So Long, NBN

It’s been just over a month now since my baseball career and college career came to an end. While I haven’t written a blog in a few months (as Pete happily pointed out towards the end of the semester), I enjoyed watching from arm’s length as Pete and Devin handled NESCAC baseball coverage this spring. Now that I’ve taken some time to digest the fact that I don’t have many days left before I enter the grueling grind of nine to five, I’ve come to realize the fact that one of my favorite parts of college has been writing for Nothing But NESCAC. It might seem a bit corny to write about NESCAC football and basketball games as if they were nationally televised SEC and ACC contests, but for me it has served as a chance to shine some light on the successes of my fellow Division III athletes.

I first heard of NbN my freshman year at Tufts when my roommate, Tim Superko, started cracking up in our dorm room and called me over to his computer. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw Adam’s equation demonstrating that Superko is a mashup of Paul Konerko and Superman. That kept me reading, and as I enjoyed keeping up with the site throughout my sophomore year, I decided to go out on a limb one night on Twitter and slid into the DMs of the NbN account to ask if I could write for basketball season. To my surprise, Joe responded almost immediately, and just like that, I was on board.

During that first basketball season (my junior year), I was just trying to get my feet wet. I went to every Tufts basketball game (spoiler alert: I’m a Tufts basketball superfan, always have been, always will be) and had grown up at Amherst college basketball games, so I felt like I knew quite a bit about NESCAC hoops. As it turned out, I had a lot to learn about the league, and a lot more to learn about journalistic writing. Regardless, I had a blast that winter. Writing weekly blogs, conducting interviews, and watching NESCAC basketball became my hobbies outside of academics and baseball. Soon enough, the remaining spare time that I had was replaced with editing and arguing with Pete over game predictions and All-NESCAC honors.

I would say the highlight of my blogging career came in the aftermath of posting my predictions for offensive/defensive POY at the beginning of football season this year. An Amherst football alum took exception to the lack of Amherst players on my list, and soon enough we were in a twitter war. That’s the kind of stuff that makes blogging fun – interactions with our readers. Though we do our best to keep up the facade that we know everything there is to know about NESCAC athletics, this is simply not true. It’s great to know when our readers agree with our opinions, but it’s also fun when you challenge us on our points. So please, give Pete hell next fall. People forget that a commenter once referred to him as the Skip Bayless of NESCAC blogging.

While I can’t take credit for starting NbN like Adam and Joe, it has been a privilege to run this blog. A huge thank you goes out to both of you for getting me on board and then convincing me to take the keys to the castle when you guys graduated last year. As I chatted with Adam at halftime of a Tufts basketball NCAA tournament game during my junior winter, I remember thinking “absolutely not” when Adam first mentioned that I should take over the blog for them. Well, as the weeks passed I realized that I was much more into the idea in May than I had been in March. I sit here writing this with a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I made the right choice when I told Joe over the phone last summer that I would accept their offer. Thanks for everything fellas.

I also can’t thank Pete enough for running the site with me this year. Throughout the fall and winter he was constantly coming up with ideas, writing and editing, all while managing his own bundle of extracurriculars. Pete is awesome to work with. He brings energy to the site and always make sure to keep me grounded, evidenced by the shots he takes at me in every other article. I will not soon forget our passionate text arguments regarding power rankings, game predictions, and most memorably, our conversation when he found out that I had picked Ed Ogundeko as my Player of the Year rather than Matt St. Amour. I know that Pete will continue to do a great job with NbN in the fall.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the NESCAC athletes out there. You guys are what makes this site fun and unique. While Division III does not receive the same glory that Division I does, the passion that Division III athletes — and especially NESCAC athletes — play with is just as noteworthy. As a NESCAC junkie that has grown up immersed in this terrific conference, I can say with great certainty that there is no conference quite like the ‘CAC.

One last quick plug, if you have any interest in writing for the site, no matter what sport you’re thinking of (even if we don’t yet cover it!), please reach out on either Facebook, Twitter, or to our email, nothingbutnescac@gmail.com. You can have any sort of commitment level that you like – it’s truly up to you. NbN really is a lot of fun, and speaking from experience, you won’t regret your decision to join us. I’ve had a blast writing about NESCAC sports, and I look forward to reading NbN in the future as it continues on.

And That’s a Wrap!: The Final 2016 NESCAC Football Power Rankings

Devon Carrillo '17 was a force for Wesleyan all year long (Courtesy of Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan Athletics)
Devon Carrillo ’17 was a force for Wesleyan all year long (Courtesy of Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan Athletics)

1.) Trinity

Well, there weren’t any ‘fluke’ losses this year for Trinity. For those of you NESCAC old timers, yes, I am referring to Bob Smith’s Middlebury football shirts he made in 1992 after Midd went 7-1 to win the league and deemed their only loss to Trinity a ‘fluke.’ There’s simply no argument that can be made against the mighty Bantams here. They are the kings of the ‘CAC and had the success all year to back it up. Spencer Donahue ’17 had a monster year and could easily win Defensive POY as a part of the secondary that terrified opposing QB’s all season. Sonny Puzzo ’18 improved drastically from his 2015 campaign, decimating the TD:INT ratio of last year that was below 1:1 to improve to 16:4. He also made a great case for First Team All-‘CAC. Max Chipouras ran over everybody in his path for the Bantams all year, finding holes and blasting through defenders en route to 910 yards, 5.8 yds/carry, and 7 TDs, only second to Tufts’ Chance Brady. You want to know what their secret formula to winning the league was? Just dominate offense, defense, and special teams. Undefeated.

2.) Tufts

Chance Brady is in the history books. According to Babe Ruth in The Sandlot, legends never die, and in every sense of the word, Brady’s 17 rushing TD season (19 total) is legendary. He won two more Gold Helmets and managed to lead his team to a 7-1 season just two years after breaking a preposterous 31 game losing streak. Despite their resurgent season that only Rory could’ve predicted, they did lose to Trinity and the Bantams showed they had the better team. But last week in Middlebury, VT, Brady couldn’t be stopped, and the Tufts secondary gave Lebowitz all he could handle. They battered him all day and tallied 2 fumbles, 3 INTS, and three painful looking sacks. The Jumbos will still have Ryan McDonald ’19 next year who played well when he started, tallying a 5:1 TD:INT ratio and a crazy 602 yards rushing, good for 5 TDs and 6.2 yds/carry. The Jumbos won’t stop here and the Bantams better watch out, there’s a stampede on the way in 2017.

3.) Wesleyan

In mutual games, Wesleyan largely played better than Middlebury. These two teams were the closest in talent level this season, both losing to Trinity and Tufts for their only losses, knocking off Amherst, and all the other teams that we expected them too. However, the Cardinals blew the Purple and White out, and could’ve easily beaten Tufts in Week 1, and frankly the fact that they went 6-1 in their final games shows that even without any assurance that they could get back into the championship run, they still put a great season together. Puzzo, Lebowitz, and Piccirillo are the top 3 QB’s in the conference and Piccirillo is arguably the best of the bunch. His 10:2 TD:INT ratio and 62.3% completion rate led the league, and he was second in passing yds/game to Lebowitz who benefitted from a system conducive to more passing attempts. Their defense also allowed the least yds/game and put them in a position to win a share of the league championship in the final game. They earned this ranking and nearly earned a ring.

