October 11th, 2021 3:00am
It was a dominant weekend for the winning defenses in the league. Three of them pitched shutouts while the fourth allowed just seven points. We have been talking about the balance of the league but this past weekend, there was no balance.
It all started Friday night as Assumption held Southern Connecticut scoreless in a 26-0 victory. The Greyhounds allowed absolutely nothing to the Owl offense and evened their record at 3-3 for the season.
Stonehill was not going to be overshadowed. They blanked American International 25-0 on the road and improved to 4-1 on the season. The Skyhawks allowed a negative six yards on the ground in winning wire to wire.
Bentley said don’t forget about us. They held Pace off the scoreboard in their 26-0 victory last Saturday. The Falcons dominated all facets of the game and allowed just 146 yards of total offense to the Setters.
And the only team to win and not pitch a shutout was New Haven. The Chargers easily defeated St. Anselm 56-7 but a late second-quarter score were the only points for the Hawks. New Haven picked off six passes and took two back for scores in their third straight victory.
It was all about the defenses for the four victors this past weekend. They had the right game plan and all four played near-perfect games to grab victories.
With three teams winning courtesy of holding their opponents off the scoreboard, it had me going through the archives to see if this has ever happened. The NE10 started their football life in 2001 and I found some interesting stats in looking back at the games.
I found one other time that three NE10 schools were held scoreless on the same weekend. Who remembers October 28, 2006?
Old friend Merrimack defeated Pace 18-0 that Saturday 15 years ago. Southern Connecticut defeated Stonehill 14-0 that same day. Nicholls State defeated Assumption 44-0 in a non-conference game in Louisiana that same day.
I also found a bunch of multiple shutouts on the same weekend but most of them involved a non-conference game and a league game. The weekend prior to the triple shutout in 2006 also featured two blankings. American International beat Pace 7-0 and Bryant defeated St. Anselm 41-0.
It allowed happened earlier in 2006 when Shepherd defeated CW Post 24-0 and Pace blanked Stonehill 7-0.
The first time that I could find was in 2009 when two pitched shutouts on the same weekend. Bentley defeated St. Anselm 24-0 and Merrimack defeated Husson 23-0.
Amazing fact in my research, there were no shutouts at all in the entire 2015 season. Every game featured each team scoring points one way or another during that season.
The NE10 website only goes back to the 2005 season for scores so it is possible that this might have happened sometime between 2001 and 2004. The league was a little more top-heavy in the early 2000’s so it is possible that we might have had a lopsided weekend like we just witnessed.
But this might be the first time in league games that three teams were held off the scoreboard in the same weekend.
As we crossed the halfway point of the season this past weekend, it looks like four teams have separated themselves from the pack and have a chance to win the league title.
The clear frontrunner right now is Bentley. They are 6-0, 4-0 NE10 but still have two trips left to New Haven this season. This weekend against Southern Connecticut and on November 6th against New Haven. They will have their bye week next weekend and Franklin Pierce at the end of the month. They close the season with Assumption.
Right on their tail is New Haven. The Chargers are 4-1, 3-0 NE10 and have the toughest part of their schedule upcoming. After traveling to American International this weekend, they face the other top teams in three straight weeks. A trip to Stonehill on October 23rd and then consecutive home games against Assumption and Bentley. They close the season with Franklin Pierce.
Stonehill, 4-1, 2-1 NE10 has the easiest schedule left for the league title contenders. They host St. Anselm this weekend before the matchup at home with New Haven. They travel to Pace and then host Franklin Pierce in early November. They close out the season with a trip to Southern Connecticut.
The fourth contender for the title is Assumption. Despite their 3-3 overall record, they are 3-1 in the NE10. They are off this coming weekend before hosting American International. They travel to New Haven and Bentley over the final weeks with a home game against St. Anselm squeezed in between.
It is great that all four of these teams will be playing each other down the stretch. It will earn the team that emerges victorious with a sense of accomplishment. They beat the best teams at the right time of the year and will be rewarded for it.
Buckle up as the season is just starting to get good.
With nine teams in the NE10 for the past several years, the league has one team that has an opening each week during the regular season. Some teams have been able to find opponents while others use the weekend off to rest and get ready for the next opponent.
This season through the first four weeks of the league schedule, one school has played a large part in how a bye week starts. In Week Three, Assumption defeated Pace 32-21, and then the Setters had the following week off.
Week Four saw Stonehill defeated Assumption 27-26 in the final minute. The Skyhawks then had the following weekend off. Week Five saw Assumption escape in overtime 35-28 over Franklin Pierce, who then had the weekend off.
And this past weekend, Assumption defeated Southern Connecticut 26-0 and now the Greyhounds have Week Seven off to rest. The quirk of the schedule is that Assumption has been involved for four straight weeks with the bye week and those teams headed into the bye week are 2-2.