Vulcans feature 17 All-PSAC West selections

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. (Nov. 12) – In this year’s All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) football announcement, the Vulcans led the 16-team conference with a total of 17 players on the All-PSAC Western Division First and Second Teams, as released by the league office on Wednesday.
The California University of Pennsylvania football team featured eight players on the All-PSAC West First Team and nine players on the All-PSAC West Second Team.
Senior running back Brandon Lombardy (Moureland Hills, Ohio/Chagrin Falls/Purdue) and junior defensive lineman Willie Walker (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) led the Vulcans with their third All-PSAC selection in their careers. Walker earned first-team laurels for the second-straight year, while Lombardy received All-PSAC accolades for a third-consecutive year.
Senior safety Juan Butler (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport), graduate student punter Derek Fiorenza (Dowingtown, Pa./Dowingtown/Villanova), senior tight end Cory Garver (Cumberland, Md./Fort Hill/Delaware State), junior wide receiver AJ Jackson (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh/Sequoias), junior cornerback Terrence Johnson (Braddock, Pa./Woodland Hills), graduate student wide receiver Marcel Pestano (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh/Pittsburgh), Walker and senior running Daine Williams (Beaver Falls, Pa./Beaver Falls/Howard) all garnered All-PSAC West First Team selections.
Butler leads the team with a career-high 63 tackles (42 solo) with 2.5 tackles for loss (TFL) and two interceptions. The defensive captain also has forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble for the Vulcans in 2008.
Fiorenza ranks second in the conference in punting at 43.2 yards per punt with 17 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Garver ranks third on the team in both receptions (24) and receiving yards (24.8 per game). The 6-4 tight end continues to be a threat in the red zone with three touchdowns.
Johnson continues his impressive play in the secondary, leading the team with five interceptions. A two-time All-PSAC First Team selection, Johnson ranks sixth on the team with 33 tackles (21 solo) and 2.5 TFL.

Pestano and Jackson have made immediate impacts in their first year with the Vulcan program. Pestano leads the team with 61 receptions, 81.4 receiving yards per game and 12 touchdowns. The Pittsburgh transfer also is the team leader with 78 points (13 total touchdowns) and 97.3 all-purpose yards per game. After battling injuries for much of the early portion of the season, Jackson has registered 58.7 receiving yards per game and seven touchdowns on 32 receptions.
Walker continues to be a mainstay on the Cal U defensive front, leading the linemen with 36 stops (21 solo). The three-year starter ranks among the team leaders with 2.0 sacks and 5.5 TFL. Williams leads the team and ranks among the conference leaders with 79.2 rushing yards per game and nine rushing touchdowns on 167 attempts. The 5-11 running back has posted three 100-yard games this season while splitting with three other running backs.
Selected on the All-PSAC West Second Team were junior return specialist Freddie Bacco (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin), senior linebacker Darren Burns (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport), sophomore nose tackle Sam Fikaris (Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Mayfield), senior linebacker Jake Howell (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brashear), sophomore offensive guard Dan Jordan (Fairmount City, Pa./Redbank Valley), graduate student quarterback Kevin McCabe (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland/Virginia), sophomore offensive tackle Nate Nurse (Teaneck, N.J./Don Bosco/Rutgers), sophomore center Nick Piccirillo (Mayfield, Ohio/Mayfield), and Lombardy.
McCabe, a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate, ranks among the national leaders with a 162.43 quarterback efficiency behind a school record 25 touchdown passes. He also is among the league leaders with 236.9 per game and a 65.7 completion percentage.
Lombardy ranks second on the team with 491 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He also leads all running backs with 22 receptions for 209 yards. Lombardy is among the all-time leaders in school history with 3,296 career rushing yards and 44 rushing touchdowns.
Jordan, Nurse and Piccirillo help anchor one of the top offensive lines in the country, allowing only 1.09 sacks per game. The offensive line has also helped clear lanes for the No. 19-ranked rushing offense in the country with 203.9 yards per game. Burns and Howell are two of the most veteran players on a youthful defensive unit. Howell ranks second on the team with 62 tackles (32 solo) and 6.0 TFL, while Burns has posted 23 tackles (13 solo) and 4.5 TFL after missing large parts of three games due to injury.
Bacco leads the team and ranks second in the PSAC with 28.5 yards per kickoff return. The 5-11 junior has totaled 484 return yards on 17 kickoffs with one touchdown. Fikaris continues to be a solid run-stopper for the Vulcans with 23 tackles (14 solo) and 3.0 TFL.
The Vulcans received a berth in the NCAA Playoffs for a second-straight year and enjoy a first-round bye this week. Cal U returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 29, with a second-round game against the winner of the American International College (Mass.) and Seton Hill with kickoff at Adamson Stadium set for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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