4.) Middlebury

It’s tough for me to put Midd below Wesleyan here as I rooted for them all year and still thought they could win up until the final minutes against the Jumbos. However, the box scores don’t lie—the Panthers barely knocked off Amherst and Trinity rolled right over them. Lebowitz had a great season, especially considering that it was his first season starting in the NESCAC, but slowed down at the end of the year. A big loss to Trinity after a 5-0 start proved to be somewhat of a reality check, and pretty much crushed the Panthers’ hope of going to titletown. However, this team still had a great season, putting up a 6-2 record, and was hurt big time by injuries in the final weeks heading into their two biggest games against Trinity and Tufts. The fire in the hearts of this Midd team showed up in the final minutes against the Jumbos when they frantically put a rally together, sparking hope in the parents and fan section. Diego Meritus ’19 improved on his first season and looks like he could step up to another level next year; Conrado Banky ’19 proved me right in that he is a fast twitched receiving animal; and Lebowitz broke out in a big way. The good news for Panthers fans is that these three guys will be back, and they will be hungry for the ‘ship.

5.) Amherst

Nobody expected Amherst to be fifth on this list at the end of the year, but not even Amherst’s fans could argue for a better ranking. A tough 27-26 loss to Middlebury in week three would spiral the Purple and White’s season out of control, leading to a 2-4 finish. Granted they struggled with injuries all year as both their first and second string QB’s Reece Foy and Alex Berluti were out, Foy for the entirety of the season and Berluti for a large part of it. Some highlights were that they extended their winning streak to a historic 21 games, WR David Boehm had a fantastic senior campaign good for 660 receiving yards and 6 TDs, and the defense held opponents to a league best 79 rushing yards per game. On the positive side, Reece Foy will be back next year, and when he is on the field, he is always a candidate for POY. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but this is the first year Amherst didn’t have a mascot during football season and was also the year that their winning streak ended. Is this the new curse of the Billy Goat?

6.) Bates

This is where the rankings start to get a little trickier. The margins between Bates, Hamilton, and Colby are fairly narrow, as they all played pretty evenly against each other. Bates showed flashes of what is to come with their Sophomore QB Sandy Plashkes who broke off some big rushes despite a lack of passing consistency. Bates took the CBB crown, beat Colby and Bowdoin, and while that isn’t saying too much, they put up a good game against Tufts (12-7 loss) and jumped up to a 9-0 lead against Middlebury. And if they managed to beat Hamilton, they would’ve been tied with Amherst! Throughout the season, I put a lot more faith in the Bobcats than their success warranted, and maybe their season doesn’t deserve this ranking considering they did lose to Hamilton, but based on their games against some of the tougher teams, they are the best of the bottom tier of NESCAC teams.

7.) Hamilton

Continental fans might not be too happy with this ranking since they beat Bates by a considerable margin in week 8. However, that’s not a great selling point when you lose to the other 3-5 team, Colby. Once again, the distance between these 6-8 ranked teams is minimal, and if Hamilton put up a solid performance against any of the top NESCAC teams they would be ranked higher. But there isn’t a great argument to be bumped up when they got absolutely blown out against Middlebury, Amherst, Trinity, and Wesleyan. Mickey Keating ’18 was arguably Hamilton’s best defender with two picks and 72 total tackles to lead his squad, while Colby Jones ’19 also added two INTs, showing what the NY squad’s defense could showcase next year. QB Kenny Gray ’20 had a tough rookie season, but his experience this year should give him a lot to work on and a bunch of improvements going into his sophomore year. This is obvious but if their defense can allow less than 26.9 ppg next year, they’ll have a much better chance.

8.) Colby

Similar to Hamilton, nothing really stands out with the Mules’ season in terms of wins and losses. 3-5 is respectable, sure, but they only competed against Bowdoin, Williams, Hamilton, and Bates. They beat the Continentals but lost to Bates in a close game, and won against the Ephs in what was a poorly played Week 1 game. They did show some real offensive pieces unlike Bates and Hamilton, as Jabari Hurdle-Price ’18 rushed for 91 yds/game and six scores while roping in the most catches (30) on the team. Sebastian Ferrell ‘19 and Christian Sparacio ‘18 looked like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison at times, especially towards the end of the season. Good news for the Mules is that their QB, top RBs, and top WRs are all staying put for next year, so if Gabe Harrington ’18 or another signal caller can figure it out, they might actually compete against some of the big dawgs.

9.) Williams

I tried to spin off the Ephs as a better team than their record after they played well against Middlebury, but a winless season doesn’t leave a whole lot of positives. Jansen Durham could be a legit QB in the ‘CAC the next few years if he makes a Puzzo-esque transition into 2017; the two are definitely show some similarities in their career trajectory. Do-it-all playmaker Adam Regensburg showed off his athleticism time and time again as he led the team in receptions (37), receiving yards (319), field goals, punts, and points (he also put in time as a DB and a kick returner). CB Ben Anthony also had a promising first season with 44 tackles and 2 picks, showing that he will be a threat to opposing QBs in the years to come, but overall, this team has some work to do. They lost three games by less than two possessions, so if they bring in some more playmakers, they could get over the hump into the win column.

10.) Bowdoin

Well, not a lot to say here. Bowdoin went 0-2 in the CBB series and 0-8 overall, so they pretty much put themselves in this position. Their closest game was against Hamilton in a one point heartbreaker, and other than that, it was a pretty ugly season. The lone bright spots for the Polar Bears, who must be feeling pretty cold right about now, were Joe Gowetski ’20 and Nate Richam ‘20. Gowetski represented the future of NESCAC linebackers with a ludicrous 92 tackles to open up his career, and Richam displayed some promising work out of the backfield. These two will both solid for the winless squad going forward. Better luck next year.

A Look Back at the 2016 NESCAC Football Season

The Trinity Bantams - your 2016 NESCAC football champs (Courtesy of Trinity athletics)
The Trinity Bantams – your 2016 NESCAC football champs (Courtesy of Trinity athletics)

What. A. Year. Seriously, NESCAC football was absolutely outstanding this year, and an enormous part of that was the competitiveness at the top of the league. We saw plenty of blowouts, but we also saw last second comebacks, epic defensive stands, and back and forth shootouts throughout the past eight weeks. The range of outcomes kept us on our toes throughout the year, and while some teams were much better than others, every team had at least one game that came down the wire, which definitely made things interesting as a fan.

I want to first congratulate Tufts on their first 7-1 season, their best season since 1998. While it’s true that I’m a fan of the Jumbos, objectively, I think that it’s just amazing how far this team has come since my freshman year. I will never forget my first Parent’s Weekend game as a Tufts student. Down by 3 with under a minute to go, Tufts had the ball on the 2 yard line for First and Goal. Deep into their eventual 31-game losing streak, I stood in a crowd of baseball players that were all trying to figure out what to do in the case of what looked to be the first Tufts victory any of us had seen. Well, fate was not on the side of the Jumbos that day, and an interception in the end zone ended their chances of finally adding a tally to the win column. I never imagined that just three years later, Tufts would be 7-1 and the lone team in 2nd place in the NESCAC. Congrats to the Jumbos on a great year.

Middlebury and Wesleyan, two more successful programs of late, kept up their winning ways. After a tough defeat at the hands of Tufts in the night-opener, Wesleyan rolled through the rest of the league, destroying everybody in their path from Weeks 2-7. By the numbers, Wesleyan was right up there with Trinity, and they put themselves in a position to be crowned NESCAC champs with a Week 8 win. Middlebury was also in the running for NESCAC champs in Week 8, but they took a very different path to get there. After blowing out their first two opponents in a display of aerial expertise, Jared Lebowitz and company faced a daunting task in taking on the dreaded Amherst, who were riding into Vermont on their 21-game win streak. Well, the game was an absolute classic, and Middlebury prevailed. Unfortunately, Middlebury was later dominated by Trinity and in a must win game, Chance Brady absolutely dismembered the Panthers, putting Middlebury in a tie for 3rd place with the Cardinals.

