Stock Report September 29: The Jumbo Uprising

After two weeks the NESCAC is playing out according to preseason expectations. Tiers are rapidly developing and becoming defined. Hamilton, Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby are at the bottom of the league capable of giving teams scares but unable to outplay teams for 60 minutes. Middlebury and Williams are the middle class of teams that beat up on the lower teams but can’t handle the talent of the top flight. Finally Trinity, Wesleyan, Amherst, and Tufts will battle it out for the conference championship… wait a second… that can’t be right.


The Jumbos moved to 2-0 after outscoring Bates 35-7 in the final two plus quarters on their Homecoming. Tufts is clearly not yet one of the top teams in the conference, but their start so far is the best story of the NESCAC season. After years of coming up short, Tufts is riding a wave of momentum that might crest at 3-0 if they can go on the road and beat Bowdoin. That’s getting ahead of ourselves though, here is the week 2 stock report.

Stock Up

Middlebury Head Coach Bob Ritter and Offensive Coordinator Joe Early- What everyone wanted to know coming into the season was whether Middlebury had a starting QB that would be able to keep the Panthers in the upper echelon. Matt Milano ’16 has answered those questions, winning NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading Middlebury to a decisive 27-7 victory at Colby. Milano deserves a ton of credit, but the Middlebury coaches also are worthy of notice. Head Coach Bob Ritter, who is also the QB coach, has done a masterful job building Middlebury into what it is today. In a league still very run heavy, Middlebury has carved out its own identity in airing the ball out. There is more balance this year as Middlebury ran the ball 49 times Saturday, yet the passing game is where the Panthers shine. Joe Early, now in his sixth season as the offensive coordinator, has done a fantastic job with every Middlebury QB he has coached, and Milano is merely the latest in line. After winning the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012, Early could be in line for a head coaching job somewhere soon.

Safety Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn ’16 (Amherst)- Some players are not able to be properly appreciated until you see them in person, and Fairfield-Sonn fits that description. He lacks the size you want in a safety at only 5’10” and 175 pounds, but he more than makes up for it with his speed and instincts. After not playing in week one, Fairfield-Sonn was all over the field making nine tackles (seven solo) and a fumble recovery at the end of the first half that kept Bowdoin from scoring and making it a one score game. All day he was able to come flying up into the box and delivered big hits on Tyler Grant ’17 and the Bowdoin wide receivers in the flat. The Amherst defense has talented players at all of their positions, and Fairfield-Sonn fits great in the defensive scheme to disrupt opponents rhythm and comfort.

 Running Back Zach Trause ’15 (Tufts)- Like last week, Tufts found a way to win in an unusual way with Trause being the hero this week. After a Mark Riley ’16 touchdown reception put Bates up 24-23, Trause decided that he was going to leave his final Homecoming a winner. He took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to put Tufts back on top. Then a few minutes later he took a punt all the way back to give the Jumbo defense more than enough cushion to work with. Another excited Tufts crowd loved every second of it. This week’s win for Tufts was a much more complete performance. Not many people expected Tufts to win the game, much less pull away and win so comfortably in the end. For Trause and the other Jumbo seniors, the beginning of this season has been validation of everything they have put in over the years.

Stock Down

The Maine Schools- Bowdoin, Colby, and Bates are now a combined 0-6 for the season after they went 11-13 as a group last year. They have been outscored by a total of 130 points in those games. Bowdoin has not looked competitive in either of their games. Colby’s defense has taken a step back despite bringing back nine starters from last year. And while Bates almost pulled the upset on Amherst, the loss to Tufts by 18 points destroyed any of that momentum. The Maine schools have never been forces in the NESCAC, but they look to all be among the bottom of the league right now. The CBB at the end of the season will shape each of their seasons, as it so often does.

Defensive End James Howe ’16 (Williams)- Expecting Howe to replicate last season’s incredible statistics was always a reach because of how team’s would concentrate on him more, but it is safe to say that his first two games have been disappointments. He has eight tackles and one tackle for loss. You can’t argue that the focus on Howe has especially benefited his teammates as Williams hasn’t recorded a single sack yet. Obviously he is only one player and Williams lost 38-0 for a hundred other reasons before Howe’s performance. Some might liken criticism of Howe to that levied against Jadaveon Clowney last year simply because expectations were out of whack before the season began. Williams has to figure out a way for Howe to make an impact every game in order to avoid another drubbing like the one Saturday.

Drama- The average margin of victory in week two was 24.2 points. The top part of the league had no problems with their opponents. The NESCAC has never been known for its parity, and this season has not been any different. The game we expected to be the closest, Williams vs. Trinity turned into a rout with the Bantams flexing their muscles for 60 minutes. Colby not being able to stay close with Middlebury was also a surprise after the Mules hung tight for a half against Trinity. The lone upset this week came from Tufts of course. The rules around recruiting and roster size are supposed to keep every NESCAC team somewhat close to each other in terms of talent, but that has never really been the case.

Weekend Preview: September 27

The biggest change a team can make from week to week comes after week 1 and leading into week 2. Nothing can replicate game speed, and after coaches are able to look back at game tape for the first time and make adjustments, teams can look very different. Consider in week 1 last year Williams got blown out by Colby 31-6. Then a week later Trinity needed two A.J. Jones ’14 touchdown receptions in the fourth quarter to keep the Ephs from ending the Trinity home winning streak. More on the Williams-Trinity matchup later.

The overarching story line to watch this week is how teams perform on the road. In our opinion, only one team (Wesleyan at home against Hamilton) can be considered the favorite at home. The last time four road teams won in one weekend was actually this same week two years ago with the exact same slate of games. A home underdog springing an upset would mean a disturbance in the early season hierarchy, even if it is a momentary blip.

Three to Watch

1. Quarterback Austin Lommen ’16 (Williams)- I know that we focus a lot on Lommen and Williams prospects for improvement, but this is the week that we really learn how far Lommen can take the Ephs. Last week he was able to lean on a great defensive effort and running attack against Bowdoin. He was efficient going 18-27  for 184 yards and one touchdown. Still Trinity will make him do a lot more in order to beat them. They have the strength to slow down running back Alex Scyorcurka ’14 enough to make Lommen have to make throws. It is clear that Lommen has great chemistry with his high school teammate Steven Kiesel. He will need to find the open receiver as Kiesel will likely face tight coverage from either Mike Mancini ’15 or Brian Dones ’17.

