The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Vulcans Football Team Antsy For New Season

Coverage of California Vulcans Football Team Ahead of the Season
Vulcans Football Team Photo

With the Fall semester just getting started, the excitement for football grows more and more rapid.  Whether it be the Pittsburgh Steelers, your nephew’s junior league, or the Vulcans of PennWest California, the season is upon us.  The Vulcans posted a record of 6-5 overall and 4-3 in PSAC West play, ending the season with a bang, defeating East Stroudsburg 31-7 at home, for Senior Day.

The Vulcans were scheduled to kick off their season last Thursday, Aug. 31, in Philippi, West Virginia against Alderson Broaddus, but the game was canceled, delaying the season even further. Their first official game is this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 9, against Kutztown, and it’ll take place at Adamson Stadium, home of the Vulcans. The extra week of preparation and eagerness has the team more than ready to get out there and play.

“Our guys do this to compete. They love to compete,” said Gary Dunn, Head Coach of the football team. “I think with us having our first game canceled, under no fault of our own, was really disappointing to our guys. I think our energy level is probably a little higher than it typically is because they had to wait an extra week to get started. They had to sit back and watch all the other college teams throughout the country play last week, so they’re definitely getting antsy.”

Coach Dunn is entering his 8th season with the Vulcans and has been quite successful in turning the program around. He has a record of 49-18 overall and 31-10 in PSAC West games. He currently has the third most wins by any coach in California’s history, and credits his players for his road to success.

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“My players,” said Dunn when asked about what makes him successful as a head coach. “I think we have a great culture here that we really worked hard on for the past 8 years and continue to work hard. Our guys understand that it’s about the team. They understand that we’re not into selfish play. One of our motivations is that we’re gonna be great teammates and compete at everything we do.”

Dunn talked about the special connection he has with his players, and you can see the respect and trust his players have in him as their go-to guy, for more things than football.  Outside of the football field, he proves to be a great role model for his players and goes above and beyond to make sure his players are able to be successful in more aspects of life than just winning football games.

“We compete in the classroom too. We had our highest GPA in the history of our program last spring with over a 3.1 GPA, and that’s something we hang our hats on. We also compete when it comes to community service, where we did over 800 hours of community service last spring as well.  Our upperclassmen do a phenomenal job of bringing guys into our program with open arms and teaching them about the culture and how we do things. I think that is what leads to winning. We believe that winning is a habit for our guys. If you win in the classroom, you win downtown in the communities, you win in the residence halls, then Saturday becomes easy. That’s our motto.”

California was able to produce 30.8 points per game last season while staying as focused as they were in the classroom. That mark was ranked 3rd among 16 qualified teams in the PSAC East and West, trailing only Shepherd, who averaged almost 40 points per game, and Gannon, who averaged just a point more, sitting at 31.6 points per game.  

Part of the Vulcans success last year relied on the shoulders of JaQuae Jackson, former wide receiver for the Vulcans. JaQuae ended last season with 77 receptions, 1,178 yards, and 15 total touchdowns. When asked about how the team would move forward after JaQuae’s transfer to Rutgers University in New Jersey, Coach Dunn kept it simple and praised his current receiving core.

“‘Quae was excited to come here and complete his degree and I’m happy for him,” said Dunn. “But, we’re going to be different. I think top to bottom, our receiving core has the potential to be better this year. You know, we’re probably not going to be as one-sided as we were, trying to find him the football. I think we got 7 or 8 receivers that are playing extremely well, they’re all gonna play a role for us and I think we can be less one-dimensional and spread the ball around to more guys, and I’m excited about that.”

Coach Dunn exhibits a lot of confidence and trust in his players to prepare, execute, and maintain focus on the task at hand. The excitement surrounding this team seems to be somewhat infectious, as the players aren’t the only ones excited to get the season started.  Students and local fans are ready to take to the stadium on Saturday and root for their home team.

“It’s a pretty special time of the year,” said Nick Pryor, grad student of California and football fanatic. “I know the boys were really excited to play last week before the game ended up getting canceled, so I can only imagine how amped they all are now. It’s going to be fun to watch them play on Saturday.”

Saturday’s game against Kutztown is expected to have a large attendance when it comes to fans, and setting the tone in the first game of the year, in front of the home crowd, looks like it’s going to be something special. With California projected to finish third in the PSAC West standings, a win on opening day would give them a sense of confidence going into their game next week, against Shepherd, the highest scoring team in all of PSAC football.

When asked if the team has any specific games circled on their calendar, Coach Dunn turned away from the idea and stressed the importance of taking it one game, and sometimes even one play at a time.  

“What’s great about college football is that you get one shot each week,” said Dunn.  “It’s not like baseball where you have a 3-game series or basketball where you play a home and a home game back to back. Each week, you get one shot. Every game is ultra critical to your goals as a team. To compete for a conference championship and hope to get into the national playoffs, they’re all equal. Each week we talk about this being the biggest game of the year, because it’s the next one.”

Overall, the excitement surrounding this team couldn’t be any higher than it is right now.  The team is eager to take the field on Saturday in front of their home fans, and prove that all their hard work is paying off. The game will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday at Adamson Stadium in California. The game is also available for livestream on the official website of the California Vulcans.

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About the Contributor
Andrew White, Sports Editor

Andrew White is the Sports Editor and serves as a staff writer for the CalTimes.  He has a deeply engraved passion for sports and loves to inform the community about the local teams, both on and off campus. He is a Senior here at PennWest California, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Management.

Growing up in Brownsville, PA, Andrew is a die-hard Yinzer and will always have a place in his heart for the city of Pittsburgh and where he came from.  He serves as a play-by-play commentator for California’s basketball teams and hopes to land a career in Broadcasting, Public Relations, or Media Writing down the line, with his main goal being finding success as a play-by-play commentator.

Andrew is involved in CUTV, WCAL, CalTimes, and dips his hands in some graphic design work as well. He will be graduating in May and looks forward to his next steps of his career past PennWest California. He is the son of Tami and Stephen White of Brownsville, PA.

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