That streak-ending loss to Middlebury in Week 3 was the start of a fall from grace for Amherst, who had a disappointing .500 season. I don’t know if it was their lack of mascot or what, but Amherst just couldn’t find an identity this year, and their inconsistent play, especially on the offensive side of the ball, left them with a number of questions heading into the offseason. Luckily for Amherst, Reece Foy will be back next year to retake the reigns under center, a position that proved to be a weak spot for the Purple and White due to injuries and inconsistent personnel.

Bates, Colby and Hamilton were the next three in order. While 3-5 is improvement from 2015 for each of these squads, none of them beat a team with a better record from them. Until one or more of these teams can demonstrate the ability to beat a better team, we will continue to see a league of two tiers. At the bottom of this tier is Bowdoin and Williams, both of whom had disappointing seasons. Neither could ever string together a game where both the offense and the defense played well, it was always one or the other…or neither. Hopefully this year teaches these two squads what they need to do to compete next year.

Am I forgetting anyone? Oh yeah, the juggernauts from Hartford, CT of course! The Bantams were an unstoppable force this year, and there was no immovable rock in the league to counter the multi-faceted attack that Coach Devanney was able to roll out there on offense. Max Chipouras will benefited greatly from the effectiveness of the Trinity passing attack, and Sonny Puzzo reaped the benefits of the sophomore back’s effectiveness on the ground. Darrien Myers and Bryan Vieira proved that they are two of the best wide receivers in the league, and they lit up opposing defenses week in and week out. The Bantams averaged 38.1 PPG this year and it’s absolutely because of how ridiculously talented their offensive weapons were.

However, the scoring numbers for Trinity would not have been as high as they were without the incredible defense they had. Coach Devanney’s defense consistently set up Puzzo and company with terrific field position, and the Bantams frequently capitalized on the short field. Yet it wasn’t just field position that the Bantams provided the offense, Trinity also scored four defensive touchdowns – FOUR!! No other team scored more than one this year. Spencer Donahue, Archi Jerome, Paul McCArthy, Liam Kenneally, Yosa Nosamiefan…the list goes on. This defense was incredible, and they deserve all the credit in the world for their contributions to this powerhouse’s undefeated season.

Finally (and much less importantly), let me apologize for failing to post the writers’ predictions for this weekend. Frankly, I just dropped the ball on it. I’m not an excuse guy but I’ve never had more work in my life than I did last week. Schoolwork, job apps, baseball and blog life ate me up, plain and simple. However, everyone did get their predictions in before Saturday, and here is what they were (the final standings are below):

Trinity @ Wesleyan

Rory: Trinity 30, Wesleyan 24 W

Pete: Trinity 45, Wesleyan 14 W

Liam: Trinity 22, Wesleyan 17 W

Colin: Trinity 33, Wesleyan 30 W

Colby: Trinity 28 Wesleyan 20 W

Sid: Trinity 42 Wesleyan 38 W

Nick: Trinity 38, Wesleyan 14 W

Hamilton @ Bates

Rory: Hamilton 14, Bates 28 L

Pete: Hamilton 7, Bates 10 L

Liam: Hamilton 14, Bates 26 L

Colin: Hamilton 21, Bates 14 W

Colby: Hamilton 10, Bates 17 L

Sid: Hamilton 14, Bates 28 L

Nick: Hamilton 14, Bates 27 L

Williams @ Amherst

Rory: Williams 10, Amherst 21 W

Pete: Williams 13, Amherst 17 W

Liam: Williams 10, Amherst 28 W

Colin: Williams 10, Amherst 35 W

Colby: Williams 10, Amherst 35 W

Sid: Williams 16, Amherst 35 W

Nick: Williams 10, Amherst 31 W

Bowdoin @ Colby

Rory: Bowdoin 7, Colby 21 W

Pete: Bowdoin 0, Colby 30 W

Liam: Bowdoin 13, Colby 17 W

Colin: Bowdoin 17, Colby 14 L

Colby: Bowdoin 14, Colby 17 W

Sid: Bowdoin 12, Colby 16 W

Nick: Bowdoin 19, Colby 20 W

Tufts @ Middlebury

Rory: Tufts 28, Middlebury 21 W

Pete: Tufts 24, Middlebury 30 L

Liam: Tufts 27 Middlebury 24 W

Colin: Tufts 20, Middlebury 27 L

Colby: Tufts 21, Middlebury 24 L

Sid: Tufts 28, Middlebury 27 W

Nick: Tufts 25,  Middlebury 30 L

 

That leaves the final standings as follows:

1.) Liam (31-4)

2.) Rory (29-6)

3.) Nick (28-7)

3.) Sid (28-7)

5.) Pete (27-8)

6.) Colby (26-9)

6.) Colin (26-9)

Though I’m bitter about my loss, I was taught not to be a sore loser. Congrats to Liam on a great season – a well deserved championship title after 7 weeks of picking games (if we had picked in week 1 I would have beat you).

Put It Over the Fireplace: The Postseason Awards Blog

Darrien Myers and Trinity ran away with the title this weekend in Hartford (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)
Darrien Myers and Trinity ran away with the title this weekend in Hartford (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)

First of all, congratulations to Trinity on an amazing season. In a league that featured four real threats to win the NESCAC title this year, Trinity was dominant from start to finish. The Bantams had the most consistency of any team, and it was this consistency that brought the championship trophy back to Hartford. This marks Trinity’s 7th 8-0 season in the current format, with Amherst and Williams being the only two other schools to put together perfect seasons. Congrats Trinity on another phenomenal season. We’ll discuss your accomplishments in greater depth tomorrow, but for now, let’s get to the awards.

The actual awards will be coming out presently, so these are less of a blog necessity and more of an excuse for Rory and I to talk about NESCAC football all day on a Sunday instead of doing homework. The main evidence that we used to make our decisions was statistics, as our biggest weakness as bloggers is our inability to watch every game at once. However, we also tried to spread the wealth fairly evenly throughout the league. There is of course a natural bias towards more successful teams (better teams tend to have better players), but we looked to get every school represented. The toughest call was probably QB, as Middlebury’s high volume passing attack led to Jared Lebowitz having by far the highest numbers. But we couldn’t overlook Puzzo’s consistency and performances in big games.  As always, any complaints can be directed to our “Suggestion Box.”

Image result for recycling bin
We recycle our suggestions here at Nothing But NESCAC.

