On a sunny but brisk and chilly Saturday afternoon, the West Chester Golden Rams (4-5) traveled to Millersville (3-6) to take on the Marauders in another PSAC East matchup. After last week’s loss to Kutztown, the Rams have officially been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Rams have had a tough season thus far, losing close games, and losing games that they should have won. This was a game that showed just how much heart and passion this team really has.
The Golden Rams won the toss and elected to receive the ball first. Junior Nate Pagan had a good return, bringing the ball up to the 46 yard line, giving the Rams good field position on their opening possession. Quarterback Sean McCartney got the start for the Golden Rams, his first start since the Rams played Shippensburg four weeks ago.
McCartney looked confident in the opening drive, completing his first three out of four passes, one of which was a big completion on fourth down to sophomore wide out Tim Keyser who converted a first down. On a third and long, McCartney made a great throw to wide receiver LaRonn Lee, who made a great over the shoulder catch for a Golden Rams touchdown.
The defense took the field for the first time, having struggled to stop the run the past two weeks against Kutztown and Bloomsburg; they were looking to bounce back and make some noise today against Millersville. Freshman defensive back, Ali-Haj Shabazz started it for the Rams defense on a third and short play when he flew into the backfield stopping the ball carrier for a loss forcing Millersville to punt the ball.
One of few mistakes came on the next possession by the Rams when McCartney connected on a deep ball with wide receiver Eric Brundidge who was stripped at the one yard line, the ball trickled into the endzone and the Maurauders recovered for a touchback.
The defense looked to pick the offense right back up after the turnover when they got the Maurauders into a third down and fifteen when senior safety Bryan Hinderer (starting due to an injury to John O’Donnell) made a great play escorting the Millersville quarterback out of bounds well short of the first down, forcing Millersville to punt the ball right back to the Rams.
Quarterback Matt Carroll was under center on the Rams’ third possession. Carroll completed a 25-yard pass to a wide open tight end, Alex Tosi for another West Chester touchdown, and just like that the Rams led 14-0. The Rams’ coaching staff has been doing this all season long as they seem to flip a coin as to which quarterback will be out there each series, which, according to McCartney, is not that frustrating. “I wouldn’t say that it is frustrating but all I can do is make the best of my opportunities when I’m out there to help my team win.”
There was only one point in the game where Millersville had some life, and that came in the second quarter when the Maurauder offense drove down the field on the Rams led by the 5-foot-9-inch quarterback, Dan Miller. The evasive quarterback looked like Michael Vick as he evaded tacklers during the drive.
The Maurauders scored one of their only two touchdowns on the day when Marquis White took the ball up the middle untouched for the touchdown.
Millersville attempted an onside kick, but failed due to two penalties on the play. The Rams took over on the Millersville 39-yard line. West Chester did not waste much time as Carroll completed a pass to senior runningback Jackson Fagan, who took the ball down to the two yard line. On the next play, the hand off went to Fagan, who bulldozed his way into the endzone, making the score 21-6 Rams.
The Rams tacked on another score on their next possession when sophomore runningback, Rondell White, took the ball in the backfield on a designed cutback play into the endzone for 6. The Maurauders added a score of their own when two big penalties were the result of first downs, and put them at the 2-yard line when their quarterback snuck it up the middle, making the score 28-13 Rams.
The Rams answered right back when Brundidge caught a long pass to put the ball deep into Maurauder territory. Two plays later McCartney hooked up with LaRonn Lee on a 14 yard touchdown.
On the Maurauders’ next possession, a screen pass was intercepted by sophomore outside linebacker/fullback, Jared Bonaquisti. The turnover led to a screen play from McCartney to White who took it 20 yards for the score. Rams led 42-13 at halftime.
The second half was uneventful as the Rams pounded the ball down Millersville’s throat to keep the clock running. Lee added a touchdown (his third of the day), which made the score 49-13 and that’s how this one would end.
The win against the Millersville Maurauders was a great way to bounce back for the Rams, and McCartney agreed. “Yeah the last two games were tough ones everyone knows that but it feels great to get a big win today,” McCartney said. “It’s good for the pride of the team and good to get the seniors another win. Now we just have to look to next week, our last game of the year, and end the season on a high note and get one more win for the senior class.”
The Rams improve their record to 5-5 as the Maurauders fall to 3-7 on the season. The Golden Rams play Indiana University of Pennsylvania next week here at West Chester for their final game of the year.
Sean Breen is a third-year student majoring in English. He can be reached at SB718728@wcupa.edu.