Cal seeks another trip to semis
• California (Pa.) today seeks its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II semifinals. High-flying West Liberty, the Super Region One top-seeded team and the nation's No. 1 offensive unit, stands in the way. The Hilltoppers are first in Division II in scoring offense (48.3 points per game) and total offense (549.7 yards per game). West Liberty looks to make West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history with a 12th victory on the season. Both teams last week avenged earlier losses with victories in the second round of the playoffs. West Liberty rewrote the school and WVIAC record books with a scintillating 84-63 victory over Edinboro, which had handed the Hilltoppers a loss in the first week of the regular season. West Liberty quarterback Zach Amedro completed 27 of 32 passes for 540 yards and six touchdowns. California got revenge for a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title game loss to Shippensburg with a 26-21 triumph over the Red Raiders. Wide receiver A.J. Jackson caught seven passes for 108 yards to lead the Vulcans.
• West Liberty offensive tackle Ben Staggs and California (Pa.) defensive tackle Willie Walker were named finalists for the 2009 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award. They are among 13 award nominees from the region. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Staggs and the 6-3, 275-pound Walker, from Aliquippa, are expected to face one another when the teams square off today at West Liberty.
• West Liberty quarterback Zach Amedro was named the Super Region One Offensive player of the Year in being selected to the first team of the Daktronics Inc. Division II all-region team. Clarion's Alfonzo Hoggard was a two-position honoree, earning the most votes at running back and earning second-team honors as a return specialist. West Liberty earned the most selections with nine. In addition to Amedro, wide receiver Kashif Walls, tight end Ryan Travis, offensive lineman Ben Staggs and cornerback Derrick Evans were named to the first team. Offensive linemen Tim Ickes and Nick Madia, running back Kevon Calhoun and linebacker Clay Beeler were second-team selections.
• Other district players named to the Daktronics Inc. Division II first team were offensive linemen Dan Jordan and Cha-Mar Jones, defensive lineman Willie Walker, linebacker Dontey Brown and cornerback Terrence Johnson of California; wide receiver Mike Harris and punter Kyler Ford of Shippensburg; long snapper Nick Sipes of Clarion; offensive lineman Brandon Fusco of Slippery Rock; and kicker Craig Burgess of Indiana (Pa.).
• Other second-team selections from the district were wide receiver A.J. Jackson and punter Derek Fiorenza of California (Pa.); tight end Matt Foradora of Clarion; cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of IUP; and offensive linemen Mike Fazio and Rob Stoner, quarterback Trevor Harris and cornerback Branden Williams of Edinboro.