Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Former coach sues Waynesburg U.

Tara Kinsell has a story on our Web site about Waynesburg University's former wrestling coach Charlie Heard suing the school.

"Former Waynesburg University wrestling Coach Charlie T. Heard of Morgantown, W.Va., has filed a federal lawsuit against his former employer in U.S. District Court claiming he was treated differently from other coaches because he is black.

The suit, filed Monday, alleges discrimination by the university against Heard and athletes recruited by him. ... "

Here's the link to read the rest of the story:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Big day for Endres

University of Connecticut quarterback Cody Endres, pictured, made a bid to keep the starting position Saturday by passing for a career-high 289 yards and two touchdowns as the Huskies beat Rhode Island 52-10.

Endres, a Trinity graduate, started his second game in place of the injured Zach Frazer. Endres completed nine of his first 10 passes, and 23 of 30 for the game. The sophomore threw his first career touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game when he connected with Andre Dixon out of the backfield for an 18-yard score. Endres also had a 50-yard touchdown pass to freshman 50-yard touchdown pass Mike Lang.

After the game, UConn coach Randy Edsall wouldn't fan the flames of a potential quarterback controversy. He wouldn't talk about who might start when the Huskies play again in two weeks at Pitt.

"I don't even know if (Frazer) is going to be healthy so I have no idea," Edsall said. "That's the last of my worries right now."

Endres said the win was a confidence builder for the Huskies.

“Our receivers definitely got some confidence. I got a lot of different players the ball, and I felt good out there, too," he said. "I think it's definitely a confidence booster. But we still made a lot of mistakes we have to improve on and buckle down before we head into Big East play.”

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Friday, September 25, 2009

College pregame notes

Opponent: Clarion
When: 3 p.m., Saturday
Where: Adamson Stadium in California
Records: California is 2-2, 1-0 in PSAC; Clarion is 2-2, 1-0 in PSAC.
Television: None
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Noteworthy: The Vulcans’ offense finally played to preseason expectations in last week’s 52-10 victory over Gannon. Quarterback Josh Portis completed 17 of 26 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns and wide receiver A.J. Jackson caught eight passes for 119 yards and three TDs. Jackson leads all PSAC receivers with five touchdowns. … Cal punter Derek Fiorenza is 13th in the nation with a 41.07-yard average. … The Vulcans have won 14 consecutive games against PSAC West opponents and have not lost a home divisional game since November of 2006. … Clarion is led by quarterback Tyler Huether, who has thrown for 935 yards and five touchdowns in four games. Jacques Robinson, who has 28 receptions for 289 yards, is his favorite receiver. … Alfonso Haggard and John Fuhrer have combined for 348 rushing yards and three touchdowns.


Washington & Jefferson

Opponent: Grove City
When: 7 p.m., Saturday
Where: Thorn Field in Grove City
Records: W&J is 3-0, 1-0 in the PAC; Grove City is 1-2, 1-0 in the PAC
Television: None
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Noteworthy: W&J is playing the fourth consecutive night game of the season. The remainder of the schedule will have day games. … W&J will continue the two-quarterback system. Juniors Gino Rometo and Steven Shumaker combined for 397 total yards during Saturday's win over Thiel. Through three games last year, Bobby Swallow had thrown for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. Rometo and Shumaker have combined for 773 yards and eight touchdowns. … Rometo and Shumaker each threw for more than 100 yards last week, marking the first time that has occurred since Oct. 28, 2000, when Brian Dawson (219 yards) and Chris Locher (103 yards) accomplished the rare feat. W&J had played 101 games without two quarterbacks both passing the century mark. … Senior quarterback Andrew DiDonato, a South Fayette graduate, completed 22 of 32 passes for 240 yards, and also rushed for 61 yards in last week’s 35-14 victory by Grove City over Bethany. … W&J’s defense leads the PAC in passing yards allowed (157) and DiDonato leads the conference in passing (304 per game).

