Noontime Sports: Football Stars of the Week (Monday, Oct. 8th, 2018)

NS Stars Of The Week LOGO

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_FB 

With another week of New England D3 Football in the books, it is time to unveil our Noontime Sports Football Stars of the Week from week six!

Our ‘Stars of the Week’ post will appear every Monday on our site throughout the remainder of the college football season. The weekly post will highlight some key contributors from the New England region from the past week on offense, defense and special teams.

Congratulations to this week’s recipients and best of luck to all student-athletes, coaches and teams competing this upcoming weekend.


18 Westfield St Football-49
Travon Holder enjoyed a successful day on the ground, rushing a season-high 203 yards and three touchdowns against Mass. Maritime Academy. (PHOTO COURTESY: Westfield State Athletics)

Offensive Stars of the Week

Hunter Belzo (Springfield College): Against Coast Guard Academy, Belzo scored three touchdowns, including two on the ground. Belzo rushed for 207 yards on 31 carries, while tossing two passes (five attempts) for 39 yards and one touchdown.

Errol Breaux (Dean College): Breaux turned in an impressive performance against Husson University last Friday evening by leading all receivers with 229 yards on six catches (38. 2 yards per reception), while hauling in a pair of touchdown receptions.

Noah Brum (Worcester State): Brum concluded his team’s conference clash against Western Connecticut by completing 28 of 47 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns.

Alex Cohen (Anna Maria College): Cohen helped Anna Maria erase a 17-0 deficit by completing 26-of-38 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 32 yards on 12 carries and one score as the AMCATs topped Castleton University on the road.

Matt Dunn (Norwich University): Dunn completed 23-of-52 passes for a career-high 407 yards, while tossing a pair of touchdowns during his team’s contest against Merchant Marine.

Ryan Gaboury (University of New England): Gaboury hauled in a game-high 10 grabs for 192 yards and three touchdowns with his longest reception being a 41-yard touchdown in the first half.

Moe Harris (Castleton University): Harris reached the end zone three times, including two times on the ground as he finished last Saturday’s contest against Anna Maria with 204 yards on 31 carries. His lone catch was a 44-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, which evened the score at 24-24.

Matt Hersch (Colby College): Hersch had his hand in all three scores for the Mules as he finished the contest 23-of-40 for 277 yards, while tossing a trio of touchdown passes against Wesleyan University.

Nick Juvelier (Curry College): Juvelier recorded five touchdowns last week against University of New England, including four through the air. He finished 35-of-49 for 369 yards, while rushing for 51 yards on 10 carries and one score.

Travon Holder (Westfield State): Holder rushed for a season-best 203 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Owls past Massachusetts Maritime Academy on the road.

Brian Peters (University of New England): Peters helped the Nor’easters win their first-ever game in program history by completing 25-of-33 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday against Curry College.

Manni Romero (Norwich University): Romero hauled in a season-best 10 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday during the Cadets’ conference setback to Merchant Marine.


2018 - Hamilton College at Amherst College Football
Andrew Yamin and the Amherst College defense registered six sacks last week in a shutout win over Middlebury College. (PHOTO COURTESY:

Defensive Stars of the Week

Taj Gooden (Wesleyan University): Gooden turned in an impressive showing against Colby College, registering nine total stops, including five solo tackles, four tackles for a loss of 13 yards and two sacks for a loss of 11 yards.

Blayne Merchant (WPI): Against Catholic University, Merchant tallied a team-high seven solo stops and eight total tackles – he matched Nick Ostrowski with the same number of total tackles. Additionally, he recorded two tackles for a loss of 14 yards, one sack for a loss of 11 yards and one quarterback hurry.

Chris Rice (Castleton University): Rice stuffed the stat sheet with eight total stops, including five solo tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss of 18 yards and one sack for a loss of 10 yards against Anna Maria.

