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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cal reached for a guy like Portis. He has highly suspect character. Secondly, losing the OC, keller was a huge blow. This is a lost season. Not only will Cal struggle next week, the Vulcans will lose one or two in the conference.

September 6, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Joe Tuscano said...

Not sure by what you mean about "highly supect character" but if you mean he somehow is a poor student barely getting by and being saved only because he is a fotball player, then I would point out he already has a degree and is working on his masters with the hope of joining the FBI. This is no dummy.

September 9, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is he cheated on an American Studies test at Maryland and was suspended. Questionable character. At no time did I say he was a bad student.

September 10, 2009 at 7:34 PM  

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