Story and photo courtesy of California (Pa.) Athletics
– Behind five touchdown passes from junior quarterback Peter Lalich (Springfield, Va. / West Springfield), the Vulcans cruised to a 43-3 victory over Cheyney.
With the victory, Cal U improved to 9-2 overall with a 6-1 mark in divisional play. The Vulcans closed out the regular season winning four in a row dating back to their win over Mercyhurst on Homecoming weekend.
Lalich threw for 252 yards on 15-of-22 attempts with five touchdowns and no interceptions. In his first year in a Vulcan uniform, Lalich has now thrown 26 touchdowns and is just 13 yards shy of 3,000 for the season.
Senior Chedrick Cherry (Cincinnati, Ohio / Moeller) led the Cal U receivers with five catches for 129 yards and two scores, highlighted by touchdowns of 55-yards and 46-yards. Classmate Thomas Mayo (Reston, Va. / South Lakes) and junior Mario Washington (Boiling Springs, N.C. / Crest) also combined for seven catches and 88 yards.
The Vulcan defense held the Wolves to just 172 yards of total offense behind senior Erik Harris (New Oxford, Pa. / New Oxford) who collected six stops, one sack and one interception. In addition to Harris, classmates Steve Santia (Greensburg, Pa. / Hempfield) and Kevin Crawford (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Gar-Field (Va.)) found their way into the backfield and each registered a sack, while Patrick Swearinger (Waldorf, Md. / Thomas Stone) picked off his second pass of the season.
Cal got on the board first with a Lalick three-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Blake Williamson (Houston, Pa. / Chartiers-Houston). Cheyney then countered with a 32-yard field goal from Tyler Wilkinson with a little over two minutes remaining in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 7-3.
The defense came out strong to start the second quarter as the Vulcans earned a team safety to go up 9-3. From this point forward, Cal U would not look back as they scored 36 unanswered points. After the safety, the Vulcan offense would add two touchdowns as Lalich found tailback Lamont Smith (Penn Hills, Pa. / Central Catholic) for a 10-yard score and then Cherry for the 55-yard touchdown reception to lead, 22-3. However, Cal U wasn't finished as senior defensive lineman Thomas Mulabah (Sterling, Va. / Parkview) would recover a fumble and return it 12-yards for the score and enter the locker room up 29-3.
Cal U started the second half right where they left off from the first half as they built their lead with two more receiving touchdowns. Not even two-minutes into the half, Lalich found Washington for a 15-yard score to go up 36-3. Then with 7:49 remaining in the third, Lalich would find Cherry for his second score of the day to set the final score at 43-3.
Entering the weekend as the fourth ranked team in the region, the Vulcans continue to have a chance to make the NCAA DII Tournament for a fifth-consecutive year. The final regular season regional rankings will be released tomorrow evening on NCAA.com.