Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

koroly

Joey Koroly has played offense, defense and special teams for Washington & Jefferson this season.

Joey Koroly made lemonade out of lemons.

The Trinity High School graduate was moved from running back to defensive back because Washington & Jefferson College’s football team already had Jordan West and E.J. Thompson in the backfield to start the season. So head coach Mike Sirianni made the move with the promise Koroly would get some carries in the backfield.

Koroly could have pouted, soured over how he was used and quit.

Instead, Koroly has blossomed in the secondary, drawing the opponents’ top receiver. He has three interceptions, a team-high 10 pass breakups and a forced fumble. Koroly is the team’s top return guy, with a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns.

Koroly has been used in the backfield, rushing 18 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. With West’s graduation, Koroly will move back to tailback next season, with the respect of the players and coaching staff because of how he handled the situation this season.

  • For the second time in more than 20 years, the three local colleges – Washington & Jefferson, Waynesburg and California – will as a whole sit out their respective postseason tournaments.

I am counting the ECAC appearances, much as I dislike the game. But it is a postseason game and falls under our umbrella.

That hasn’t happened since 2015 and 1998, the latter date the last in the illustrious coaching career of John Luckhardt at Washington & Jefferson.

Luckhardt won 137 games at W&J and took the Presidents to two NCAA Division III title games (1992 and 1994).

Interestingly, Luckhardt became Cal’s football coach

in 2002 and led the Vulcans to the NCAA Division II semifinals twice (2007 and 2008).

  • One of the weaknesses in W&J’s team this season has been the play of the offensive line. The passing game suffered and senior quarterback Jake Adams has been sacked an average of four times per game. So that just made his performance in a 28-21 loss to Westminster two weeks ago all the more impressive.

Adams set a single-game school record with 499 passing yards in the loss. He is on pace for 2,738 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. He threw for 2,788 yards and 33 touchdowns last season.

Adams ranks first in the PAC in passing yards per game (273.9), first in completions (171), second in touchdown passes (19) and third in pass efficiency (143.1). Adams finishes his career with two home games: Saint Vincent on Saturday and Waynesburg the following week.

  • California tailback Nelson Brown is quietly having a superb season with 907 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The senior transfer from Lenoir-Rhyne is on pace for nearly 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. His performance in a loss to Slippery Rock – 137 rushing yards and three touchdowns – was nearly enough to pull off the upset.

Cal (6-3, 4-2) finishes with a home game against Seton Hill and a road game against West Chester.

  • It’s been a long season at Waynesburg. The Yellow Jackets are 1-7 but there have been bright spots. One is senior linebacker Tyler Smith, who leads the team with 79 tackles, including 10 1/2 for losses. Smith has two quarterback sacks, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He has five games with double-digit tackles.

Waynesburg winds up the season with a home game against Case Western Reserve and at W&J.

Assistant sports editor Joe Tuscano can be reached at jtuscano@observer-reporter.com

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