NE10 Week Five Thoughts

October 4th, 2021 12:00am

NE10 Week Five Thoughts

Friday Night Magic

If there is a game scheduled for a Friday night and it involves Southern Connecticut, the result will be in favor of the Owls.  Last Friday, Southern Connecticut won their third game of the season under the lights.  The latest victim was American International with a score of 23-7.

Southern Connecticut brought the defensive pressure all night long and American International had no answer.  10 tackles for a loss, six sacks, three quarterback hurries were the key for the Owl defense.  They also picked off three passes while holding Jayson DeMild in check the entire night.

The offense was led by a three-headed monster in their backfield.  The trio of Diante Wilson, TJ Gardner, and Ezequiel Johnson all scored touchdowns for the Owls.  Add Anthony Ligi to the quad of running backs and the ball handlers gained 181 yards on the ground in the victory. 

For Southern Connecticut coach Tom Godek, it is the result that he has been expecting for the Southern Connecticut program.  They have struggled over the past several seasons and it looks like 2021 is an improved season for the Owls.  They are playing well on both sides of the ball and are gaining confidence week in and week out.

Another Friday night game for Southern Connecticut this week as they travel north to take on Assumption.

New Week, Same Result

For the Bentley Falcons, it is another week and another victory.  This time, the victim was the St. Anselm Hawks.  They walked into Grappone Stadium and left with a 34-21 victory.  But the game was much closer than the final score indicated.

Bentley scored the first 27 points of the game to take a commanding lead early in the third quarter.  But St. Anselm stormed back with 21 straight points and had several opportunities in the red zone that they came away with zero points. 

Bentley went to the air to win the game.  Stephen Sturm threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers and it was another day at the office for the Falcon offense.  Sturm was also the leading rusher as his usual backs are nursing some dings now.  Nate Larkins didn’t play in the game and Andrew Brazicki missed some time during the game but returned at the right time to recover an onside kick and break off a long run to seal the game.

It has been a common theme over the past several games for Bentley.  They score a bunch of points in a row and then let their opponents do the same thing.  It is not allowing the coaches to breathe sometimes on the sideline and something that might eventually catch up with them at the wrong time.

Bentley has a one-week-at-a-time mentality right now.  They need to defeat the opponent on the schedule this week and not look ahead.  This week’s opponent is Pace at home.

Second Half

For the second straight weekend, a strong second half was the difference for New Haven.  Two scores in the fourth quarter led the Chargers to a 28-14 victory over Pace.  They are now 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the NE10. 

New Haven was held to 299 yards of offense, but four rushing touchdowns were exactly enough to win the game.  Connor Degenhardt called his own number twice as well as Zach Mauro and Jake Conlan also found the end zone for New Haven.

The New Haven defense made some adjustments in the second half as they were facing a quarterback that they have little or no tape on.  The Chargers held Pace off the scoreboard in the final 30 minutes while allowing their own offense to work out their struggles.

For Pace, it is a tough loss.  They played strong all game long but were not able to find the end zone enough to win the game.  They deserved a better fate as they fall to 0-4, 0-2 NE10 on the season.

New Haven is back home this weekend against St. Anselm while Pace travels to Bentley.


It was quite the game in Rindge, New Hampshire as Franklin Pierce was in a position to win their first-ever NE10 game.  But Assumption spoiled the party in overtime with a 35-28 victory over the Ravens. 

It was a back-and-forth game as both teams battled to win the game.  Assumption would score, Franklin Pierce would answer, and it was a theme for the entire game.  Both teams threw everything at each other all afternoon long. 

Khaleed Exum-Strong had another strong game as he had 134 yards and a score.  Easton Turner tossed a touchdown while running for one.  And it was Berrell Neal in overtime for the eventual game-winner.

But Franklin Pierce was impressive.  They answered all of the scores of Assumption including a drive in the final minutes to tie the game and send it to overtime.  Bryce Macina was strong in his first start for the Ravens as he tossed for three scores and ran another one in.  He was excellent on the tying drive as he tossed the touchdown to Nathan Selby and then converted on the two-point try. 

Nobody in the NE10 wants to go down as the first team to lose to Franklin Pierce but eventually, someone will have that distinction.  We all felt that the Ravens were getting closer and this past weekend’s performance means that the elusive win might come sooner than later.

Assumption will host Southern Connecticut this Friday night as Franklin Pierce has the weekend off.


Five weeks in the season and several teams have new quarterbacks under center this past week.  A football season is long, and injuries are part of the game.  Having capable players in waiting is key for a team to succeed.

Pace lost their quarterback Carlton Aiken two weeks ago at Assumption.  Insert sophomore Sean Kehley and he goes 17 for 20 in his first start for 178 yards against New Haven.  He also had 43 yards on the ground including the only two touchdowns for the Setters. 

Then up in Rindge, New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce turns to junior Bryce Macina to run the offense.  He is a transfer from Division III Hartwick in which he saw game action in 2018 as their starting quarterback.  Macina runs in a touchdown and threw another three including a game-tying drive in the final minute.  He ignited some life into the Raven offense and almost gained their first league victory. 

Southern Connecticut found their quarterback a couple of years ago in Jackson Ostrowsky.  But an injury two weeks ago and opens up a chance for Joe Bernard.  He leads the Owls to a couple of wins and has Southern Connecticut at a 3-2 mark this year. 

For the rest of the teams, they have had the same starting quarterback for the first five weeks of the season.  Some like Assumption have inserted the backup at times to run certain sets and plays to score points.  For others, the starter is the starter and will only be replaced when the game is one-sided. 

An experienced quarterback is often the difference between a good and so-so season.  They run the offense and the coaching staff has supreme confidence in play-calling when it matters the most.