Defense fuels Cal win over Edinboro
College Football Videos
On one of the uglier Saturdays of this young football season, California (Pa.) worried less about style points and leaned on a suffocating defense to top Edinboro.
The Vulcans (3-0, 1-0) prevailed, 20-7, in their rain-soaked Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West division opener by forcing five turnovers, including four interceptions. The Fighting Scots (1-2, 0-1), who had to adjust to the absence of injured star senior quarterback Cody Harris, finished with 202 yards of offense.
“I told our team I'm not trying to get style points,” Vulcans coach Mike Kellar said. “I'll take wins — they're not all going to be as pretty as Kutztown was last week. Last week, (a 45-10 win), we were kicking on all cylinders. Kutztown came in here off a tough loss. It was beautiful out. But in the course of season, good teams win some games like this. I don't necessarily think we're a very good team yet, but we were able to pull it out.”
Edinboro's most eventful play of the first half only required the Fighting Scots to apply modest pressure to punter Andrew Cerett. The Vulcans' first drive ended badly, as the punt snap sailed over Cerett's head and into the end zone. Cerett, aware of the oncoming rushers, kicked the ball out of the back for a safety. Cerett took another safety in the fourth quarter after mishandling a snap.
Cal's bench watched the two biggest plays of the first half develop just a few feet in front of them. Senior wide receiver Trey Johnson caught a quick out, broke a tackle and tiptoed up the home team's sideline before going out of bounds at Edinboro's 15-yard line for a 53-yard pickup.
Cody Nuzzo kicked a 25-yard field goal to put the Vulcans ahead, 3-2.
Midway through the second quarter, Cal senior defensive back Dewey McDonald intercepted freshman Matt Bodamer's throw over the middle, picked up some blockers along the home sideline, and returned the ball 50 yards for a score.
“When I first caught it, I checked the sideline closest to me, and I was trying to get to that sideline,” McDonald said. “But then I saw all my blockers say come this way, so I cut it back, and then everybody escorted me to the end zone.”
Bodamer, who finished his high school career at District 9 Port Allegany as the PIAA's career passing yardage leader, and redshirt freshman Jon Girvin, a Northgate grad, combined to fill in for Harris, a two-time All-PSAC West second-team selection who has averaged 394.5 yards of offense this season.
Girvin, who earned the start because of his slight edge in experience, completed 13 of 34 passes for 120 yards. He threw three interceptions and was sacked three times.
Bodamer's only throw attempt was the pick-six. He gained 5 yards on his only rush.
Edinboro coach Scott Browning declined to go into details on Harris' injury but confirmed the quarterback is out indefinitely. The Fighting Scots also went into the game without their top running back, a starting wideout and their starting left guard.
“We're playing a lot of young guys out there this year, and we played a good football team,” Browning said. “They need to keep getting better. … There's a lot of football left.”
Sophomore running back Derrick Fiore scored the game's only offensive touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. Fiore, a Ringgold alum, finished with 68 yards rushing on 22 carries. Junior Jeff Knox led the Vulcans with 92 yards on 21 carries.
“We were extremely conservative at times (on offense), but when I look out on the field and see the defense playing the way they are and the conditions being what they are, then I'm going to win ugly,” Kellar said. “Hell, I'll win ugly anytime I get the chance to.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.