Share This Page

California University's Walker eyes record

Talk about California University's red-hot football team, which hosts Mercyhurst Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and the names that keep popping up are Josh Portis and A.J. Jackson.

It's understandable considering Portis and Jackson make up one of the country's top passing acts.

Portis shares the PSAC lead with 21 touchdown passes and is No. 2 in passer rating at 149.4, behind Edinboro's Trevor Harris' 149.7.

Jackson, meanwhile, has caught a conference-high 11 touchdown passes and his 55 receptions for 807 yards is second only to Clarion's Jacques Robinson (56 catches for 650 yards).

While Portis and Jackson lead the conference's highest scoring team which is averaging 35 points, senior tackle Willie Walker has quietly been leading the PSAC's second-ranked defense.

Walker may be only the Vulcans' eighth leading tackler with 31 including 17 solos but those numbers don't tell the real story.

A 6-3, 250-pounder from Aliquippa, Walker is closing in on a school record. His 29 12 career tackles for loss is 1 12 shy of the mark set by Jim Lukacs in 2001.

Walker's performance in a Cal uniform since his freshman campaign hasn't surprised Vulcan coach John Luckhardt.

"He was an outstanding player in high school and his playing level has gone up here," said Luckhardt. "He plays so hard all the time and is an outstanding leader.

"He's one of the guys who brought us back from the edge at the beginning of the season," he went on. "He's extremely quick and difficult to block one on one.'

Despite Mercyhurst's overall 4-5 record, Luckhardt feels the Lakers will be a good tuneup for next week's PSAC championship game.

"They're a very physical team," he said. "Most of their games have been close and they like to go with a ball control offense."

Mercyhurst's two running backs, Gerald Anderson(463) and Ben Jennings (462) have combined for 925 yards and each scored five touchdowns.

Mercyhurst quarterback Joe Laffey has thrown for 1,380 yards and 11 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

Josh Szeluga (33 for 423) and Trevor Kennedy (30 for 434) are Laffey's leading receivers.

LEFTOVERS: The contest will be televised Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on Fox Sports. Despite last week's 44-7 romp at Slippery Rock, Cal slipped from third to fourth in the Super Regional One ranking. West Liberty, Shippensburg and Bloomsburg are the top three teams.

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.