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Waynesburg University

Opponent: Saint Vincent
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: John Wiley Stadium in Waynesburg
Records: Waynesburg is 2-1; Saint Vincent is 0-3
Television: WCTV (Channel 14 on Comcast Cable)
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.7
Noteworthy: One of the biggest problems for the Yellow Jackets this season is defense. They are allowing an average of 35 points per game, giving up 39 to Wooster, 21 to Hanover and 47 to Thomas More. … Another area of concern is tailback, where the duo of Justin Falcon and Bill Becker has combined for 252 yards and one touchdown. … Waynesburg senior safety Dylan August needs just nine tackles to reach 100 for his college playing days. … With 140 yards passing, junior quarterback Brad Dawson will move into seventh place on Waynesburg’s career passing yardage list, passing Kelly Bird (2,732, 1971-74). Dawson needs 227 yards to each sixth place and pass Mike Forbes (2,819, 1979-82). … Saint Vincent is in its third season since bringing football back in 2007. … Fort Cherry graduates Jacob Kiefer and Calvin Demillion have played in all three games for the Bearcats this season. Kiefer has 7 1/2 tackles and Demillion 3 1/2. The duo has combined for two quarterback sacks.


Monday, September 21, 2009

What is Doug Lesmerises watching?

Sometimes I've wondered how people in the Associated Press college football poll become voters. And some of those voters make me wonder if they've ever watched a football game.

For example, Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has been roundly criticized - and rightfully so - for his ballot this season. This week, Lesmerises ranked undefeated defending national champion Florida No. 5. OK, so maybe Florida wasn't overly impressive Saturday against Tennessee and played two rent-a-wins to start the season. But among the five teams Lesmerises ranked ahead of Florida were Houston (!) and Cincinnati (double !). Lesmerises also has once-beaten Ohio State ranked ahead of once-beaten USC, although USC won at Ohio State two weeks ago.

Here is Lesmerises' ballot for Week 4:

1. Alabama
2. Miami (Fla.)
3. Houston
4. Cincinnati
5. Florida
6. Boise State
7. Texas
8. LSU
9. California
10. Michigan
11. Auburn
12. UCLA
13. Virginia Tech
14. Florida State
15. Penn State
16. Missouri
17. North Carolina
18. TCU
19. Oklahoma State
20. BYU
21. Oklahoma
22. Ohio State
23. Iowa
24. Mississippi
25. USC


Sadler gets PAC honor

Bethany College freshman goalkeeper Brittany Sadler, pictured, has been selected as the Presidents' Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Defensive/Goalkeeper of the Week.

Sadler, New Eagle native and Ringgold High School graduate, helped the Bison (4-2-1) to a win and tie last week. In a road match at NCAA Division II Seton Hill, Sadler made nine of her career-high 13 saves in the second half as Bethany held on for a 2-1 victory over the Griffins, who made the WVIAC tournament semifinals a season ago.

On Sunday, Sadler recorded her third shutout in a 0-0 double-overtime draw with visiting Hilbert (N.Y.) College.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sweat makes appearance

Ohio State sophomore Andrew Sweat, a Trinity High School graduate and the 2007 Observer-Reporter Boys Athlete of the Year, is a mainstay on Buckeyes special teams.

During Saturday's 38-0 victory over Toledo, Sweat put in some time at middle linebacker.

The second-stringer finished with two tackles and on Ohio State's final defensive play Sweat made his first collegiate interception. On the play, Sweat covered a Rockets receiver on a slant. The ball was thrown slightly behind the intended target and Sweat snatched it.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

WVU reinstates Bryant

For the second time in recent weeks, West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins announced the reinstatement of a suspended guard.

Huggins said today that sophomore point guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant is back on the squad.

Bryant was suspended by Huggins this summer after a traffic incident in Morgantown. One of the charges facing Bryant was leaving the scene of an accident. He pleaded no contest.

One of the top guard recruits in the country coming out of high school, Bryant started 28 games as a freshman and averaged 9.8 points for the Mountaineers.

Huggins previously reinstated Joe Mazzulla, another point guard, to the team.

West Virginia heads into the 2009-10 season with high expectations.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Football Pregame Notes

Washington & Jefferson

Opponent: Thiel
When: 7 p.m,, Saturday
Where: Cameron Stadium in Washington
Records: W&J is 2-0 and Thiel is 1-1. This is the PAC opener for both teams.
Television: None
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Noteworthy: There will be a new quarterback starting for the Presidents. Junior Gino Rometo will replace Steven Shumaker as the starter, though both are going to play. Rometo has looked sharp in the first two games this season, completing all four passes at the end of a Week 1 win over Oberlin amd going 17 of 31 for 174 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win against Frostburg. Rometo is a transfer from Clarion University, where he was the starter until the seventh game last season. … Senior wide receiver Craig Besong has caught eight receptions in each of his first two games and has 110 career catches. Besong has amassed 1,613 yards and 23 touchdowns. He will pass Tom McCafferty for fifth place on the career reception list with 18 more catches. … W&J is looking to become the 45th team in school history to start the season with three consecutive victories. Since 1989, W&J has posted a 3-0 start 15 times. … Washington & Jefferson has won 10 consecutive games during the third week of the season. The Presidents have not lost their third game of the year since falling to Hanover (30-20) during the 1998 season. … Thiel recorded its first victory of the season Saturday with an impressive home win against Albion, 20-10. The win was the first for new head coach Kurt Reiser. … Senior quarterback Willie Bova leads the Tomcats’ offense. He rushed 10 times for 75 yards against Albion. Tailback Dan Hess rushed 21 times for 68 yards. … Thiel suffered a 20-14 loss at Marietta in its opener. Bova threw two touchdown passes to tight end Dan Mackall, but the offense was only able to produce six rushing yards.

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Opponent: Thomas More
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Bank of Kentucky Field
Records: Waynesburg is 1-0 overall and Thomas More 1-0. This is the PAC opener for both teams.
Television: None
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.7
Noteworthy: Waynesburg will get a good idea about its chances of winning the Presidents’ Athletic Conference when the Yellow Jackets take on Thomas More. The Saints are the defending PAC champions. … Waynesburg is coming off a 49-21 victory over Hanover in a game that saw the Yellow Jackets score four touchdowns in the third quarter. … Junior quarterback Brad Dawson needs 73 yards to pass Tres Cobb (2002-2006) for eighth place on the school’s all-time career passing yards list (2,459). … Junior wide receiver Ray Hightower needs 10 catches to pass Noah Leibhart (1995-1998) for eighth place on the Waynesburg career receptions list with 90. … Thomas More is coming off a bye week. The Saints’ last game was a 14-7 victory over John Carroll Sept. 5. They are led by quarterback Trevor Stellman, who has completed 11 of 23 passes for 166 yards. He has yet to throw a touchdown or be intercepted.

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California University

Opponent: Gannon
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Adamson Stadium in California
Records: Cal is 1-2 overall and Gannon is 2-1. This is the PSAC West opener for both teams.
Television: FSN
On the air: WCAl-FM 91.9
Noteworthy: If California is to have a successful season, then the offense must improve. Josh Portis has struggled throwing the ball and the Vulcans have not effectively run the ball this season. Portis has completed just 39 of 83 passes (47 percent), thrown three touchdowns and been intercepted four times. Windell Brown returned from an ankle injury but lasted just one play before apparently reinjuring his ankle. Freddie Bacco, who has gained 181 yards on 42 carries this season – will start. … Cal has won 13 straight games against PSAC West opponents. … Cal head coach John Luckhardt is just five victories away from 200 in his career. … Gannon beat Cheyney, 30-19, last week. … The Golden Knights rely on the run and Jon Richardson (63 att., 351 yds., 5.6 ave., 7 TDs) is the main threat.… Cal has not had running back or wide receiver gain more than 100 yards in a game this season.

