matchup against Westfield State, Western New England’s Steven Fedorchak established a pair of single-game records in the Golden Bears’ 56-35 win.
Fedorchak concluded the game with nine receptions for 319 yards and five touchdowns. He ended the opening frame by breaking the previous records for receiving yards (183) and touchdowns (three).
As a team, Western New England outgained Westfield State 701-354 while converting six of eight third-down attempts.
Quarterback Alec Coleman completed 22 of 27 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns. He also registered 43 yards on the ground and one score.
Bates College rolls past Bowdoin College in its first nighttime contest. The Bobcats halted a seven-game losing streak under the lights in early November with a commanding 30-5 win over Bowdoin College, thanks to a pair of touchdown receptions by Jackson Hayes. Quarterback Brendan Costa completed 9 of 17 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns while Tyler Bridge rushed for a game-high 188 yards on 28 carries and one touchdown.
As for the Bobcats’ defense, they concluded the contest with 56 total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 17 yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, and six pass break-ups. They also registered three quarterback hurries.
Michael Pina highlighted the win by scoring three touchdowns, including one through the air to Joshua Pierre-Charles, who also registered two rushing scores. Joe Cox recorded 12 stops in the win – Nichols would go onto finish its season with six wins, which is the most they had recorded since 2016.
With the eighth week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.
Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’ Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week, which can be seen (here on our site) every Tuesday throughout the 2019 season.
Offensive Players of the Week
Alec Coleman (Western New England): Coleman completed 31 of 41 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns while adding 24 yards on six carries and one score, which helped the Golden Bears beat Curry College.
Trevor Chase (Norwich University): Chase snagged seven catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday against Maine Maritime Academy.
Leesandro Colon (Westfield State): Colon rush for a team-high 132 yards on 20 carries (6.6 yards) and two touchdowns as the Owls claimed their first win of the 2019 season against Fitchburg State.
Matt Dunn (Norwich University): Dunn completed 20 of 25 passes for 395 yards and four touchdowns against Maine Maritime Academy while adding 28 yards on five carries.
Connor Field (WPI): Field rushed for 129 yards on nine carries and three touchdowns, which helped the Engineers defeated Merchant Marine.
Stephen Gacioch (UMass Dartmouth): Against Worcester State, Gacioch completed 18 of 31 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown, while adding 39 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns.
Will Jernigan (Middlebury College): Against Bowdoin College, Jernigan completed 13 of 24 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 53 yards on 12 carries and two scores.
Nick Juvelier (Curry College): Juvelier completed 30 of 54 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns against Western New England while adding 14 yards on nine carries and one touchdown.
Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina University): Mauriello rushed for 202 yards on 27 carries and five touchdowns against Becker College.
Sean McAllen (WPI): McAllen tallied 129 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown while catching one pass for 78 yards and one score.
Julian Nyland (WPI): Nyland completed 14 of 18 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns while adding 17 yards on three carries and one score as the Engineers rolled past Merchant Marine in Worcester.
Brian Peters (University of New England): Peters completed 34 of 50 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns last Saturday against Nichols College.
Michael Pina (Nichols College): Pina tallied 382 total yards of offense last Saturday in an exciting four-overtime win against the University of New England. The Bison signal-caller completed 29 of 48 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns while adding 53 yards on nine carries (5.9 yards).
Frank Roche (Tufts University): Roche hauled in a game-high six receptions for 136 yards and three touchdowns against Hamilton College.
Matthew Simco (Wesleyan University): Simco caught five passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday, which helped the Cardinals score a bounce-back win against Amherst College.
Chad Shade (Springfield College): Against Catholic University, Shade completed three of seven passes for 92 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 66 yards on 13 carries and one score.
Terrell Watts (Dean College): Watts racked up 275 yards of total offense against Gallaudet University, including 26 yards on six carries and two touchdowns. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns.
Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Wojenski completed 15 of 25 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for a game-high 84 yards on 16 carries and one score.
Defensive Players of the Week
Tyshawn Anderson (Anna Maria): Anderson tallied 13 total tackles, including eight solo stops, two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of nine yards and a pair of forced fumbles against SUNY-Maritime last Saturday.
Ben Anthony (Williams College): Anthony stuffed the stat sheet against Trinity College by posting seven total tackles, including four solo stops and two tackles for a loss of 10 yards. He also recorded one interception (43 yards).
Colin McCabe (Mass. Maritime Academy): McCabe posted seven total tackles, including six solo stops and two tackles for a loss of 13 yards against Plymouth State.
Joe Gowetski (Bowdoin College): Gowetski was a player to watch last Saturday as he posted 14 total tackles, including 11 solo stops and six tackles for a loss of 22 yards. Additionally, he recorded one forced fumble.
Avantaye Salomon (Norwich University): Against Maine Maritime Academy, Salomon tallied four total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 21 yards and one forced fumble. He also finished the game with two sacks for a loss of 18 yards.
Joshua Smiley (Framingham State): Smiley tallied five solo tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 24 yards and one forced fumble which helped the Rams defeat Western Connecticut.
Mehdi Squalli (Endicott College): Against Husson University, Squalli posted seven total tackles, including three solo stops and a half-of-a-tackle for a one-yard loss. Additionally, he recorded an interception for 30 yards while registering one pass break-up.
Brian Tucker (Western Connecticut): Against Framingham State, Tucker posted seven solo stops, including one tackle for a loss of three yards, while recording one fumble recovery.
Special Teamers of the Week
Nick DiCairano (Endicott College): DiCairano tallied 11 points last Saturday against Husson off seven kicks, including two field goals with the longest being a 46-yard kick. Additionally, the senior kicker recorded eight kickoffs for 497 yards with four kicks resulting in a touchback.
