Photography by Olivia Carzo.
A week after a tough loss on the road against Shippensburg, West Chester returned home and delivered a dominating performance on their way to a 42-24 victory over East Stroudsburg. The bounce-back win improved the West Chester Golden Rams record to 5-2, while the East Stroudsburg Warriors dropped to 4-3 on the season.
The West Chester offense was firing on all cylinders with quarterback Shane Dooley passing for 181 yards and hitting wide receivers Seth Degree and Rasheem James for both of his touchdowns on the day. The rushing attack has been exceptional this season, and they continued to have this success on Saturday rushing for 370 total yards and four touchdowns as a unit. The ground game was led by Ja’den McKenzie, who ran for 137 yards and a touchdown. His performance led to him being named the PSAC East Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, both of which came in the last three weeks. His counterpart Phil Poquie added 113 yards and two touchdowns. The pair are making a name for themselves and putting themselves in the conversation for the best 1-2 punch in the league.
East Stroudsburg put up respectable individual numbers offensively in the losing effort with quarterback Jake Cirillo throwing for 273 yards and two touchdowns. However, most of these numbers came when the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter when he hit Rece Bender and Elie Lavarin for a pair of long touchdowns. It was all Golden Rams from the start as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back, playing a dominant game and showing that they have the potential to be a contender come playoff time. To the Warriors’ credit, they did not give up and continued to play their hearts out until the final whistle.
East Stroudsburg came into the matchup as one of the best defensive units in the league, allowing an impressive average of 15.1 points per game, and the fact that West Chester was able to put up 42 points shows the level of talent on this offensive unit, which ranks fifth in total points per game.
The Golden Rams travel to Shepherd University next weekend for a battle of the Rams, while the Warriors return home for a date with the Bloomsburg Huskies. Both matchups will be important as the team’s look to gain momentum down the stretch before the playoffs begin. West Chester will stay on the road the following weekend and face Lock Haven University before returning home for their final regular season game against Kutztown University.
For tickets and information on how to support the Golden Rams as they advance towards postseason play visit the West Chester Athletics website where you can find information on the football team, as well as all of the other sports teams affiliated with the University. You can also visit the box office on game days where you can purchase tickets upon your entry to the stadium. Tickets are free for West Chester students who provide a student ID and start at $7 for families and for the general public.