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Pitt's Dixon out eight weeks

Pitt enters the 2009-10 men's basketball season with one of its most inexperienced teams in recent memory.

Better make that the most inexperienced.

Two weeks after news broke that junior forward Gilbert Brown would miss the first semester because of an academic suspension, the Panthers were told that Jermaine Dixon would be out for two months and could miss the start of the season.

Dixon, a defensive-minded shooting guard who averaged 8.4 ppg as a junior, was Pitt's lone returning starter.

Dixon had surgery Wednesday to correct a fractured bone in his right foot. Dixon's injury occurred Tuesday during a pick-up game with teammates when someone landed on his foot. He previously injured the same foot during summer league play in July but did not need surgery.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wooooooo! Pig sooey! Pucci to Hall of Fame

California University athletic director Tom Pucci, pictured, will be inducted Friday into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Pucci is the second-winningest tennis coach in Razorbacks history with an amazing overall record of 218-60 in eight seasons, from 1976-84. Pucci coached the Arkansas men to Southwest Conference championships in 1980 and ‘81. In the 1980 season, the Razorbacks finished 31-4 and ranked No. 7 in the country. The next year, Arkansas was ranked No. 6.

He guided the Hogs to three appearances in both the NCAA Sweet 16 and NCAA quarterfinals, with each of the teams finishing ranked in the top 10 nationally.

“This is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received,” Pucci said. “I was very fortunate to have a great group of young men who achieved great heights and bought into the belief of building the Arkansas tennis program into one of the best in the nation.”

Among those joining Pucci in the induction class are Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Shawn Andrews; Ron Calcagni, the winningest quarterback in school history; and Veronica Campbell-Brown, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Former Arkansas basketball coach Eddie Sutton, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NBA great Sidney Moncrief and former athletic director Frank Broyles are expected to attend the banquet.

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Endres to start for UConn

Former Trinity High School quarterback Cody Endres, pictured, will get his first start of the season for the University of Connecticut on Saturday when the Huskies play a nonconference game at Baylor.

Endres replaces Zach Frazer, who injured his left knee Saturday in UConn's 12-10 loss to nationally ranked North Carolina.

Endres, who has been battling a stomach virus this week, completed 39 of 84 passes for 411 yards as a freshman. Against North Carolina, Endres entered the game in the third quarter and directed the Huskies' lone touchdown drive.

The UConn-Baylor game will not be televised.

Cheap shot of the week

Here is a clip from the Notre Dame at Michigan game last Saturday. Keep your eye on the bottom left corner of the screen. You'll see Michigan's Jonas Mouton (No. 8) punch Notre Dame center Eric Olsen. You might have to turn off the popup ad the first time you watch the replay.

Update Friday, Sept. 18:
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) — The Big Ten Conference has suspended Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton for one game for punching a Notre Dame player during last week’s game.
Video of the incident during Saturday’s 38-34 Wolverines victory in Ann Arbor, Mich., spread on the Internet. Mouton appears to swing at the chin of lineman Eric Olsen as they get up from the turf following a play midway through the second quarter.
Big Ten Commissioner James Delaney called the punch “unacceptable.”
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said he never saw the punch and that an official would have called any infraction. The Big Ten said the school had accepted the suspension.
No. 25 Michigan (2-0) faces Eastern Michigan (0-2) at home on Saturday.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Irish overrated, so what else is new?

They have their own television network, movies have been made about their gloriuos past, and the legion of fans are spread across the country. But nearly every football season, Notre Dame proves it does not belong among the elite teams of major college football.

