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California (Pa.) falls in playoff opener

With 57 seconds left, California (Pa.) ran the same two-point conversion play it used against Indiana (Pa.) earlier in the season.

The play forced overtime against the Crimson Hawks. Saturday afternoon at Adamson Stadium, it didn’t.

Josh Portis’ pass fell incomplete, as No. 6 seed Bloomsburg escaped with a 28-26 win over No. 3 California in a Division II first-round playoff game.

The senior quarterback rolled right and looked for receiver Terrance Moore running to the flat, but he was covered. Portis lobbed a pass to the back corner of the end zone that didn’t connect.

“They got some pressure up the field on us,” coach John Luckhardt said.

The Vulcans had driven 93 yards to pull within two points. The drive was extended by a controversial pass-interference call on fourth-and-10 from the Bloomsburg 42. California scored on the next play, a 28-yard pass from Portis to Chedrick Cherry.

California led, 20-14, to start the fourth quarter and seemed to have all of the momentum. The Vulcans even scored on a 28-yard catch by Derrick Jones on the quarter’s first play, but it was negated by a holding penalty. California eventually punted, and Bloomsburg used trickery to turn the tide.

Quarterback Pat Carey threw a lateral to tight end Ben Weaber, who launched a 57-yard pass to receiver Kyle Fisher. The trick play gave the Huskies a 21-20 lead with 9:19 remaining.

“It was a great play — just well executed and the timing of it,” coach Danny Hale said. “We needed something to change the pace and pick us up.”

After a California punt, Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh ran for a 38-yard score on the drive’s first play to make it 28-20. Quiteh, the top rusher in Division II, finished with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

Quiteh never doubted he would play despite being on crutches earlier in the week.

“Once the adrenaline hit, I felt nothing,” said Quiteh, who also scored on a 15-yard run in the second quarter. “I just wanted to play football — that’s all.”

California struggled to run the ball, only gaining 54 yards on the ground — its lowest rushing total since 2005. Portis picked up the slack through the air, going 26 of 48 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. It was the senior’s fifth 300-yard passing game of his career.

The senior became California’s career leader in passing touchdowns, finishing with 69 in two years after spending a year apiece at Florida and Maryland. Joe Ruggiero (2004-07) had held the record of 67.

Photo Galleries

Cal U vs. Bloomsburg NCAA Division II Playoffs

Cal U vs. Bloomsburg NCAA Division II Playoffs

Cal U falls 28-26 to Bloomsburg in their NCAA Division II Super Region One opening round playoff game at Adamson Stadium in California.


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