Robert Morris football coach Bernard Clark Jr. has learned a lot about Colonials quarterback Anthony Chiccitt through his ability to manage adversity.
The 2020 Bethel Park graduate beat stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma while in high school in 2019, then matriculated to Robert Morris and saw his first three games as a starter during a winless campaign for the Colonials in 2022.
“The great thing about Anthony is he doesn’t let pressure bother him,” said Clark, now in his sixth season at Robert Morris. “I’ve said this 1,000 times, the guy had cancer, so a football game is kind of minute to him when it comes to things like that. He doesn’t let things bother him. He’s real calm, cool and collected, sometimes too cool for me.
“Sometimes you want to get him a little bit excited, but he’s going to always keep you in the game because he’s always making the right decisions,” he added. “When you make a profit, it can’t be bad.”
Chiccitt’s trial by fire continued Saturday, as he completed 19 of 31 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns in Robert Morris’ 48-28 loss to Youngstown State at Stambaugh Field in Youngstown, Ohio.
Despite taking their second loss of the season, Clark said he is pleased with Chiccitt’s development after he led the Colonials to a 31-21 victory against Saint Francis last Saturday at Joe Walton Stadium in Moon. It was Robert Morris’ first win since defeating Campbell, 20-17, in overtime Nov. 20, 2021.
“The great thing about Anthony is last year he got an opportunity,” Clark said. “Even though we had a bad season, he played, he started in three games. He got acclimated to the college game and the college speed.
“He’s done a great job of leading our team. He’s a guy that doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes.”
And that was certainly true for Chiccitt in the first half against Youngstown State.
Chiccitt led Robert Morris to a 7-6 first-quarter lead when he connected with receiver Noah Robinson for a 29-yard touchdown pass.
“You’ve got two good players,” Clark said. “Chiccitt is going to hone in, and the good thing about Robinson is he’s running good routes. It isn’t like he’s looking for him, looking for him, but it’s just like he’s getting open, so the guy that gets open is the guy that gets the ball.”
Chiccitt then led the Colonials to a 14-13 second-quarter advantage when he led a drive, which culminated with tight end Chaese Jackson completing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Robinson.
“We just executed well for the first two quarters,” Chiccitt said.
Although Robert Morris took a 27-14 deficit into halftime and was outscored, 21-14, in the second half, Chiccitt said he was pleased with how his team played to close out Saturday’s game — in addition to through its first three games this season.
“We’re a whole different team from last year, I mean, pretty much overhauled the roster,” Chiccitt said. “Last year, there wasn’t a lot of belief, wasn’t a lot of confidence. I think this year we’ve got a lot more confidence in our offense and the guys we’ve got out there.”
So far this season, Chiccitt has made a step forward in each of his starts.
“I think I had a really good offseason,” he said. “It was really my first full offseason with an offensive coordinator here.”
Chiccitt passed for 99 yards and a touchdown in a season-opening loss at Air Force before completing 21 of 27 passes for 281 yards and three scores last Saturday against Saint Francis.
“We put a big emphasis on progressions,” Chiccitt said. “We put in a lot of work in the offseason. I would say that this year, I obviously have some good skill guys out there helping me out a lot, but I’d say as I’ve gotten older, as I’ve been around a little longer it’s gotten a little easier and a little slower back there for me.”
Clark said he is looking forward to his quarterback’s progression as the Colonials’ season continues.
“There were times when he probably shouldn’t have taken sacks today, but when he’s trying to get the ball out of his hands he normally is trying to get rid of it and not take a minus play,” Clark said. “He’s a smart player that makes good decisions.”
Robert Morris will host Lynchburg at 3 p.m. Saturday at Joe Walton Stadium.
“Today we shot ourselves a lot with penalties, too many penalties, bad ball possession, but the rest of the year I think we can just continue to get better every week,” Chiccitt said. “I think we have a really good shot of doing something special this year.”
Chiccitt also said he had a special moment when Bethel Park graduate Max Blanc, a redshirt freshman at Youngstown State, entered the game on the Penguins’ final drive.
“That’s my guy,” Chiccitt said. “I’ve known Max forever. We are really good friends. We go to the same trainer and everything and hang out back in Bethel Park, so that was awesome to see him get out there.”
The Bethel Park graduates weren’t the only former WPIAL players having special moments Saturday at Youngstown State.
Robert Morris redshirt senior linebacker Jamar Shegog, a 2019 Seton LaSalle graduate, made six tackles and a second-quarter interception of Penguins quarterback Mitch Davidson, who threw for a career-high 339 yards and one touchdown.
“Honestly, I just dropped back in coverage,” Shegog said. “I recognized pass and then it was a tipped ball and it fell right to me. I didn’t really do much.
“I returned it, had an opening, but should’ve scored, though,” he added. “The O-lineman got me.”
Like his quarterback, Shegog said his defense will learn from a rough outing against Youngstown State.
“We have the potential, but potential only gets you so far,” Shegog said. “You’ve got to work for it. We’ve just got to work harder, and then we’ll be pretty good by the end of the year.”
No. 22 IUP rebounds to dominate Shippensburg
After dropping nine spots in the national rankings, No. 22 Indiana University of Pennsylvania rebounded from a one-point upset loss to East Stroudsburg a week earlier to knock off visiting Shippensburg, 49-14, Saturday in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference game at George P. Miller Stadium in Indiana.