Keegan Stanton-Meas (University of New England):  Stanton-Meas helped the Nor’easters claim their first-ever win in program history against Curry College by finishing the game with 12 total tackles, including five solo stops, two tackles for a loss of three yards and one sack. He also registered a pair of pass break-ups, too.

Andrew Yamin (Amherst College): Yamin registered a season-high 3.5 sacks for a loss 22 yards, while leading the Amherst College defense with 11 total tackles (four solo stops) as the Mammoths shutout Middlebury College last Saturday.


Special Team Stars of the Week

Nick DiCairano (Endicott College): DiCairano registered nine points on seven kicks, including six extra points in the Gulls’ fourth win of the season last Saturday.

Spencer Herrington (WPI): Herrington connected on all four kicks, including a 26-yard field gaol for six points, while recording six punts with three of them landing inside the Catholic University’s 20-yard yard line. One of his boots resulted in a touchback.

Robert Inniss, Jr. (University of New England): Inniss Jr.’s game-winning field goal (38 yards) with five seconds remaining helped the Nor’easters claim their first-ever win in program history against Curry College last Saturday. Inniss Jr. concluded the game with eight points (one field goals and five extra points).

Jeremy Martin (Plymouth State): Martin connected on a trio of kicks last Friday evening against Bridgewater State, including two field goals with his longest boot coming from 44-yards out. He also recorded four punts for 150 yards with one kick landing inside the Bears’ 20-yard line. Additionally, he booted four kickoffs for 258 yards with three resulting in touchbacks.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch In Week One (Aug. 30-Sept. 1st)

10 Games To Watch Week One 2018

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Football has finally returned to New England – welcome back, we missed you!

And with the return of a brand new football season, it can only mean one thing: 10 Games to Watch has officially returned to Noontime Sports (get excited!).

So – similar to last year – we will highlight 10 New England D3 contests to watch (and follow/attend) this weekend, as well as our predictions for each contest, too. And as always, you can let us know what you think of our predictions by sending us a tweet to @NoontimeSports or @Noontime_FB (our brand new football Twitter handle!).

Let’s kick-off a BRAND new season with our first installment of 10 Games to Watch in week one!


Univ. of New England at Coast Guard Academy (Thursday, Aug. 30th | 7 p.m.): The Bears open its 2018 campaign against a new opponent (UNE), which will certainly be a team to watch this fall as a first-year varsity program. But tonight, we’ll take the Bears over the Nor’Easters, which will be led by junior quarterback Ryan JonesPREDICTION: Coast Guard 28, UNE 10 

WPI at Anna Maria (Friday, Aug. 31st | 7 p.m.): WPI is one of our teams to watch this fall – as we mentioned earlier this week, they are very determined to challenge Springfield College for the top spot in the NEWMAC – so look for the Engineers to begin their season with a week one win against a non-conference/Worcester area foe. PREDICTION: WPI 35, Anna Maria 14 

Western New England at Springfield College (Friday, Aug. 31st | 7 p.m.): Junior Hunter Belzo and the Pride’s offense will look to continue its momentum from last season, which began with an opening day win over their neighbors in the Battle for the Pynchon SawPREDICTION: Springfield 28, WNE 21 

Dean College at Curry College (Friday, Aug. 31st | 7 p.m.): This will be a good test for the Colonels, who were picked to finish third in the CCC (tied with Endicott College). Sure, they graduated some key pieces from last year’s squad, which advanced to the New England Bowl, but an opening day win against the Bulldogs could provide the Purple and White with some much-needed early season momentum. PREDICTION: Curry 27, Dean 14 

Becker College at MIT (Friday, Aug. 31st | 7 p.m.): Coach Brian Bubna and the Engineers will look to begin a new chapter – and yes, a new season, as well! – with a win against a Becker squad they topped last season on the road. PREDICTION: MIT 21, Becker 7 

