D3 Football: Noontime Sports Team Of The Week (Mon. Nov. 20th)

Noontime Team Week

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Following a busy weekend of NCAA Division III Tournament games, along with a pair of New England Bowls, too, it is time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Team of the Week.

Offensive Player of the Week: Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Wojenski was tabbed the New England Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) after tossing five touchdowns – all in the first half – which helped the Rams of Framingham State capture their second-straight bowl crown. Wojenski concluded the game 19 of 28 for 246 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Nathan Fleming (Framingham State): Against Curry, Fleming registered nine total tackles, including four solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 15 yards, one sack for a loss of 14 yards and one forced fumble.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Devin Pickett (Husson): Pickett connected on all three boots, including a 22-yard field goal mid-way through the fourth quarter, which helped the Eagles score their first-ever NCAA Tournament win over Springfield. Pickett concluded the contest with five points.


Offense of the Week

Dante Aiken (WNE): Aiken led all rushers with a game-high 98 yards on 21 carries (4.7 yards per carry) in his team’s NCAA Division III Tournament setback to Delaware Valley.

Hunter Belzo (Springfield): Belzo led the Pride with 113 yards rushing on nine carries (12.6 yards per carry), while registering one touchdown.

Shaquille Joseph (Framingham State): Joseph led all Framingham State receivers with seven grabs for 72 yards, while catching the game’s initial touchdown pass.

John Smith (Husson): Against Springfield, Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries and two scores as the Eagles stunned the Pride in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Spencer Tyler (Curry): Tyler concluded his team’s New England Bowl contest against Framingham State with a game-high nine receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown. He also threw a touchdown to quarterback Alex Corvese in the second half.

Jordan Wilcox (Springfield): Wilcox concluded his team’s game against Husson by tallying 111 yards on 22 carries (5.0 yards per carry), while rushing for a pair of touchdowns.

Quron Wright (Framingham State): Wright concluded last Saturday’s New England Bowl with 109 yards of total offense, including 60 yards on 16 carries and four receptions for 49 yards and two touchdowns.


Defense of the Week

Luca Cerasani (WPI): Cerasani concluded his team’s New England Bowl against SUNY Maritime with seven total tackles, including six solo stops, four tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two sacks for a loss of 14 yards. He also recorded one pass break-up, too.

Nick Giorgio (Springfield): Giorgio concluded his team’s contest with Husson by tallying seven total tackles, including five solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, one sack for a loss of nine yards and one forced fumble.

Tim Huffam (WNE): Against Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, Huffam paced the Golden Bears’ defense with 10 total tackles, including five solo stops, one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards and a sack for a loss of seven yards.

Sam Malafronte (WPI): Malafronte concluded his team’s New England Bowl with a team-high nine total tackles, including seven solo stops and one tackle for a loss of two yards.

Joshua Onujiogu (Framingham State): Onujiogu recorded four total tackles, including a trio of solo stops, a pair of tackles for a loss of 13 yards and one pass break-up in his team’s New England Bowl victory.

Matt Shea (Plymouth State): Against Brockport in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, Shea recorded a game-high 12 total tackles, including eight solo stops.

Elvin Suazo, Jr. (Husson): Suazo Jr. recorded a team-high 11 total tackles, including four solo stops, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his team’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win against Springfield.

Dominic Traversa (Springfield): Against Husson, Traversa paced the Pride’s defense with a game-high 13 total stops, including five solo tackles, one fumble recovery and one tackles for a loss of two yards.

Cody Wlasuk (Framingham State): Wlasuk concluded his team’s 11th game of the season by recording seven total tackles, including five solo stops, two tackles for a loss of 14 yards, one sack for a loss of 10 yards, one pass break-up and one interception returned for nine yards.

Christian Zotti (Springfield): Zotti concluded his team’s contest against Husson with 11 total tackles, including five solo stops, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble, one interception returned for 24 yards and one pass break-up.


Special Teams of the Week

Ryan Clifford (Framingham State): Clifford connected on six of seven extra point attempts in his team’s 48-14 New England Bowl victory last Saturday.

Spencer Herrington (WPI): Herrington concluded his team’s New England Bowl by connecting on all three kicks, including a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter, which provided the host Engineers with the lead for good.

D3 Football: WPI Tops SUNY Maritime For First-Ever New England Bowl Victory

vsbw13ayp85hf7af

Sean McAllen and the WPI Engineers ended their season with a 17-3 New England Bowl victory. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Sean McAllen and Lain Zembek each rushed for one touchdown, while Spencer Herrington booted a 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which helped WPI defeat SUNY Maritime, 17-3, in the New England Bowl on Saturday evening at Alumni Stadium in Worcester.

Earlier today, Framingham State defeated Curry College, 48-14, to win its second-straight New England Bowl after winning the initial title game one year ago against Salve Regina.

Herrington, who connected on all three kicks he attempted, put WPI on the board early in the second quarter before McAllen added to the Engineers’ lead late in the session with a 10-yard burst, which provided the hosts with a 10-0 advantage at the break.

Zembek made it a three score game (17-0) late in the third quarter when he capped a nine-play, 61 yard drive with a two-yard score before SUNY Maritime trimmed the deficit with a Matthew Murphy field goal mid-way through the final frame.

SUNY Maritime did have two more chances to score, but saw both series end in either a punt or interception.

WPI’s defense concluded the contest with six tackles for a loss of 23 yards, five sacks for a loss of 15 yards and three interceptions for 68 yards. The unit also combined for four pass break-ups and a pair of quarterback hurries. 

Sam Malafronte led the WPI defense with nine total tackles, including seven solo stops, while Luca Cerasani registered a team-high four tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two sacks for a loss of 14 yards.

SUNY Maritime’s Wesley Joseph led the Privateers defense with four tackles for a loss of five yards, while recording a fumble recovery.

WPI, which concludes its 2017 season at 9-2 overall, matches the 1992 squad with nine wins (most in a single-season, per Saturday’s release). They also conclude their season with a seven-game winning streak, too.

SUNY Maritime also concludes its season at 9-2 after placing second in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

Under The Helmet With WPI’s Dereck Pacheco

Dereck Pacheco 3

WPI’s Dereck Pacheco (94) recorded six solo stops last week in the Engineers’ season-opening win over Anna Maria College. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Earlier today, WPI senior defensive lineman Dereck Pacheco was tabbed this week’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Defensive Player of the Week for his effort in the Engineers’ week one victory over Anna Maria.

Pacheco paced the Engineers’ defense with six solo stops, including four tackles for a loss for 29 yard, while recording a pair of sacks. He also recorded two of quarterback hurries, too.

This week, Pacheco and the Engineers host RPI during WPI’s Homecoming with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m on Saturday, September 9. Last season, Pachecho helped WPI defeat RPI, 19-7, thanks to 10 total stops, including two-and-a-half tackles for a loss and a safety. The win provided the Engineers of Worcester with the Transit Trophy for the first time in two seasons.

Noontime Sports caught-up with Pachecho earlier today to discuss his team’s week two contest against RPI, as well as his goals for the team this season.

What are your goals for a successful senior season with WPI? 

Obviously, the big the goal for the season is to get that championship ring, but as long as we keep plugging away game-by-game, week-by-week (then we will be successful). My goal by the end of the year is to have this team’s chemistry get stronger and stronger, so we have a legacy to leave behind (as seniors). We did lose a lot of big-time seniors (from) last year’s team, but I feel this new group of guys we have can really give these (young) guys a chance to develop and get better as a team.

One of the players who graduated this past spring was linebacker Brian Murtagh, who you had a chance to play with the past three seasons. How did he help you improve your game over the past few seasons? 

He was always very vocal, while getting the guys excited for practice. Brian did a good job getting the guys geared up to be on the field and that’s what he passed down to the rest of the captains. He wanted to make sure that the energy was always there and when you step on the football field that you’re only thinking about football.

This week, your team faces RPI in the Transit Trophy game. Tell me more about being a part of this rivalry.  

When I think of RPI-WPI, I think of Ohio State-Michigan because of that rivalry there. We’re both competitive engineering schools, guys are similar (on both sides of the ball),   so it is nice to have a team with equal caliber (student-athletes) on the other side.

Dereck Pacheco 5

Dereck Pacheco was tabbed the NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday, September 5. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI Athletics)

This game is also a Homecoming Game, so what’s that atmosphere like as a student-athlete? 

It is very humbling because you’re looking at guys in the stands that have been in your shoes – all of my friends and family come to the game each week, but when you have the alumni there you’re trying to play for them and get that win for them because they were in your shoes (years ago). Playing for the alumni, families, coaches and friends is really (what this game) is about at the end of the day.

What’s it like to compete in a new conference this season? 

I was playing (against) some friends in the Liberty League, but in this conference – the NEWMAC – I am playing against some new friends. It is nice to get a new group of guys out there to battle against, but at the same time I am going to miss the Liberty League.

Have you always played defensive line? Did you happen to play another position growing up? 

Growing up and playing Pop Warner, while being the biggest guy out there, they had me play running back, quarterback and other positions, but as I (got older) I was still the biggest guy out there, so they put me on the line in high school. At first, it was offensive line and I didn’t really like it, so the next day (my coach) put me on the defensive line and I have been there ever since.

Are you still following your former high school’s football team? 

Oh yeah. Barnstable has been doing alright after (I) graduated, but I think eventually they’re going to be (a team) that’s back up there (with the top teams in the state).

What is your major? 

I am majoring in civil engineer. I grew up helping my dad – he owns a small and local construction company, so at a young age I would be out there helping him pick up nails and lumber, and then basically that feeling of building (something) from bottom to top stuck with me and I grew a passion for it. I feel like civil engineering is kind of the same deal, but my focus is project management.

Being from Barnstable, what’s your favorite type of sea food? 

Definitely the cod fish.

What are three songs do you listen to on a game day? 

Believe it or not, I am not a big song guy because I have the self-motivation drilled into me from my father, but if I were to choose what I am listening to in the weight room, I am usually listening to Metallica and classic rock because when I was in high school and that was all we would be allowed to listen to (while working out in the gym).

Finally, what is your all-time favorite movie? 

It’s kind of cliche, but Friday Night Lights. I like that movie a lot because my high school team somewhat resembled that whole movie. My junior year, we made it to the Division 1A Super Bowl (against Everett) and we played at Gillette Stadium, but lost by one point.

Teams To Watch In 2017: WPI Engineers

SONY DSC

WPI tailback (and sophomore) Sean McAllen will be one of many players to watch this season. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By James Baker (@ITHuddLLe)

Our New England D3 Football preseason team previews continue with a look at the 2017 WPI Engineers, who certainly will be a team to watch in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) this fall. 

Name: Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineers (WPI)

Ranking: The Engineers were one of eight teams we highlighted in our ‘Teams on the Rise’ post from Monday, July 31st on Twitter. 

2016 Recap: The Engineers notched their second consecutive winning season, but WPI lost a number of close games – e.g. 28-23 to Springfield, 45-44 to Merchant Marine, 35-31 to Hobart and 28-21 to Saint Lawrence – and that kept them from having a championship caliber season. The Engineers did prevail over MIT in a 37-34 nail-biter in their season-opener before taking care of cross-town rival Worcester State and then Norwich with relative ease in week two and three. A promising 4-1 start took a turn after the Merchant Marine loss and WPI would go 2-3 down the stretch. Backup quarterback Blake Rice would lead the team to an exciting 37-34 comeback against Rochester toward the end of the season, but he was unable to solve an All-American and All-Region stacked Saint Lawrence defense in Week 11, which earned a hard-fought seven-point victory. 

Key Losses: Dan Eckler (Quarterback), Brandon Eccher (Wide Receiver), Alex Dumond (Wide Receiver), Brian Murtagh (Linebacker), Ryan Buss (Defensiveback), Blaine Bursey (Specialist), Vinny Tavernelli (Specialist)

Players to Watch: Blake Rice (Quarterback), Sean McAllen (Running Back), Sam Malafronte (Linebacker), Erik Fyrer (Receiver / Specialist), Dereck Pacheco (D-Line), Nabeel Tokatli (D-Line), Nick Ostrowski (Linebacker), Blayne Merchant (Linebacker), Brendan Harty (O-Line) and Marcus Pritchard (Fullback)

2017 Schedule: The Engineers will open against a new foe, but a familiar face in that of Anna Maria College’s new head coach (and former WPI defensive coordinator) Dan Mulrooney. The annual Transit Trophy game against RPI follows directly thereafter, so we’ll have a good idea how these Engineers will fare early on this year. Cross-town rival Worcester State drops off the schedule and is replaced by Becker, a “Friday Night Lights” finale to the initial three-game home stand to start the season. WPI then opens NEWMAC play on the road at Springfield before welcoming Maine Maritime to Alumni Stadium. The Engineers will then travel down to Washington, D.C. to face-off against Catholic, then host former Liberty League rival Merchant Marine. Road trips to MIT and Norwich “sandwich” a home game in Week 10 against the Coast Guard.

Season Outlook: WPI will need a better defensive performance from last season if they wish to improve upon a 6-4 campaign. While it will be next to impossible to re-create the production of Murtagh, the good news for the Engineers is that 10 starters return. Pacheco and Totakli provide size and strength up the middle, while Malafronte, who played weak side linebacker in 2016, will be moved to the strong side. Malafronte finished second on the team with 65 tackles. Senior linebacker Blaine Merchant will move inside to an outside linebacker role to assist Malafronte, as well as sophomore linebacker Nick Ostrowski, who is expected to contribute more after recording 14 tackles during his initial season with the Engineers. While the WPI offense will need to retool somewhat, Rice did get good experience late last season. Should Rice struggle, Eric Cosmopulos (a.k.a “Cosmo”) knows the playbook. Wide receiver is a big need for the unit, so you may see Hamilton College transfer Erik Fyrer get some looks given his size and length. Senior Mitjon Celaj caught 10 passes and a touchdown last season – he could be one of Rice’s go-to targets this fall. McAllen is back after winning the Liberty League (LL) Rookie of the Year award – he led the Engineers with 701 rushing yards and five touchdowns as a first-year back. The Engineers line will be anchored by senior co-captain and center Brendan Harty. Also returning on the line is senior Paul DeMarco, who should add depth and experience. The Engineers fullback role will be determined during the remaining days of camp, but an early favorite to win the job is junior Marcus Pritchard. He has the size and ability to make way for McAllen. WPI will need someone to step up on special teams due to graduation losses of Blaine Bursey and Vinny Tavernelli in the placekicking and punting game, as well as Dumond in the return unit. WPI has the student-athletes in place to contend for the NEWMAC crown if they can tighten up on defense and turn close games they lost in 2016 into wins this fall. 

Social Media Round-Up: Ali Marpet (Hobart) Transitions From Tackle To Guard For Tampa Bay

ali-marpet-bucs-family-2015-nfl-draft

Ali Marpet, who once competed for the Hobart football team, has transitioned quite well from offensive tackle to guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (PHOTO CREDIT: Sports Illustrated)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Sure, the D3 football season seems like a ways a way, but don’t worry because it will be here before we know it!

In addition to our early preseason coverage, which we began earlier this week, Noontime Sports is pleased to presents our first ‘social media round-up’ of the 2017 season with tweets and news from around the D3 Football World.

SOCIAL PLUG: Make sure to follow Noontime Sports on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube! 

We begin this edition of the ‘social media round-up’ with Wesley’s football program, which Myles Toppin to the team. We wish Myles and the team best of luck this season!

WPI halfback Sean McAllen was featured in the Citizen News on Friday (June 2nd) for earning the Charles R. McNulty Award during the athletic department’s annual banquet.

According to Aaron Young of the Des Moines Register, the Luther College football team will be competing on a brand new blue turf field this season, which will be installed this summer.

Finally, Ali Marpet, who competed for Hobart a few years ago, was featured in a recent post on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ website about transitioning from offensive tackle to offensive guard.