#24 Western New England Listed As Favorite In First CCC Football Preseason Poll

#24 Western New England Listed As Favorite In First CCC Football Preseason Poll

2017 CCC Football Preseason Poll Video

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Western New England, which claimed the final two New England Football Conference (NEFC) titles, was picked to finish first in the now rebranded Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) league. The voting was conducted by the league’s six head coaches last week.

WNE, which is ranked #24 in the D3football.com preseason Top 25, earned 34 points in the poll and claimed five of the possible six first place votes.

As the NEFC Champions, the Golden Bears earned the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. They hosted future CCC Football member, Husson, in the First Round and advanced to meet a tough Alfred squad in the Second Round. The Golden Bears had a late surge in that game and were almost able to scrape out a victory, but came up just short.

Salve Regina was picked second in this year’s poll grabbing 28 points. The Seahawks were championship contenders in the final season of the NEFC, but came up shy of the title with a 6-1 NEFC (8-2 overall) record. However, the NEFC runner-up did have the opportunity for postseason play as it was selected to host the Inaugural New England Bowl, a collaboration between four Division III football conferences in New England.

Endicott landed in the No. 3 spot in the poll gathering 26 points and the last remaining first place vote. Curry (16 points), Nichols (12), and Becker (10), which leaves the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) to join the group, rounded out the voting.

The CCC Football season beings on Friday, Sept. 1 with all teams in non-conference action during the opening weekend. The five-game league schedule begins Saturday, Sept. 14. The team with the best conference record at the end of the regular season will be named the CCC Football Champion and will earn the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Football Championship.

In the days leading up the first game of the season, the Conference will be releasing preseason preview videos on its Youtube Channel. The release schedule is as follows:

Monday, Aug. 28 - #6 Becker/#5 Nichols
Tuesday, Aug. 29 - #4 Curry/#3 Endicott
Wednesday, Aug. 30 - #2 Salve Regina/#1 Western New England

Click HERE to view the whole 2017 CCC Football schedule.



2017 Commonwealth Coast Football Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Western New England 34 (5)
2. Salve Regina 28
3. Endicott  26 (1)
4. Curry 16
5. Nichols  12
6. Becker  10


2017 Commonwealth Coast Football Previews

CCC Football Preseason Video Series:

Monday, Aug. 28 - #6 Becker/#5 Nichols
Tuesday, Aug. 29 - #4 Curry/#3 Endicott
Wednesday, Aug. 30 - #2 Salve Regina/#1 Western New England

1. Western New England

Heading into the inaugural season of CCC Football this fall, Western New England will be looking to build on its most successful campaign in program history. The Golden Bears completed their second consecutive undefeated regular season in 2016, before defeating Husson for their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.

13th-year head coach Keith Emery brings back 37 letter winners and nine All-Conference performers from last year’s squad. Senior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.), who earned All-New England accolades last fall, returns to lead the offense after setting multiple program records in 2016. Other key returning playmakers include senior running back Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and senior wide receiver Mark Dietrich (Cheshire, Conn.). Senior Dillon Martin (Ashland, Mass.), a D3football.com and Lindy’s Sports Preseason All-American, will anchor the offensive line.

The Western New England defensive line will be led by senior Sam Edouard (Roosevelt, N.Y.), who will serve as team captain in 2017. Edouard totaled 57 tackles (five for loss) last fall on his way to D3football.com All-East Region honors. Senior safety Sam Olsson (Milford, Conn.) will also play a key role for the Golden Bears in the defensive backfield.

Western New England opens its season at home on Saturday, Sept. 2 against city rival Springfield in the annual Pynchon SAW Game. The team’s challenging non-conference slate also features a rematch with Husson at Golden Bear Stadium on September 23 and a matchup with St. Lawrence the following Saturday in Springfield. Conference play gets underway against Endicott on Oct. 14.

   Anthony Service, WNE

2. Salve Regina

Head coach Kevin Gilmartin enters his fifth season at Salve Regina. The team has participated in postseason play in all four of Gilmartin’s previous seasons. On offense the Seahawks will be stout in the middle, returning both guards Joe McDonald (Braintree, Mass.) and Ian Bomely and last year’s Offensive Lineman of the Year, center Nico Aronson (Wayne, N.J. Aronson anchored the Seahawk offensive line from his center position last season as Salve Regina allowed only two quarterback sacks the entire regular season. Other key returners on offense are senior running back James Dawson (Oradell, N.J.), tight end Tommy Seaver (Rocky Hill, Conn.), and wide out Connor Sullivan (Lowell, Mass.). Defensively the Seahawks return two of last season’s breakout defensive lineman, juniors John Salute (Mahwah, N.J.) and Brandon O’Neill (Madison, Conn.). Seniors Connor Russo (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) and Nate Gonzalez (Durham, Conn.) will patrol the secondary, and junior Tyler D’Errico (Chesire, Conn.)will hold down the middle of the Seahawks defense at linebacker.

  Nico Aronson, SRU

3. Endicott

The Endicott football program will rely on a cast of key returners and several freshmen to produce another successful season this fall. The Gulls return seven All-Conference student-athletes to the fold, highlighted by Defensive Rookie of the Year Jesse Simoni (East Greenbush, N.Y.), and have also brought in a talented recruiting class that features student-athletes from California, Florida, Texas, New York, Panama, and all the New England states.

Endicott’s 2017 schedule will once again play a pivotal role in the development of its student-athletes within the program throughout the year as the Gulls have tasked themselves with one of the toughest schedules in all of NCAA Division III for the third straight season. Last season, Endicott ranked No. 14 overall in strength of the schedule among 247 programs. Endicott will begin its 2017 campaign against Framingham State University on Saturday, Sept. 2 at home at 12 p.m. 

    Jesse Simoni, EC

4. Curry

The Curry College football program opens the 2017 season with a solid core of returners and a talented group of newcomers. The Colonels return six offensive and six defensive starters to the team, highlighted by captains Alex Corvese (Cranston, R.I.), Steven Grogan (Forestdale, Mass.), and 2016 All-Conference performer Ryan Boucher (North Reading, Mass.).  Curry looks to improve in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams) and to improve their overall and conference records.

   Alex Corvese, CC

5. Nichols

The Bison hope to carry the momentum of last season’s 6-4 mark into the 2017 campaign. Winners of their final four games of last season, the Bison posted their highest win total in more than a decade. Sophomore and 2016 NEFC First Team pick Tony Martignoli (Santa Rosa, Calif.) moves from wide receiver to quarterback and looks to keep one of the most explosive offenses in the conference flying high this season. On defense, senior and NEFC Second Team linebacker Brett McEvoy (Wrentham, Mass.) hopes to finish amongst the league leaders in tackles for the third-straight season.

   Tony Martignoli, NC

6. Becker

After going 3-7 during the 2016 campaign, the Becker Hawks and second year head coach Frank Forcucci return 13 starters for the 2017 season.

Junior quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) returns after a season-ending injury in 2016. In just five games, Sinkfield-Shelton amassed 721 passing yards with nine touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Michael Caban (Lawrence, Mass.) will look to build off a freshman year in which he hauled in 27 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, the Hawks return seven starters from the 2016 season. Senior captains Shane Padeni (Leicester, Mass.) and Angel Flores (Azusa, Calif.) will anchor a defense that finished fourth in the ECFC in yards per game. 

Angel Flores, BC


Season previews contributed by each school's sports information department.



Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) is a single-sport football conference operating under the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) umbrella. The league has been in operation since 1965 (formerly as the New England Football Conference (NEFC)). The league currently consists for six members – Becker, Curry, Endicott, Nichols, Salve Regina, and Western New England. Membership will increase to seven in 2018 with the addition of the University of New England. Husson will join the conference in 2019.


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