2. Linebacker Addison Pierce ’17 (Middlebury)- The Panther defense rose to the occasion last week especially in the run game, and Pierce was a player who had a breakout game. He played a lot freshman year finishing fifth on the team in tackles, but last week was special. He totaled ten tackles including three and a half TFLs (tackles for loss), equal to his total TFLs for all of 2013. The Panthers got penetration into the backfield all day from their linebackers stopping Kyle Gibson and co. before they could get momentum. This week is another interesting matchup for the Midd defense against a Colby offense that actually ran the ball effectively against Trinity.

3. Running back Ivan Reese ’17 (Bates)- Last week Amherst shut down the inside running game for Bates holding Reese to only 19 yards on 10 carries. In fairness, Amherst was perfectly designed to shut down the interior given all the talent up front on defense. 19 yards should be by far the least amount of yards that Reese gets in any game. The interior of the Tufts defense should not present the same problems Amherst did so look for Reese to be fed the ball early and often in the home opener for Bates. The offense needs to improve on their execution from week one in order not to waste another great performance from the defense.

Austin Lommen '16 in action against Bowdoin (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)
Austin Lommen ’16 in action against Bowdoin (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

The Picks

Game of the Week- Trinity (1-0) at Williams (1-0)

Williams fans are riding high after opening their new field with a thumping of Bowdoin. A victory this week would put them into a tizzy. The Bantams are feeling pretty good themselves after taking it to Colby in the second half to run away with the win. Our writers Sean Meekins ’15 and Carson Kenney ’15, both Trinity students, put Williams above Trinity in their power rankings. Maybe it was just a psychological play to fire up the Bantams, but the point remains that after week one, this matchup got a little more interesting.

As we mentioned above, Williams almost shocked Trinity in Hartford last year. The stats tell us this was not the result of any fluke luck. The teams had essentially the same amount of yards, first downs, yards per play, and penalties. The difference was Williams’ four turnovers to Trinity’s one. The play of the game came when Brian Dones ’17 picked off Tom Murphy ’15 in the final minute to set up the winning touchdown for Trinity.

Lommen has to avoid making those type of mistakes for Williams to win. Williams will make a strong commitment to running the ball especially given how Carl Lipani ’17 was able to run for 133 yards last week. Some of Williams biggest plays in week one came on screens and draws where they were able to give Scyocurka and Jean Luc Etienne ’15 space to work with. The experienced Trinity linebackers will likely snuff that type of play out meaning the Ephs will have to manufacture big plays down the field.

On the other side of the ball the decisive matchup is between the Trinity offensive line and the Williams defensive front seven. James Howe ’16 will need to get help from his cohorts which might not include defensive tackle Adam Datema ’15 this week. Chudi Iregbulem ’15 and company enjoyed success mainly in the second half after wearing down Colby because Trinity held the ball for 37 minutes. The Williams defense has to make sure Trinity does not get into a rhythm running the ball. These are two teams similar in ethos that have seen every game between them since 2006 decided by eight points or less.

Prediction: Trinity 22 over Williams 17

Middlebury (0-1) at Colby (0-1)- These are two teams both coming off tough losses that look very comparable. The Mules were feeling good at halftime against Trinity down only a safety and getting the ball to start the second half. Then things fell apart pretty quickly and Colby ended up losing 32-7. Middlebury had a chance to tie Wesleyan at the end of regulation before a near blocked punt turned into a game ending roughing the kicker penalty. Colby has to do a better job of not letting up the big play, whether that’s on offense or defense. How the Colby secondary plays against a Middlebury offense that outgained Wesleyan last week will be the difference.

Prediction: Middlebury 31 over Colby 23

Amherst (1-0) at Bowdoin (0-1)- Quick disclaimer/heads up: I am doing the color commentary for this game on the Bowdoin webcast through NSN. Bowdoin could take few positives away from the game against Williams. Expect them to open things up more on offense to keep Amherst off balance because running against the Jeffs is very difficult. Amherst has to cut down on the turnovers that helped Bates almost beat them last week. Keeping Alex Berluti ’17 in the pocket is a must for the Polar Bears. If he escapes and makes one player miss, he can easily rip off a 30 yard run. Bowdoin always seems to play Amherst tough especially in the first half, but it will be tough for them to make enough plays to win.

Prediction: Amherst 20 over Bowdoin 6

Bates (0-1) at Tufts (1-0)- The Jumbos were able to celebrate their first win in four years last weekend, and it will be interesting to see how the team plays this week. Preparation against Bates is crucial, and if Tufts spent too long in the glow of their victory they will be in trouble tomorrow. The Bates running game should get more traction this week than it did against Amherst.  This is a must win game for Bates to gain momentum before they face Williams and Wesleyan at home in back to back weeks. Expect the Bobcat defense to really clamp down and frustrate the Tufts offense.

Prediction: Bates 23 over Tufts 13

Hamilton (0-1) at Wesleyan (1-0)- The Cardinals blitzkrieged their first four opponents in 2013, and Hamilton was no exception. This game was over last year after the first drive of the third quarter when LaDarius Drew broke off a 76 yard touchdown run to put Wesleyan up 28-0. It is still unclear if Drew will play this week after missing last week due to injury. Chase Rosenberg ’17 will put the ball in the air a lot again this week for the Continentals, but expect the Wesleyan defense to pick a couple of those passes off.

Prediction: Wesleyan 31 over Hamilton 10

Last week: 5-0

Season: 5-0

Week One Power Rankings

After one week of football we decided to rank every NESCAC team based solely on their performance from last week. Preseason expectations were not included in our calculations so don’t get upset if you find these rankings surprising.

