At the first chance to see what the 2008 West Chester University Golden Rams football will look like, the Gold team defeated the Purple team 19-14 in the annual Spring Game held at Farrell Stadium. With the offensive line continuing to grow together as a unit after the departure of four starters due to graduation last year, the running backs were able to find the holes to total 185 yards for the Gold Team and 111 yards for the Purple Team.
Led by Kevin Garland who ran for a game high 101 yards, the Gold was able to secure the victory at the end with some great defensive pressure all around.
“I think everything went pretty well,” Garland said after the game. “We wanted to come out here and establish our offensive line because they are young, we only have two seniors on the line coming back, and everybody’s young so we really wanted to make the o-line look good today which they did. They did a good job today.”
Garland will be competing with D’Andre Webb and Lee Hopkins for carries for the upcoming season. With three very capable starters, the coaching staff will not have to hesitate to put either of them in a game during the season.
“I’ve been making mental mistakes in practice,” Garland said. “I tried not to make too many mental mistakes tonight. I tried to hit the hole and do what I have to do. We’re a team so I’m not really trying to run away from nobody. Everyone wants to be a starter but we’re a team and we together and lose together. I love my teammates. We want to have a two-back, three-back system. We know all the plays. It’s going to be a togetherness with the running-back core.”
The scoring opened early as Gold starting quarterback Jared Jorgensen hit Andrew Taylor in the end zone to go up 6-0. The touchdown came after a 38-yard pass to Will Gardner on the first play of the game.
Playing without starters Mike Washington and Steve Miller, the receivers were able to step up when called upon to make big plays for the young quarterbacks.
“Joe [Wright] will be back in the summer, he’s a good quarterback and he knows the offense,” Garland said of the quarterback situation. “These guys, Marshall Vogel and Jared Jorgensen, they did a pretty good job all week. We feel comfortable and we’re going to feel comfortable with Joe too because he was there in the fall last year.”
Purple was not able to get any momentum throughout the first half. Webb led Purple with 45 yards rushing and 18 yards receiving in the first half.
“When we first came in, we were a little sluggish,” Webb said of the overall performance. “We improved the whole game. We can still improve but we’re happy right now with where we’re at.”
Webb finished with 82 yards rushing on the night as he was a member of both squads.
“Today I was looking to improve, improve from where I was last week, and the week before,” Webb said. “I think I did pretty good in short-yardage, but I still have room for improvement.”
The second-half was more explosive. After Jackson Fagan’s fumble was recovered by Lucas Fickel, Garland became the focal point for the Gold offense. After a 12-yard reception, Garland rushed for a 21-yard touchdown to extend the Gold’s lead.
Later in the third quarter, Purple was able to get on the board as Fagan redeemed himself with a two-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Tom Maha.
On their next offensive possession, behind a 33-yard run from Garland, Gold would drive down the field and score the game-winning touchdown as Vogel scampered four yards to add to the lead.
Purple ended the scoring in the fourth quarter as Maha would hit Matt Reinert for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Mike Curran carried the load on the drive as he totaled 29 yards on the drive.
“I was pretty happy with it to be honest,” Head Coach Bill Zwaan said of the game. “I think we saw some pretty good things. The one thing was the young offensive line, which did a pretty good job. I thought all the quarterbacks did a pretty decent job. And the running backs looked pretty good.”
Heading into the summer, there are always things to improve on. With the first game of the 2008 campaign at California University of Pa. just four months away, West Chester will be looking to improve on every aspect of their game to finish at the top of the PSAC East again and to finish with a PSAC championship.
LJ Harell is second-year student majoring in business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.