Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Event News - Ram Rally

In preparation for the 2017 Golden Ram football season, there will be a Ram Rally held on Wednesday, August 30 at 7:00 pm in Hollinger Field House. All are welcome to attend. Hope to see you there!!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Team News - 2017 First Scrimmage Report

Fans got their first view of the 2017 Golden Rams on a warm and sunny day in John A. Farrell Stadium. Much of the game consisted of things everyone expected to see - Jarel Elder speeding around the edge, Tyler Karpinski making great catches, and several interceptions by a defense that knows its opponent very well - so here are some of the things that stood out:
  • The quarterback situation is one that the coaches were hoping to solve early in camp. Sophomore Paul Dooley, who missed the entire spring, started with the first team and senior Pat Moriarty got plenty of opportunities. But sophomore transfer A.J. Long got a good long look and did not disappoint. Even though he hasn't played since 2014, he was poised in reading blitzes, finding favorable one-on-one matchups, and threw with touch. In the two-minute drill, he led the offense the length of the field to the end zone with great efficiency. It's not clear if the quarterback situation is solved or further complicated.
  • Most of the defensive two-deep is set and held to form. The one exception was the absence of senior defensive tackle Kavon Johnson. In his stead, sophomore Joe DeSanto moved up and redshirt freshman Omar Peterkin joined the rotation.
  • The tight end position also proved intriguing. Cody Boozel, seemingly out for the season from the injury he incurred in the spring game, was joined in street clothes by junior Simon Williams. With Connor McGrath no where to be seen, true freshman Gabe Schappell saw a lot of action all afternoon long. Not only might Schappell play as a true freshman, he might even be starting in the opener in less than two weeks.
  • Redshirt freshman kicker George Lambritsios banged a 52-yard field goal attempt off the cross bar. While the PSAC record of 55 yards - set by Golden Ram Eric Wentling in 1983 at Bloomsburg - seems safe for now, Lambritsios certainly showed the range that he could offer this team for the next few seasons.
  • Senior left guard Vince Lostracco was not dressed and the void was filled by classmate Alex Host. With Tyler Drob already on the shelf, depth on the offensive line might soon become a concern.

Former Golden Ram cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz was on hand to take in the action.

West Chester's final scrimmage of the summer is scheduled for Friday, August 25 at 6:30 pm.





Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday - 1927

West Chester began its first year as a Teachers College in 1927, and the team had an eight-game schedule that didn't start until October. At the Hill School, Coach McGovern started the second string and only later played the varsity. This "Shock Troop" approach resulted in a 12-6 win. Those would be the last points opponents would score until the final game of the season.


West Chester hosted the Franklin and Marshall Frosh and sent them home with a 41-0 loss. The Yellow Jackets (as West Chester was then known) topped "new" rival Bloomsburg by a score of 40-0. Franklin and Marshall Academy was the next victim, returning home with a 26-0 loss. The following week, West Chester would score 21 second-half points to spoil Shippensburg's homecoming.

The final two home games of the season included a difficult 7-0 win over Trenton and an easy 43-0 whitewashing of Millersville. This setup a trip to the Poconos for West Chester (7-0) to take on Stroudsburg (5-1-1). Even though the Shock Troops scored first, West Chester trailed 7-6 at halftime. It's reported that West Chester's second half performance was listless and Stroudsburg would go on to win the championship by a score of 13-6.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Event News - Scrimmage Date Moved to Saturday

According to The Bill Zwaan Show facebook page, the first scrimmage of the summer has been moved from Friday, August 18 at 6:30pm to Saturday, August 19 at 1:00pm.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Team News - Golden Rams Receiving Votes in AFCA Preseason Poll

West Chester is among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II preseason poll. The Golden Rams return 21 starters from last year's team that finished 8-3.

West Chester opens the 2017 season at home on August 31 against Bentley.

American Football Coaches Association - Division II Coaches’ Poll – August 14, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

Team News - 2017 Additional Roster Changes

Now that camp has opened, there have been a few more changes to the 2017 roster, most notably:

  • Incoming transfer defensive tackle Jamil Pollard and incoming transfer offensive lineman Malik White are no longer listed.
  • Kicker Andrew Chegia has taken Pollard's #93 on the roster. Chegia walked-on at Temple in 2015, but did not play. A four-year varsity soccer player for Unionville, he has yet to play in a game of organized football.
  • It appears that defensive tackle Shaquil Ryder is not returning. Ryder last played for the Golden Rams in 2014 when he started all 13 games and finished fifth on the team in tackles with 54. His best game came at Kutztown when he made ten tackles, including a sack, and recovered a fumble. For that game, he was named PSAC East Defensive Athlete of the Week.
  • Defensive tackle Omar Peterkin has taken Ryder's #92 and freshman defensive end Brett Moyer has assumed Peterkin's #58.
  • Freshman Eddie Scannapieco is now listed on the roster as a defensive back and will wear #54.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Alumni News - Jack Simon to Milford Football Hall of Fame