Saturday's 38-34 loss to Michigan is a prime example of why. Notre Dame came into the game with experienced and talented players at most of the skill positions; Michigan came in with a quarterback who was in high school last June and new running backs. Notre Dame came in with a tough offensive and defensive line; Michigan came in with a one-year old offensive scheme - the spread. Notre Dame was in a bowl last year; Michigan went 3-9 and entered this year with the distractions of possible NCAA rules violations for breaking workout rules.

So what happens? Michigan's freshman quarterback Tate Forcier drives the Wolverines down the field for the game-winning touchdown with ease. In fact, Forcier won the game twice. Before his game-winning TD pass, he had a receiver drop one in the end zone on the previous play.

Notre Dame might be a solid, successful football program but does not deserve mention as one of the elite programs of the country until it can beat the Michigans of the world. Head coach Charlie Weiss is now in danger of losing his job because of this loss. Weiss botched the clock management in the final minutes of the game, calling two pass plays instead of runs that could have eaten nearly a minute on the Irish's last possession. What were they thinking?

If there was one good thing about Notre Dame's loss to Michigan, it was that another incredibly overrated program - Ohio State - stole some of the lack of thunder when the Buckeyes lost to Southern Cal and its true-freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, 18-15. USC beat Ohio State in every meaningful statistical category and Barkley outplayed OSU's famed sophomore Terrelle Pryor.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Football Pregame Notes

Waynesburg University

Opponent: Hanover
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Wiley Stadium in Waynesburg
Records: Waynesburg is 1-0 and Hanover is 0-1.
Television: None
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.7
Noteworthy: Waynesburg running back Justin Falcon rushed for 148 yards last week and is on pace for a 1,500-yard season. … Two of the previous three games between these two teams have been decided by three points or less. … Junior quarterback Brad Dawson needs just 80 yards to pass Ryan Mytrysak (1995-98) for eighth place on the Waynesburg’s career passing yards list (2,104). … Head coach Rick Shepas’ next victory will be his 25th, which would put him in sixth place on the school’s career victory list. … Last year, the Jackets held Hanover to negative-25 yards rushing. … Hanover rushed for only 34 yards in last week’s 34-20 loss to Centre (Kent.). … Quarterback C.J. Croft did complete 25 of 40 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once.

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California University

Opponent: West Chester
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Farrell Stadium in West Chester
Records: California is 0-2; West Chester is 1-1
Television: None
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Noteworthy: This is the fourth meeting between the two teams in the past two seasons. Cal won the last one, 47-36, in the PSAC Championship game. … West Chester’s 34-0 loss to Delaware last week was a bit misleading as the Blue hens are a Division I program. … Cal quarterback Josh Portis is completing 50 percent of his passes for 289 yards but he only has one touchdowns and three interceptions. … In two games, Cal has scored 27 points, 17 fewer than the Vulcans scored in a 44-32 victory over West Chester in last year’s season-opener. … Last week’s loss to Bloomsburg dropped Cal out of the AFCA Top 25 poll for the first time since the 2007 preseason poll. … Saginaw Valley, which beat Cal in the opener, is ranked 13th. SVS was not ranked in the preseason. … Cal expects to have tailback Windell Brown (ankle) back after missing last week.

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Washington & Jefferson

Opponent: Frostburg State
When: 7 p.m., Saturday
Where: Bobcat Stadium in Frostburg, Md.
Records: W&J is 1-0 and Fostburg is 0-1
Television: None
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Noteworthy: Washington & Jefferson and Frostburg will play for the fifth time in history and for the second consecutive year. Prior to the 2008 meeting, the two colleges hadn't faced off against each other since the 1993 NCAA Division III Playoffs, which resulted in a 28-7 W&J win in Maryland. … Junior running back Derek Taylor had 129 all-purpose yards – 93 rushing, 36 receiving – in W&J’s victory over Oberlin. His 93 yards rushing were a career high and he added a pair of touchdowns. … Under head coach Mike Sirianni, the Presidents are 50-0 when leading at halftime. … found Washington & Jefferson up four spots at No. 10 in its latest poll. The first AFCA Coaches poll is expected to be released in two weeks. … The Presidents have won 10 of their last 11 games during the second week of the season, including six in a row. … W&J is 8-6-1 against Maryland opponents, including Frostburg (4-0), McDaniel (3-0), Navy (1-4-1) and Salisbury (0-2).