1. Williams- There is no shock here if the rankings are based only last week. They blew out Bowdoin 36-0 looking absolutely dominant. Granted Bowdoin is probably one of the weaker teams in the league, but you cannot overlook such a lop-sided performance last Saturday. Williams defense looked in complete control holding Bowdoin to 220 yards of total offense, while forcing three turnovers and scoring a defensive touchdown.

2. Trinity- If football games were only played for one half, Trinity might be dropped to fourth, but the Bantams looked “vintage” Trinity in the second half. They controlled both sides of the ball. They ran Colby into the ground with 289 rushing yards, while the defense put constant pressure on Colby’s line sacking the quarterback three times, one of which leading to a defensive touchdown.

3. Wesleyan- Wesleyan probably had the toughest opponent, Middlebury, of the top four teams yet they did not put a dominant performance forward like Williams and Trinity. Middlebury outplayed Wesleyan on the offense side of the ball, but the Wesleyan defense managed to intercept two passes, and ran one back for a touchdown. Wesleyan was also the most disciplined team only committing three penalties for 45 yards. Wesleyan will move up in the power rankings if they can maintain a mistake free approach.

4. Amherst- Amherst surprisingly finds themselves 4th in the power rankings. They squeaked out a win against Bates, but by no means did they look good. They threw away two interceptions and lost two of their five fumbles. Amherst looks to get on track and avoid turnovers against Bowdoin this weekend.

5. Middlebury- They are not the same team they were last year; they lost a ton of players yet a lot of talent still remains. Mistakes killed Middlebury in a battle against Wesleyan. New QB Matt Milano ’16 aired the ball out for 204 yards butthrew two significant interceptions that, in a low scoring game, were very costly.

6. Bates- Bates lost to an Amherst team that looked shaky all game. In a turnover laden game, Bates contributed three interceptions and only threw for 113 yards. Not a recipe for success. Bates had good field position for the majority of the game and was only able to muster 6 points. Bates heads to Tufts next week to face a Jumbo team that also struggled against a sub par Hamilton team.

7. Colby- The Mules played a close first half against Trinity before the Bants pulled away and dominated the second half. Colby gave up a whopping 455 yards against Trinity, 289 on the ground, by far the most in week one. If Colby wants to turn things around against Middlebury , they have to play defense like they did in the first half in week one.

8. Tufts- Tufts beat a Hamilton team by 7 who will most likely finish in the bottom 2 of the NESCAC. Tufts also threw for 113 yards which was good for last in the conference and earned only 12 first downs. Their matchup against Colby should be interesting to see which of the two teams takes charge and plays better.

9. Hamilton- The Continentals lost 24-17 to Tufts despite outgaining the Jumbos by 199 yards. They will have to find ways to correct all the mistakes made in week one (or sign Voodoo Tatum) if they want to get to .500 this year.

10. Bowdoin- Bowdoin got shut out in a bad way to start the season and there isn’t much reason to believe things will get much better. The Bears pushed across only 11 first downs and managed only 212 total yards. Bowdoin will play Amherst next week and hope not to become a practice game for the Lord Jeffs.

When a Jaw Breaks-Donnie Cimino ’15 Fights Back from Summer Injury

Saturday marked the official beginning of the journey that is the NESCAC football season. For many players who will graduate this spring, this journey is bittersweet, as its inevitable ending will deprive them the game of football. Wesleyan star defensive back Donnie Cimino ’15 began his final football journey in exciting fashion. He helped seal the Cardinals first victory with a 55 yard punt return that set up a short field goal while also registering four tackles.

Saturday was also the culmination of another journey. One that Cimino unexpectedly had to take this summer; one that began months ago in the beauty of a New England evening.

After starting the season playing for the Chatham Anglers, Cimino moved along with Wesleyan teammate Guy Davidson ’16 to the Nashua Silver Knights in the Futures League. On June 29, Cimino was leading off for the Silver Knights when he squared to bunt. His face was completely exposed as he had no time to react to the fastball that came and hit him right in the jaw. Summer teammate Cam DiSarcina says Cimino took the pitch unbelievably. “”He went down for a little bit and everyone was just shocked. He started walking back to the dugout by himself and there was a little bit of blood in his mouth and his face looked swollen. He said, “my jaw is broken”, without showing any pain and sat on the bench.”

That very night Cimino learned that he would need surgery to fix two breaks in his jaw, and that the recovery would mean having his mouth wired almost completely shut for six weeks. After the injury, a dreamy summer playing baseball was over. Cimino would have to return to New Jersey and recover at home.

Donnie Cimino ’15 takes a hack for Wesleyan

His surgery the very next day on June 30 went as planned, but the rough reality of the new situation set in even before he got home. Cimino’s mother, Sisi Cimino, was in the car with Donnie and her husband. “On our way home from the surgery, he began to hyperventilate, I thought we were going to have to take him back to the ER. Thankfully, my husband was able to calm him down for the moment, but not being able to open his mouth for the next six weeks seemed impossible.”

The first week after surgery was rough. The immediate injuries of the pitch still caused Cimino a lot of pain. “My face was really swollen and I had a hematoma (occurs when clotted blood swells up) underneath my tongue which was painful. I struggled to eat and lost 20 pounds that first week from not eating and all the medication I was taking. My mom and sister were taking care of me that whole first week, I don’t think i would have gotten through it without them.” Being home gave Cimino a support group that he could rely on every day.

Having his mouth wired shut meant that he would not be able to eat any solid food until the wires could be removed. For any person this presents a challenge, but Cimino would need much more than the normal person requires in order to keep on muscle going into football season. This meant finding a food that had the protein needed without having to be chewed. The answer lay in beans. Every type of beans imaginable from red to black to white to lentils. Cimino himself estimates that he had beans or soup five times a day while the wire was in.

Things started to get better as the weeks went by. Though there were still days when he got down or upset about having to stay in his house, his family helped him get through it. Because he had difficulty talking through the wire, he didn’t leave his house very often in order to avoid awkward situations. When he did it often lead to conversations like this:

One of the few things that Cimino was still able to do without people looking at him too funny was run and train for football. Because he has always been a two sport athlete, most of his summers were spent playing baseball and then using the last few weeks of summer to turn around and get ready for football. Since he couldn’t do much else, Cimino was not going to let a little wire get in the way of training. He worked out and ran three times a week with high school friends while also throwing at times during the week. Working out became a welcome diversion. “Training was pretty much the only way for me to get out of the house and not feel uncomfortable so I looked forward to it.” He began to put weight back on slowly but surely.

