On Saturday, in the final home game of the 2010 season, the West Chester University Golden Rams (4-6, 4-3 PSAC East) seniors led the way as West Chester dominated the Millersville University Marauders (2-8, 0-7 PSAC East) 45-14. The Golden Rams put together their best overall game as the offense, defense and special teams came together to help West Chester win their home finale.Senior wide receiver Dan DePalma, senior running back D’Andre Webb and senior defensive end Travis Ford-Bey all had great games in front of family and friends in their final game at Farrell Stadium wearing the purple WCU jersey.
“I was glad the seniors performed well,” head coach Bill Zwaan said. “D’Andre, Travis, Danny – their last game at home, I’m glad that they all had good games. We made some plays.”
“It was nice to win this one,” DePalma said. “It’s definitely a big momentum booster going into this last week.”
“The whole team in general played their best game today,” Webb said. “First full game we passed, ran and the defense played well. And the specials team did pretty good.”
The West Chester defense played fast and aggressive from the early going as they recorded a season-high six sacks, including 3.5 sacks by Ford-Bey. Ford-Bey and Millersville quarterback Bill Shirk played in high school together.
“It felt great,” Ford-Bey said. “I’ve been waiting for this game to come along. I couldn’t take practice anymore because I wanted to get [Shirk] bad. It’s been difficult, but all you can do is keep working and doing the right things. As long as everyone does what they are supposed to do, good things will come.”
The Golden Rams scored early and often as sophomore quarterback Mike Mattei found junior running back Jackson Fagan halfway through the first quarter on a screen. Fagan followed his blockers and made a couple defenders miss as he scampered 38 yards into the end zone.
On their next offensive possession, West Chester wasted little time in going 93 yards to add to the score. Webb rushed 29 yards on the first two plays, and three plays later Mattei hooked up with DePalma for a 47-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
In the second quarter, the Golden Rams experienced much of the same offensive success. On their third play of the quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback Sean McCartney connected with DePalma for 68 yards as the senior wide receiver showed his speed and outran the Marauders defense.
Millersville finally answered as they got on the board two possessions later. Shirk found wide receiver Jamal Smith for 38 yards to make it 21-7.
West Chester ended the first half as redshirt freshman kicker Shawn Leo booted a 43-yard field goal to make it 24-7.
In the first half, the Golden Rams outgained the Marauders 312 to 114 yards. DePalma had 137 yards on four receptions with two touchdowns in the half.
The second half was much of the same for the Golden Rams. Mattei connected with DePalma for a 32-yard touchdown to end an eight-play, 74-yard drive midway through the third quarter. This was DePalma’s third touchdown of the game, and Mattei’s second passing touchdown to the senior.
Following a Shirk interception by junior cornerback Bryan Hinderer, the Golden Rams went to the ground game. Webb, who had a school record 306 yards against the Marauders two seasons ago, got into a groove. Of the 69 yards on the drive, Webb had 55 yards, including a 24-yard scamper to the end zone for his first score of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, Millersville got back on the board, as Shirk sneaked into the end zone from one-yard out to make it 38-14.
West Chester finished off the scoring two minutes later when Webb, who has 572 yards rushing in three career games against Millersville, ran off the left side for 44 yards and his second touchdown of the game.
“This is my favorite team,” Webb said about facing Millersville. “I am happy we got the win today. The offensive line made it easy to pick a hole and go.”
“[Webb] just loves [Millersville] I guess,” Zwaan said. “I can’t put my finger on it. I think we block this team better than we do other teams.”
“I am really happy for [D’Andre],” Ford-Bey said. “It’s a shame he couldn’t get more yards than he wanted.”
The Golden Rams finished with 607 yards of total offense, 305 through the air, and 302 on the ground. Webb finished with a game-high 140 yards rushing and the two touchdowns. Mattei finished 11-20 for 217 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. McCartney finished 3-4 for 88 yards and a touchdown. DePalma finished with a game-high 180 yards and three touchdowns.
“I kind of found my position again,” DePalma said. “We switched me around a little bit the last couple weeks and I feel right at home where I am.”
“[DePalma] has been banged up so much all year I think he’s finally feeling good and healthy and that’s what he plays like when he’s healthy,” Zwaan said.
The West Chester defense gave up a total of 263 yards to the Marauders offense. Sophomore linebacker Mike Lonergan finished with a game-high seven tackles. Ford-Bey (3.5 sacks), senior linebacker Ronnie Koons (one sack), Lonergan (0.5 sack), redshirt freshman Mike Pereira (0.5 sack) and junior linebacker Will Davis (0.5 sack) each recorded sacks.
“We played very well,” Ford-Bey said. “I am happy for my guys.”
The following seniors played in their final home game for the Golden Rams: DePalma, Ford-Bey, Webb, Koons, defensive-end Troy Wasserleben, defensive back Cordero Newkirk, wide receiver Skyy Simmons, defensive back Cedric Jeffries, fullback Adam Young, linebacker Morty Hoey, wide receiver Rodney Sykes and defensive-end Lukas Fickel.
West Chester ends their season next week with a 1 p.m. matchup on Saturday at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
LJ Harrell is a graduate student majoring in communications studies. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.