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Matthews on the mend

Former Canon-McMillan football player Jervain Matthews, pictured, was injured in Northwestern's season-opening victory over Towson State last Saturday. Matthews, a sophomore running back, carried three times for 11 yards before leaving in the second quarter with was described as a "nasty-looking" ankle injury and did not return. However, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, when asked this week about Matthews, said he'd "probably list him as probable" for the Wildcats' game against Eastern Michigan game.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Small college wrapup, Week 1

If California University's football team wasn't facing a must-win against Bloomsburg, it certainly is this Saturday when the Vulcans play at West Chester. Cal is 0-2 after falling to Bloomsburg, 17-10, and a loss to West Chester would probably end any chance of making the playoffs, short of winning out. While that is a possibility, only the most blinded fan would think that will happen.

This is a team that has many problems, and not just at quarterback. The running game has been ineffective in the first two games, the offensive line has had trouble picking up blitzes, and the defense has had problems making crucial stops. Bloomsburg drove 61 yards in four plays and needed just 33 seconds to score the winning touchdown in the final minute of the game. In a season-opening loss to Saginaw Valley, Cal turned the ball over in two crucial situations and missed a field goal.

Josh Portis has struggled in his first two games at quarterback for Cal. He isn't the thrower Kevin McCabe or Joe Ruggiero were and the Vulcans need to give him more help. Portis should be much better as the season goes on.

If Cal falls to West Chester, it's still possible for the Vulcans to win the the PSAC West Division and State Game. Only then would a playoff berth come. But you will have a hard time finding anyone willing to bet money on that.


Just minutes after Saturday night's 35-9 victory by Washington & Jefferson over Oberlin, head coach Mike Sirianni uttered the phrase that is the bane of all coaches: quarterback controversy. Junior Steven Shumaker had a decent game in his first start, completing 17 of 28 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. He had a meaningless interception on a Hail Mary pass in the end zone as time ran out in the first half.

It wasn't what Shumaker did, but what Gino Rometo did when he came in with just over seven minutes to play that has Sirianni wondering. Rometo, a junior transfer from Clarion, completed all four passes for 51 yards. But it was the way he ran the offense, sharp, crisp and in time with the line and wide receivers that was impressive.

It's hard to have a quarterback controversy when Shumaker and Rometo have so little experience. Using both might be a good idea, considering the two are in the same class and injuries are always possible. That's not a bad problem for Sirianni.


It's always better to win a game, no matter how a team plays. But the players on Waynesburg University's team have to have mixed feelings about the wild, season-opening 42-39 victory at Wooster.

Waynesburg scored 29-second half points – good – but gave up 28 - bad. The Yellow Jackets rolled up 521 total yards - good - but surrendered 500 - bad. The defense gave up a four-play, 66-yard drive in less than a minute that gave Wooster a 39-35 lead with 1:03 to play - bad - but the offense needed just one play, after Troy Garove returned the ensuing kickoff to the Wooster 25, to score the game-winner - again, good.

Waynesburg didn't turn the ball over but committed 12 penalties for 99 yards. And ... well, you get the idea. Still, a win is a win and practice will be easier to take this week because of Waynesburg's victory.


Andrew DiDonato had one of the best games of his career at any level in Grove City's 52-47 loss to Dickinson. DiDonato, a senior quarterback from South Fayette, accounted for 400 of the Wolverines' 449 total yards, passing for 291 and rushing for 109.