First Team Offense:

QB: Sonny Puzzo (Trinity)

(16 TD, 4 INT, 186.5 YD/G, 60.1)

RB: Chance Brady (Tufts)

(17 TD, 1099 YD, 137.5 YD/G, 5.4 Y/A, 0 fumbles lost)

RB: Max Chipouras (Trinity)

(7 TD, 910 YD, 113 YD/G, 5.8 Y/A)

WR: Conrado Banky (Middlebury)

(925 YDS, 115.6 YDS/G, 12 TD)

WR: Darrien Myers (Trinity)

(485 YD, 69.8 YD, 8 TD)

WR: Bo Berluti (Amherst)

(498 YD, 62.3 YD/G, 8 TD)

WR: Devon Carrillo (Wesleyan)

(349 YD, 49.3 YD/G, 13 TD *twelve rushing*)

TE: Bryan Porter (Bowdoin)

(310 YD, 14.1 Y/C, 2 TD)

OL: Chris Simmons (Trinity)

OL: Joe Wilson (Wesleyan)

OL: Beau Butler (Wesleyan)

OL: Joe Farrah (Trinity)

OL: Gian Calise (Tufts)

First Team Specialists

PK: Eric Sachse (Trinity)

(13-13 FG, 38-38 XP)

P: Justin Foley (Bates)

(81 P, 37.9 Y/P, 20 IN20)

RET: Darrien Myers (Trinity)

(9 KR, 22.7 Y/KR, 1 TD, 17 PR, 14.6 Y/PR)

First Team Defense

DL: Tyler Harrington (Bates)

(34 TKL, 6.5 SCK, 9 TFL)

DL: Micah Adickes (Tufts)

(32 TKL, 4.5 SCK, 5.5 TFL)

DL: Robert Wood (Middlebury)

(28 TKL, 5 SCK, 9.5 TFL)

DL: Patrick Fabrizio (Bowdoin)

(19 TKL, 4.5 SCK, 7.5 TFL)

DL: Jordan Stone (Wesleyan)

(26 TKL, 4.5 SCK, 7 TFL)

DL: Niyi Odewade (Amherst)

(32 TKL, 4.5 SCK, 9.5)

LB: Mark Upton (Bates)

(87 TKL, 7 SCK, 14 TFL, 1 INT)

LB: Greg Holt (Tufts)

(98 TKL, .5 SCK, 6 TFL)

LB: Parker Chapman (Amherst)

(66 TKL, 2 SCK, 2 FF, 1 INT)

LB: John Jackson (Middlebury)

(61 TKL, 7.5 SCK, 11.5 TFL, 2 FF, 1 INT)

DB: Spencer Donahue (Trinity)

(46 TKL, 3 SCK, 3 FF, 2 INT, 5 Break-ups)

DB: Tim Preston (Tufts)

(28 TKL, 5 INT, 6 Break-ups)

DB: Ian Dickey (Colby)

(52 TKL, 1 FF, 3 INT)

DB: Kevin Hopsicker (Middlebury)

(37 TKL, 1 TFL, 2 INT)

DB: Nate Taylor (Wesleyan)

(19 TKL, 1 TFL, 3 INT)

DB: Joe Frake (Bates)

(43 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 3 INT)

Offensive POY: Running Back Chance Brady ‘17  (Tufts)

Chance Brady
Chance Brady ’17 (Courtesy Tufts Athletics)

If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of picking Brady for this award, just ask any of the corpses he left strewn all over Middlebury’s field on Saturday. Middlebury and Tufts’ matchup had tremendous championship implications, but it also effectively decided the Offensive POY race. Brady and Jared Lebowitz were the two front runners heading into the game. Lebowitz struggled in the first half before mounting an impressive comeback in the second, and Brady absolutely buried the Panthers throughout afternoon. He had five total touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving), including three in the decisive second quarter that saw Tufts take a 34-7 lead into halftime. Brady eviscerated the entire league this season, and his work put him in the NESCAC history books – on Saturday, Brady set the record of most rushing touchdowns in a single season with 17. What a stud.

Defensive POY: Defensive Back Spencer Donahue ‘17 (Trinity)

Spencer Donahue
Spencer Donahue ’17 (Courtesy Trinity Athletics)

It is the mark of a truly great defensive back when they can have an impact on the activity in the backfield as well as in coverage, effectively putting their finger on the pulse of the game in all areas on the field. At times this season it seemed like there were three or four Spencer Donahues running around all over the field; that’s how dominant he was from the safety position. He was particularly effective at getting into the backfield, recording three sacks and 6.5 tackles for a loss. Donahue wraps up a tremendous career with an 8-0 season, and we think he should take home some personal hardware as well.

Rookie of the Year: Greg Holt ‘20 (Tufts)

Greg Holt
Greg Holt ’20 (Courtesy Tufts Athletics)

As one great defensive player leaves in Donahue, another one rises up in Greg Holt. Holt led the entire league in tackles with 98, and was the centerpiece of a defense that helped the Jumbos surprise many in the league and finish at 7-1. Early in the season Holt didn’t really get into the backfield, recording no sacks or forced fumbles in the first four games of the season despite 14 and 20 tackles in his first two college games. However, something clicked in the second half of the year, and Holt tallied .5 sacks and six tackles for loss over the final four games. Holt gives the Jumbos a player to build a defensive dynasty around.

Image result for steve holt
There is no relation between Greg Holt and Steve Holt…that we know of.

Coach of the Year: Jeff Devanney (Trinity)

Not a very tough call here. If your team finishes 8-0 with an average margin of victory of over 24 points, your status as coach of the year is pretty hard to argue. Trinity was the best team wire to wire this season (even though it took a couple weeks for the geniuses over at NbN to put them at #1 in the power rankings), and look poised to continue their run next year.

An Ungodly Amalgamation of Styles: Week Eight Weekend Preview

Trinity Vs. Wesleyan Football
This picture is from several years ago, but Trinity and Wesleyan meet again tomorrow in the game that decides most of the championship scenarios. Also, this is a really fly picture. (Courtesy Hartford Courant)

Here we are, the final weekend preview of the season. It’s been a lot of fun tag-teaming these posts with Rory; he does a nice job of making my writing look better by forcing terrible puns. We did it one last time this weekend, with Rory analyzing the championship scenarios for each of the top teams, while I handled the games in the bottom of the league in a more traditional weekend preview style. Think of this as a “Post-Modern Preview,” a pastiche of different styles that ultimately reflects the chaos and unreliability of NESCAC football and the insane lack of a head-to-head playoff system.

Championship Scenarios:

Trinity – I think it’s pretty clear that the Bantams need to win to take home a solo championship belt. No one else has a 7-0 record, and only 3 other teams have the potential to end the season with a 7-1 record, so Trinity will be NESCAC champs no matter what. But that right there is the trap for Trin. If they play this game to not lose instead of playing it to win, Trinity will be in trouble. And guess what, Wesleyan is waiting for just that. The Bantams have an opportunity to finish out another undefeated season tomorrow, but they have to come out flying if they want to be the lone champions of the NESCAC this year

Wesleyan – also pretty obvious, Wesleyan needs to win in order to become NESCAC champs. The Cardinals’ last win against Trinity came in a 20-19 battle back in 2014 when Wesleyan finished in a 3-way tie for first place. If Mark Piccirillo can will his team to a win this weekend, they will once again prompt a 3-team tie for first place. I’m going add in my two cents here: the fact that head-to-head is irrelevant in the NESCAC football standings is bananas. Mix in some common sense over there at NESCAC HQ so we don’t have 3 champions every other year.

Middlebury – while the Panthers need to win in order to be in consideration for a championship, they will need a bit more help than that on Saturday. Midd also needs a Wesleyan W. Not too crazy, right? But Middlebury needs to take on the Jumbos, and Wesleyan needs to beat Trinity, so Middlebury winning a championship is a little easier said than done. They’ll surely try to beat Tufts via aerial attack, but Jared Lebowitz better be careful if he throws to his man Conrado Banky, as he will likely be matched up with Jumbo ball-hawk Tim Preston. This should be a thriller.

