Sat. Jun 25th, 2022

The West Chester Golden Rams remain undefeated, as they came back in the second half to take down East Stroudsburg University Warriors with a final score of 34-20.
The Golden Rams, ranked No. 17 in the nation for Division II football, now improve to 6-0 on the season. It’s the first time they’ve opened the season 6-0 since 1974.
Quarterback Sean McCartney had a uncharacteristic first half, throwing a rare interception that was returned for a touchdown. In the second half of the game, he returned to his true form, picking apart the Warriors defense. McCartney finished the day with a 25-for-39 stat line, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the process (as well as the aforementioned pick). McCartney also rushed for a touchdown, compiling all of the Golden Rams touchdowns on the day.
Though he didn’t find his groove until the second half, fans have to be pleased with how McCartney led his team back to victory. East Stroudsburg, now 4-2 on the season, were in McCartneys face the entire game, sacking him multiple times throughout the contest. Credit to McCartney for hanging in there and delivering West Chester’s sixth straight win to open the season.
McCartney’s wide reciever of choice on the day was Shannon Mayer, who enjoyed his finest game of the season thus far. Mayer made several critical catches, seemingly finding openings in the Warriors defense at will. Overall, Mayer finished the day with seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. It was Mayer’s first touchdown of his career, as well as the most yards he’s had in a game so far.
If Mayer can continue to play at this level, this wide receiving core for the Golden Rams will only become that much better. Mayer, who stepped up in place of an injured LaRon Lee, displayed tremendous hands, catching McCartney’s passes with ease. Add Mayer’s play to fellow wide receivers Erik Brundidge, Tim Keyser and Adam Dempsey, and this group of wide receivers will make it even tougher for opposing defenses to contain them all.
Speaking of Mayer’s fellow wide receivers, Adam Dempsey made several catches on the day, reeling in six catches for 65 yards. Erik Brundidge was held to one reception for nine yards. Tim Keyser finished the day with two catches for 11 yards. Finally, wide receiver Jim Hurley also had his first career reception, which ended up being a 25-yard touchdown from McCartney.
Tight end Shawn Driggins also had his first career catch go for a touchdown, with McCartney finding him wide open in the end zone for a four-yard score.
Running back Rondell White had another tremendous day rushing the ball for the Golden Rams, finishing with 179 yards on the ground. To add to his already superb rushing statistics, White also reeled in five catches for 59 yards. Suprisingly, this was White’s first game without a touchdown in 13 games, as the Warriors dared McCartney to throw the ball throughout the contest.
Though at first it seemed as though White would have trouble finding running room against the Warriors, White eventually found holes in the defense, gaining multiple yards time and time again. As one of the leaders of this offense, White continues to play at a superb level, with this being his fourth 100-yard game on the season. White should continue to play at this level, even with West Chester’s future opponents keying in on the running back.
Fellow running back Brandon Monk didn’t recieve many carries on the day, though he did have a punt return that went for a touchdown called back due to a penalty against West Chester. Monk should see more carries in future games, as he’s an important part of the Golden Ram’s team.
This match against East Stroudsburg couldn’t have been won without the stellar play of the Ram’s defense. Matt Soltes, the starting quarterback for the Warriors, was injured during the contest, forcing backup quarterback Nate Daniels into the game. From there, the Golden Rams defense began to catch fire.
Leading the way this week for the defense was star linebacker Mike Labor, who picked off Daniels, as well as sacking the quarterback twice. Labor finished the day with eight tackles overall (four solo, four assisted), constantly creating havoc on the Warriors offense.
Fellow linebacker Ronnell Williams also had a great day on the field, picking off Daniels as well. Tackling running backs and wide receivers at will, Williams finished the day with three tackles (one solo, two assisted).
The Golden Rams’ defense wouldn’t be as dominant if it weren’t for the all-star caliber performances of these two linebackers. All season long, Labor and Williams have combined to put together one of the more impressive linebacker duos in recent history for West Chester. With the team rolling off their sixth straight win to open the season, look for these two to continue making plays all over the field, terrorizing offenses on any given play.
Another key to West Chester’s success was the defensive line for the Rams. Led by Anthony McCloskey, Andrew Cohen and Demrick Cook, the defensive line had pressure on the Warrior’s offensive line all day. Cook had six tackles (three solo, three assisted), as well as a sack. McCloskey and Cohen both had a sack each, as well.
This defensive line, along with defensive end Eric Edwers, have been giving offenses nightmares, as they stop the run and rush the passer with no problem at all, week in and week out. Without this defensive line, the Golden Rams defense wouldn’t be nearly as complete. With enough depth behind them as well, this should continue to be a bright spot in the Rams’ season.
In the defensive backfield for West Chester, things weren’t nearly as solid as they were for the defensive line. Starting cornerbacks Al-Hajj Shabazz and Blaise Schieler had trouble containing the Warriors bigger recievers early in the game. However, in the second half, both Shabazz and Schieler played well, breaking up passes from Daniels to his recievers constantly.
Though the defense is performing well overall, this seems to be a weak spot so far into the season. Recievers have been beating West Chester’s coverage relentlesly, and if this doesn’t get fixed, then West Chester will struggle with some of the tougher opponents to come on the schedule. Shabazz and Schieler are capable cornerbacks who generally perform well, but they must fix this dilemma if they want to continue winning.
On special teams, kicker Shawn Leo was two-for-three on the day, helping add six points off his two field goals. Suprisingly, this has been one of West Chester’s bigger struggles on the season thus far, as Leo is only five-for-nine on the season. Leo has to perform better if he wants to keep West Chester undefeated.
Next up for West Chester is Lock Haven University, who are 2-4 on the season. West Chester shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Bald Eagles, as they look to improve to 7-0.
Oliver Suskin-Santarelli is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at OS753461@wcupa.edu.

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