Graduate student quarterback Josh Portis (Woodland Hills,
Calif./William H. Taft/Maryland) passed for a season-high
318 yards on 18-of-32 attempts and tied his season-high mark
with five touchdown passes (17, 26, 22, 2, 55). Against the
Hilltoppers, he set new single-season school records for touchdown
passes (33) and total offense (3,481) to break marks set last
season by Kevin McCabe (32 touchdowns; 3,196 total offense).
Portis also joined McCabe as the only quarterbacks in school
history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season.
In the win, senior running back Freddie Bacco (Pittsburgh,
Pa./Baldwin) set a season and career high with 173 rushing
yards and two touchdowns (7, 6) on 17 attempts. This season,
he leads the Vulcans with 885 rushing yards and 12 rushing
touchdowns – both career-highs.
Portis completed a pair of touchdown passes to both senior
wide receiver AJ Jackson (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh/Sequoias)
and junior wide receiver Terrance Moore (Key West, Fla./Key
West/Mesa) on Saturday. Moore posted five receptions for a
game-high 158 yards, while Jackson finished with 67 yards
on five catches.
In his two years with the Vulcans, Jackson is now the fifth
player in school history to have 2,000 career receiving yards
(2,019) and is tied with Ettore Perry (1963-68) for 27 career
The Cal U defense limited the nation’s top offense in terms
of scoring (48.3 points) and total offense (549.7 yards) to
only seven points and 148 yards of total offense in the first
half. The Vulcans also forced three interceptions in the game
and allowed the Hilltoppers to convert only 5-of-14 third-down
The Vulcans seized momentum of the game early, scoring on
six of their seven first-half drives. Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers
had four first-half possessions resulting in punts and two
more ending in interceptions.
With the scored tied at 7-7, junior running back Windell Brown
(Duquesne, Pa./Duquesne) scampered 40 yards for his ninth
touchdown of the season. After sophomore defensive lineman
Steve Santia (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) registered sacks
on back-to-back plays on the ensuing West Liberty drive, the
Vulcans took advantage of a short field with a 26-yard strike
from Portis to Jackson, 13-7 with 14:53 left in the second
Sophomore defensive back Erik Harris (Nex Oxford, Pa./New
Oxford) halted the next Hilltopper possession when he intercepted
a pass by junior Zach Amedro, who was named the Super Regional
One Offensive Player of the Year this week. The turnover resulted
in a 31-yard field goal by junior kicker Marc Domonkos (Johnstown,
Pa./Bishop McCort/Lock Haven) with 12:17 left in the half,
22-7. Later in the second quarter, Portis connected with redshirt
freshman tight end Blake Williamson (Houston, Pa./Chartiers-Houston)
and Jackson for touchdowns.
On their first possession of the second half, the Vulcans
took a 43-7 lead with a 55-yard pass by Portis to Moore. West
Liberty cut the deficit to 43-21 later in the quarter before
Bacco sealed the victory with the first of his two fourth-quarter
touchdown runs (7, 6).
Harris led Cal U with seven tackles (six solo) and posted
his third interception of the year. Graduate student linebacker
Dontey Brown (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport/Penn State) finished
with six stops (five solo) and 1.0 tackle for loss (TFL),
while senior defensive back Josh Menendez (Chagrin Falls,
Ohio/Chagrin Falls/Dayton) registered five tackles (four solo)
and two pass break-ups. Santia finished the game with four
stops (three solo) and a career-high 2.5 sacks.
The Vulcans return to action when they face Northwest Missouri
State in the NCAA Semifinals next weekend. Both teams are
veterans of the national playoffs with the Vulcans in their
third-consecutive semifinals, while the Bearcats making their
fifth-straight appearance in the semifinals.
On January 7, 2009, it was announced that Portis would transfer
to the California University of Pennsylvania in the spring
semester. Since the school competes at the Division II level,
he has two years of eligibility remaining with the California
Vulcans. He started the season-opener, in which eighth-ranked
California lost to unranked Saginaw Valley State, 23–17
and recorded 14 completions on 31 attempts for 145 yards and
two interceptions and led the team in rushing with 12 carries
for 82 yards. In that one game, he exceeded his previous combined
career pass attempts of 14. After dropping the second
game, 17-10, to sixth-ranked Bloomsburg University, Portis
turned his team around and threw for 202 yards in a 30-23
Cal U win over West Chester University. Portis now leads the
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with 18 touchdown passes,
a passer rating of 179.4, and led the Vulcans to their 5th
straight PSAC West Championship.
Calvulcans.com - 11/28/2009