Tufts – same thing here for the ‘Bos, they need a Wesleyan win and a win of their own. No easy task, Middlebury is a solid squad, but the Panthers also struggled defending the run against Trinity a couple weeks ago. Maybe Chance Brady can take Tufts to the promised land? Regardless, a 7-1 season for a Tufts team that had lost 31 games in a row just two years ago would be pretty unbelievable. You can bet Brady and crew will be fired up for this matchup

The Best of the Rest: Lower Tier Games in Week Eight

Hamilton at Bates, 12:00 PM, Lewiston, Maine

Bates has quietly been on a real tear to end the season, overcoming a slow start to be within one win of finishing .500. Sure, they haven’t exactly been playing the Dillon Panthers lately (their wins are over Williams,

Matt Golden
Matt Golden ’20 gives the Bobcats a weapon out of the backfield. (Courtesy Bates Athletics)

Bowdoin and Colby) but they also only lost 12-7 to Tufts, who has a chance now to finish tied for the league championship. Bates may have discovered a new offensive weapon last weekend in Matt Golden ‘20, who passed for 50 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown. Golden offers a valuable change of style from starter Sandy Plashkes ‘19, whose penchant for big plays is often overshadowed by a lack of accuracy. It will be interesting to see how much Golden plays this weekend. If he has another strong week, Bates will have a fascinating quarterback battle brewing next season.

Hamilton, on the other hand, has been something of a disappointment this season. At the beginning of the season they seemed primed for a big step forward this season, and they have had some impressive performances. But the Continentals have ultimately been unable to shake the stink of the last few seasons. A road win here would be nice way for Hamilton to close the season, but Bates has all the momentum. I see Bates finishing this season off strong at home.

Williams at Amherst, 12:00 PM, Amherst, Massachusetts

It’s strange to write about NESCAC’s fiercest rivalry when neither team is in contention for the league title. However, this may well make for an even more exciting game. Both these teams are playing for nothing but the glory and bragging rights that come from winning this historic match-up. To me, that’s thrilling. These teams will be unhinged, with nothing but animal intensity to guide them. Amherst should have the edge in this game on paper, despite all their injuries. But games are not played on paper, and Amherst has been reeling, losing three in a row including a crushing loss last weekend to Trinity in which they blew a 14-3 lead in the second half. Williams, of course, comes in on a seven game losing streak. But if they can perform like the did for the first three quarters against Middlebury earlier this season, when they were only trailing 28-23, they have a chance to turn this from a disappointing season for Amherst to a truly disastrous one. And one can only imagine how gratifying that would be for the Ephs during this difficult year of transition.

Bowdoin at Colby, 12:30 PM, Waterville, Maine

Sebastian Ferrell
Sebastian Farrell ’19 has been burning secondaries all year, and should do the same to the Polar Bears on Saturday. (Courtesy Colby Athletics)

The final game of the CBB series features two teams who are looking for their first CBB win. Colby comes in having lost two in a row, including a demoralizing 21-19 defeat to Bates. However, the last two games have seen a rise in the star of wide receiver Sebastian Farrell ‘19, who has put up over 285 yards in the last two weeks. Bowdoin, of course, has been consistently the worst team in the league, especially on defense, where they give up over 450 yards and 35 points per game. This is not the sexiest game on paper, but we have a chance to see a real explosion out of Farrell, possibly catapulting him into All League team consideration.

After the Fall: Week Seven Power Rankings

It is not my job, nor is this blog the place, to preach any sort of political ideology. And more than that, it might not even be productive. We are all now on the same side, the side of America. I’m speaking now not from a political pulpit but from a mental health pulpit. To any readers who are feeling broken down, hollowed out and left cold next to the curb by the results of the election, then there are two things that I feel we should remember. Firstly, the sun rose yesterday morning. There are still sunrises, sunsets, puppies, period TV shows about the 80’s, hugs from your mom, pizza, that feeling of waking up and realizing you still have time to sleep, someone playing with your hair, pickup basketball games, toddlers wearing hilariously mismatched outfits, YouTube videos of babies sleeping on cats, and millions of other beautiful things in the world. They still exist, and we should treasure them now more than ever.

And secondly, the fight is not over. The results of this election will bring social issues to the forefront in a way that many have never been before. It is our job now to keep them there. Whether you picket every day on the lawn of the White House or just treat everyone you know with love and respect, there are many ways still to make the world a better place. And more than that, there are many people still who will try their best to do it. Nothing can silence them. Be one of those people.

Anyway, contrary to that long-winded and preachy opening, we are still a sports blog. Week Seven’s games were notable in that they offered absolutely no clarity heading into the final weekend. Trinity, Wesleyan, Middlebury and Tufts all won handily, putting several possibilities in play for the final standings. Trinity of course still controls their own destiny and can end all the drama by taking care of business against Wesleyan, but if they don’t, all hell could break loose.  There are also interesting scenarios in the second tier of the league, as Bates has a real chance to finish fifth in the league at 4-4.  And as if that isn’t enough, NESCAC’s oldest rivalry rises again, as Amherst and Williams battle for literally only pride at this point.  Here’s how the teams stack up heading into the dramatic final act.

Trinity's Donahue Earns Third NESCAC Football Defensive Player of the Week Honor
Spencer Donahue ’17 led the Trinity defense to huge comeback win against Amherst
  1. Trinity

The Bantams had by far their toughest test of the season last weekend against Amherst.  Trinity trailed 14-10 heading into the fourth quarter, as Amherst’s defense shut down the dynamic duo of quarterback (and leader of a lovable gang of street kids in 1930’s Brooklyn) Sonny Puzzo and running back Max Chipouras.  However, Trinity, as great teams do, capitalized on Amherst’s mistakes, scoring a fumble return touchdown and an interception return touchdown to escape with a 24-14 win. They kept the Chipouras-Puzzo pair to just one touchdown between them (a pass from Puzzo to Darrien Myers ‘17) just a week after they combined for five against Middlebury.  Amherst laid down a blueprint on how to shut down Trinity, and I’m sure Wesleyan was paying close attention.

  1. Tufts

Tufts has been the closest thing NESCAC has to a Cinderella story this year, riding the broad shoulders of running back Chance Brady to a 6-1 record this season. The Jumbos have also made use of tremendous team chemistry this year, as evidenced by their ELECTRIC contribution to the growing #mannequinchallenge trend:

Just terrific execution all around.  Tufts slaughtered Colby last weekend 44-12, with Brady putting up his standard 167 yards and three touchdowns. The Jumbos travel down to Middlebury this weekend for a matchup that will determine which team has a shot at sharing the league title. And having seen what Max Chipouras did to Middlebury when they played Trinity (186 yards and three touchdowns) you have to like Chance Brady’s—and the rest of the team’s—chances. Keep an eye on Brady’s pursuit of the single-season TD record…he needs 2 to tie, 3 to break it…very possible.

  1. Middlebury
Image result for jared lebowitz
Jared Lebowitz ’18 hopes to lead the Panthers to a share of the league championship this weekend.

After a demoralizing loss to Trinity, the Panthers were in dire need of a bounceback win heading into their showdown with Tufts. They got that and then some against Hamilton. Quarterback Jared Lebowitz rediscovered the form that made him a POY favorite early in the season (412 yards and four touchdowns,) and the powerful secondary recorded five interceptions and three sacks. These are the two most crucial areas for the Panthers against Tufts.  The offense will need to have long, sustained drives in order to keep Chance Brady off the field, and the defense will have to get

in the backfield to stop him from breaking off big plays downfield.  Stopping Tufts basically means stopping Brady, as their quarterback play is shaky at best.  Brady and Lebowitz’s matchup this weekend might well decide the POY race, depending on how well Max Chipouras and Sonny Puzzo play against Wesleyan. Should be worth checking out.

