For the 17th consecutive time, the No. 24 West Chester University Golden Rams (7-2, 6-0 PSAC East) manhandled the Cheyney University Wolves (0-9, 0-6 PSAC East) en route to a 60-6 victory on a rain soaked afternoon at Farrell Stadium. The win marked the sixth consecutive victory for West Chester since their last loss against Delaware in the middle of September.
With this victory, Head Coach Bill Zwaan moved into third place for most wins in school history by a head coach.
“I have great kids, great staff,” Zwaan said. “You never get wins by yourself. There are a lot of people that are involved in that. I’m proud of it and I’m excited about it but there’s a lot of guys who have helped me get there.”
In the last regular season home game for this year’s senior class, West Chester performed well in all facets of the game.
“We just came out, tried to execute, get what we had to get done in the first half, put some points on the board and get everybody else in the game,” senior Mike Washington said.
“It started out with coach telling me thanks for the five years,” senior center Kennis Jones said. “It’s kind of very emotional and now to feel that it’s almost over. I came in with all these guys; they are all brothers to me and we all stick together. We all stuck together and stuck it out.”
“They’ve done a lot and hopefully they are going to still do more,” Zwaan said about the seniors. “They have a couple of big things ahead of them.”
After a Cheyney first down, Wolves punter Anthony Kelly setup to punt. West Chester redshirt freshman linebacker Will Davis busted through the Cheyney wedge and tipped the punt which forced it to travel only 21 yards.
West Chester’s offense opened the game with good field position and wasted little time putting points on the board. After trying to force a couple of passes to star receiver Mike Washington, junior quarterback Joe Wright began hitting the check downs.
Wright completed a first down pass to running back Jackson Fagan. Wright followed that up with a 30-yard catch and run to senior fullback Pat McDermott. Finally, Wright found tight end Ryan Paulson who was forced out of bounds at the 1-yard line to setup the first touchdown of the game. Fagan took the handoff from Wright and plowed into the end zone to give the Golden Rams the early lead.
The Golden Rams defense continued to show signs of the dominance it has had since the beginning of PSAC East play. Following a three and out, West Chester’s Davis busted through the Cheyney line again, this time blocking the Kelly punt, setting the Golden Rams up at the Cheyney 4-yard line.
One play later, McDermott plunged through the line and into the end zone to increase the West Chester lead to 14-0.
Following a failed offensive possession by the Wolves, Kelly booted a 13-yard punt, placing the Golden Rams within Cheyney territory for the second consecutive possession. On the first play from scrimmage, Fagan took the delayed handoff and scampered 46 yards to the end zone for his second score of the afternoon.
The Cheyney offense finally began to move the ball and gain first downs. Quarterback Ronald Thompson had back-to-back 11-yard rushes for two first downs. But after coming up short on a third-and-short opportunity, the Wolves were forced to punt again. Kelly’s punt was again tipped by a West Chester defender.
Beginning with their worst starting field position of the game, the Golden Rams were not fazed. Wright found Washington for 21-yards for the senior’s first reception of the game, the 46th consecutive game in which Washington has recorded a reception, an NCAA D II record. Three plays later, Wright and Washington connected again for a 31-yard touchdown to make it a 28-0 score three seconds into the second quarter.
The Cheyney Wolves were destined to not give up. Junior running back Ron Hunter broke through the first level of West Chester defenders and scampered for a 39-yard gain inside Golden Rams territory. Hunter finally put the Wolves on the board when he scored from 18 yards out on the ground.
The West Chester offense continued to move the ball. McDermott busted through the Wolves defense for a 26-yard run to midfield. Then Wright hit Washington for 23 more yards down inside the Wolves 20. Two plays later, Fagan took a screen from Wright to the end zone to put West Chester up 35-6.
Following another Cheyney three-and-out, the West Chester offense went back to work. Freshman Sal Viscount, playing running back for the first time this season due to a rash of injuries, got involved with the offense. Following a pair of passes to Washington from redshirt freshman Jared Jorgensen, Viscount showed off his speed exploding for a 21-yard touchdown run to put the Golden Rams up 42-6 at the half.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do today,” Zwaan said. “We got out and got on top of [Cheyney]. We were able to play a lot of kids. We did what we had to do with the first group in and we got them out so they could get ready for next week.”
Wright, who played a quarter and a half of football, finished 8-12 for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Washington, a Harlon Hill hopeful, finished with five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. With over 4,300 yards receiving in his career, Washington now sits ninth all-time in NCAA D II history in receiving yards. This game also marked the 21st time in which Washington surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark, a school record. The touchdown is the 54th of his career, third all-time in NCAA D-II history.
“Who do I attribute all this to?” Washington said of his accomplishments. “Everybody. Football is a team game. Coaches have to put us in the correct position, the line has to block, the quarterback has to throw the ball and I have to catch the ball. It’s the team.”
In the second half, the Golden Rams got their young players some repetitions as the game was in control. West Chester’s one punt came after a three-and-out on their first possession of the second half. Redshirt freshman punter Chris Hill booted a 27-yard punt.
The Cheyney offense, which was non-existent in the first half, was not able to move the ball on the West Chester defense for the remainder of the game.
Jared Jorgensen connected with Andrew Taylor for a 28-yard pass and catch to setup an 8-yard touchdown run by fullback Chad Halterman.
Ronnie Koons recorded the only sack for West Chester when he blindsided Thompson on a third down play. The following punt was tipped by linebacker Brad Herr. The West Chester special teams blocked three Cheyney punts, and got their hands on three other punts.
Chad Halterman added another touchdown run, this time from 10 yards out. Redshirt freshman Brian McDermott ended the scoring for West Chester after he plunged through the Cheyney defense for a 10-yard score.
The Golden Rams racked up 299 yards rushing on the afternoon. Viscount led West Chester with 75 yards rushing and one touchdown on 12 carries. Fagan added 61 yards and two touchdowns.
“That was the goal coming in,” Jones said. “We knew we were just going to try and run the ball. We got to play hard and just keep going.”
Chinoso Okoro and Ron Hunter finished with 71 yards rushing for the Wolves. Hunter finished with the lone score for Cheyney.
The Golden Rams travel to Bloomsburg this weekend to face the No. 6 Huskies for a shot to face California (Pa.) in the PSAC Championship game. The game can be heard live and exclusively on 91.7 WCUR starting at 3:30 p.m.
“We put ourselves in position, the position we want to be in at this point in the season,” Zwaan said. “Playing for the championship next week.”
West Chester leads the series against Cheyney 40-2-1, including 17 straight . West Chester finished the home portion of their schedule undefeated (5-0) . in f
ive home games this season, West Chester has allowed a total of 36 points . Head Coach Bill Zwaan moved into third place on the school’s list of most wins by a head coach, passing Bob Mitten (1965-1971) . West Chester has won 12 straight PSAC East games . West Chester has won 23 straight PSAC East games not including Bloomsburg . Mike Dell was named PSAC Eastern Division Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week . West Chester has had a player honored by the PSAC for five consecutive weeks.
LJ Harrell is a third-year student majoring in Business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.