Endicott College at Framingham State (Saturday, Sept. 1st | 12 p.m.): For the past few seasons, the Rams of Framingham State have had their way with the Gulls of Endicott. However, this game has the making for a potential upset, so don’t be surprised if the Blue and Green fly home to Beverly with an opening day win. PREDICTION: Endicott 24, Framingham State 20 

Buffalo State at Bridgewater State (Saturday, Sept. 1st | 12 p.m.): Buffalo State should certainly provide some challenges for the Bears of Bridgewater State, which almost defeated the Bengals last season in New York. This game has the makings for an exciting first week contest, which could come down to the final drive. PREDICTION: Buffalo State 26, Bridgewater State 17 

Salve Regina at Worcester State (Saturday, Sept. 1st | 12 p.m.): If the Lancers hope to contend for the MASCAC crown this fall they must find a way to get past some of the region’s top teams, including Salve Regina. The Seahawks were picked to finish second the CCC Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Wednesday, and will certainly provide Worcester State with some challenges on both sides of the ball. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 29, Worcester State 24 

Husson Univ. at Union College (Saturday, Sept. 1st | 1 p.m.): An opening day win against a talented Union squad would be a tremendous ways to start the post-John Smith era at Husson. The Eagles return some key pieces from last year’s squad, which should certainly help them contend against some of the best teams in both New England and New York this fall. PREDICTION: Husson 17, Union 13 

Plymouth State at Castleton Univ. (Saturday, Sept. 1st | 1 p.m.): The Panthers maybe the favorite in this contest, but don’t overlook the Spartans’ offense, which will be led by senior wide-out Ryan Barry and classmate/halfback Moe HarrisPREDICTION: Castleton 21, Plymouth State 20 

New England D3 Football 2018 Predictions

Preseason Predictions

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the first New England D3 football game scheduled for Thursday, August 30th – University of New England will travel to New London, Connecticut to play its first-ever varsity contest against Coast Guard Academy – it is time to unveil our Noontime Sports 2018 Season Projections, which includes our five picks to win each conference, along with teams to watch and dark horses.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)

Projected Conference Winner 

Western New England: A new era has officially begun at WNE with Jason Lebeau taking over for Keith Emery. The Golden Bears are certainly the favorite in this conference, but do have some questions heading into a new season. However, we expect WNE to celebrate another CCC title, but they could encounter some challenges along the way. Look for junior tailback Peter Hoff to lead the offense, while senior linebacker Mike Chirco will oversee the defense.

Team to Watch

Curry College: Sure, the Colonels may have graduated some key pieces from last year’s squad, but there seems to be some early season excitement surrounding the Purple and White. Once again, coach Skip Bandini will ask everyone to step-up, especially when the game is on the line.

Dark Horse   

Endicott College: Similar to WNE, Endicott will be under new leadership this fall with first-year coach Paul McGonagle returning to the Beverly campus to lead a squad that certainly has potential to make 2018 an exciting fall. They have solid pieces on both sides of the ball and will certainly provide challenges to both their conference and non-conference foes.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) 

Projected Conference Winner 

Husson University: The John Smith era may have ended last November, but don’t overlook these Eagles, who will once again be a team to watch in New England. Senior quarterback Cory Brandon returns and should be in for a solid final season with the Green and Gold – look for him to target classmate and wide out Kyle Gaudet and junior Quintarian Brown. On defense, senior linebacker Elvin Suazo will lead a unit that limited opposing offenses to an average of two touchdowns per game last season. Classmate and defensive lineman Tarik Smith is back, as well, and will certainly be a player to watch up front.

Team to Watch 

SUNY Maritime: The Privateers certainly have what it takes to challenge the Eagles for the top spot – they also have what it takes to make another postseason appearance after finishing its 2017 campaign 9-2 overall, as well. Senior quarterback Thomas Wright has some of his favorite targets back from last season, so look for him to connect with classmates Brandonn Drumgole and Curtis Smith. Wright should have enough time to go through the motions with two key members of last year’s line back this fall: seniors Nick Acevedo and Dean Lynch. Junior linebacker Liam Bailey will lead the Privateers defense – he will receive some help from classmate and defensive end Payton Campbell. SUNY Maritime will be under new leadership this season as Vincent DiGaetano returns to Throggs Neck, New York – he was with the program from 2005-2015.