  1. Wesleyan

I have a bad habit as a writer of ascribing too much importance to my articles. I have absolutely no idea if the greater Wesleyan football community is reading these articles, but I assume they are, and I assume they’re royally ticked off at me for keeping them at #4 even though they’ve scored 98 points in their last two games.  But I would advise the Cardinals to use this as motivation, because they’re the other side in the biggest game of the year. Wesleyan put up the biggest offensive performance of the year last week in Williamstown, scoring 56 points in just the first half!  QB Mark Piccirillo accounted for five touchdowns in the half in by far his most impressive outing of the season. The Cardinals offense is really humming right now, making them well suited to match Trinity’s dominant defense.

  1. Amherst

Amherst put up a valiant effort last weekend, soundly outplaying Trinity for three quarters. But as has been their tendency during their recent struggles, turnovers undid their good work.  Trinity scored two defensive touchdowns off of an interception and a fumble by quarterback Nick Morales ‘17. That crushing loss pretty much sums up what has been a very disappointing season for the team that came into the season on a 19 game winning streak. For the Purple and White, pride is all that remains to play for.  But don’t underestimate the power of that motivator. Amherst takes on hated rival Williams as their final act of the season. The two teams are closer in the standings than is often the case, but that won’t change the passion with which each team plays. Amherst-Williams is always a must see, even if it has little effect on the final standings.

  1. Bates

I feel like I’ve written this 30 times in my last three columns, but it’s still blowing my mind.  Just listen to this sentence: “By the end of this Saturday’s games, Amherst and Bates could finish tied in the NESCAC standings.” Woah. Bates has won two in a row over Colby and Bowdoin, using a solid defense and rushing attack. Last week Bates added a new dimension to their offense, as freshman quarterback Matt Golden ‘20 tallied 126 rushing yards and a touchdown, as well as a passing touchdown.  Bates now has a quarterback to push and compete with Sandy Plaschkes ‘19. They have to take down Hamilton this weekend to finish at .500, proving that even the lower tier games have stakes.

  1. Colby

The Mules have a bona fide star in sophomore wide receiver Sebastian Farrell ‘19.  Despite only being tenth in the league with 28 catches, Farrell ranks fourth in yards with 510. By nature of basic mathematics, this places him first in the league in yards per catch at 18.2. With a knack for making big plays, Farrell has been instrumental in many of Colby’s wins and close losses.  The Mules have a winnable matchup with Bowdoin to close their season, and another big game from Farrell could position him to contend for some post-season hardware.

  1. Hamilton

Hamilton ran headlong into the Middlebury revenge machine in Week Seven, losing at home 45-10. Middlebury’s passing offense tore the Continentals apart, but turnovers from Hamilton’s quarterbacks didn’t help. The Panthers tallied five interceptions, making any chance Hamilton’s defense had of stopping Jared Lebowitz very difficult. Hamilton faces a difficult test in the final week, traveling to the den of the suddenly-hot Bates Bobcats. They certainly have a chance to win, but it looks like it’s another year towards the bottom of the league for Hamilton.

  1. Williams

The two highest scoring performances of the season have come against Williams: 49 points for Middlebury and 59 points last week for Wesleyan.  To use an understatement, this is not a stat of which the Ephs are very proud. The Ephs have one last chance to get a symbolically crucial win, and there would be no more gratifying team to get it against than hated rival Amherst. Williams has shown the ability to put up a fight against tough teams, forcing several turnovers against Jared Lebowitz when they matched up with Middlebury. As we saw last week from their game against Trinity, turnovers can be the great equalizer for all of Amherst’s weapons on defense.  Williams has a path to success. A thin one, to be sure, but a path nonetheless.

  1. Bowdoin

Bowdoin is 0-1 so far in the CBB series, and 0-7 overall on the year. The main undoing for the Polar Bears has been defense, as they give up a league-worst 459 yards per game. Bowdoin wraps up the CBB series and the season as a whole with a game against Colby. Bowdoin seems destined to finish the season at 0-8, as their rebuilding season reaches its natural conclusion.

An Update to the Defensive Player of the Year Race

Last week I gave an update on the Offensive Player of the Year Race, and now heading into our final week of NESCAC football I’m here to provide you with the final defensive player of the year update. Clearly, Rory knows little about defense as he only predicted one member of this list back in September. Rory’s stupidity, however, is beside the point. Many newcomers have emerged in 2016, and without further adieu here is the final version of the NESCAC football Defensive POY race.

Safety/Outside Linebacker Spencer Donahue ’17, Trinity

Spencer Donahue '17 (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)
Spencer Donahue ’17 (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)

Trinity has dominated the NESCAC the entire season and a big part of this is due to their defense. Anchoring this defense is senior co-captain Spencer Donahue. In 7 games this season Donahue has logged 37 tackles (leading Trinity), 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries (2 for touchdowns), and 2 interceptions. Donahue has a knack for finding the football, and his ability to force turnovers has won games for the Bantams. Don’t be surprised if you see Donahue with the football in his possession in his final collegiate game, week 8 against Wesleyan. He already has already 3 (!!!) NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week nods this fall after all. Donahue is the frontrunner at this point.

Linebacker Greg Holt ’20, Tufts

Greg Holt '20 (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
Greg Holt ’20 (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

Watch the Tufts defense for one drive and you are likely to see number 54, Greg Holt in on pretty much every play. Only a freshman, Holt is tied for first in the NESCAC with 89 tackles. After graduating two valuable linebackers in 2015, the position was a big question mark heading into 2016 and Holt has filled that void for the 6-1 Jumbos. Though he may be at a disadvantage as a freshman in contention for the Defensive POY award, he will surely be terrorizing the dreams of NESCAC offensive coordinators for the next three years.

Linebacker Mark Upton ’17, Bates

Mark Upton '17 (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)
Mark Upton ’17 (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)

An All-New England and First Team All-NESCAC selection in 2015, it is to no surprise that Mark Upton is back on this list. Upton has had a stellar career at Bates, but his senior campaign looks as though it is will be his most impressive. The stud linebacker has 78 tackles (12 TFL), 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. In a 12-7 week 2 loss to Tufts, Upton totaled 17 tackles, 4 of which were behind the line of scrimmage. He will leave Bates as one of its best defensive players, totaling 263+ tackles in his four-year career, a pretty impressive feat. If Bates had a better record, it would definitely help Upton’s odds to win the Defensive POY, but by no means is he out of the running.

Linebacker John Jackson ’18, Middlebury

John Jackson '18 (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)
John Jackson ’18 (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)

Our third and final linebacker on the list is John Jackson. Starting his college football career as a running back, Jackson has come a long way, proving that he is one of the best linebackers in the NESCAC. In 2016, Jackson has compiled 47 tackles (9 TFL), and his 6 sacks leads the NESCAC. The junior has also forced 2 fumbles and tallied 1 interception. With a stellar week 8 performance against Tufts, Jackson could potentially jump ahead of fellow linebackers Holt and Upton to rival Donahue as the favorite for defensive POY. Stay tuned…

Cornerback Tim Preston ’19, Tufts

Tim Preston '17 (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
Tim Preston ’17 (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

In 2015 Preston surged  onto the scene, leading the NESCAC with 6 interceptions. Fast forward a year and Preston is once again atop the NESCAC in interceptions with 5. And after his 99 yard pick-6 versus Colby this past weekend, the Tufts Bookstore began selling Preston Island T-shirts at halftime. Darrelle Revis even cut me in line to buy one. Tufts will rely heavily on their secondary to minimize the passing threat of Lebowitz and Middlebury this weekend, and I expect Tim Preston to be a huge part of this. At some point, you’ve gotta wonder when NESCAC quarterbacks are going to shy away from Preston as they drop back to pass.