Former Golden Ram offensive tackle Jack Simon '76 will be inducted into the Milford (DE) Football Hall of Fame. Simon has been in the Milford School District since his graduation from West Chester and coached the Buccaneer football team for 25 years. He was an All-Catholic, All-Area and All-City offensive tackle for Archbishop Wood. In his senior season at West Chester, he was named first team All-PSAC East and AP Little All-American. Simon and the rest of the Hall of Fame class, will be inducted during Milford's home football game on September 15.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Alumni News - Pagan, Williams Take New Coaching Roles

Former Golden Ram defensive back Nate Pagan '13 has taken an Assistant Coaching position with the Villanova Wildcats. Pagan spent two seasons with SUNY Cortland before spending the last two years with Stevenson. The Mustangs finished 9-2 in 2016 and qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs. Pagan was a a three-year letterman and member of the Athletic Director Academic Honor Roll at West Chester. For the Wildcats, he will focus on coaching the tight ends.

Meanwhile, former All-American linebacker Ronell Williams '14 is a graduate assistant with the Temple Owls. He spent last season coaching the linebackers at Widener University. While at West Chester, Williams was a three-time All-PSAC selection and two-time All-Super Region 1 pick. At Temple, he will focus on the defense.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Team News - 2017 Season Preview

The Golden Rams enter the 2017 season seeking an NCAA playoff berth for the first time since 2014 when they made their second consecutive appearance in the postseason. In 2013, the team was led by Harlon Hill finalist and all-time great all-purpose back Rondell White on offense and linebackers Ronell Williams and Mike Labor and cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz on defense. The following season, consensus All-American defensive end Andrew Cohen complimented Williams, Labor and Shabazz on defense, while Harlon Hill finalist quarterback Sean McCartney connected with All-American tight end Tim Brown and used almost 1,300 yards on the ground from running back Brandon Monk to pace the offense.

Now is a bevy of marquee players required to make the postseason? Maybe not. If so, though, consider that the most decorated returner is offensive guard Tyler Drob who was an honorable mention All-American after last season, and from the looks of his knee brace during the spring game, it’s unlikely he’ll be available, at least for the start of this season. That being said, the 2017 Golden Rams return a ton of experience, specifically ten starters on offense, seven on defense and all four special teams players.

Offense

Senior Pat Moriarty would seem to have the edge at quarterback, although the spot is probably not assured. As a sophomore in 2015, Moriarty started every game for the Golden Rams throwing for 2,655 yards and 28 touchdowns in leading West Chester to a PSAC East division title. He was the starting quarterback at the beginning of last year as well, but after an ineffective first half in the season opener at Bentley, he was lifted for Andrew Derr. Derr started the next four games before suffering an injury, so Moriarty returned to the starting role for the next five games. West Chester won all six games in which Moriarty started, but he only threw for 810 yards and eight touchdowns. Sophomore Paul Dooley completed only one pass last season as he was primarily used in the wildcat and picked up 129 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. The real wild card is Syracuse transfer A.J. Long and his health. Long has incredible talent, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the offense, or how the offense adjusts to him, as the season progresses. Redshirt freshman Mike Alley spent last season learning the offense and played a lot in the spring.

West Chester returns its top three receivers from a year ago: senior Tyler Karpinski (45 catches, 798 yards, 8 TD’s), junior Jordan Banks (38 catches, 593 yards, 8 TD’s) and senior Marcus Sydnor (20 catches, 365 yards, 3 TD’s). There’s not a lot of experience behind those three in sophomore Lex Rosario (11 catches, 146 yards) and redshirt freshmen Elijah Hall and Rasheem James who will be looking to make their collegiate debut.

Starting tight end Simon Williams (5 catches, 102 yards) returns, but Cody Boozel appears to be lost for the season after incurring an injury in the spring game. Backing up at tight end will be junior Connor McGrath who played in ten games in 2015 and sat out last year. Sophomore Tyler Higgins saw action in eight games last season at H-back and redshirt freshman Dan Neuhaus will back up that position. It will be interesting to see if true freshmen Gabe Schappell and Adam Schreck can make an immediate impact.

Senior captain Jarel Elder (1,012 yards, 11 TD’s) will see the bulk of the time at running back, but juniors Mike Class (351 yards, 3 TD’s) and Mark Dukes (128 yards, 1 TD) are very capable. With their redshirt seasons behind them, Nafeese Nasir and Isaiah Bruce will look to get on the field.