Ben Jennings rushed for 149 yards and scored a touchdown in Mercyhurst's 45-15 victory over Cheyney. In two games, Jennings, a graduate of Trinity High School, has three touchdowns and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

Two Canon-McMillan graduates – placekicker Robert Mamula and linebacker Ben Maund - are off to strong starts at Clarion. Mamula has made all four field goal attempts in Clarions first two games and Maund has 13 tackles and two quarterback sacks.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

California's dilemma

It's only the second game of the season, but California University's football team is probably faced with a must-win game when Bloomsburg arrives Saturday night.

The Vulcans were upended in the opener, 23-17, by Saginaw Valley State, killing themselves with turnovers and penalties at crucial parts of the game. Two losses to start the season would put Cal in quite a fix to make the NCAA Division II playoffs. It doesn't get any easier the following week with a trip to West Chester.

The first three games will be against ranked teams, a rare occurrence in any division. But after reaching the national semifinals, Cal is having a hard time getting teams on its schedule.

Three-loss teams are rare in the D-II playoffs so the Vulcans would need to look at every game after Bloomsburg as a must-win. They would need to win the PSAC West Division and, most likely, the State Game to get in if the Vulcans began the season 0-3.

"In the old days at W&J, when we didn't have the automatic bid, that loss would have eliminated us from the playoffs," head coach John Luckhardt said. "We have a chance to do well in the conference, and if we do, we won't be out of the playoff picture. But we can't lose a lot more."

One piece of good news this week came when running back Windell Brown's ankle injury turned out to be less serious than expected. He is expected to return against West Chester.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Football Pregame Notes

College Football
Waynesburg University
Opponent: Wooster
When: 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5
Where: John Papp Stadium in Wooster
Records: Season-opener for both teams
Television: None
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.7
Noteworthy: Rick Shepas begins his fifth season at Waynesburg with a 23-18 record. He is 1-2 against Wooster. Shepas’ next victory will tie him with Jeff Hand for sixth place on Waynesburg’s career list. Mike Shmitz has been head coach at Wooster for 10 seasons. … The visiting team has won the past three games. … Junior quarterback Brad Dawson needs just 53 yards to pass Jack Becker for 10th place on the school’s career passing yardage list (1,792). … Junior wide receiver Ray Hightower needs just five catches to tie Jarred Plisko for 10th place on the school’s career receptions list (73). … Wooster returns senior quarterback Austin Holter, who set a school record last season with 2,712 total yards. He passed for 13 touchdowns and ran for nine. … Sophomore Justin Falcon is No. 1 on the depth chart at running back for Waynesburg and junior Billy Becker is second. Becker (521 yards, 4.8 Ave., 6 TDs) and Falcon (534, 4.1, 5) had nearly identical rushing numbers last season.

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College Football
Washington & Jefferson

Opponent: Oberlin
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5
Where: Cameron Stadium in Washington
Records: Season-opener for both teams
Television: None
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Noteworthy: This game marks the first start for Steven Shumaker at quarterback for the Presidents. Shumaker steps in for the graduated Bobby Swallow. Shumaker is a 6-2 junior who handled most of the practice session in the second half of last year when Swallow was nursing an injury. Brian Dawson, Chris Edwards and Swallow own all 29 school passing or total offense records and have combined for 27,850 passing yards and 287 touchdowns. … Mike Sirianni enters his seventh season as the head coach at W&J with a 61-10 (.859) record. Sirianni is third among all active NCAA head coaches in winning percentage (minimum five years). Jeff Ramsey is in his 11th season with Oberlin and has a 26-74 (.260) record. … W&J was picked second in the preseason PAC poll and Oberlin was seventh in the North Coast Athletic Conference preseason poll. … W&J recorded its 25th straight winning season after going 11-2 last year. The last time W&J did not end the season with a winning record was during the 1983 season (3-5-1).