The 2016 NESCAC All-Hair Team

Editor’s Note: The quotes in this article were created for comedic effect – those who are “quoted” were not actually interviewed for this article. If you have a problem with any of the quotes, please reach out to us at nothingbutnescac@gmail.com and we will fix it. Enjoy!

Guys, I’m sorry.

I know it’s been weeks since I posted my last article and all my readers have grown restless. The truth is that in an effort to not disappoint my parents any more than I already have, I’ve really been making an attempt to focus on academics and graduate (on time). Hopefully you all can forgive me after reading this…

HONORABLE MENTION

With only 10 slots available on the All-NESCAC Hair Team, it was inevitable that a few worthy contestants would not make the list. Here are the guys who narrowly missed the cut…  

Willie Holmquist, Tufts and Robert Morris, Hamilton

Willie Holmquist (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
Willie Holmquist (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
Robert Morris (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)
Robert Morris (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now by no means did these two “narrowly miss the cut” on the All-Hair Team, but let’s be honest, their mustaches are so bad they’re actually great, which demands recognition. Willie Holmquist and Robert Morris look like they should be co-starring in a 1980’s adult film entitled, “The Naughty Kickers.”

Kevin Sheehan, Amherst

Kevin Sheehan (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)
Kevin Sheehan (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)

Maybe I’m biased because I have as much facial hair as a newborn child, but Kevin Sheehan’s mug shot is incredible. It’s not all about the flow here at Nothing But Nescac.

 

 

 

Bryan Viera, Trinity and Sean Rose, Hamilton

Bryan Vieira (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)
Bryan Vieira (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)
Sean Rose (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)
Sean Rose (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryan and Sean are both rocking “the mop.” Word on the street is that after crazy Saturday nights at Trinity and Hamilton, these two dunk their heads in cleaning solution and selflessly offer to wipe down the basement floor.

THE ALL-NESCAC Hair Team

#10.) Max Wilson, Bowdoin

Max Wilson
Max Wilson (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics)

Coming in at number 10 on the All-NESCAC Hair Team is Max Wilson from the poverty stricken streets of New Canaan, Connecticut. Max is sporting some blue collar, workmanlike flow here that is synonymous with Fairfield County. (Note: I was Max’s host when he came on his recruiting trip to Tufts…clearly I did an awful job seeing that he’s at Bowdoin)

#9) Nick Sobczyk, Hamilton

Nick Sobczyk (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)
Nick Sobczyk (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)

Not only does Nick have some tremendous Tim Riggins-esque locks, but judging from this gem of a headshot, I’m also gonna say that he’s the most intelligent kid on the Hamilton roster. Luscious locks here, 5-1.

 

 

 

#8) Chuck Calabrese, Tufts

Chuck Calabrese (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)
Chuck Calabrese (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

Chuck Calabrese is a kid that knows he’s good-looking. “Breezy” as he is known to his friends and family, credits the success of his mane to a daily ritual of showering for ten minutes with pure grease. “That’s what keeps it straight, bro” said Calabrese in his own words.

 

 

#7) Brandon Williams, Bates

Brandon Williams (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)
Brandon Williams (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)

We had a few guys try their hand at this look, but Brandon Williams was the best of the best. Williams is sporting a hybrid flat top that is a combination of James “Boobie” Miles and Gerald from Hey Arnold! Hats off to you Brandon, you nailed it (and I also don’t know if that hair would fit under a hat).

 

 

gerald-from-hey-arnoldboobie-miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6) Braden Wilson, Colby

Braden Wilson (Courtesy of Colby Athletics)
Braden Wilson (Courtesy of Colby Athletics)

Braden Wilson of Colby is a man’s man. A guy who couldn’t care less what you think, Braden probably spends his days in Waterville eating red meat for breakfast lunch and dinner. You gotta think Braden’s mom is begging him to cut his hair so “we can have at least one nice picture to send to Grandma,” but you’ve got a better chance of censoring Donald Trump than you do taming this wild stallion.

#5) Kyle Horihan, Williams

kyle-horihan

The pretty boy of the group, what Kyle lacks in natural talent, he more than makes up for in effort and attention to detail. Whereas most kids are off eating pizza and drinking soda, Kyle has gone to an all-natural vegan diet ensured to promote hair growth and longevity. Hornihan also pays weekly visits to Salon 290 in Williamstown, MA to ensure that his perm is at its “maximum fullness.”

#4) Micah Adickes, Tufts

micah-adickes

The kid just has a great head of hair, that’s all there is to it.

 

 

 

#3) Jameson Law, Trinity

 jameson-law

Much like his hero and role model, Fabio, Jameson Law never asked for beautiful hair. “It’s truly a gift from God,” said Jameson’s father. “Some kids are blessed with size, others with speed. My son was blessed with remarkable hair.” What’s truly shocking is that while Jameson is #3 on our All-Nescac Hair Team, his father says he might not even have the best hair in his own family. “We have an eight year old son named Guinness,” Mr. Law (probably) said chuckling. “When it’s all said and done, he might have the greatest hair of all time.”

#2) Kent Blaeser, Williams

kent-blaeser

For the second year in a row, Kent Blaeser, narrowly missed taking the All-Hair Team title. But according to last year’s winner and this year’s runner-up, being a frequent member of the All-NESCAC hair team definitely presents its challenges. “It might sound like fun to have hundreds of girls chasing after you,” Blaeser explained, “but after a while, it really begins to take its toll.” It’s clear that Kent Blaesers extraordinary hair is a blessing and a curse.

#1) Hunter Voegele, Amherst

hunter-voegele

Folks, let me introduce you to a guy by the name of Hunter Voegele. Hunter is the hottest thing to hit Amherst College since the student body decided that Frosted Flakes were socially insensitive to tigers. His combination of fiery red hair and flowing locks make him #1 on this year’s All-NESCAC Hair Team. Congrats Hunter, you’ve earned it.

The Duality of Seasons – A (Managing) Editor’s Report on What to Expect Over the Next Few Weeks

Dear readers,

We have been blessed with one of the most exciting NESCAC football seasons in recent memory. Heading into the final weekend, each game has significant potential to determine the final standings in the league. Trinity could continue to push opponents out of the way like a bulldozer, and make all the drama simply a battle for second best.  Even the lower tier games mean something, as Bates puts their pride on the line to possibly finish with the same record as deposed king Amherst at 4-4. It should be an exciting weekend filled with thrills, chills and spills (like when I spill my hot chocolate on myself after Middlebury scores a touchdown.)

However, in the midst of this football excitement, we also have the beginning of winter sport practices, which here at NbN means that it’s basketball season. Longtime readers of this blog (which may pretty much only be my parents at this point) will know that there might literally be nothing I love more in the world than NESCAC basketball.  I used to bring my Harry Potter books to Middlebury games and read them between periods, as the timeout buzzer intimidated me.  As I grew up, however, I overcame my fears and began watching the whole game, falling more in love with basketball every minute. So you’ll forgive me if I’m a little excited to get into the basketball coverage: it’s the reason I got into the blogging game in the first place.

It’s not an easy proposition to begin covering basketball the same week that the football season wraps up.  We love #content and #pageviews as much as the next sports blog, but we also have #otherhomework and #friends. But we are your NESCAC informants first and foremost, and we will bring you all the football and basketball coverage you need, and then some.

