WEEK 1 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Chargers, Vulcans the very first teams to play college football in 2012
Nationally ranked squads square off at 5:00 Aug. 30
August 24, 2012 – The very first game of the 2012 NCAA college football season also involves the two highest-ranked Division II teams to play one another in the season’s opening week.
No game anywhere in the country, at any level of college football, will start play before the 5 p.m. scheduled kickoff of Division II powerhouses Hillsdale College and California Pennsylvania Thursday night in the Keystone state. Many other games around the country, both at the FCS and Division II levels are scheduled for Thursday, but none will start as early as the much-anticipated contest between the Chargers and Vulcans.
Charger Football Game Notes – Week 1
California (Pa.) football webpage
Hillsdale, the defending GLIAC champions, enters the 2012 season with high expectations. The Chargers are ranked 17th in the initial AFCA Division II preseason poll, and return 18 starters from the 8-3 team of 2011. California is a perennial playoff contender and the preseason favorite to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The Vulcans land at 11th in the AFCA preseason poll, making this the game that matches up the two highest-ranked teams in the preseason poll against one another anywhere in Division II in Week 1.
The Chargers will deploy a familiar look when they take the field Thursday night. Led by All-American running back Joe Glendening, returning senior quarterback Anthony Mifsud, and four returning starters on the offensive line, this year’s offense greatly resembles the offense that scored 91 points in the final two games of the 2011 season. Glendening is a sensational tailback, having rushed for 1,604 yards while scoring 31 total touchdowns in just 10 games a year ago. He will likely be the focal point of the Vulcans’ defensive game plan.
On the other side of the field, a new man is in charge of one of Pennsylvania’s most successful Division II programs. Mike Kellar was named head coach of the Vulcans July 5 after the announcement of the retirement of longtime coach John Luckhart. The 10-year coach at Cal cited health reasons for his decision to retire in the middle of the summer. He led Cal to three NCAA Division II regional championships and seven straight PSAC West Division titles.
Kellar worked as the Vulcans’ offensive coordinator from 2004-08, then was the head coach at Concord (W. Va.) from 2009-2010. Kellar returned to the Cal sidelines as associate head coach for offense in the 2011 season. Kellar officially started his head coaching duties Monday, Aug. 6.
Hillsdale College head coach Keith Otterbein enters his 11th season leading his alma mater. He’s been named the GLIAC Coach of the Year and Super Region 3 Coach of the Year in two of the past three seasons. He’s led the team to five straight winning seasons, a first for the program since the early 1990s.
If you go:
Regular Seats - $8 adults/$5 children (12 & under)
Chairback Seats (home side only) - $12 adults/$8 children (12 & under)
Parking - $3