Football players react to the Clarion game that didn’t happen due to Covid-19 concerns

Covid-19 cancels the scheduled football game for Clarion vs. CalU.


Dawson Wright, Contributor

(Oct. 22, 2021) The California University of Pennsylvania football team’s fourth game of the year, which was scheduled to take place on Oct. 16, was canceled. The Vulcan’s scheduled opponent, Clarion University, elected not to play due to COVID-19 concerns.  An announcement on the Cal U Athletics website said that the game would not be re-scheduled and has been decided as a no contest.

“It was definitely disappointing,” quarterback Noah Mitchell said, “We worked our tails off from Monday to get ready, just to find out late that week that the game was canceled.”

While multiple Vulcans players noted they were let down with their inability to compete on Saturday, some players, including captain defensive back Jermal Martin Jr., were able to see the bright side of the situation.

“We looked at it as a blessing in disguise,” Martin Jr. said, “Usually D2 football doesn’t have bye weeks. So, we just capitalized off of it, and got better and sharper as a team.”

Even without an opponent, the Vulcans rose eight spots in the AFCA Division II Top 25 Poll and are now ranked at #5 in the nation. Seven of the top ten teams were defeated this past weekend, allowing room for the Vulcans to rise to their highest spot in the national poll since week four of 2017.

One of those top ten teams that was defeated includes the then #6 ranked Slippery Rock, who were upset at home 48-21 by Cal U’s upcoming opponent, the now #23 ranked IUP.

Traveling to Indiana for the 12th annual Coal Bowl this Saturday, Oct. 23, the Vulcans will be facing their first ranked opponent of the season.

“We feel confident and very healthy,” Martin Jr. said, “I like us over everybody an’ everybody. We’re going to put the finishing touches on everything and do what we got to do Saturday. It’s just another game, nothing special.”

With getting the news regarding their canceled game on Thursday, Cal U was able to shift their eyes over to IUP and have three days of extra preparation, including a very rare Sunday practice. Noah Mitchell noted that a lot of the extra time was used for game planning, but most of it was used for the Vulcans to get healthy.

Cal U, now one of only five remaining undefeated Division II teams in the country, have impressed on both sides of the ball this year. Their defense has conducted the most shutouts in the school’s history since 1958, and the offense have continued their run as the season has progressed, scoring 75 points in their last two games.

“I think we’ve all just become more comfortable and on the same page with one another,” Mitchell said. “We’ve also been playing with a lot of confidence on that side of the ball.”

In his last game against Gannon, Mitchell threw for a season high 382 yards including four touchdowns. The Vulcans defeated Gannon 38-17, improving to 6-0 on the year.

“The guys are working each day to become deserving of each outcome,” linebackers coach Jawan Turner said. “We have to continue to grow and develop our values and skills to continue to be deserving.”

( Cal U returned to action on Oct. 23, 2021 and rallied to defeat IUP 38-34 in the 12th Coal Bowl at George P. Miller Stadium, Indiana, Pa.)