Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

EDINBORO, Pa – Prior to Saturday’s season opener, Edinboro University cut the ribbon on its new turf field, and then the Golden Rams cut down the Fighting Scots. Behind tenacious play by its defense and a well balanced offensive attack, West Chester avenged its home opening loss to EUP a year ago and opened the 2007 season with a 32-16 win.

With West Chester holding a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, the Fighting Scots moved the ball to the Golden Ram 13-yard line. WCU caught a break early in the drive when Tommy Campbell dropped a sure touchdown pass in the back of the endzone.

That would be all the luck the Golden Rams needed on that possession.

Edinboro eventually got inside the five yard line before Lateef Ferguson stopped Houston Brown for a one yard loss on third and goal from the two. After four plays in the shadow of the goalpost, the Golden Rams surrendered just three points off a Justin Gomes 20-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining in the first quarter.

Edinboro would not score again until the 14th minute of the third quarter. The Fighting Scots’ did not notch a touchdown until 32 seconds remained in the third quarter.

“Huge,” head coach Bill Zwaan said “Just huge. We thought in camp that our defense was going to play very well and they did it today.”

In an incredible individual performance, Vlad Garbovsky tied a school record with four sacks on the afternoon.

“I was ready to go and I knew exactly what I had to do all day long. It all worked out,” Garbovsky said after the game.

West Chester took control of the game for good when Bill Zwaan, Jr. and company orchestrated a six play, 43-yard drive, culminating with Ryan Paulson’s first touchdown of the season, a 17-yard reception in the back of the endzone with 5:57 remaining in the first half.

The Golden Ram defense forced one of its three turnovers when James Thorpe recovered a Houston Brown fumble, thus giving the ball back to the offense with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half.

On the ensuing possession, Zwaan, Jr. went two for two passing for 31-yards, while leading a six play 43-yard scoring drive which culminated with a 15-yard touchdown scamper by fullback Patrick McDermott. The fullback thrusted into the starting lineup following Brandon Hargrose’ knee injury, scored two touchdowns in the season opener.

The Golden Rams’ quarterback had one of his finest performances as a starter, throwing for 217 yards on 18 of 29 attempts, one touchdown and one interception in the opener against the Fighting Scots.

Six receivers all caught at least one pass and tight end Ryan Paulson led all receivers with four receptions for 46 yards and one touchdown.

“I think [Zwaan, Jr.] feels a lot more comfortable with all of the receivers,” Head Coach Bill Zwaan added.

Osagie Osunde showed no ill effects of the hamstring injury that left him sidelined since last November. The fifth-year halfback rushed for 114 yards on 23 carries, and added an exclamation point touchdown, a vintage Osunde 20-yard run with 5:54 remaining in the game.

“He looked like his old self,” Coach Zwaan said “He’s been out of football for close to a year, since the Bloomsburg game and he showed on some runs he had that I think he’s back.”

The Golden Rams produced 410 yards of total offense against Edinboro.

Defensively, West Chester spent a majority of the game in Edinboro’s backfield, tallying eight sacks on the afternoon. Sam Scott led all tacklers with eight, and was a presence in pass coverage as well.

The Golden Rams made a point not to look past Edinboro and the season opener this year, following last year’s 28-14 loss in Farrell Stadium.

“They took it to us last year and we didn’t play well and we really wanted to come up here and play well and I think we did just that today,” Coach Zwaan praised. “It’s a good way to start a season.”

With the first win under its belt, West Chester now looks ahead to a showdown against its Division I rival, University of Delaware, in week two. The Golden Rams look to shut down Omar Cuff of the Blue Hens who scored a record seven touchdowns in the team’s opener against William and Mary in week one. Kickoff at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium is slated for 7 p.m. and can be heard live and exclusively on 91.7 FM WCUR, and worldwide on the web at

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