For the first time since 2008, the West Chester University Golden Rams will have their chance in the “State Game” when Slippery Rock travels to John. A. Farrell Stadium next weekend for the PSAC football championship game.
With a little help from Kutztown defeating Shippensburg Saturday, 51-27, the Golden Rams needed a victory on a cold Saturday afternoon for their shot at the PSAC title. East Stroudsburg was the last team standing in between a PSAC title shot and the purple and gold.
The Golden Rams came out firing, jumping to a 31-7 first half lead and never looking back, defeating the Warriors 41-27.
Sophomore quarterback Pat Moriarty completed a dime to utility-skill player Eddie Elliot as time expired just before the midway mark that gave the Rams 31 points in the first half. Moriarty looked sharp in his final dress rehearsal before the big show. Slippery Rock leads the PSAC in scoring defense while being tied for third in interceptions, so Moriarty will need to be on top of his game come next weekend.
Moriarty finished the day 19 for 30 in the air, totaling 187 yards with three touchdowns. The biggest stat posted by Moriarty is the goose egg in the interception column. With a team like Slippery Rock traveling to West Chester on Saturday, Moriarty will have to be virtually perfect in the air.
Senior defensive end Andrew Cohen still can’t be stopped. Cohen compiled yet another sack on the season, upping his career total to 30.5 If Cohen can finish his collegiate football career with a monster few weeks, he could creep up on the PSAC record for career sacks (33), held by Clarion alum Julian Howsare (2011-2014).
The West Chester offense ran like a well-oiled machine Saturday, using aspects of both their running and passing game to find success. On the ground, Brandon Monk showcased his best effort of the season, rushing for 170 yards and two impressive touchdowns. Monk will be a key piece for the Golden Rams to find postseason success.
Seven different receivers caught passes from Moriarty on Saturday, with Tyler Karpinski and Elliot leading with five and six a piece, respectively. Karpinski has come on as of late as one of Moriarty’s favorite, and more heavily used receivers. The sure-handed, 5’11 sophomore wide out has went for over 45 yards in four of his last five games.
Defensively, the Golden Rams tackled extremely well on Saturday. Sophomore defensive back Kevin Duggan led the way for West Chester with seven total tackles. Duggan and counter-part Kevin Malone have taken over as commanders on defense.
West Chester was able to frustrate East Stroudsburg quarterback Matt Soltes all afternoon, forcing him into two key interceptions taken away by Golden Rams defensive backs Nydair Rouse and Pete Galliano.
Despite a third quarter push that brought the Warriors within 14 points, West Chester marched to a PSAC title chance. The win versus ESU leaves the Golden Rams at 7-3 on the season.
With home field advantage on his side, Moriarty will need to establish the Rams’ identity early, as they did this week, and shut-down a team ranked no. 1 in the PSAC on both offense and defense. The task at hand will not be easy, but this young West Chester team could finally be catching their stride. Now, its time for the Rams to make history.
AJ Arcaini is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu