Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

“I feel bad for Clarion next week,” Bill Zwaan Jr. said following his team’s 42-14 dismantling at the hands of the Delaware Blue Hens. Last week the quarterback talked the talk, and on Saturday he more then walked the walk in West Chester’s history making home opening win, 49-21 over the Golden Eagles. West Chester executed a trick play to perfection early on. In the club’s second drive of the game, with the score knotted at seven, Zwaan Jr. handed the ball off to Osagie Osunde who reversed it to Washington, who then pitched it back to Zwaan Jr, who hit a wide open Darrell Canty for a 44-yard touchdown.

Confused? So was Clarion.

The fourth-year starting quarterback, and captain threw for a personal best 354 yards and five touchdowns. Shockingly, those numbers came in just under three quarters of play.

Stealing the show from Zwaan Jr. was fifth-year tailback Osunde, who marched into the record books when he plunged into the endzone for his forty-first career touchdown with 8:02 remaining in the second quarter.

The tailback broke the school record, formerly held by Joe Iaccone, in the third quarter. It’s fitting that the record-breaking score came on a vintage Osunde 24 yard touchdown run. He cut back, saw the hole and scampered in for a touchdown with 13:09 remaining in the third quarter.

“I’m real happy for him,” Head Coach Bill Zwaan said after the game. “He’s been through a lot and his name deserves to be in the record book some places, and I’m glad he got in there today”.

Mike Washington entered Saturday with just six catches for 67 yards, showed once again why he is the most feared receiver in the PSAC. The third-year wideout led all receivers with three grabs for 138 yards and one of the greatest touchdowns you will ever see.

With 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, Zwaan Jr. heaved a pass down the middle of the field into double coverage. The pass bounced off Washington’s hands, and off a Clarion defender before Washington spun towards the ball, grabbing it out of the air and streaking untouched down the middle of the field for a 79-yard touchdown.

“After I tipped it I just turned around to see if I could make the tackle on the interception and it happened to drop in my arms on the left,” Washington said. “It was exciting, when the ball came back to me I was very shocked.”

Washington broke the school record with five touchdown receptions in his first collegiate game, a 43-14 win over Clarion in 2005.

Tight end Ryan Paulson continued his strong play this season adding four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Steve Miller has quickly become the clear cut number two receiver in this offense, he tallied four receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns, and Darrell Canty scored his third collegiate touchdown against Clarion.

“It’s really big,” Zwaan Jr. said of having such a balanced aerial attack. “I saw in spring that [the receivers] were going to step up. It’s exciting to see them getting going this year, Steve [Miller] has had a good year and Ryan [Paulson] has also had a good year as well.”

All told, West Chester racked up 572 yards of total offense, and averaged nearly a first down per play (9.7 yards).

Defensively, the Golden Rams struggled out of the gate. Clarion methodically marched down the field executing a 10-play scoring drive that culminated with a Tyler Huether one-yard touchdown plunge.

West Chester’s defense struggled to get off the field Saturday, failing to stop Clarion on 8 of 17 third down opportunities. The play of the secondary however did improve this week allowing just 148 yards through the air. Huether was just nine of eighteen passing for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

After improving to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in PSAC East play, West Chester sets its sights on Shippensburg next Saturday.

The Red Raiders fell to Kutztown, 28-16 in week three.

Following Bloomsburg’s 42-41 loss to Edinboro Saturday, West Chester has the opportunity to take over first place in the PSAC East with a win over the Red Raiders in week four. The game can be heard live and exclusively on 91.7 FM WCUR and online at www.redzonemedia.com

Matt Lombardo is a third year student majoring in Communication Studies and can be contacted at ML606516@wcupa.edu

LJ Harrell contributed to the completion of this story.

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