Kevin Heintz (University of New England): Heintz concluded Saturday’s four-overtime thriller against Nichols College with 12 points off eight kicks, including two field goals (longest field goal was a 40-yard boot). Additionally, Heintz punted the ball four times with two kicks landing inside the Nichols’ 20-yard-line.
Andy Kenosh (Castleton University): Kenosh was a perfect three-for-three on field goals against Alfred State – his longest kick was a 31-yard field goal.
Bryce Wade (WPI): Wade tallied 10 points off 10 kicks, including a 39-yard field goal as WPI defeated Merchant Marine last Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall.
With the seventh week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.
Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’ Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week, which can be seen (here on our site) every Tuesday throughout the 2019 season.
Offensive Team of the Week
OJ Armstrong (Tufts University): Armstrong led the Tufts receiving core with six catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns as the Jumbos rolled past Bowdoin College in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Tim Callahan (Springfield College): Callahan led all rushers with 161 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns as Springfield topped Merchant Marine on the road.
Stefano D’Emilia (Bridgewater State): D’Emilia accounted for eight touchdowns and 398 yards of total offense last Saturday in his team’s big win against UMass Dartmouth. The senior signal-caller completed 15 of 27 passes for 345 yards and five touchdowns while adding a game-high 53 rushing yards on 12 carries and three scores.
Tijani Harris (Trinity College): Harris rushed for a game-high 158 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns which helped the Bantams top Colby College at home.
Will Jernigan (Middlebury College): Against Wesleyan University, Jernigan completed 18 of 25 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 36 yards on 12 carries.
Ryan Jones (Coast Guard Academy): Jones completed 26 of 34 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns which helped the Bears of Coast Guard Academy top Maine Maritime Academy.
Joe Kalosky (Endicott College): Kalosky was impressive against Curry College, completing 19 of 23 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns.
Matt Long (Mass. Maritime Academy): Against Fitchburg State, Long amassed 245 yards of total offense, while recording four touchdowns. He completed 10 of 21 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown while adding 100 yards on 15 carries and three scores.
Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina): Mauriello rushed for 265 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns against Western New England.
Justin Moffatt (Coast Guard Academy): Moffatt caught a game-high 13 catches for 256 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears topped Maine Maritime Academy on the road.
Randy Morgan (Becker College): Morgan rushed for a game-high 188 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns while catching one pass for 11 yards against Nichols College.
David Morrison (Husson University): Against the University of New England, Morrison completed 25 of 39 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 16 yards on six carries.
Julian Nyland (WPI): Nyland accounted for 209 yards of total offense against Catholic University by completing 10 of 13 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 19 yards on four carries and one score.
Terrell Watts (Dean College): Watts completed 20 of 27 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns as the Bulldogs topped Anna Maria College on the road.
Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): The senior signal-caller was close to perfect last Saturday, completing 35 of 38 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns as the Rams topped Plymouth State on the road.
Defensive Team of the Week
Brett Bates (Amherst College): Against Hamilton College, Bates tallied seven total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 26 yards, along with one forced fumble and one pass break-up.
Joe Cox (Nichols College): Cox led the Bison defense with 16 total tackles, including 13 solo stops and two tackles for a loss of three yards against Becker College.
Desmond Dias (Dean College): Dias led the Dean defense against Anna Maria with 12 total tackles, including five solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 15 yards. He also recorded one sack for a loss of 13 yards.
Seth Gewanter (Castleton University): Against SUNY-Maritime, Gewanter stuffed the stat sheet with 12 total tackles, including six solo stops, one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of three yards and one forced fumble.
Joe Gowetski (Bowdoin College): Gowetski stuffed the stat sheet against Tufts University with 11 total tackles, including four-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 17 yards and one-and-a-half sacks for a loss of 14 yards.
Will Kearney (Wesleyan University): Against Middlebury College, Kearney posted a team-high 18 total tackles, including seven solo stops.
Joshua Onujiogu (Framingham State): Onujiogu helped the Rams defense limit Plymouth State to just 53 yards of total offense and five first downs. The defensive end concluded the game with six total tackles (five solo stops), including three tackles for a loss of 19 yards.
Sean Reall (UMass Dartmouth): Reall led the Corsairs’ defense against Bridgewater State with 14 total tackles, including eight solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 11 yards. He also recorded one block, too.
Special Teams of the Week
Patrick Crowley (Coast Guard Academy): Crowley posted nine points against Maine Maritime Academy off two field goals, including a 44-yard field goal, and three extra points.
Nick DiCairano (Endicott College): DiCairano posted 11 points on eight extra points and a 47-yard field goal against Curry College while recording 10 kickoffs for 613 yards with three touchbacks.
Christian Hutra (Springfield College): Hutra drilled a career-long 32-yard field goal while connecting on six extra points as the Pride of Springfield College stretched their winning streak to three games with an important road victory over Merchant Marine.
Jeremy Jackson (UMass Dartmouth): Jackson punted the ball six times for 232 yards against Bridgewater State with two kicks landing inside the Bears’ 20-yard line.
Carter Massengill (Middlebury College): Massengill tallied nine points off seven kicks, including a 20-yard field goal as the Panthers topped Wesleyan University in a battle of undefeated teams.
Alex Santiago (Nichols College): Santiago connected on all six kicks last Saturday against Becker College, including a 33-yard field goal. He finished the game with eight points.
Bryce Wade (WPI): Wade concluded last Saturday’s game with 10 points off seven extra points and one field goal (27-yards) as the Engineers rolled past Catholic University.