Western New England hosts Framingham State in NEFC Championship contest Saturday

More news about: Western New England
10-22-11 WNE Team (A)
Western New England goes after its first NEFC title against Framingham State. The winner advances to the NCAA Division III Championship.
New England Football Conference
10-22-11 James Georges (A)
James Georges has had a big hand in the success of the Golden Bears this season.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The biggest game in program history will take place when Western New England hosts Framingham State at noon Saturday (Nov. 12) in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship Game. Tickets are $6 for general admission and $4 for students.

Both teams are playing in the conference title contest for the first time; the winner earns an automatic invitation to the NCAA Division III Championship.

The Golden Bears completed their best regular season ever in 31 years with a 9-1 record and captured the Boyd Division title for the first time with a perfect 7-0 mark. The Rams won the Bogan Division crown with a 6-1 ledger and are 7-3 overall.

Golden season for Golden Bears

Western New England set another school record with its eighth consecutive victory after defeating UMass Dartmouth 28-18 on November 5.

While the team continues to set records, WNE coach Keith Emery and his players contunue to maintain a low profile.

"Honestly, I haven't thought about the historical significance yet, I've been caught up in the week-to-week stuff," he said. "We lost a lot of our individual time last week because of our practice times, conditions, and fact that classes were cancelled."

Emery noted that being versatile and able to adapt to things each week are some of the squad's best characteristics.

"We've been good on defense when we've struggled on offense and vice versa. It would be nice to put one together where both are working together like we did against Plymouth State," he stated.

Senior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) directs the Golden Bears offense that is third in the NEFC in scoring (29.7), fifth in rushing (202.5), and eighth in total offense (335.8). He is third in the conference in total offense (204.1), sixth in passing (123.9), and ninth in rushing (80.2). Brown also is fourth in scoring with 11 touchdowns (66 points).

Western New England has another top player in junior Mike Graham (Norwalk, CT) who leads the nation's Division III players in kickoff return average (40.2). He has brought back four kicks for touchdowns and has six for his career. Graham, who had a 90-yard touchdown run against UMass Dartmouth, also leads the squad in all-purpose yards (743).

WNE had four interceptions against UMass Dartmouth in establishing a new school record with 23 for the season, breaking the old mark of 22 set in 2005. Junior free safety Nicholas Silvester (Weatogue, CT) is tied for second in the NEFC with six interceptions

Sophomore linebacker Brandon Ormsby (Windsor, CT) leads the team in tackles (63) while junior defensive end James Georges (Stamford, CT) is tied for second in the conference in sacks (nine). Senior linebacker Todd Krolikowski (Bristol, CT) is fourth in that category (seven). Georges and Krolikowski are fourth (17) and fifth (14.5), respectively, in the NEFC in tackles for losses.

Freshman placekicker Nick Fox-Edele (Springfield, MA) is enjoying a fine rookie season ranking second in the league in kick scoring with 57 points (36-for-39 in PATs and 7-for-9 in field goals).

Framingham State solid and talented

Framingham State, under coach Tom Kelley, won six of seven games in Bogan action for the second straight year, but this season it was enough to win the division despite a 27-13 at second-place Worcester State on November 5.

The Rams also one of the nation's top Division III running backs in sophomore Melikke Van Alstyne (Salem, MA) who is fourth with 1,557 yards (155.7), a new school record. He also leads the conference in scoring with 124 points (sixth nationally) after gaining 20 touchdowns with a pair of two-point conversions.

Van Alstyne ran for 158 yards and two scores against Worcester in becoming the school's all-time rushing leader (2,713 yards). He has nine 100-yard games rushing this season with two 200-yard performances.  Van Alstyne, who ran for five scores against Maine Maritime, also is the conference leader in all-purpose yards (176.3).

Sophomore quarterback Dino Mancinelli (Madison, CT) has thrown for 1,053 yards and nine TDs. Six players have 10 or more receptions led by senior receiver James McCarthy (Newton, MA) who is tied for third in the NEFC in catches (49) and sixth in receiving yards (564).

On defense, junior back Tyrone Notice (Gardner, MA) is tied for second (with WNE's Nicholas Silvester) in the conference with six interceptions (three against Coast Guard). Sophomore linebacker Patrick McGrath (Everett, MA) has a team best 80 tackles.

Junior tackle James Muirhead (Middleboro, MA) is tied for second in the NEFC (with WNE's James Georges) with nine sacks (which is a FSU record). He has 17 in three seasons. Sophomore Kyle Shonio (Swampscott, MA) is second in the conference in punting (38.0).

Like Western New England, the Rams ability to make big plays and win close games has been impressive. The Rams stopped Westfield State and Coast Guard in back-to-back weeks on fourth down in the final minute to preserve victories.

Perhaps the most intriguing statistic is the fact that both Western New England and Framingham State are separated by only one place in 10 NEFC statistical categories (see below).

Items of Interest: WNE senior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT), junior return specialist Mike Graham (Norwalk, CT), and FSU freshman quarterback Matt Silva (Dracut, MA) have each won a Gold Helmet this season as the New England Division II/III Player-of-the-Week … This will be the 15th meeting between the teams with the Golden Bears leading the series by an 11-3 margin. Western New England took the last game (45-8 in 2005) and has eight straight wins (1998-2005). The Rams posted a 19-14 victory in 1986. Western New England's first varsity win was a 19-0 shutout over Framingham State in 1981.

NEFC Championship notes compiled by Roger Crosley, NEFC Publicity Director
A. Thirteen of the 16 teams in the conference have played in at least one championship game.
B. The visiting team has won five of the past seven games.
C. This will be the conference's fifth different champion in a row.
D. Only two of the last seven games have been decided by more than six points.
E. Four games have been decided by three points.
F. One game has been decided in double overtime (Curry 17, Fitchburg State 14 in 2005)
G. Two contests have been decided on the last play.

List of NEFC champions

Western New England and Framingham State in the NEFC
(Note: there are 16 teams in the conference.

Scoring Offense Scoring Defense Pass Offense Pass Defense Rushing Offense Rushing Defense
WNE - 3rd - 29.7 WNE - 4th - 16.7   FSU - 6th - 181.7 FSU - 7th - 144.2 WNE - 5th - 202.5 WNE - 3rd - 109.9
FSU - 5th - 27.1 FSU - 5th - 17.3 WNE - 10th - 133.3 WNE - 8th - 146.0 FSU - 6th - 175.6 FSU - 4th - 111.2

Total Offense Total Defense Turnover Margin First Downs 3rd down conversions 4th down conversions
FSU - 5th - 357.3 FSU - 3rd - 255.4 WNE - 2nd - 1.50 FSU - 4th - 186 FSU 8th - 45/135 (33.3%) WNE - 1st - 10/18 (55.6%)
WNE - 8th - 335.8 WNE - 4th - 255.9 FSU - 10th - 0.00 WNE - 6th (tie) - 172 WNE - 10th - 43/136 (31.6%) FSU - 2nd - 12/23 (52.2%)

Sacks Penalties Red Zone Offense Red Zone Defense Time of Possession
WNE - 1st -
36 for 249 yards
WNE - 9th -
62 for 555 yards
WNE - 1st -
30/38 (78.9%)
WNE - 12th -
20/27 (74.1%)
FSU - 6th - 31:19
FSU - 16th -
78 for 731 yards
FSU - 16th -
78 for 731 yards
FSU - 6th -
33/46 (71.7%)
FSU - 15th -
21/27 (77.8%)

WNE - 13th - 28:47

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