The No. 23 West Chester University Golden Rams (1-1) opened up the home portion of their 2008 schedule by defeating the Lock Haven Bald Eagles 37-6 in the downpour remnants from Hurricane Hanna. “It was all right,” captain and senior wide receiver Mike Washington said about the game and weather. “It didn’t rain too much the first half and we were able to get done what we had to get done.”
“Luckily we played at 11,” head coach Bill Zwaan said of the game. “We did a good job. Going in your concern is that you got to get out on top of these guys and make sure we get some points on the board because I knew the second half was going to be tough. I thought our kids did what they had to do.”
The tempo of the game was set early as junior quarterback Joe Wright and the offense executed a perfect screen play as D’Andre Webb scampered down the field for 25 yards. Four plays later, Wright hit Washington for a 17-yard touchdown pass. This marked Washington’s 45th career touchdown reception which tied him with former Golden Rams standout receiver Kevin Ingram for second on the school’s all-time list.
“I’m glad it wasn’t raining at first,” Wright said. “Our offense, dynamic pass offense, we can run the ball too like we showed today, but anytime you get out there with a wet football there’s going to be struggles for both teams. It was fun, it was different. We haven’t played in the rain this year during practice or anything like that. First time we were put into this atmosphere and I think we handled it well.”
But on the Rams next possession, Washington would stand alone at second after Wright found him again this time for a 16 yard touchdown reception for his 46th career touchdown reception.
“I’m just happy we got the win more than anything,” Washington said about moving into second place on the school’s all-time receiving touchdown list.
“[Washington] makes adjustments and gets to the ball,” Zwaan said of his number one receiver. “That’s the type of receiver that Mike is. You can throw him the ball and he’ll figure out a way to go get it.”
“[Mike’s] going to keep on breaking records,” Wright said. “Anytime he saves my butt and if you throw a bad ball he’s going to make you look good. If you overthrow him, he kicks it into second gear and goes and catches it. He has the ability to catch the ball and take it to the house every time.”
The West Chester defense, the secondary in particular, which was torched by Kevin McCabe and the California offense last week, was stout against the Bald Eagles this week. West Chester did not allow Lock Haven to get a first down until the second quarter.
Lock Haven was able to score their first points of the year after Wright was picked off by senior defensive back DeMarr Dowell who returned it 48 yards to the West Chester seven-yard line. Three plays later, sophomore running back Ibrahim Smith scored from five yards out to cut into the West Chester lead.
The Golden Rams would continue to put points on the board when Webb scored from one yard out for his first career rushing touchdown. On their next possession, after Wright hit Washington for a 55-yard pass, Lee Hopkins scored from four yards out for his first of two scores in the game.
Towards the end of the second quarter West Chester would cap the scoring for the game after Hopkins scored his second rushing touchdown from one yard out, and Alex Walsh booted a 19-yard field goal as time expired for the first half.
“At the end of the half we wanted to get one more score on the board so that we could get the guys out in the second half which we were able to do,” Zwaan said.
“Our goal was to put as many points on the board while the weather was good,” Washington said. “It started raining a little harder in the second half. First half we were trying to put the ball in the air.”
“We needed to score early, especially against a team like this,” Wright said. “They are a tough team but we took it to them. We’re a real good team this year so we have to come out and take it to them and show people we mean business.”
Wright, while only playing one half, finished 11-15 for 290 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Washington finished with five receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns for his 18th career 100-yard receiving game, which is a new school record. Jackson Fagan, playing primarily running back the second half, finished with a team high 57 yards rushing on only four attempts.
West Chester played a majority of their backups and young players in the second half with the score well in their favor.
Greg Smith finished with a team high eight tackles while Mike Walter recorded his first sack of the season. Jeff Broyan picked off his first pass of the season.
West Chester outgained Lock Haven 463 yards of total offense to 105 yards. The Bald Eagles only had 31 yards passing on the game. The Golden Rams outrushed Lock Haven 173 yards to 74 yards.
“The defense played a great game,” Wright said. “Knowing those guys, they probably had a lot of fun out there. I put them in a hole, threw a bad interception, and [Lock Haven] put six points on the board. Other than that they would have had a shutout.”
Head coach Bill Zwaan secured his 100th career coaching victory in this game.
“I’m excited about getting 100 wins,” Zwaan said of the accomplishment. “Every coach would be. I want 101 next week, that would be nice. I’m pleased and very happy with it.”
This weekend, West Chester travels to the University of Delaware to face the Blue Hens in their annual match-up at 6 p.m.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Wright said of going back to Delaware. “I’m from there and my whole family is there. My friends are there and I know some guys on the team. Going in as a starter this year, it’s going to be a lot of fun. That place is ridiculous to play in. It is a great atmosphere to play football in. I’m glad we play those types of games because it only helps us. They are tough; we are going to have our hands full with them. We are going to have to have a good week of practice.”
Mike Washington has recorded a reception in every game of his collegiate career . Washington eclipsed 4,000 career all-purpose yards in this game . Quarterback Joe Wright recorded two tackles in the first half off of his two interceptions thrown … Jared Jorgensen and Marshall Vogel played in their first career collegiate games in the second half . Alex Walsh booted a career high 70-yard punt, third longest in school history . Head coach Bill Zwaan posted his 100th career coaching victory
LJ Harrell is a third-year student majoring in business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.