– After capturing its first-ever New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division title, Western New England visits UMass Dartmouth in the final game of the regular season at noon Saturday (Nov. 5) in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
The Golden Bears have an 8-1 record and perfect 6-0 division mark following a dramatic 40-37 victory in the snow over previously undefeated Endicott. WNE will host Framingham State in the conference championship contest on November 12.
Western New England still has another matter to take care of and that is preparing for the Corsairs who are 5-4 overall and fourth in Boyd play with a 4-2 mark. UMD posted a 33-7 victory over Curry in its last start after forcing 10 turnovers and has won two of its last three contests. The Corsairs also gave Endicott a tough battle two weeks ago before falling 27-14.
"Our team wants that undefeated Boyd record and we cannot let the weather distractions bother us in our preparations," said Western New England coach Keith Emery
. "UMass Dartmouth had had a nice season and they are talented on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Patrick Orlando is like Bryce Brown and their defense makes a lot of big plays. We need to play well."
Western New England junior Mike Graham
(Norwalk, CT) was the recipient of the weekly Gold Helmet Award for his performance against Endicott. He returned a pair of kickoffs 85 and 83 yards for touchdowns that helped led the Golden Bears to the division title. He also was the NEFC Specials Teams Player-of-the-Week, the ECAC Division III New England Offensive Player-of-the-Week, and made the d3football.com National Team-of-the-Week.
Graham leads the nation (all divisions) with a 43.7 average for 11 returns and has four touchdowns, giving him six for his career.
Western New England is third in this week's New England Division III Poll, its highest ranking ever.
In the latest NEFC stats, senior quarterback Bryce Brown
(Guilford, CT) is third in total offense (196.4 avg.), and sixth in both passing (124.4) and scoring 54 points). Junior free safety Nicholas Silvester
(Weatogue, CT) is tied for third in interceptions (5) while junior Phil Tsopanides
(Fairfield, CT) is fifth in punt return average (7.0).
Freshman Nick Fox-Edele
(Springfield, MA) is second in kick scoring (53 points0 and third in field goals (7).
Junior defensive end James Georges
(Stamford, CT) had two-and-a-half sacks against Endicott and leads the conference in that category (8.5). Sophomore linebacker Brandon Orsmby
(Windsor, CT) is among the league leaders in tackles (59).
Western New England is third among 16 schools in the NEFC in scoring offense (29.9) and fifth in scoring defense (16.6). The Golden Bears also are fourth in total defense (252.3) and second in rushing defense (104.7).
UMass Dartmouth junior quarterback Patrick Orlando
(Manchester, MA) is ninth in the league in total offense (151.3) after passing for 906 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 456 yards and four scores.
Another player to watch is sophomore running back Mike Janey
(Dorchester, MA) who has 446 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns. Junior receiver Brendan McNeish
(Springfield, MA) has a team-high 33 receptions for 440 yards and four TDs.
Senior linebacker John Cordasco
(Rockaway, NJ) and sophomore defensive back Joe Teixera
(Seekonk, MA) are fourth and fifth in the NEFC with 82 and 80 tackles, respectively.
This will be the 15th meeting between the teams with the Corsairs leading the series (which started in 1988) by an 11-3 margin. All three of the Golden Bears victories have come in the last three years, including a 37-14 decision last season.