Dark Horse 

Gallaudet University:  The Bison could surprise some folks this fall – they were picked to finish fifth in the ECFC Coaches Preseason Poll, but could perhaps finish maybe a spot or two higher by the conclusion of the 2018 season. Look for senior Dylan Mento (wide receiver) and junior Timel Benton (quarterback) to power the offense, while senior Louie Akuffo (linebacker) lead the defense after recording a career-best 55 solo stops last fall.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Projected Conference Winner 

Framingham State: It’s hard to pick against these Rams, who graduated some key pieces of last year’s squad. However, the same determination from a year ago remains with this team – they are coming off back-to-back New England Bowl championships and hope to return to the NCAA Tournament in mid-November. Senior halfback Quron Wright should lead the offense once again – look for sophomore wide-out Shaq Joseph to become a familiar target for junior quarterback Adam Wojenski. Junior defensive end Joshua Onujiogu returns – he will be tasked with leading a unit that does have some question marks heading into a new campaign, but should definitely improve as the season progresses.

Team to Watch 

Plymouth State: Picked to finish second in this summer’s MASCAC Preseason Coaches Poll, the Panthers welcome back a slew of talent on both sides of the ball, which should once again keep them in the mix for a conference crown. Offensively, the team returns most of its returners (and contributors) from last season, including senior quarterback Zack Edwards and junior wide-out Jacob Szulc. Senior halfback Mitch Banuskevich is also back, as well – he led the team’s rushing attack last fall with 668 yards on 166 carries. Defensively, the Panthers graduated some key players, but do return junior defensive back Matt Shea.

Dark Horse 

Worcester State: Keep an eye on the offensive combo of senior quarterback Noah Brum and junior tight end Jacob Maher. These two will be tasked with leading the Lancers offense, along with senior halfbacks Dexter Andrews and Hunter Paupaw. Sophomore linebacker Mike Quinn enjoyed a successful first season with the Lancers – he led all defenders with 100 total tackles, and will certainly be the player to watch on defense.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Projected Winner 

Trinity College: The Bantams return 14 starters from last season, including senior  running back Max Chipouras, who will certainly be a player to watch this fall. Chipouras should be the focal point of the Bantams’ offense as quarterback Sonny Puzzo graduated – they will also have to make up for the loss of two-time All-American Chris Simmons on the line, as well. Senior defensive end Corey Jean Jacques should anchor one of the best defenses in both the NESCAC and New England.

Team to Watch 

Amherst College: Don’t overlook this Mammoths squad, which on paper looks like a team that could contend for some NESCAC hardware this season. Junior quarterback OIlie Eberth is back and will have a few familiar targets to throw to, including classmate James O’Regan and senior Bo Berluti. On defense, look no further than senior Andrew Yamin, who will  once again provide nightmares for opposing offenses.

Dark Horse 

Williams College: Coach Mark Raymond led the Ephs to an impressive 6-3 mark last fall, which included a season finale win over rival Amherst College. The win over the Mammoths could be the momentum Williams needs to contend for a NESCAC crown this season. Sophomore quarterback Bobby Maimaron was extremely impressive in his first season – he will once again be a player to watch on offense this fall.

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

Projected Winner 

Springfield College: Sure, some pieces from last year’s unit graduated, but that won’t slow down the Pride’s momentum, which should certainly continue this season. Junior tailback Hunter Belzo will be tasked with carrying the load – the same could be said for classmate and quarterback Chad Shade. And the good news is both Belzo and Shade will be able to run behind junior center Nick Bainter, who will be tasked with anchoring Springfield’s o-line. Senior Nick Giorgio will be the player to watch on defense for the Pride – he should receive some help from classmates Josh Corporan (linebacker), Marlowe Scott (defensive back) and Johnny Bianchi (strong safety).