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College football
California University
Opponent: Bloomsburg
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5
Where: Hepner-Bailey Field in California
Records: California is 0-1 overall; Bloomsburg is 1-0
Television: FSN
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Noteworthy: The Vulcans are coming off a stinging 23-17 loss to Saginaw Valley State in the season-opener last Thursday. The game marked the start of Josh Portis at quarterback for the Vulcans. Portis, cousing of Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, completed 14 of 31 passes for 140 yards. He was intercepted twice on deflections. ... Cal running back Windell Brown injured his ankle in the first quarter against Saginaw Valley and is not expected to play against Bloomsburg. But he is expected back for the Sept. 12 game at West Chester. Freddie Bacco will start and Dane Conwell will spell Bacco in the backfield. ... Cal's first three non-conference opponents - Saginaw Valley, Bloomsburg and West Chester - are ranked in the AFCA Top 25 poll. Cal is 18th, Saginaw Valley is 24th, Bloomsburg is sixth and West Chester 14... California defensive nose tackle Sam Fikaris started his 28th straight game since winning the position as a freshman. He had a career-best 10 tackles against Saginaw Valley. ... Counting last season's loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA Division II national semifinals, Cal has lost two straight games for the first time since October of 2004.

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Houston wins WVIAC honor

Kara Houston, a junior forward for Wheeling Jesuit University and a Trinity High School graduate, was named the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's soccer player of the week. Houston scored two goals and had an assist in the Cardinals' 5-4 overtime victory against Shippensburg in the season opener. Houston scored the game-winning goal in the fifth minute of the overtime period.

Houston was the Cardinals' leading scorer last season with 12 goals and 27 points in 18 matches. She was a second team all-conference selection.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big East preseason rankings

1. Rutgers
Th Scarlet Knight finished tied for second with Pitt and West Virginia last year and they won their final six games, including the Bowl. All-time leading passer Mike Teel and receivers Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood are gone but it's not outlandish to say Rutgers still has the most talent in the conference. All five starters on the offensive line return and left tackle Anthony Davis is one of the best in college football.

Rutgers opens its season versus Cincinnati on Monday, Sept. 7 at home. Pitt, South Florida and West Virginia all play at Rutgers. That's what makes them the favorite.

2. Pitt
Media selected the Panthers as conference favorites in a preseason poll and it's understandable. The Panthers won nine games a year ago – the first time that's happened at Pitt since 1982. Four starters return on the offensive line and the defense should be the best in the Big East. Questions at quarterback and on special teams could cost the Panthers a spot in the BCS.

3. West Virginia
Wouldn't be shocked if West Virginia won the conference or turned into the league's biggest disappointment. Running back Noel Devine is the Big East's most dynamic offensive player and quarterback Jarrett Brown is a capable replacement for Pat White. The Mountaineers need playmakers on defense. Don't see many there.

4. Cincinnati
The Bearcats represented the Big East in the BCS last year, losing to Virginia Tech at the Orange Bowl and looking overmatched in the process. Quarterback Tony Pike is back and, with all apologies to South Florida's Matt Grothe, the league's best at the position. No doubt Cincinnati is improving under head coach Brian Kelly but it lost too many top players to repeat last year's performance.

5. South Florida

Sure, the Bulls have quarterback Matt Grothe and All-American defensive end George Selvie, but this team plays its best football in September. There's no reason to believe South Florida breaks the trend.

6. Connecticut
If there's a team in the second half of these rankings which could make a major move upward, it's the Huskies. All-American running back Donald Brown is with the Indianapolis Colts but senior Andre Dixon rushed for 828 yards in 2007. Trinity High School graduate Cody Endres is the Huskies' No. 2 quarterback.

7. Louisville
The Cardinals went from emerging national power – they won the Orange Bowl three years ago – to Big East stepping stone the minute current Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino left campus for the Atlanta Falcons. Head coach Steve Kragthorpe is on the hot seat.

8. Syracuse
The Big East's worst team made its biggest headline during the offseason when former Duke point guard Greg Paulus joined the Orange for one year of football. He's the starting quarterback and was once considered one of the top high school players in the country.

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