Any time the West Chester Golden Rams and Bloomsburg Huskies face off, greatness is bound to unfold.
Saturday, October 24th was no different. WCU held off a late Bloomsburg surge and was able to grab a crucial conference victory, 33-22, on a cool and sunny homecoming afternoon.
Four touchdowns in the last five minutes between the two teams made for an exciting ending, but ultimately, a 92-yard “pick-six” from West Chester defensive back Shaquil James put the nail in the coffin of the Huskies comeback hopes.
The Golden Ram defense played the role of hero Saturday afternoon, picking off Bloomsburg quarterback, Tim Kelly, three times and earning a safety early in the first half. Along with the huge interception and return by James, defensive backs Kevin Malone and Ted Patton were the other two Golden Rams with interceptions.
Andrew Cohen finished the game with four tackles and two sacks, but defensive end George Shipp led the way in the trenches for the West Chester defensive line. Shipp finished with six total tackles, two and a half sacks, a forced fumble, and the registered safety. Josh Ganzelli and Kavon Johnson aided the workload adding six tackles each.
Quarterback Pat Moriarty struggled to find a rhythm, but still was able to get the job done. The sophomore quarterback finished the day 17 for 26 through the air for 181 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Moriarty was able to reach seven different Golden Ram receivers for completions throughout the afternoon.
Senior tight end Tim Brown led the Rams with six catches for 84 yards, also catching Moriarty’s lone touchdown pass of the afternoon. Brown has been a bit more quiet then some expected so far this season, but has certainly been a veteran presence to help calm the nerves of a young Golden Rams quarterback.
Following Brown’s lead, senior wide out Adam Dempsey finished the day with four catches for 43 yards. Besides the two receivers Dempsey and Brown, no other Golden Ram caught more than one pass (Elder, Hurley, Young, Monk, Karpinski, Elliot all had one.)
The Rams attacked the Bloomsburg defense with a three-headed monster approach on the ground, giving the combination of Elder, Monk and Young their fair share of attempts. Unfortunately, the Huskies cracked the Golden Ram rushing code and did not surrender more then 35 yards to any West Chester running back.
Monk led the way with 11 carries but could only manage 33 rushing yards. Similarly, Elder carried the ball 11 times and gained just 28, while Young finished with 30 yards on only six carries. Both Monk and Young were able to find the end zone for Golden Ram scores.
With the victory, West Chester falls into a tight three-way tie for the top spot in the PSAC East, with a 4-1 conference record. The Rams, Huskies, and Red Raiders all have put together up-and-down seasons so far, so the conference still stands wide open for someone to take control of.
Next week, the Golden Rams travel down the road to next-door-neighbor Cheyney to take on the Wolves. Cheyney has yet to find their first victory of the season, so the game provides an opportunity to the Rams to grab another conference victory. The final two games against East Stroudsburg and Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the upcoming weeks will be crucial to West Chester’s playoff hopes and conference championship dreams. As the end of the regular season approaches, the stakes are raising with every day of practice that goes by.
AJ Arcaini is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu