Vulcan Football begins season against familar foe


Quarterback James Harris lit up the Trojan defense last season with 280 yards plus two touchdown passes

Matt Hagy, Sports Editor

After months of preparation and long hours of weightlifting and practice out on the Adamson Stadium turf, the time has finally come for the California Vulcans Football team to return to action and begin a brand new season. Vulcans fans calendars have been marked for September 5th since the 2015 schedule was released in the spring and the opponent the Vulcans are opening against will seem familiar to everyone. For the second straight year, Cal will go against the Virginia State Trojans to kick off the season. This time the venue will shift as the Vulcans will now travel down to Petersburg, Virginia to complete the home and home series. Cal won last year’s game 33-24 but had to go through many obstacles to earn the opening day win one of those included Mother Nature. The contest featured two half hour lightning delays that extended the time of the game and provided a challenge for both teams as they looked to not lose their rhythms.

The other main storyline from last year’s matchup was the exciting offense that was put on display especially in the first half. The two teams combined for 48 first half points which included four touchdown passes of 30 yards or more. For California it was grand start to the season for quarterback James Harris who was beginning his first full season as a starter as he threw two touchdown passes and also set at the time a new career high in passing yards with 280. Virginia State had nothing short of big offense as well in the game as quarterback Tarian Ayers threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns one of which went to his favorite receiver, Jaivon Smallwood, who led both teams with 116 yards receiving. Both Ayers and Smallwood are returning starters and will be the key players to watch for when the Trojans are on the offensive side of the ball. After this bizarre opening day game, last year both teams went on different paths as the rest of the season went along. The Vulcans lost the next week at Bloomsburg but reeled off six straight wins to position themselves for their first PSAC Championship game appearance since 2009.

Unfortunately for Cal, the month of November was not so kind as the Vulcans defense was decimated by the Merychurst Lakers which prevented Cal from winning the PSAC West title and a berth in the NCAA playoffs. After the loss, the Trojans went a perfect 8-0 in the CIAA regular season and upset the Winston Salem State Rams 21-17 and clinched a berth in the NCAA playoffs. The remarkable bounce back season for the Trojans continued with a first round playoff win over America East champion LIU Post but ended a week later with a second round loss to Bloomsburg. Both teams return a decent amount of starters from last year’s squads which should provide the fans in attendance Saturday a similar game from last season just hopefully without lightning involved.

While returning Harris at quarterback, his two top targets at receiver return as well in senior Kowan Scott and junior Garry Brown. On defense Cal returns junior Jawan Turner who led the team in sacks last season and also fellow classmate Jordan Bowman who along with Brown were named second team pre-season all-Americans. Along with the firepower returning on offense for the Trojans, they had a change at the head coaching position over the off-season with the hiring of Byron Thweatt. Opening day of the college football season is one of the more exciting days at Cal U and fans have a reason to be excited about the 2015 edition of Cal Vulcans football. With a high-powered offense and playmakers on defense, Cal looks to once again take dead aim at the PSAC West division title and take care of unfinished business.