With senior captain Tyler Drob likely on the shelf for a little while, seniors Vince Lostracco at left guard, Devan LaBau at center, and Evyn Stadulis at one of the tackle spots will anchor the offensive line. All three started all eleven games a year ago. Senior Alex Host saw action in every game last season and will likely assume the right guard spot. Junior Jake Duncan played in nine games last season and will take the other tackle spot. Among the reserves, only junior Connor Walsh has more than four games of experience and will be alongside sophomores Frank Tranzilli, Jack Mummert, John DiPasquale and redshirt freshman Shane Kraynik.

Defense

The depth and experience on the defense is in the front seven. Senior George Shipp, who got injured in the season opener at Bentley last year and missed the next seven games before playing in the final three contests, returns at defensive end, as does junior Ch'aim Smith (57 tackles, 6 sacks). Behind them are senior John Dubyk (37 tackles), who was second on the team in tackles for loss last season with ten, and Valley Forge Military Academy transfer Diquan Gilbert who sat out last season at West Chester. At the tackle spots are senior captain Josh Ganzelli (44 tackles, 4.5 TFL’s) and Kavon Johnson (21 tackles 2 FF). Backing them up are sophomore Joe DeSanto (17 tackles) and Mark Webb who also transferred from Valley Forge Military Academy two years ago. Transfer Jamil Pollard and youngsters Omar Peterkin and David Simmons look to make their West Chester debut on the defensive line.

In the middle, senior captain Kevin Duggan (53 tackles, 5 TFL’s) will hold down one of the linebacker spots with senior Justice Smith (17 tackles) backing him up. The other linebacker spot will have Tyler Morrissey who saw limited action last season, but had 15 tackles in 8 games in 2015 battling sophomore Zack Hockman who redshirted last year after notching 20 tackles as a true freshman in 2015. Sophomore Quinten Cheyney (7 tackles) and Valley Forge transfer Geoffrey Phillippe will vie for time. Junior Nydair Rouse (15 tackles, 3 ints for 142 yards) will start at the shark position while junior Phil Mitten, who performed well on special teams last season, will move from wide receiver to shark as a backup.

The secondary lost five players from last season’s two-deep, and the three remaining players are expected to start. Senior captain Shaquille James (45 tackles, 8 PBU) will man the one corner position while junior Quintin Smith will handle the other side. Sophomore Deionte Wilson (13 tackles, 1 int) saw action in ten games last year at strong safety and classmate Jarey Elder (20 tackles, 2 int) will handle the free safety spot. After a year off, sophomore Corey Kelley (17 tackles, 4 PBU in 2015) returns to backup one corner while junior Jaishan Thornton (8 tackles) covers the other side. Moving from running back to free safety this season is senior Anthony Brown and backing up the strong safety spot is redshirt freshman Jordan Burney.

Special Teams

Kicker and punter Brendan Paulison was All-PSAC at both positions last season and returns for his junior year. Snapper Shane Griffin returns as does holder Tyler Karpinski. In the return game, expect Anthony Brown to handle punts again this season and he’ll be joined by Jarel Elder on kickoff returns. Redshirt freshman George Lambritsios has a big leg and might help on kickoffs.

Conclusion

This year's squad may not have big name superstars, but there is plenty of talent and depth at all positions to make a run at the postseason. After the first three weeks of last year, West Chester was 1-2 and the one victory was only as a result of a late-game interception. How the Golden Rams stand after facing the same first three opponents this year should be a decent indicator for the possibility of playoffs.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Throwback Thursday - 1937

West Chester posted a 6-3-1 record under head coach Glenn Killinger in the first season that the Purple and Gold would play under the lights. Seven of the team's eight home games were played at night. West Chester opened the season with a 19-0 shutout over Penn Military College in front of 8,400 fans which was followed by a 6-0 win over visiting Slippery Rock. LaSalle became the first team to score against West Chester this season and the Explorers came away with a 6-0 victory.


Paul "Spuds" Bruno, who was named on Paul Williamson's Little All-American team, led the defense in their shutout win over visiting Ithaca by a score of 20-0. The team traveled to Geneva, but fell by a score of 7-6 on a fog laden evening. West Chester then topped both Kutztown (19-6) and St Joseph's (14-7), but that was followed by a 6-0 loss to Lock Haven as West Chester played those three games over a period of just eight days.


Penn Military College and West Chester would have a rematch late that season. Even though this game was played in Chester, West Chester still captured a 6-3 win. To close the season, West Chester hosted Waynesburg on Thanksgiving in the only daytime home game of the season. The game ended in a scoreless tie.