After falling behind, 7-0, in the first quarter, the Crimson Hawks responded by scoring 42 unanswered points to take control of the game.
IUP quarterback Karst Hunter completed 12 of 25 passes for 199 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Hunter completed five passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns to receiver Hilton Ridley and another four passes for 74 yards and two scores to Quinn Zinobile. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound redshirt junior also carried the ball six times for 36 yards and one touchdown.
Running back Dayjure Stewart led IUP with six carries for 40 yards on the ground.
Shippensburg sophomore quarterback Sam Johnson threw for 119 yards and a touchdown, while freshman Sam Stoner passed for 122 yards and a score.
Cal U drops first of season in shootout against No. 14 Shepherd
California University of Pennsylvania dropped its first PSAC game of the season Saturday, 44-34, at Adamson Stadium against visiting No. 14 Shepherd.
Vulcans quarterback Davis Black completed 19 of 31 passes for 411 yards, four touchdowns and two critical interceptions but was outdueled by Rams signal caller Seth Morgan.
A Mt. Lebanon graduate and Virginia Military Institute transfer, Morgan was efficient against Cal, completing 26 of 33 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
Morgan’s favorite target on the afternoon was Cameron Dorner, who caught nine passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also found Jeremia Taylor and Kordell Batten for scoring strikes.
Eric Willis III led the Vulcans receivers with six receptions for 274 yards and two touchdowns, while Omari Hopkins also caught seven passes for 73 yards and two scores.
Cal running back Bobby Boyd Jr., a McKeesport graduate, also carried the ball 21 times for 99 yards and a touchdown.
No. 13 Slippery Rock pulls away in second half to improve to 3-0
After playing to a halftime tie, No. 13 Slippery Rock scored 21 unanswered points in the second half Saturday night to emerge with a 42-21 PSAC victory against Millersville at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
Slippery Rock quarterback Brayden Long completed 31 of 43 passes for 390 yards and five touchdowns, while the Rock rushed for 114 yards, led by Khalid Dorsey’s 38 yards on 10 carries.
Receiver Kyle Sheets was Long’s favorite target in the passing game racking up 12 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Logan Lamper and West Allegheny graduate Kam Kruzelyak also had touchdown catches for Slippery Rock.
Seton Hill blown out by East Stroudsburg
For the second week in a row, a PSAC West team fell to East Stroudsburg as visiting Seton Hill dropped a 55-21 decision Saturday night at Eiler-Martin Stadium.
Griffins quarterback Hayden Teska, a Greensburg Salem product, threw for 222 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He found receiver Mark Bails Jr. nine times for 151 yards and two scores.
No. 16 Carnegie Mellon improves to 3-0 with rout of Waynesburg
It may have taken nine quarters, but No. 16 Carnegie Mellon finally conceded an opposing offense a point before knocking off visiting Presidents’ Athletic Conference foe Waynesburg, 41-10, Saturday at Gesling Stadium in Oakland.
Tartans quarterback Ben Mills completed 16 of 30 passes for 175 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions while also rushing for 39 yards. He tossed scoring strikes to Ethan Reifer and Brian Stacy.
Kaveh Wojtowich led Carnegie Mellon with five receptions for 75 yards, while South Fayette graduate Justin Caputo kicked field goals of 22 and 40 yards in the first half for the Tartans.
Waynesburg junior quarterback Samuel Barber threw for 120 yards, while the Yellow Jackets were paced in the running game by junior Hunter Cameron’s nine carries for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Pugh strong again as Washington & Jefferson dominates Westminster
Washington & Jefferson remained undefeated behind a third consecutive strong outing from quarterback Jacob Pugh, a Thomas Jefferson graduate, who led the Presidents to a 48-3 PAC victory against Westminster Saturday at Cameron Stadium in Washington.
Pugh threw for 242 yards, completing 65% of his passes, and two touchdowns. He connected with tight end Zach Cernuto, a Southmoreland graduate, for a 5-yard touchdown pass and running back Raymond Holmes, a Serra Catholic product, for a 7-yard scoring strike.
Cernuto also carried the ball twice for two touchdowns.
Running back Owen Petrisek, a Bentworth graduate, rushed for a game-high 88 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries. Bethel Park graduate Troy Volpatti carried the football 17 times for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Moon graduate Ty McGowan completed 14 of 24 passes for 113 yards and an interception for Westminster.
Grove City knocks off Case Western in overtime
Peters Township graduate Logan Pfeuffer found Knoch native Scott Fraser for an 8-yard overtime touchdown as Grove City knocked off host Case Western, 27-24, in a PAC game Saturday night at DiSanto Field in Cleveland.
Pfeuffer completed just nine passes for 124 yards, but the Wolverines received 128 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries from junior running back Nico Flati, a West Allegheny graduate.
Duquesne suffers second straight blowout loss
Freshman running back Edward Robinson rushed for 96 yards and receiver Keshawn Brown caught seven passes for 90 yards and Duquesne’s lone score Saturday night as the Dukes fell, 66-7, to Coastal Carolina at Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C.
Duquesne dropped a 56-17 decision to West Virginia a week earlier.
Pitt falls to West Virginia in Backyard Brawl
Pitt’s offense struggled to find any momentum and quarterback Phil Jurkovec threw three untimely interceptions Saturday night as the Panthers fell, 17-6, to West Virginia at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.
Jurkovec, a Pine-Richland graduate, completed just eight passes for 81 yards.