More times than not, the No. 24 West Chester University Golden Rams and the No. 6 Bloomsburg University Huskies are the teams to beat in the PSAC Eastern Division for football. This year is no different. After a resounding 60-6 victory over Cheyney on Saturday, the Golden Rams are in prime position to defend their PSAC East title. Standing in their way is a Bloomsburg team that defeated Shippensburg 21-0 this week, is undefeated this season.
This weekend’s matchup between the two powerhouses will result in the winner advancing to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship game against the No. 10 California (Pa.) University Vulcans.
Last year, West Chester welcomed Bloomsburg to Farrell Stadium on homecoming and pulled out a 44-28 victory to defeat their primary competition for the division title. The victory ended a three-game losing streak against the Huskies for West Chester.
Mike Washington scored four touchdowns, three through the air and one on the ground. Osagie Osunde rushed for 134 yards and added 46 yards receiving. Bill Zwaan Jr. finished 14-22 for 278 yards and four touchdowns.
The West Chester defense, led by Lateef Ferguson and Mike Dell, held Jamar Brittingham to 60 yards rushing on 23 carries.
In 2006, West Chester lost to Bloomsburg twice. On October 7, Bloomsburg defeated the Golden Rams 30-27. When West Chester and Bloomsburg hooked up the second time during the 2006 season, the game was of upmost importance to both teams. The Huskies defeated the Golden Rams 21-20 in the second round of the NCAA D-II tournament.
So what must West Chester do in order to reverse fortunes this year and come out of Bloomsburg with a victory? According to senior Kennis Jones, they already know what must be done.
“All we have to do right now is shore up what we do,” the senior center said. “They know what we do, and we know what they do. We’ve been playing each other for years now. All it’s going to come down to who is going to execute and who is going to show up that day.”
What West Chester must do is go into the enemy’s territory and come home with a victory. If the Golden Rams can go into Redman Stadium and disrupt the Bloomsburg passing attack led by junior quarterback Dan Latorre, they have a shot of defending the PSAC East championship.
But first thing is first, West Chester must not miss a beat and have their best week of practice to date in order to accomplish just one of many goals set at the beginning of the season.
“We haven’t beaten them up there since I have been here,” head coach Bill Zwaan said. “We win the games at home and they win their games at home. We have to break that trend right now. Obviously they are going to be fired up and we are going to be fired up. It’s exactly what you want in college football – two teams playing at the end of the season for a championship. That’s what everyone hopes for. When our kids come to West Chester they come hoping they get to this situation and we are here again. We’ll see what we got.”
If the offense comes out and plays the same way they did against Cheyney on Saturday, West Chester should have no problem of putting enough points on the board to defeat the Huskies.
“We just have to go up there and execute our game plan,” senior Mike Washington said. “Offense, defense, special teams, if everybody comes to play nobody can stop us. All we have to do is come out and execute our game plan and not worry about anything else.”
If West Chester is able to get star running back D’Andre Webb and wide receiver Steve Miller back for the big game, that will just add more weapons to an offense that seems to be hitting its stride heading into their biggest game in a year.
This week, West Chester has a chance to end Bloomsburg’s dream of becoming PSAC champions. This week, West Chester has the chance to get their seniors possibly one more home game, this time in the playoffs. This week West Chester has a chance to end their misery at Bloomsburg. This week, West Chester will defend its PSAC East championship.
LJ Harrell is a third-year student majoring in Business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.