Through all of his hard work and the herculean efforts of his mother to keep him somehow interested in the food he was eating, he lost only ten pounds because of the injury. And he put that weight right back on soon after he was able to eat solid food for the first time in six weeks. Though the experience was a difficult one that robbed him of summer baseball and six weeks of eating food, Cimino says he feels stronger mentally from it.

Cimino (#11) makes a play in space
Cimino (#11) makes a play in space

He returned to school in late August for football season excited about starting his final season. And he barely missed a beat because of the injury. After one week of non-contact he was back at full speed in practice. Besides a little soreness he hasn’t had any problem with the jaw.

On Saturday, Cimino will take the field against Hamilton in Wesleyan’s home opener. Only three more home games will remain after Saturday. Cimino knows his parents will be watching him, proud of how he overcame everything this summer. Being able to get back to playing the game he loves was only possible because of them, and the memories of this summer will help drive him this fall.

Wednesday Links

The last few years have seen schools improve in leaps and bounds in terms of providing highlights and content on their websites. The biggest difference is of course Northeast Sports Net which provides quality webcasts and commentators for not only football but a lot of other sports as well. Because NSN has the tapes of games in storage, school are able to use them for more highlight packages. These help make the game come alive for alumni and parents unable to attend games in person. Also schools now publish much of the information you would normally find in a game program online a few days beforehand. Below are highlights of games and some weekend previews.


Interesting to hear at the end of the video Coach EJ Mills reference not managing the end of the game. We think that refers to Nick Kelly ’17 scoring a touchdown instead of going down at the one yard line with about a minute left.

In addition, the Amherst website had a great article on Amherst lineman Max Lehrman ’15, Scott Mergner ’15, and Jonathan Woodrow ’15 that you can find here.

Bates- Preview of this weekend’s game against Tufts.

Hamilton- If you haven’t checked out Hamilton’s new football fan site, here is the link

Middlebury- Local Vermont TV station WPTZ has highlights of the Middlebury-Wesleyan game.

Tufts- Highlights of the streak busting win are on the Tufts website.

Trinity- Trinity has a preview of this weekend’s showdown against Williams.

Williams- Williams highlights from their opening win against Bowdoin. Then they have their own preview of the game with Trinity.

Stock Report – September 22


Just as we did for baseball, every Monday we will look back at the weekend by examining some of the players, units, and coaches that stuck out. Week 1 featured an escape by the Jeffs at home, a successful opening of a new stadium in Williamstown, and a triumph for Tufts.

Stock Up

Williams Secondary- In the preseason the defensive line got most of the love for Williams, but the secondary was the star in week 1. Four of the five top tacklers for the Ephs were defensive backs. That includes Tom Cabarle ’15 and Jack Ryan ’16 accounting for all three tackles for loss. To cap it off, top corner Taysean Scott ’17 returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown. The Bowdoin passing offense struggled for the first three quarters to find receivers open downfield before moving the ball after Williams went into near prevent defense. Trinity represents a different animal in terms of offensive attack next week for Williams, but if the Ephs can count on their secondary being sure handed in their tackling, that will go a long way in slowing down the big play ability of the Trinity run offense.

Trinity Offensive Line – Colby held tight for a while before the Bantams turned the burners on to extend the home winning streak to 52. In total Trinity ran for 289 yards against the best run defense from 2013. Coach Jeff Devanney turned to his line for the first drive of the second half. The Bantams ran the ball on 11 of the 12 plays of the drive including the first 10. Chudi Iregbulem’s ’15 touchdown made the score 22-7 to essentially put the game away. From left to right the Bantam line goes Matt Porter ’16 6’2″ 285 lbs, Jake Golden ’15 6’1″ 290 lbs, Joe Magardino 6’2″ 275 lbs, Connor Flynn ’15 6’3″ 280 lbs, and Will Lynner ’16 6’2″ 270 lbs. Then throw in tight end Brendan Oliver at 6’3″ 235 lbs for good measure. At this point in the season, this is the best positional unit on either offense or defense in the entire NESCAC. Switch the Trinity offensive line onto any other NESCAC school and that school would go at least 4-4.

Tufts – Saturday’s win over Hamilton was the first victory for every single player on the Tufts roster as a member of the Jumbos. The atmosphere in Medford was one of jubilation. Have to give credit not only to the team and coaches but also the crowd. There was a feeling that the streak was coming to an end soon, and students turned out in force to watch their team. Corner Mike Stearns ’17 was the star on a defense that bended but didn’t break. The sophomore had an incredible 16 solo tackles to earn Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Also important in the victory was Mike Rando ’17 who finished with 188 all-purpose yards. Tufts has a lot of work to do in order to keep improving given they had only 12 first downs to Hamilton’s 23.

Stock Down

Quarterbacks – As a group, NESCAC QBs threw for 10 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a 58.4 completion percentage. Two interceptions were returned for touchdowns and Colby’s Gabe Harrington’s ’17 fumble led to a Trinity defensive touchdown. Defenses being ahead of offenses is not unusual in Week 1. Coaches are also usually more conservative as they try to feel out exactly how comfortable their quarterback is. Still, several signs point to passing being down around the NESCAC all year. The first is the obvious drop off Middlebury will see with Matt Milano ’16 now at QB. Milano actually threw for the second most yards in week one but had two interceptions including a crucial one to Justin Sanchez ’17. Both Trinity’s Henry Foye ’15 and Jesse Warren ’15 will not be asked to make many throws because of the strength of their running games. The surprising start of Alex Berluti ’17 for Amherst could also mean less passing for the Jeffs because of Berluti’s running ability.

