Around the Region

10 games to watch for 2015

Leondre Simmon and St. Lawrence have a chance to challenge for the Liberty League title.
St. Lawrence athletics photo by Tara Freeman

Greetings! Welcome to the first edition of the Around the East. This is the first season that I will be writing this column which covers the goings on in the Empire Eight, Liberty League, Middle Atlantic Conference and New Jersey Athletic Conference.

I spent four seasons (2008-2011) writing the Around the South, covering the mostly the American Southwest and Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, so I’ll try to shake off the rust.

There have been some major changes to both the NJAC and E8 and given the quality and depth of all four conferences I am finding it difficult to limit myself to only ten. Heck, there are five games in the region that I want to see this weekend alone.

So first, let’s take a look at all the top nonconference games, most of which occur within the next couple weeks, and then discuss the games that could possibly determine the conference championships as October and November roll around. Hopefully, this will generate discussion. The Liberty League and Empire Eight post boards already produce a tremendous amount on Post Patterns. You can also find some great opinions from the MAC and NJAC posters. Here we go:

Best nonconference matchups

Salisbury (NJAC) at Albright (MAC), Sept. 4: These two faced off last November in the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl, a 48-27 victory for the Sea Gulls. Despite winning traditions, neither is considered the front runner in their conference race. Albright returns an experienced receiving corps, but will be young in front of quarterback Mike Knight, a redshirt freshman. A win here could give the Lions a boost into their next games against MAC powers Widener and Lycoming. Salisbury has eight starters back on their triple option offense. 

St. Lawrence (LL) at Morrisville State (E8) Sept. 4: Many feel that the Saints are ready to challenge Hobart for the LL title because of the nine starters returning on both sides of the ball and a close loss to the Statesmen a year ago. Morrisville enters its first season in the E8 coming off a share of the NJAC title but loses a difference-maker in quarterback Lemar Johnson to graduation. Returning 10 starters on defense could soften that blow for the Mustangs.

St. John Fisher (E8) at Thomas More (PAC) Sept. 5:  A matchup of two of the best teams that stayed home at playoff time last season (though the Cards did win an ECAC bowl game). Fisher must replace quarterback Tyler Fenti but running backs Tony Fusco and James Chambers combined to rush for over 1,700 yards a year ago. A veteran receiving corps also returns. They’ll face a...

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Columnist

Jason Bowen

Jason Bowen has 10 years of Division III coaching experience at Wesley, where he was also the Sports Information Director. He currently provides color analysis on broadcasts of Wesley games on WDEL Radio 1150AM and has served as a staff and freelance writer for the Delaware State News in Dover. He has been a contributor for D3football.com since 2006. By day he teaches high school biology. He is a 1992 graduate of and three-year letter winner at linebacker for Mansfield (Pa.) University.

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov
2011-14 columnist: Andrew Lovell

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