The way we will handle this busy couple of weeks is as follows: we will release our regular football weekly schedule (Power Rankings, Stock Report, Weekend Preview, Game of the Week,) and a basketball preview each day.  Next

Image result for kevin bacon footloose
Footloose is one of the five best movies of all time and you can FIGHT ME if you disagree

week we will wrap up football with postseason awards and reflections, and preseason basketball awards and previews.  This should take us up to the first weekend of basketball tournaments, which trails only Thanksgiving, Christmas and Kevin Bacon’s birthday on my list of favorite days of the year.

This busy time encompasses everything that is great about NESCAC sports, and even the passage of time as a whole.  The ending of football season signifies the end of fall, and therefore the beginning of our long NESCAC winter.  But winter also brings so many beautiful things into the world: skiing, Christmas, fires in woodstoves, and best of all, NESCAC basketball. Sports in New England are uniquely married to these seasonal cycles, and this is one of the reasons that I, and the other writers, and all of you readers, love them so much. So bear with us through this potentially chaotic transition, and we’ll reward you with another season of passionate coverage.

Thank you, and keep reading,

Peter Lindholm

 

You Got Records? I’ma Smash ‘Em: Stock Report 11/7

 

Brady has dominated all season, and he is currently the frontrunner for Offensive POY voting (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).
Brady has dominated all season, and he is currently the frontrunner for Offensive POY voting (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics).

No upsets this weekend, and aside from Amherst and Bowdoin each hanging on through three quarters (until they both threw up goose eggs in the 4th), these games weren’t very close at all. Wesleyan did put up the highest score of the 2016 season in their 59-14 win over Williams, and both Middlebury and Tufts clung onto their title hopes with wins in their respective matchups. Alas, we are in the same position as last week in terms of determining the NESCAC Champion, so it’s all in Trinity’s hands this coming weekend.

There were lots of terrific individual performances on Saturday, so there are definitely some names not on here – Spencer Donahue ‘17 forcing a fumble and returning it for a touchdown, Jared Lebowitz ‘18 throwing for four TDs and running for one, Trinity moving to 7-0, Bates winning the CBB – don’t be mad if you didn’t get a write-up, there were just a lot of guys who had outstanding games this weekend, and who have been consistently having outstanding games throughout the season.

As for the writers’ picks this weekend, everyone went 5-0 except for Colin and I, who both went 4-1. Here’s where everyone stands as we enter the final week of action:

1.) Liam O’Neil (27-3)

2.) Rory Ziomek (25-5)

2.) Nick DiBenedetto (25-5)

4.) Sid Warrenbrand (24-6)

4.) Pete Lindholm (24-6)

6.) Colin Tiernan (23-7)

6.) Colby Morris (23-7)

The last week of action should be a great one, but that’s a long way off as of now. Let’s see who excelled and whose stock dropped this weekend.

 

Stock Up

Tufts RB Chance Brady ‘17

Brady ran for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns on Saturday, but that’s not really the highlight – the senior broke two different school touchdown records this weekend. The first, single season rushing touchdowns, was previously set at 13, but Brady now has a total of 14 rushing TDs on the year. The second record is somehow more impressive than that: career touchdowns. Brady now holds the Tufts record for career touchdowns with 30. I’ve always felt spoiled as a Boston sports fan, but being a Chance Brady fan is arguably more of a treat. He is now just 2 touchdowns away from tying the NESCAC single-season rushing touchdowns record (16), which Fred Storz set in 1998 for Williams. There’s a very real possibility that Brady ties that record on Saturday – go get ‘em Chance.

Wesleyan’s Big Three: QB Mark Piccirillo ‘19, WR Devon Carrillo ‘17, WR Mike Breuler ‘18

Holy cow, Wesleyan really worked the Ephs this weekend…I mean talk about a beatdown. The Cardinals won 59-14 on Saturday, primarily because of the incredible performances of these three guys. Piccirillo threw for 5 touchdowns and 288 yards, and also ran for 66 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, Carrillo ran for 2 touchdowns and caught one, while also racking up 95 yards, and Breuler accumulated 125 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. The highlight of the day was a 50 yard touchdown pass and catch between Piccirillo and Breuler. Poor Williams. Quite the tune-up game for Wesleyan as they head into a title match against Trinity. Coach DiCenzo is gonna need these three to bring the heat against the Bantams if they want to pull off the upset.

Trinity PK Eric Sachse ‘19

Last year it was Tufts’ Willie Holmquist ‘17 who tied the NESCAC single-season field goals record with 11, but Sachse broke that record on Saturday when he nailed his 12th field goal of the season. The sophomore kicker is still a perfect 12/12 on the year on field goals, and he has also converted every PAT that he has attempted in 2016 (31). Sachse’s consistency has been an unbelievable advantage for Trinity the entire year, and it’s no wonder that he ranks 3rd in overall points in the conference. The only potential knock on Sachse is that his longest field goal of the year is just 40 yards, but that’s not necessarily his fault either. He hasn’t attempted a field goal from outside 40, so it’s not like you can make the argument that 41+ is outside of his range. Unless he has an absolutely dreadful Week 8, Sachse should earn a First Team selection without a doubt. It’s rare you see this type of consistency in the NESCAC, and the golden boot of Sachse has truly been a spectacle week after week.

Tufts CB Tim Preston ‘19

Ya know, I really thought Preston’s league-leading 6 interceptions during his freshman year was a once-in-a-career type of season. I mean, no one is going to keep throwing the ball his way if he is that good, right? I guess I was wrong because once again, Preston is leading the NESCAC in interceptions, and his 5th pick this weekend was definitely the most impressive of his sophomore campaign. Despite the final score, this was a back and forth game early on. Down 7-0, Colby drove 81 yards down the field to set themselves up with a 1st and Goal from the 4 yard line. Quarterback Christian Sparacio dropped back to pass and tried to hit his man in the endzone, but Preston jumped the route and snagged the football at the 1 yard line. He wasn’t content with the interception, however – Preston weaved in and out of Colby’s offensive players and ended up returning the INT 99 yards for a touchdown. Though it’s a long ways off, it’s worth noting that the sophomore is currently on pace to break Tufts’ career interceptions record of 20 that was set by Evan Zupancic (1999-2003). For the NESCAC quarterbacks reading this: STOP THROWING TOWARDS PRESTON (or continue to do so, I do go to Tufts after all).

 

Stock Down

Colby Offense

In the second quarter, the Colby defense forced a punt on two consecutive drives. On each of those two punts, the Mules were able to  storm into the backfield and block the punts off of Willie Holmquist’s foot, giving them the ball on the Tufts 22, and then on the Tufts 16 to start their drives. Unfortunately, Colby couldn’t move the ball at all, and each time they had to resort to kicking a field goal, making the score 16-9 Tufts at the half. Between these two disappointing opportunities and the interception that Colby threw on the goal line in the first quarter, the Mules just simply couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities that Tufts gave them. If they score a touchdown on each of these three drives, the score is 24-9 Colby at halftime and all of a sudden, this is a completely different ballgame. The margin of error is so small in the NESCAC, so failing to convert on three prime touchdown opportunities is not quite a recipe for success.

Bottom Three Ball Control

It might not be the only reason that Hamilton, Williams, and Bowdoin are the three worst teams in the NESCAC, but it is certainly telling that they committed 6, 5 and 4 turnovers respectively on Saturday. Hamilton threw 5 picks and lost a fumble; Williams threw 1 interception and lost 4 fumbles; Bowdoin threw 3 INTs and lost 1 fumble. Unsurprisingly, all three lost their games this weekend. The fact is, you can’t just throw away possessions like this and expect to win football games. Maybe I’m being harsh, but it’s true. Hopefully they can figure out what went wrong on film and then use the knowledge gained to turn it around next weekend.