California Vulcans have restocked roster
NCAA DIVISION II
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
• What can California (Pa.) do to top last season's magical run to the NCAA Division II semifinals• The Vulcans narrowly missed reaching the title game in a 28-24 loss to eventual champion Valdosta State. While several key players have moved on, California has restocked its roster with more Division I transfers, including quarterback Kevin McCabe (Pine-Richland High School), who began his college career at Virginia. ... Clarion returns 17 starters among 33 lettermen in hopes of turning a program that has been on the skids in recent years. The Golden Eagles' 0-11 mark in 2007 included three losses in the final four games by seven points each. ... Edinboro's high-powered offense returns eight starters, including record-setting quarterback Trevor Harris (3,268 yards passing) and the top four receivers, including seniors Rich Cerro (58 receptions) and Ryan Rybicki (54). ... Indiana (Pa.) made its first postseason appearance since 2002, advancing to the second round of the D-II playoffs. Quarterback Andrew Krewatch (North Allegheny) set single-season passing records for yards (3,100) and completions (237) and threw the second-most touchdown passes (29) in school history. ... One of three new league members, Gannon is hoping to energize an anemic offense, which averaged just 11.8 points last season in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The offensive line returns all five starters. ... Lock Haven hopes to build on its only victory of the season in its final game against Clarion. Junior quarterback Ilio DiPaolo begins his third year as a starter for the Bald Eagles. As a sophomore, he produced more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing combined. ... Mercyhurst, another newcomer to the league, averaged 32.1 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense in the GLIAC. The Lakers are led by cornerback Theo Hall, who had five interceptions, two blocked kicks and 12 pass breakups and set a school record for kick return yards (1,043). ... As a result of league expansion and realignment, Shippensburg shifts to the East Division after 48 years in the West. The Red Raiders were just 16 points shy of a winning record last year, including losses by a combined nine points to a pair of playoff teams. While a new quarterback must step in, wide receiver Mike Harris (57 receptions) returns. ... Slippery Rock, which narrowly missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, returns only eight starters -- a league-low. Senior running back Corey Manfull averaged 139.8 yards rushing before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
• First-year Seton Hill coach Joel Dolinski will benefit from 21 of 22 returning starters, including quarterback Matt Dowdell (Moon), running back Antwarn Jones (1,276 yards rushing) and wide receiver Derek Thompson (43 receptions). ... Poised to begin play on a new artificial surface, West Liberty State looks to challenge perennial league power Shepherd for a league title. Quarterback Zach Amedro returns after setting a school record for passing yards (3,297) in his first year after transferring from Appalachian State. Senior defensive back Darren Banks led D-II with 13 interceptions last season, and running back Eddie Hills will try to top his 1,107 yards rushing.
NCAA DIVISION III
Presidents' Athletic Conference
• Washington & Jefferson returns 16 starters from a 10-1 team that won its 19th conference championship in 23 years. But a one-point home overtime loss to North Carolina Wesleyan in the first-round of the playoffs has given the Presidents additional incentive as they head into a new season. Another talented W&J team is led by senior quarterback Bobby Swallow, who has passed for 5,242 career yards (fourth-most in school history). ... Bethany opens its first season with new artificial turf and lights. The Bison hope to continue changing the program's losing culture, but they'll have to do it with a new quarterback. Milton Joyner has departed after passing for more than 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. ... Geneva continues its transition from NAIA as one of two teams ineligible for the conference title. The Golden Tornadoes posted an impressive 8-3 record in their inaugural season in the league. ... Dual-threat quarterback Andrew DiDonato (South Fayette) already is Grove City's all-time leading passer (3,120 yards), and he's only entering his junior season. ... St. Vincent, another provisional league member, resumes its football renaissance after a long layoff seeking its first victory. The Bearcats were outscored, 500-111 in its 10 losses. ... Thiel hope to return to the upper half of the league after suffering through a 3-7 season last year. Running back Dan Hess (Kiski Area), who scored 11 touchdowns, heads the returnees. ... While Waynesburg boasts all-conference running back Robert Heller (Ringgold), who set a single-season school record for rushing (2,176 yards) as a freshman last season, the Yellow Jackets' defense is nothing to ignore. Defensive end D.J. DeWitt (Connellsville), at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, is among three returning starters on the line. ... Westminster will rely on an experienced defense for one of its strengths this season. Seniors defensive end Andrew Robinson (Wilmington), linebacker Jordan Blinn (Western Beaver) and defensive tackle Matt Jaworski (Bethel Park) each have made 20 consecutive starts for the Titans.
University Athletic Association
• After a 7-4 season, Carnegie Mellon will attempt to keep its impressive string of 33 consecutive non-losing years intact. It won't be easy, as the Tartans must replace bruising running back Travis Sivek, the school's all-time rusher.
North Coast Athletic Conference
• The good news for Allegheny is the return of quarterback T.J. Salopek. The Mercyhurst transfer completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,608 yards last year. But 12 interceptions were coupled with only seven touchdown passes. Allegheny lost three games by seven points or less last year.
• Juniata will try to improve on a 1-10 season, including 10 consecutive losses, in its first year in the league. Among the returning starters is quarterback Jay Leonard (2,360 yards passing, 15 touchdowns).