Wesleyan’s Invincibility – Given all of the starters returning from last season, some expected the 2014 season to be one big victory lap for the Cardinals. That looks silly now after they escaped from Middlebury with an eight point victory. Sure they were playing without running back LaDarius Drew ’15, but that is no reason for only averaging 1.7 yards per carry. If not for a Middlebury roughing the kicker penalty, the Panthers would have gotten the ball back with a chance to tie with just under two minutes left. Maybe Middlebury will not take any steps back this season or Wesleyan simply came out flat in the first game. Luckily the Cardinals should not be challenged at home next weekend by Hamilton but they then face three difficult games. The defense really carried the Cardinals to the victory with Justin Sanchez’ ’17 TAINT (touchdown after interception) and Donnie Cimino’s ’15 punt return bailing out the offense.

Gutsy Decisions – The most exciting game of the weekend swung on a single play with Bates electing to go for two and the win at Amherst. While the gamble by Coach Mark Harriman did not work out, the decision to go for it was definitely the right one. Like we predicted, the game was extremely low scoring with Bates averaging only 2.9 yards per play. Forgetting for now everything that followed afterward, at the moment Bates had jumped on a huge miscue from a Gene Garay ’15 fumble to score their touchdown. An offense that had struggled all game suddenly could win the game in a situation perfectly built for their scheme. Though he missed a kick earlier in the game, the ability of Amherst kicker Phillip Nwosu ’15 probably also played into Harriman’s thinking. In overtime that kicking advantage could easily have been the difference for the Jeffs. As the underdog on the road, Harriman was completely right to take the gamble and play the odds. The only possible problem was the play call. Instead of relying on some variation of the triple option, Matt Cannone ’16 dropped back for a pass hoping to catch the Jeffs by surprise. Our guess is Harriman thought he saw something in the Amherst defense that could be exploited on that play, but it just did not work out.


Fantasy Report – Week 1

Week 1 of the NESCAC football season is in the books. There will be plenty of “real” news and analysis coming later on in the week, but let’s kick Monday off with what everyone really cares about. Fantasy football.


The Bantams (Meekins) vs. Foye Story (MacDonald)


Meekins’ two controversial early picks of “back up” running backs looked pretty good this week. Kyle Gibson wasn’t spectacular, but Nick Kelly broke away for a 42-yard TD on his way to 77 yards over nine carries, and both was his team’s leading rusher on the day. Wesleyan and Meekins got pretty much what is to be expected from Jesse Warren, who posted 20 points by throwing for 163 yards and two TD’s, and Gene Garay made good on his first round status, outscoring all other wide receivers in play besides Jay Fabien (Team Lindholm).

However, Foye Story edged The Bantams, ironically, on the strength of Chudi Iregbulem’s NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week-winning performance. Well over half of my points came from Iregbulem and Alex Scyocurka, and I’m excited for both of their potential this season. The bad news: I started the wrong Hamilton tailback (Rico Gonzalez over Jeff Hopsicker) and Middlebury wide receiver (Matt Minno over Grant Luna), but a win’s a win.

Alex Scyocurka tore up the Bowdoin defense for 128 yards and two TD's.
Alex Scyocurka tore up the Bowdoin defense for 128 yards and two TD’s.
The Bantams (Meekins) Foye Story (MacDonald)
Position Player Points Player Points
QB J. Warren 20 H. Foye 6
QB M. Caputi 5 G. Harrington 10
RB K. Gibson 6 A. Scyocurka 24
RB J. Rivers 2 C. Iregbulem 32
RB N. Kelly 8 I. Reese 1
WR G. Garay 11 M. Minno 2
WR I. Dugger 4 G. Lanzillo 0
WR C. Ragone 7 N. Joseph 10
TE B. Oliver 0 B. Harasimowicz 1
FLEX D. Von Euw 0 R. Gonzalez 0
FLEX D. Sime 2 S. Carroll 2
K P. Nwosu 1 J. Mallock 3
D/ST Trinity 16 Colby -2
TOTAL 82 89

Team Lindholm vs. Lord of the ‘CAC – The Fellowship

How ’bout those Ephs?! The Williams defense carried Team Lindholm, scoring more than everyone else in the matchup besides Panthers QB Matt Milano. Pretty amazing that Lindholm pulled off the victory despite four goose eggs on the board. Two of those are pretty glaring, as Lindholm (and the rest of us) assumed that Max Lippe and Ryan Hislop would be starting for their respective squads, but it looks like both could be looking at reserve duty unless injury or bad performance strikes. Kenny Adinkra, too, will need to step up his play after Kelly’s breakout day.

As for Team Lamont, he should be encouraged by a solid showing from Austin Lommen in his first NESCAC game, and Carl Lipani looked great in Colby’s season opener. Other than that though, Lamont got a lot of mediocre performances. The Wesleyan D/ST was good not great, and unfortunately Mike Rando didn’t accrue any points for his return duties, causing Team Lamont to pull up just short.

Matt Cannone, downed at the two here, and the triple option had little success against the Amherst defense.
Matt Cannone, downed at the two here, and the triple option had little success against the Amherst defense.
Team Lindholm Lord of the ‘CAC – The Fellowship
Position Player Points Player Points
QB M. Lippe 0 M. Cannone 10
QB M. Milano 21 A. Lommen 15
RB K. Adinkra 2 L. Drew 0
RB R. Hislop 0 T. Grant 4
RB J. Semonella 1 C. Lipani 13
WR H. Murphy 0 B. Ragone 5
WR J. Hurwitz 0 E. Drigotas 0
WR J. Fabien 14 L. Duncklee 1
TE J. Day 10 A. Way 2
FLEX M. Budness 1 D. Barone 4
FLEX Z. Trause 16 M. Rando 5
K M. Dola 2 L. Schweepers 0
D/ST Williams 19 Wesleyan 13
TOTAL 86 72

The Weekend Preview: Time For a Little Football

new weston

We have waited a long long time for this. The NESCAC football season kicks off officially at 1 PM tomorrow. To get you ready, we take inspiration from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield who famously talked about the differences between known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. We will switch around the format a little in order to also include things  we think to be known. If that didn’t make any sense to you… don’t worry about it.

Things We Know We Know

  • LaDarius Drew ’15 and Kyle Gibson ’15 will get a lot of carries- Coach Mike Whalen has successfully built Wesleyan into a powerhouse behind a strong running attack. QB Jesse Warren ’15 will not be asked to win the game against Middlebury. Drew and Gibson will have success against a front seven that was used to playing with the lead for most of last season.
  • Williams has some nice new digs- If you haven’t seen them yet, Williams gives you a sneak peek here. The opening also coincides with Williams finishing a new library. Whether students actually went to school there the last two years or the campus was merely a construction site is still a matter of debate amongst scholars
  • A streak will end- Either Hamilton or Tufts will get the monkey off their back in week 1. More pressure is on Tufts as the Jumbos carry a 31 game losing streak into the weekend.

Things We Think We Know

  • Amherst can slow down the triple option- For football tacticians, the Amherst-Bates game features a veteran interior line for Bates going up against a great front seven in Amherst. The Jeffs have the strength in Robert Perdoni ’16 and speed in guys like Tyler Mordas ’16 to make Bates struggle.
  • Austin Lommen ’16 will give the Williams offense a new look- A team that mostly relied on running the ball with Alex Scyorcurka ’14 and Marco Hernandez ’14 gets a shot of life with Lommen distributing the ball. Suddenly big play opportunities could abound for the Ephs given their size at receiver and tight end.

Things We Know We Don’t Know

  • The total impact of Mac Foote ’14- By this I don’t just mean the effect Foote’s arm had on the offense but also the D. Teams had to adjust their game against the Panthers because of him. They would often be conservative early in the game to try to give their defense a rest before being forced to throw the ball a lot in late game situations. Think of how the Colts defense suddenly looked helpless once Peyton Manning got hurt.
  • Mental Preparation of teams- Every coach says they like how their team has been playing in preseason. Yet we don’t know how ready every team is for their first game until they get out onto the field. A slow start in the first game of the season can lead to week 1 upsets.

Football action shot

The Picks

Colby at Trinity: Trinity 27-Colby 16

Play this game in three weeks in Waterville, and the Mules could pull the upset, but Trinity takes every home game seriously because of the streak. Expect Gabe Harrington to move the ball up and down the field, but the Trinity defense will tighten up in the red zone. A late Trinity rushing touchdown against a tired Colby team should seal it.

Wesleyan at Middlebury: Wesleyan 34-Middlebury 21

There is simply too much talent back on the Wesleyan sideline for the Panthers to compete for four whole quarters. We were robbed of this game last season, but this edition will lack drama. Expect the different in philosophies between the two teams to be clear as Wesleyan controls the line of scrimmage while Middlebury is forced to air it out. The entire Wesleyan secondary is licking their chops at the opportunity of playing a first time starting QB.

Bowdoin at Williams: Williams 23-Bowdoin 13

Williams will come out fired up to get a victory in their first game at the new field. Both defenses might take a little time to settle down. The key for Bowdoin is finding a way to slow down the defensive line of Williams. QB Mac Caputi ’15 will try to get the ball out early to avoid the rush. In the end Williams will find a way to attack a Bowdoin secondary that does not have the height to stop Darrias Sime’16 all game.

Bates at Amherst: Amherst 17- Bates 10

Amherst will leave this game with more questions on offense than they had going in. The game is going to be a slog for most of the time. Max Lippe ’15 is already at risk of losing his spot to one of the talented young guns, and Alex Berluti ’17 will see time at some point in the game. The good thing is the Amherst defense will pick up the slack and shut down Bates. The Jeffs will escape but not without a scare.

Hamilton at Tufts: Tufts 35- Hamilton 31

I think this will be the most entertaining game to watch. Both defenses will struggle to get off the field on third down. The difference will be which QB, Jack Doll ’15 or Chase Rosenberg ’17, makes fewer mistakes. The streak will end at 31 and the Jumbos will celebrate.

The Fantasy Comes to Life

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2014 NESCAC Fantasy Football League. With the season just a day away, we decided  just watching the games wouldn’t be enough. Like the multitudes of men and women in NFL fantasy leagues across the country, for the duration of the season our weeks will be defined by our fantasy squad’s performance.


2 QB
3 RB
3 WR
1 TE
1 D/ST
1 K

Our scoring scheme is essentially the same as an ESPN standard league, so in the interest of saving time and space I won’t put down every point total here.
The only difference is in the points we award for passing. In ESPN standard leagues, QB’s receive one point for every 25 passing yards and four points for a TD pass. However, the NFL is much more pass happy than the NESCAC. Over the last three years, from 2011-2013, there have been 316 passing touchdowns and 306 rushing touchdowns in the NESCAC, and 45,452 passing yards compared to 34,181 rushing yards. So, we decided to award six points for touchdowns of any kind (passing, rushing or receiving), and one point for every 20 passing yards as opposed to 25. Running backs and receivers earn one point for every 10 yards on the ground or through the air.
One other miscellaneous note: individual players do not receive points for kick returns. For example, Darrien Myers ’17 is one of the league’s best return men, but if he runs a kickoff back for a touchdown he will accrue no points, while the Trinity D/ST will receive six.

We will be competing in weekly head-to-head matchups. There are four teams, so each team will play each other team twice over the first six weeks. Weeks 7 and 8 will serve as a single-elimination playoff. The top seed will play the fourth seed, the second will play the third, and the winners of the Week 7 matchups will compete for the title.
First tie-breaker: Head-to-head record
Second tie-breaker: Most points in head-to-head matchups
Playoff tie-breaker: QB points
Second playoff tie-breaker: RB points
Third playoff tie-breaker: WR points

Player Acquisitions:
Trades are fair game through the first six weeks. After games begin in Week 6 no more trades will be allowed.
Waiver requests must be submitted by Tuesday night. The last team in the standings will get the first chance to acquire any free agent, followed by the second-worst team, the second-best team and finally the first place team. There is no limit to player acquisitions, so if the last-place team places two waiver claims and the second priority is still available after each team has a chance to claim players, then the last-place team will be allowed to acquire that player.

The Draft:
Finally, here’s how the draft shook out, with some analysis from the participants.

Round 1
Sean Meekins: WR Gene Garay (Amherst)
Peter Lindholm: QB Max Lippe (Amherst)
Adam Lamont: RB LaDarius Drew (Wesleyan)
Joe MacDonald: WR Matt Minno (Middlebury)

JM: Aware of the dependency of NESCAC offenses on the run game (3,158 rushes compared to 2,579 pass attempts in 2013), and the lack of elite receiving options, Sean led us off with one of the few top returning receivers with an experienced quarterback throwing to him. I think that move inspired Pete to some effect, and I completely understand Adam going for the top running back out of the gate. For my part, despite the desire of head coach Bob Ritter to run the ball more this season and the lack of experience for expected starter Matt Milano, I think Minno only gets better and as we will see in later rounds I have confidence that the Middlebury offense will keep rolling.

Round 2
JM: RB Alex Scyocurka (Williams)
AL: QB Matt Cannone (Bates)
PL: RB/TE Mike Budness (Trinity)
SM: WR Chris Ragone (Trinity)

PL: Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I thought Mike Budness was a running back when I made this pick. So when Joe told me that he was more a fullback/wingback/hybrid, I was naturally a little concerned. After some seriously frantic googling, I now feel a deep connection to Mike Budness. He is not a fantasy player; he’s a football player, and although his stats maybe don’t deserve a second round pick, he should be great for Team Lindholm’s chemistry. And we all know that team chemistry is what wins fantasy football gold. There were other bold picks in this round, including Adam’s pick of Bates QB Matt Cannone, the leading passer on a team that runs more than the broken faucet on the fourth floor of Coffrin (seriously though, it’s been two weeks.) Anyway, long story short, rough start for the Lindholms.

AL: I am a believer in Cannone. Think he will put up big stats as a dual threat guy

JM: I might regret going with Scyocurka over Cannone, but I wanted to make sure I got a feature back, and Scyocurka will almost definitely lead the league in carries if he remains healthy all year long.

Round 3
SM: QB Jesse Warren (Wesleyan)
PL: RB Kenny Adinkra (Amherst)
AL: WR Luke Duncklee (Colby)
JM: RB Chudi Iregbulem (Trinity)

AL: Duncklee’s production might dip a little bit with the change at quarterback, but he should still be one of the league’s best receivers.

JM: I know Iregbulem only carried the ball 19 times last year to Jacob Rivers’ 12, but it appears that Iregbulem won the starting job and with the run-heavy offense down there in Hartford I’m pretty confident that he can return third-round value or better. Oh by the way, he averaged 7.2 yards per carry last season

Round 4
JM: QB Gabe Harrington (Colby)
AL: RB Tyler Grant (Bowdoin)
PL: WR Josh Hurwitz (Wesleyan)
SM: RB Kyle Gibson (Wesleyan

Round 5
SM: RB Jacob Rivers (Trinity)
PL: TE Jonathan Day (Wesleyan)
AL: RB Carl Lipani (Colby)
JM: RB Ivan Reese (Bates)

SM: With these two picks, I took Kyle Gibson (Wesleyan) and Jacob Rivers (Trinity). These were controversial picks because both are considered the back up running backs on their respective teams. However, the NESCAC is a running back dominant league and both have very strong offenses. With this being true both are going to get many carries throughout the year. They should get just as many carries as the starting running backs from the bottom teams in the league. Trinity’s Ben Crick thrived behind Evan Bunker, and I feel Rivers can break out and have similar success.

JM: I feel like I got another great value in Reese in the fifth round. He replaces the graduated Ryan Curit in the fullback position in Bates’ triple option. Curit had the fourth-most rushing attempts in 2013, so hopefully Reese can match that total. He also ran for over 100 yards in his only start of 2013.

AL: Bowdoin wants to run the ball more this year and Grant is the only running back returning with experience. As for Lipani, he will get the ball more without Ciero running around, but the question remains whether he can make a substantial leap in carries from the 52 he had last season.

Round 6
JM: TE Brett Harasimowicz (Middlebury)
AL: WR Brian Ragone (Amherst)
PL: RB Ryan Hislop (Middlebury)
SM: Trinity D/ST

AL: No reason to think that both Ragones can’t have productive seasons.

JM: I probably could have waited on Harasimowicz here seeing as the general response was, “Who’s that?” But I’ve watched first hand over the past two seasons as Billy Chapman and Billy Sadik-Khan earned All-NESCAC honors as tight ends in the Middlebury scheme. Of course, there will be fewer passes to spread around with Mac Foote gone, but I think the string of success for Middlebury tight ends continues, and Harasimowicz’s main competition for playing time, junior Trevor Miletich, has been nagged by injury in the preseason.

Round 7
SM: WR Ian Dugger (Trinity)
PL: Amherst D/ST
AL: QB Austin Lommen (Williams)
JM: WR Brendan Rankowitz (Middlebury)

AL: I felt that I needed to grab another QB and I’ve liked everything that I’ve heard about Lommen so far.

JM: Yup, that’s my third Middlebury target in seven rounds. Am I a bit of a homer? Maybe. But four Middlebury receivers were in the top-11 in yards last season, and even if Rank or Harasimowicz are the third or fourth option they will put up bigger numbers than the top options on other offenses. And I think QB Matt Milano will surprise a lot of people around the NESCAC this year. By the way, check out Round 12. Figured I might as well get every reception for the Panthers.

Round 8
JM: QB Henry Foye (Trinity)
AL: WR Ethan Drigotas (Bowdoin)
PL: RB Zach Trause (Tufts)
SM: Phillip Nwosu (Amherst)

SM: A very bold pick in the 8th round, but kickers are extremely important in the NESCAC. That is why I went with Phillip Nwosu. He is a very consistent kicker, something that is not guaranteed in the NESCAC. Adam named him Amherst MVP, so I felt it would be smart to take a consistent kicker on a team who is going to score a lot of points this year.

AL: Drigotas might not grab a lot of TD’s but he should see an uptick in production.

