After clawing their way to a PSAC title shot, the West Chester University Golden Rams football team was unable to take home the coveted PSAC Championship trophy on Saturday, falling to Slippery Rock 61-12.
Things don’t always go as planned, which was certainly the case for the hometown Rams on Saturday. After trading scores in the first six minutes of the game, West Chester could not contain the powerful Slippery Rock offense, giving up 41 unanswered points before gracing the scoreboard again. The loss deteriorates the Golden Rams chances at a national playoff birth, making it practically impossible.
Quarterback Pat Moriarty struggled to find his groove Saturday afternoon, finishing 14 of 35 through the air, with 164 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Moriarty, who’s season could be considered up and down, has shown improvement down the stretch. The sophomore-quarterback will likely return at the helm next year for West Chester, and hopefully have his shot at another PSAC title.
Senior running back Brandon Monk finished his prestigious Golden Ram career on Saturday with only 19 yards on the ground, but 173 all-purpose yards. Monk, who has been a force in numerous aspects of the Golden Rams game plan for the past three years, was unable to get anything going against a strong Slippery Rock defensive front. Fellow senior Eddie Elliot caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Moriarty, but was unable to accumulate anything else on the offensive end.
Monk led all receivers with six catches for 67 yards, but nine other Golden Ram receivers were able to reel in receptions. A.J. DePietro caught the first Moriarty touchdown pass on the day, his fourth on the season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Andrew Cohen wrote his name into the PSAC record books in his final game representing the purple and gold. Cohen recorded two more sacks, giving him 13.5 on the season, but more impressively, 33.5 on his career. This trumps the original PSAC record of 33 by Clarion alum Julian Howsare. Cohen has been a force on the defensive front for the Golden Rams since his freshman year, and will leave behind an elite legacy in the Golden Ram football history books.
Junior defensive back Ralph Reeves led the Golden Rams with 12 tackles, followed by Cohen and fellow defensive lineman Josh Ganzelli with nine a piece, respectively. The defense had trouble slowing down both the running and passing game of Slippery Rock, who finished with 557 total offensive yards.
Overall, it certainly was not the game that Coach Zwaan and the Golden Rams had hoped for, or expected to end their season. West Chester will graduate nine seniors from the 2015 roster, including a few major contributors like Cohen, Elliot, Monk and Formica. A loss in the PSAC title is a tough way to end a career, but the nine seniors can hold their heads high remembering the success they brought to the West Chester football program over the past four seasons.
AJ Arcaini is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu.