The Early Preseason Outlook: Plymouth State Panthers

PLYMOUTH STATE PANTHERS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage rolls on with a closer look at Plymouth State, which begins its season on Saturday, September 7th when they visit Castleton University for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

The Panthers’ 2018 Season: One year after posting a 9-2 record, the Panthers finished with a 6-4 mark, which included a thrilling 29-28 win over Framingham State, along with a hard-fought 10-7 win against Westfield State.

The Panthers did not compete in the NCAA Tournament last fall but certainly proved their nine-win season from 2017 wasn’t a fluke – this team is certainly capable of competing for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) every season.

Plymouth State had 15 seniors on last year’s squad that will certainly be missed this season – these student-athletes were a big reason why the Green and White won 9 of 11 contests in 2017, so look for the rising seniors and juniors to lead the Panthers this upcoming season.

The 2019 Outlook: Plymouth State will be without some key members of last year’s team, as well as the 2017 squad, especially on defense. Graduation losses to Grant McGregorMitch BanuskevichBrady LaFrance and Malcolm Huesman won’t be easy to replace however, the Panthers do return defensive back Matt Shea, who led the defense with 77.0 total tackles.

Defensive back David Salazar will also be a player to watch in the secondary, too. The rising sophomore averaged 5.3 total tackles per contest one year ago, while also recording 2.5 tackles for a loss of 10 yards.

Plymouth State graduated a slew of linebackers, but do return Elijah Bussell and Eric Smith. The duo combined for 53.0 total tackles last season.

On offense, the Panthers must find their replacement for quarterback Zack Edwards, a dual-threat signal-caller that concluded the 2018 season with 15 touchdowns (14 passing touchdowns).

David Hamilton returns for his final season at halfback after rushing for career-highs in yards (911) and touchdowns (eight) one year ago.

Wide receiver Jacob Szulc returns for his third season after leading the team with 26 receptions for 493 yards and seven touchdowns.

Plymouth State will also return a slew of offensive linemen, including Nick Cusano, who competed in all 10 contests one year ago, and Matt Palma, who appeared in nine games.

Plymouth State’s Schedule: We will learn more about this Plymouth State squad by the end of September – the opening month features a pair of non-conference foes, along with back-to-back conference clashes with Worcester State in week three and UMass Dartmouth in week four. Plymouth State beat the Lancers last fall but lost to the Corsairs. Can they win both conference games this season?

The Panthers will travel to Westfield State for an important conference meeting in week six before entertaining Framingham State in week seven for their Hall of Fame Game.

Weeks after their meeting with the Rams, the Panthers travel to Bridgewater State before capping their 2019 campaign with a trip to Western Connecticut on Saturday, November 16.

Players to Watch: David Hamilton (Halfback/ West Deptford, N.J.), Jacob Szulc (Wide Receiver/Concord, N.H.), Terrell Lewis (Wide Receiver/Nashua, N.H.), Jeremy Martin (Kicker/Charlton, Mass.), Nick Cusano (Offensive Line/Wethersfield, Conn.), Matt Palma (Offensive Line/Cheshire, Conn.), Matt Shea (Defensive Back/Windham, N.H.), and David Salazar (Defensive Back/West Newton, Mass.).


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

D3 Football Fan Vote: Plymouth State Tabbed Team of The Week

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

After earning a hard-fought victory on the road last Saturday, the Plymouth State University football team scored an additional win two days later as our Noontime Sports New England D3 Football Team of the Week.

The New England D3 Football Team of the Week is decided by a Twitter poll, which was (and will continue to be) seen throughout the remainder of the season on Sunday and Monday’s through @NoontimeSports.

The Panthers secured a first-place nod in this week’s poll by collecting 57 percent of the votes, while Nichols College placed second with 26 percent. Middlebury College and Coast Guard Academy rounded out the the poll, finishing third (10 percent) and fourth (seven percent), respectively.

Against Framingham State, the Panthers used a late touchdown drive to push ahead, 29-28, before clinching the victory with a fourth down stop on the ensuing possession.

The win was the Panthers’ second-straight regular season victory against the Rams – they defeated Framingham State last season en route to sharing the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown. The win provided the Green and White an opportunity to compete in last year’s NCAA Division III Tournament, too.

Quarterback Zack Edwards concluded this past Saturday’s contest with two touchdowns, including the go-ahead strike to Max Osgood late in the fourth quarter. Halfback David Hamilton rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries (4.3 yards per carry) and one touchdown, while Jacob Szulc caught four passes for 149 yards and one touchdown.

Matt Shea highlighted the Panthers’ defense with a team-high eight total tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for a loss of three yards. Elijah Bussell ended the game with five total tackles, including four solo stops and one fumble recovery.

Kicker Jeremy Martin tallied nine points in the win on three extra points and two field goals. His longest field goal was a 35-yard boot with 30 second remaining in the second quarter, which provided the Panthers with a 10-7 advantage at the break.

Plymouth State, which is now 3-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play, will look to continue its momentum on Saturday, October 20th when they host Massachusetts Maritime Academy at 1 p.m.

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch This Weekend (New England & New York)

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Curry College will look to continue its momentum against Western New England this weekend. (PHOTO CREDIT: SportsPix, LLC)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you’re ready for a brand new weekend, as well as an extra hour of sleep, too – don’t forget to turn back your clocks on Saturday!

Let’s kickoff this brand new weekend with our weekly 10 Games to Watch in New England and New York Division III Football!

As always, make sure to stay connected with us throughout the weekend on Facebook and Twitter, as well as our good friends over at In The (D3FB) Huddle, too! 

Springfield at Maine Maritime (Saturday, Nov, 4th at 12 p.m.): The Pride return to the gridiron after a bye week with hopes of securing another win en route to a potential Pool B bid. PREDICTION: Springfield 40, Maine Maritime 7 

Western Connecticut at Framingham State (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 12 p.m.): This is a MUST win for the Rams, especially if they want to keep their postseason (and New England Bowl) hopes alive. Look for another big game from Western Connecticut quarterback Quinn Fleeting, who has scored 27 touchdowns this season, including 24 through the air. PREDICTION: Western Conn. 28, Framingham State 20

Catholic at Merchant Marine (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 12 p.m.): An intriguing match-up that pits two teams looking to gain some momentum heading into next week, as well as the off-season, too. The Cardinals scored a hard-fought win a week ago against Norwich (10-7) and should continue that momentum this week. PREDICTION: Catholic 25, Merchant Marine 21 

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Zack Edwards and the Plymouth State Panthers will look to cap their regular season slate with a victory on Saturday at Fitchburg State. (PHOTO CREDIT: Plymouth State University Athletics)

Plymouth State at Fitchburg State (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 12 p.m.): The Panthers, who will be idle next weekend, will look to cap their regular season slate with a win, so they can keep their postseason (or New England Bowl) hopes alive. PREDICTION: Plymouth State 24, Fitchburg State 14

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Frank Williams and the Bates Bobcats will attempt to capture the CBB crown this weekend when they host Bowdoin. (PHOTO CREDIT: (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Bowdoin at Bates (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 12:30 p.m.): A win for the Bobcats would provide the program (and its seniors) with a fourth-straight CBB crown (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin). It would also be the first-time in program history that a senior class has beaten both Bowdoin and Colby in all four years. PREDICTION: Bates 27, Bowdoin 13 

Alfred at Brockport (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 1 p.m.): Who is going to score on this Golden Eagles’ defense? Seriously, who? For the past two weeks, the Brockport defense has appeared unstoppable, and this week, they must find a way to slow down a quality Saxons offense. PREDICTION: Brockport 28, Alfred 17 

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Andrew Yamin and the Amherst College defense will look to contain the Trinity College offense on Saturday in a big NESCAC tilt. (PHOTO CREDIT: Geoff Bolte, Clarus Studios Inc.)

Trinity at Amherst (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 1 p.m.): Consider this a de-facto New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship game. A win for Amherst would set-up an exciting final week in the conference (next week), while a victory for the Bantams would provide the program with their seven title in the 21st century. Look for a late touchdown (or field goal) to decide this cosntest. PREDICTION: Amherst 24, Trinity 21

Western New England at Curry (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 1 p.m.): Don’t count out these Curry Colonels, who enter the game on a four-game winning streak. Despite a 17-14 setback at home this fall, Curry has been rather impressive at home and will look to continue that momentum on Saturday against a very talented Golden Bears squad. PREDICTION: Curry 21, WNE 20

Williams at Wesleyan (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 1 p.m.): The Ephs returned to the win column last week, defeating Hamilton, 24-6, but this week, they must find a way to slow down a talented Cardinals offense that has put up 17 points or more in every game this season. PREDICTION: Williams 28, Wesleyan 21 

Norwich at MIT (Saturday, Nov. 4th at 5:30 p.m.): Following a tough setback to WPI, MIT will look to bounce back against the Cadets in Cambridge. PREDICTION: MIT 27, Norwich 14 

New England D3 Football Honor Roll (Monday, September 4th)

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Western Connecticut’s Quinn Fleeting tossed five touchdowns in a come-from-behind win for the Colonials last Saturday over Hartwick. (PHOTO CREDIT: Western Connecticut State University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

With the first week of New England D3 Football season in the books, it is time to unveil our first Noontime Sports Honor Roll of the season.

PROGRAM NOTE: Coaches, SID’s and fans are encouraged to submit student-athletes for our weekly honor roll throughout by emailing us at NoontimeSports@gmail.com or sending us a tweet to @NoontimeSports.

Offense

Jevon Brown-Simpson (Fitchburg State): Brown-Simpson concluded his team’s opening contest against Curry College with 75 yards on 21 carries and two scores.

Jesse Brown (Fitchburg State): Brown led all receivers with 145 yards and nine catches, while recording one touchdown in a three-point setback to Curry College.

Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Wojenski completed 8 of 15 passes for 177 yards and two scores as the Rams commenced its season with an opening day win over Endicott College.

Quron Wright (Framingham State): Wright paced the Rams’ rushing attack against Endicott College with 169 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. Wright’s longest run of the day was a 55-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

John Smith (Husson): Smith recorded two of his team’s three touchdowns as Husson opened its season with a 20-7 win over Union College. Smith rushed for two scores on 30 carries for 142 yards.

Zack Edwards (Plymouth State): Edward completed 15 of 23 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers commenced its season with a 31-7 victory over Castleton University.

James Dawson (Salve Regina): Dawson ripped off 116 yards and one score on 32 touches in his team’s season-opening win over Worcester State.

Jordan Wilcox (Springfield): Against Western New England, Wilcox rumbled for a game and team-high 148 yards on 30 carries.

Jake Eglintine (Springfield): Eglintine rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries and three scores. His final touchdown in the third quarter helped the Pride secure the lead for good against Western New England.

Austin Calamita (Western Connecticut): Calamita hauled in 10 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns to help the Colonials rally past Hartwick for a dramatic 48-47 win.

Kyle McKinnon (Western Connecticut): McKinnon rushed for a pair of scores, including the game-winning touchdown with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, which helped the Colonials complete their comeback against Hartwick. McKinnon concluded the game with 116 yards on 23 carries.

Quinn Fleeting (Western Connecticut): 
Fleeting completed 32 of 49 passes for 375 yards and five touchdowns as the Colonials rallied to beat Hartwick, 48-47.

Anthony Service (Western New England): Against Springfield College, Service tossed a trio of touchdowns, while concluding the contest with 235 passing yards. Service also rushed for 49 yards on 10 carries.

Noah Brum (Worcester State): Against Salve Regina, Brum completed 30 of 47 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns. He also accounted for four interceptions in his team’s 35-28 setback.

Jacob Maher (Worcester State): Maher paced all receivers with 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a 35-28 setback to Salve Regina.

Dan Orlando (Worcester State): Orlando hauled in a game-high 10 catches for 118 yards and one score in a 35-28 setback to Salve Regina.

Sean McAllen (WPI): McAllen enjoyed an impressive debut, rushing for 246 yards on 15 carries and four scores.

Defense

Michael Hall (Anna Maria): Hall paced the AMCATs defense in their season-opener against WPI by leading the unit with 10 solo stops, including a trio of tackles for a loss.

Michael Bianco (Becker): Against MIT, Bianco recorded 22 total tackles, including 11 solo stops, along with a trio of tackles for a loss. Bianco also registered one sack for a three-yard loss.

Charles McCarthy (Bridgewater State): McCarthy paced the Bears’ defense with 13 total tackles, including five solo stops against Buffalo State.

Bubba Collins (Castleton): Collins concluded his team’s initial game of the season with eight total tackles, including four stops. Two of those eight total tackles were tackles for a loss.

Ryan Robertson (Coast Guard Academy): Robertson paced the Bears’ defense in a season-opening win over Alfred State by tallying 11 total tackles. He also recorded six solo stops, one pass break-up, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Joe Surace (Curry College): Against Fitchburg State, Surace recorded eight total tackles, including six solo stops, along with a pair of sacks.  

William Rivera (Endicott College): Rivera paced the Gulls’ defense in solo stops (five) and total tackles (15) against Framingham State.

Nathan Fleming (Framingham State): Fleming paced the Rams’ defense with seven solo stops and 10 total tackles. Two of those tops were tackles for a loss. Fleming also forced a fumble in his team’s first win of the season against Endicott College.

Jean Gabriel (Husson): Gabriel paced the Eagles’ defense with six solo stops, while assisting on three tackles. Two of his nine total tackles were for a loss for five yards – he also forced a fumble and recorded one pass break-up in a 20-7 win over Union.

Andrew DeNucci (MIT): Against Becker last Friday, DeNucci recorded nine solo stops, including a trio of tackles for a loss and one sack.

Dwayne Hunter-Parker (Mount Ida): In his team’s hard-fought 12-10 win over UMass Dartmouth, Hunter-Parker registered a team-high seven solo stops, including one tackle for a loss and one pass break-up.

Brett McEvoy (Nichols): In his team’s initial game of the season, McEvoy turned in an impressive performance, accounting for 15 total tackles, including 10 assists, while recording one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Brandon O’Neill (Salve Regina): Against Worcester State, O’Neill registered six total tackles, including a quartet of four solo stops as the Seahawks commenced its season with a 35-28 victory over Worcester State. In addition to recording one-and-a-half tackles for a loss, O’Neill also registered one interception, too.

Nick Giorgio (Springfield): Against a potent Western New England offense, Giorgio recorded six total tackles, including four solo stops and sack and a half. He also recorded one tackle for a loss of three yards.

Mike Chirco (Western New England): Chirco was one of two Golden Bears to finish Saturday’s tilt against the Pride with seven solo stops. Chirco recorded a team-high 14 total tackles.

Zach Howard (Westfield State): Howard concluded last Friday’s contest against Nichols College with four solo stops and eight total tackles. He also registered two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards and one sack.

Theo Bryant (Worcester State): Bryant recorded nine total tackles, including six solo stops, along with one tackle for a loss and one interception in a 35-28 setback to Salve Regina.

Dereck Pacheco (WPI): Against Anna Maria, Pacheco recorded six solo stops, including a quartet of tackles for a loss. He also registered a pair of sacks, too.

Connor Russ (UMass Dartmouth): Against Mount Ida, Russ paced the Corsairs’ defense with nine solo stops and 13 total tackles. Three of his  tackles were for a loss – he also registered one sack, too.

Special Teams

Cole Austin (Coast Guard Academy): Austin recorded 10 points in the Bears’ season-opening win over Alfred State. He booted a pair of field goals, while connecting on four extra-points.

Jeff Madden (Plymouth State): Madded connected on all five of his kicks, including a 21-yard field goal to conclude his team’s initial game with seven points.

Danny McDermott (Salve Regina): McDermott booted the ball three times for a total of 84 yards. All three punts landed inside the Worcester State 20.

Pat Tuohy (Worcester State): Tuohy punted the ball five times for a total of 172 yards in his team’s 35-28 setback to Salve Regina. His longest boot was a 56 yard punt. He also recorded one punt that landed inside the Salve Regina 20.

Sunday Morning Notebook: Week One Takeaways & Thoughts

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For the first time since 2013, Springfield College defeated Western New England to claim the Pynchon Saw Game. (PHOTO CREDIT: Springfield College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

The first official week of the New England D3 Football season is in the books. And it was certainly an exciting first week.

Springfield College’s second half surge, including a 28-point effort in the third quarter, highlighted the opening week as the Pride defeated Western New England for the first time since 2013.

Jordan Wilcox highlighted the Pride’s comeback effort, rushing for a game-high 148 yards on 30 carries, while Jake Eglintine recorded a trio of scores on the ground, including the go-ahead touchdown late in the third.

In addition to the Springfield rushing attack, the team’s defense did its job by recording three sacks and one interception. Christian Zotti also forced and recovered fumble late in the fourth quarter – the recovery resulted in the game’s final touchdown.

This was a game that I picked Springfield to win – a victory over the Golden Bears could result in a new position for the Pride on Monday’s Noontime Top 10 Week Two poll. The Pride entered the week as one of the top five teams in the New England region, according to our week one poll.

Finally, one other statistic to note from this particular contest: Springfield won the time of possession by holding the ball for 40:31. Western New England occupied the ball for 19:29.

Springfield will face Kean next week – the Cougars were idle this weekend, so next week marks their initial contest of the 2017 season. Western New England will visit Westfield State on Friday, September 8. The Owls fell to Nichols College on Friday by a score of 19-13.

John Smith and the Husson University Eagles captured their first season-opener in 10 seasons as they defeated Union College by a score of 20-7. Smith accounted for two of his team’s three touchdowns – both scores occurred during the final frame – while Elvis Suazo Jr. recorded nine total stops, including one tackle for a loss of three yards.

Coach Gabby Price told the Bangor Daily News that Saturday’s win “is a good win.” As noted in the BDN recap, the 13-point victory over the Dutchmen was the program’s first season-opening victory since beating Pace University, 25-13, on August, 31, 2007. Pace is a Division 2 squad that competes in a very competitive Northeast-10 Conference.

Husson will visit Dean College next week for an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) clash – the two teams met last season with the Eagles claiming a 43-23 win over the Bulldogs. John Smith rushed for a season-high four scores in his team’s 20-point victory.

Framingham State picked-up its initial win of the season by defeating Endicott College, 41-10, in Beverly, Massachusetts. Saturday’s win over the Gulls marked the Rams’ fifth-straight season-opening win over Endicott – the Gulls’ last win against Framingham State came in 2012.

Quarterbacks Adam Wojenski and Zakery Walker combined for three touchdown passes and 233 passing yards. Two of those touchdown strikes were received by Michael Calicchio, who concluded the contest with five receptions for 101 yards.

As noted in the Rams’ release from yesterday, Framingham State racked up 502 yards of total offense, while the defense limited the Gulls’ offense to just 262 yards of offense, including 42 net yards rushing. Endicott’s Lavante Wiggins accounted for 22 of those 42 net yards on the ground – he scored his team’s lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Said Coach Tom Kelley following his team’s opening day win, “We have a lot to clean up and we certainly have a long way to go, and we’re going to really be tested next week once Cortland (State) comes to (Framingham).

“Defensively I think we got better and offensively we saw that we have some weapons, but we’re certainly going to answer some questions next week.”

One of the big takeaways from yesterday’s win was Framingham State’s defense coming-up with key third and fourth down stops. And one of those big stops occurred early in the contest when the Rams stopped Endicott on its second drive by limiting Wiggins to one yard, not two on a pivotal 4th and 2 from the Framingham State 14.

“I think we were aggressive defensively and I think we went after them, and I think that was the difference in the game,” said Kelley when asked about his team’s third and fourth down stops.

Defense will be the key for the Rams in week two against a talented Cortland squad, which defeated Framingham State last season by a score of 49-21. Endicott will visit Bridgewater State next Saturday. Both games are scheduled to commence at 12 p.m.

QUICK HITS: 

PRORGAM NOTE: 

  • We will be posting our second Noontime Top 10 poll on Monday for week two, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, which is where it will be posted.
  • Starting this week, Noontime Sports will unveil our first Honor Roll of the season, so make sure to submit student-athletes for the list by emailing us at NoontimeSports@gmail.com.