JM: I didn’t feel like there were any great fantasy quarterbacks to be had, though I expect someone to emerge. I went with Foye hoping that he can be solid and won’t hurt me. He should have a strong running game helping him out as well, so if he can not turn the ball over and rack up some TD’s I’ll be happy. And his numbers were good last year in limited time, though I’m worried that if the coaching staff benched him once they might do it again.

Round 9
SM: TE Brendan Oliver (Trinity)
PL: WR Harrison Murphy (Bates)
AL: Wesleyan D/ST
JM: WR Nick Joseph (Colby)

AL: The Amherst and Trinity defenses were both gone, but Wesleyan could have the best D/ST by season’s end.

PL: In the NESCAC there are very few top tier players and a huge amount of middle tier guys, so these middle rounds can be crucial in determining the league champion. That said, I really like Meekins’ pick here. He was able to snag a solid tight end in the later rounds, allowing him to focus on grabbing good skill guys earlier in the draft, when they’re still available. Adam grabbed the Wesleyan defense, which is bold because although they won’t give up many points, they also won’t be on the field much because Wesleyan’s offense is so dominant, which will give them less chances to force turnovers. I took Bates WR Harrison Murphy because I was worried about my depth at WR, and because my relatives in Lewiston would have all cut me out of their wills if I didn’t grab a Bates guy, and they’re getting old so it’s time to make some moves.

Round 10
JM: RB Rico Gonzalez (Hamilton)
AL: TE Alex Way (Williams)
PL: K Zach Dola (Middlebury)
SM: WR Darrias Sime (Williams)

JM: In all honesty, I’m not totally confident that Gonzalez will get the lion’s share of carries, so I made this pick with the full intention of handicapping him later on. Unfortunately, the Hamilton running game could be a three-headed monster early on. I’m hoping one of my two Continentals will emerge as the workhorse.

AL: I needed a tight end here and I like the potential production of Way.

Round 11
SM: TE David Von Euw (Colby)
PL: QB Matt Milano (Middlebury)
AL: WR Mike Rando (Tufts)
JM: RB Shaun Carroll (Bates)

AL: Tufts players got overlooked a lot in this draft because the team hasn’t been very good in recent years, but they throw the ball a ton and Rando will be one of their guys out of the slot.

Round 12
JM: WR Grant Luna (Middlebury)
AL: QB Jack Doll (Tufts)
PL: Williams D/ST
SM: QB Spencer Aukamp (Trinity)

AL: Same logic as the previous round, and I needed a good backup QB.

SM: I went with Spencer Aukamp with this pick as insurance. Trinity’s offense changed last season when they went to the freshman Puzzo after a few games. I figured to take a chance on this one because Trinity’s offense likes to mix things up. Aukamp might also get some fourth quarter snaps in which he can prove something if the Bantams are blowing other teams out.

Round 13
SM: RB Gus Ackley (Trinity)
PL: WR Jay Fabien (Wesleyan)
AL: WR Dan Barone (Bowdoin)
JM: WR Greg Lanzillo (Tufts)

PL: I was starting to get a little confused here in the later rounds, but I still didn’t feel good about my receiving depth, so I was psyched to get a Wesleyan receiver so late in Jay Fabien. Their offense should be so powerful that I assume some of the glory will go to Fabien. Like I said earlier, the NESCAC is a league that is relatively thin at the top in fantasy terms, but very deep throughout the middle, so all of the picks in this round should contribute to their teams (both fantasy and real) throughout this season. I particularly like Joe grabbing Lanzillo, who could be poised for a breakout year. I want to give Joe another shout-out for being so focused on the draft despite having to fight off kangaroos with eucalyptus bark during the whole thing down in Australia. An incredible performance, to be sure.

JM: Why was Lanzillo still on the board? He’s the top receiving threat on the league’s second-most pass-happy offense. Come on, guys.

Round 14
JM: WR Steve Kiesel (Williams)
AL: K Louw Scheepers (Colby)
PL: RB James Semmonella (Bates)
SM: WR Darrien Myers (Trinity)

JM: Sort of the same thing here. Kiesel’s teammate, Sime, went four rounds earlier, and they were essentially equal in production in 2013. And I think they should both be even better this year with what should be an upgrade at QB.

AL: I saw Scheepers hit a 45-yarder in a scrimmage so I’m a believer.

Round 15
SM: QB Mac Caputi (Bowdoin)
PL: RB Lashawn Russell-Ware (Hamilton)
AL: WR Pat Donadio (Hamilton)
JM: RB Jeff Hopsicker (Hamilton)

AL: Joe Jensen is gone so Donadio should see a big uptick in production.

JM: I really feel like one of these Hamilton backs will end up the team’s leading rusher. Pete made my decision easy by grabbing the speedy Russell-Ware, so I went with the former safety.

Round 16
JM: Colby D/ST
AL: TE Henry Falter (Amherst)
PL: K Andrew Murowchick (Bowdoin)
SM: WR Jackson McGonagle (Amherst)

AL: To get a guy as talented as Falter this late is a steal in my opinion.

Round 17
SM: RB Nick Kelly (Amherst)
PL: RB Andrew Miller (Middlebury)
AL: WR Mark Riley (Bates)
JM: K Joe Mallock

JM: I stuck to my fantasy strategy of taking defenses and kickers at the end, and I’m totally happy with both of these selections, although in hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have picked up Colby as my starting D/ST in week one, seeing as the trip to Hartford is never fun.

PL: At this point in the draft you could have told me that the remaining names were the cast of the Broadway hit “Newsies” and I would have believed you, but once I got my bearings I was happy with my pick. Having already drafted Middlebury’s prospective starting running back, Ryan Hislop, I decided to go with the other member of that position battle, Andrew Miller. I wanted to be sure that I had the Panthers’ running game locked down, as the quarterback uncertainty in Middlebury signals a greater reliance on the ground game. This was the final round of the draft, and it was a great time. Should be a lot of fun to follow throughout the fall, so stay tuned to Nothing but NESCAC for all the fantasy news. And, you know, some stuff about the real games as well.