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.

Do you hear them?

Listen, "chirp-chirp, chirp-chirp."

Crickets.

Not the roar of the crowd. Not the blare from the band. Not the yells from the cheerleaders.

Crickets.

That's what the postseason might sound like this year for the area's three small college football teams: California University, Washington & Jefferson and Waynesburg.

Each team has at least two losses and the odds are against any making the playoffs.

So what does the future hold for these teams?

Here’s one writer’s prognostication.

Waynesburg

Record: The Yellow Jackets are 1-4 overall, 1-5 and in ninth place in the PAC.

Where they’ve been: When the lone win is against Thiel and only by a point, well, there are problems. The defense has been OK, but the offense has managed just 23 points over the last three games combined.

Where they are going: The bad news is the meat of the schedule is coming up. Games with Grove City, Case Western Reserve and W&J await. A major area of concern is quarterback. Head coach Chris Smithley needs to get that straightened out soon to move up the charts.

Up-and-comer: Bret Hicks, a sophomore linebacker, is tied for 21st in the PAC with 37 tackles. He is coming off a nine-tackle, one-sack game against Carnegie Mellon.

Washington & Jefferson

Record: The Presidents are 4-2 overall, 3-2 in conference and tied for third place in the PAC.

Where they’ve been: Losing all-conference wide receiver Andrew Wolf with an injury was crucial to the Presidents, but the inconsistent play of the offensive line has stunted the offensive growth. Amazingly, W&J leads only one offensive category in the PAC, passing offense. Quarterback Jake Adams has taken a beating, sacked 28 times in six games. He was dropped eight times in a loss to Case Western Reserve. Defense and special teams have improved but that's not enough.

Where they are going: Losing to Case and Carnegie Mellon probably devastated any playoff hopes. A game with Westminster remains on the lighter side of the second half of this year's schedule. Then, the Presidents need a lot of help. That probably won't happen. Still, 8-2 would be a great season for any team, just not to the standards of W&J.

Up-and-comer: Sophomore Joey Koroly has been a blessing. He is a starter in an improved secondary, served as a back-up running back when tailback Jordan West was injured and is a dynamic special teams player.

California

Record: The Vulcans are 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. That’s good enough for a tie with Indiana for second place.

Where they’ve been: An unexpected loss to Kutztown put the Vulcans in elimination mode early in the season. A loss to Indiana most likely damaged any hopes for an at-large bid to the postseason. Cal faces a situation where it probably has to win out to have a chance.

Where they are going: California cannot have another Kutztown moment again and must defeat Slippery Rock on Nov. 2. Then, keep your fingers crossed.

Up-and-comer: Redshirt senior linebacker Julian Cox has come back from an injury last season and been a rock in the middle of Cal's defense. He has 32 tackles, eight for losses and two interceptions.

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

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