Team to Watch 

WPI: This Engineers squad seems extremely determined to challenge Springfield College for the top spot in the NEWMAC. A good chunk of last year’s team returns, including junior halfbacks Sean McAllen and Connor Field, seniors Luca Cerasani (d-line) and Sam Malafronte (linebacker), along with junior Nick Ostrowski (linebacker). WPI also returns place kicker and punter Spencer Herrington – he will be ready for the big kick when his number is called.

Dark Horse 

Merchant Marine: Sure, the Mariners will look a tad bit different this fall than last year – and the year before, too – but this young squad could provide some challenges on both sides of the ball when they enter NEWMAC play in a few weeks. Senior fullbacks Wiley Martin and Joseph Bellomo will be tasked with leading an offense that will be without quarterback Bryce Moorse, who graduated in the spring. Senior defensive back Brooks Cannell will be a player to watch on defense this fall, as well.

Want more New England football? Then make sure to toss us a follow on Twitter: @Noontime_FB 

D3 Football Notebook: Bainter, Maher Named To D3Football.com Preseason All-American Team

NS Football Notebook Logo

By Matt Noonan | @MattNoonan11

D3Football.com released its 2018 Preseason All-American team last night and a pair of Massachusetts student-athletes earned spots on the second and third teams, respectively.

Worcester State tight end Jacob Maher of Marshfield, Massachusetts secured a spot on the second team, while Springfield College center Nick Bainter of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts appeared on the third team.

Maher concluded his second season with the Lancers by leading the MASCAC with 14 receiving touchdowns, along with a team-best 84 points. He also recorded 986 receiving yards last year, which is an average of 98.6 receiving yards per game. The receiving yards average was second-best in the conference.

Following his team’s final game, Maher collected a slew of postseason awards, including the AP Little All-America first team honor. Per a recent Worcester State release on Maher, who was recently named to the 2018 College Football America NCAA Division III Starting Lineup, the junior tight end was the first Lancer to earn AP Little All-America first team honors.

Bainter started 11 games last fall for Springfield and was named to D3Football.com’s National Team of the Week last October following the Pride’s dominating performance against Catholic University. The Pride tallied a team-high 68 points against the Cardinals, while tallying a team-best 625 yards on the ground.

Springfield concluded its 2017 campaign as the best rushing offense in Division III, averaging 435.2 yards per game.

In addition to being recognized by D3Football.com last fall, Bainter was also named to the ECAC Division III Football All-Region Team.

Catching Up With Tyler Hundley of Worcester State Men’s Basketball

hundley basketball
Tyler Hundley was recently named the new men’s basketball coach at Worcester State last week. (PHOTO/GRAPHIC Credit: Worcester State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

It was announced just last week that Tyler Hundley would be taking over the Worcester State men’s basketball program for this upcoming season.

Hundely, who is no stranger to the New England D3 basketball world, arrives in Worcester after spending three seasons with the Keene State Owls. Keene State concluded its recent campaign 19-9 overall – the Owls advanced to the Little East Conference (LEC) Championship in February, but fell to Eastern Connecticut State, a program Hundley competed for as a student-athlete.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Hundley to discuss his first-ever head coaching position with the Lancers, as well as his outlook for team’s upcoming 2018-19 campaign.

What interested you in becoming the Worcester State men’s basketball coach? 

Worcester State interested me for a number of different reasons. The first being that I know that the Worcester community has a rich and storied basketball history, but also being able to join a community like this one felt like an honor in itself. The investment Worcester State made in its athletic facilities was extremely appealing to me as well and will benefit our program in numerous ways.

 

Who have been some of your coaching icons over the years that have helped you, both as a player and assistant/associate coach over the years? Do you plan on consulting with them throughout the upcoming season? 

I consider myself lucky to have worked with such a variety of coaches with unique coaching styles, dating back to my high school days. Ron Johnson, who is a local high school coaching legend in North Carolina, really sparked my interest in basketball. His attention to detail in coaching and teaching the game was extremely important in my development as a student-athlete, as well as a young coach.

Kevin Kehoe at Cheshire Academy was instrumental with providing me some college exposure, while finding the right college program for me, as well.

Bill Geitner, who I played for at Eastern Connecticut, is one of the best basketball minds I’ve ever worked with in my opinion. I learned so much from him and his sustained success proves how intelligent he is.

Sean Foster gave me my first coaching opportunity at Salve Regina – both he and Matt Adams set the tone that first year, which allowed me to realize that I wanted to pursue coaching as a career.

Aaron Galletta, who is the men’s basketball coach at Lasell College, is a great offensive coach that really helped me look at the game from a different perspective. He also allowed me to speak and have a platform to coach on the fly.

Lastly, Ryan Cain, who is the men’s basketball coach at Keene State – he certainly made a mark on my young coaching career. We both came to Keene State at the same time – it was his first-ever head coaching gig. We hit it off immediately and he really taught me how to recruit, which has become one of my biggest strengths. He truly empowered me, while allowing me to have a lot of responsibility and influence on the Owls’ program. We had a ton of success, especially during the postseasons, which was a testament to the level that we were able to play at, but also the work that we put in, too.

I plan to consult with all of my coaches during the upcoming season, but I see myself consulting Ryan quite frequently, especially in year number one.

What is the most important thing you need to concentrate on heading into your first season with the Lancers? 

The most important thing for this season is to build a culture and camaraderie, both on and off the court, while creating a sense of pride for Worcester State basketball.

Do you have a certain basketball philosophy you plan to implement with the team/program? If so, what is it?  

I am inheriting a team that gave up over 85 points per game last winter. I have been a part of, as well as learned from some of the best defensive coaches in our region, so our biggest goal (heading into the upcoming season) will be to significantly improve our defense.

What do the next few months look like from a new coaching perspective? How will you get both yourself and the team/program ready to go come mid-October? 

I have already begun building relationships with returners and incoming recruits. They need to feel comfortable and confident in me – vise-versa. We will have numerous team activities and fundraisers planned in the fall before October 15th (our first practice day as a team) comes around. I plan to maintain constant communication with our strength and conditioning team to ensure that our team is physically ready to go, so that way we can spend more time on basketball and less on getting their bodies ready for a season. (Also), I will make sure (to use this time currently) to make sure I am well-prepared for my initial season as a head coach.

A few fun questions, beginning with your all-time favorite basketball player: who is it and why? 

I was a big Kevin Garnett fan growing up. He was a tremendous teammate and played with passion that seemed to forced his teammates to play at his level.

How much of the NBA Finals have you been watching and who are you cheering for to win this year’s crown? 

I’m not a fan of either team that played in this year’s NBA Finals. I really just like to see a good, competitive series. LeBron James is the best player of this generation and is fascinating to watch. On the other hand, the Warriors have the three of the most unique players on the planet in Steph CurryKevin Durrant and Draymond Green, who are just as entertaining to watch.

What is your all-time favorite basketball movie? 

I’m not a big movie guy, but I really like a lot of the ESPN’s 30 for 30’s, along with their basketball documentaries, too. I see them as learning opportunities.

Finally, what was the greatest advice you were given as a young basketball player that has helped you become a successful student-athlete and coach? 

I grew up Davidson, North Carolina and went to multiple sessions at Bob McKillop‘s Davidson Basketball Camp. He was very prominent at his camps and at times would talk to each camper individually. He always seemed to explain things very clearly and helped me improve my basketball IQ.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ basketball Twitter: @Noontime_Hoops