By Alix Kunkle - Sports Editor
Terrance Moore might be quiet in California’s receiving game this year, but the Vulcans have found another receiver who can give defenses problems.
Chedrick Cherry had 139 receiving yards and two touchdown catches as California overcame a 17-point second quarter by East Stroudsburg to defeat the Warriors, 45-20, to improve to 3-0 on the season entering PSAC West play. It is the first time the Vulcans have started 3-0 since 2007, when they started with the same record en route to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
Cherry, who was listed as the second wide receiver on the team’s depth chart entering the season, set a career high with his receiving total. Cherry’s first touchdown came in the first quarter when he caught a 15-yard pass, and his second came in the third quarter when he reeled in a 28-yard pass to give Cal a 28-20 lead.
Josh Portis finished with 263 passing yards on 14 completions and threw three touchdowns, but also was intercepted twice. Portis, however, did not gain positive rushing yards for the first time in his California career; in two rushing attempts, he finished with negative 19 yards rushing. Derrick Jones finished second on the team with 60 receiving yards on three catches, and Terrance Moore had 32 yards on two catches. Mike Williams, who caught his first two passes as a Vulcan in the game, finished with 26 receiving yards.
But while California’s passing offense picked apart East Stroudsburg’s secondary, the Vulcans’ rushing game, one of the top rushing attacks in the PSAC, was not to be outdone. The Vulcans rushed for 237 yards during the game, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and Lamont Smith once again rushed for over 100 yards. Smith finished with 163 yards and two touchdowns; out of his 31 rushing attempts, only one went for negative yards. Smith now has 359 rushing yards on the season, second in the PSAC behind Bloomsburg’s Franklyn Quiteh. Jordan Scott also added 71 rushing yards and Cody Wilson had 19 on two carries.
The Vulcans’ defense was led by Patrick Swearinger and Rontez Miles, who each finished with five solo tackles and six overall tackles. Kevin Garrett had three tackles for loss, and redshirt freshman B.J. Stevens finished with two sacks. California also forced two turnovers during the game to bring their single season total to 11, tops in the PSAC.
California opened the first two quarters with two quick scores, and looked to be dispatching the Warriors early. After Cherry’s first touchdown, Brett Diamond intercepted East Stroudsburg quarterback Matt Marshall and returned it 32 yards as California took a 14-0 lead.
But the Warriors scored on three straight possessions to take a 17-14 lead before Lamont Smith rushed for one yard to put the Vulcans up, 21-17. California went into the half up 21-20 after Taylor Groff kicked a 45-yard field goal to end the half.
In the second half, however, California found its groove against East Stroudsburg, scoring 24 unanswered points to pull away from the Warriors. Portis connected with Cherry for a 28-20 lead, and, after a Mark Domonkos field goal, Portis found Derrick Jones for a 39-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter as Cal took a 38-20 lead.
California opens PSAC West play this Saturday when they travel to Clarion’s Memorial Stadium for a 6:00 p.m. matchup with the Golden Eagles.