LAWERANCE, MA – As we near the start of the 2012 season, the 20-team AAA Conference appears to be the toughest in the NEFL’s long history. Looking at every respective area, we realize that the Southern Division may be the most talented and most competitive division in the league.

“We have no clue what’s going to happen in the south this season” said Ravens owner Todd Kennedy, “every week is going to be a battle.”

The division boasts the back to back NEFL champion Connecticut Bearcats. One of the nation’s top teams, the Bearcats, must look to fill the void left by two time championship game MVP Rich Snowden. “Being without the best quarterback in the league over the last three years is an obvious issue for us or anyone in this situation” said Aaron Hairston. Entering his 4th season, Hairston will relay on a newly beefed up running game with the acquisition of SCSU’s Jerom Freeman. The Bearcats defense has been the league’s toughest over the past few seasons. Led by All Star David Reese, the Bearcats will have to play their best football to defend their championship hardware.

After a nine-win regular season and a trip to the AA championship game, the Western CT Militia will take a leap to the top conference in New England. “We played well last year but we got our work cut out for us this season” said Kevin Oberg. Oberg is arguably the top quarterback in the division. His spread offensive attack is headlined by receiver Gary Coles and running back Lionel Assie. “We feel this is our year to make an impact on the league; we know however it starts right in the division.”

The Bridgeport Ravens are regarded as the league’s “toughest” team to match up against. Anemic on offense last season, the Ravens secured the middle of their defense this offseason. Lineman Michael Swan, linebacker Ricky Rivera, and safety Joe Burns add needed veteran leadership to one of the league’s youngest teams.

Making their first venture outside of New England, the NEFL have brought in quality teams like the New Jersey Spartans and the Tri-County Bulldogs to compete in the Southern Division. “Both groups are quality organizations with excellent players” said league commissioner Tom Terresi, “we’re happy to bring them in this season.” The Spartans are headlined by defensive lineman Eddie Porter. A two time All Star, Porter combines great strength with superior foot speed. Running back Eddie Feliciano will pace the Spartans offense. A clear threat on the ground, Feliciano will also be a key target out of the backfield. The Hilburn, NY based Bulldogs have a long history as a successful program in minor league football. Owner Frank Williams is a top recruiter and will provide a superior team to compete in the Southern Division. New head coach Matt Holmes will bring in a physical offensive attack led by 240 pound tailback Jonathan Gibbs.

“To match up with these guys both home and away is going to be a challenge to say the least” said Hairston, “whomever comes out of this division on top with clearly earn it.”


Provided, Courtesy of the New England Football League

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