Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 1955

How long ago was 1955? That's easy - 60 years. But really, how long ago was it? How about the head coach was a gentleman named W. Glenn Killinger. As in Killinger Hall. As in the Killinger Foundation. As in more wins than any other head football coach at West Chester. Killinger never had a losing season as head football coach at West Chester, and the 1955 squad finished 6-3.

The season opened with two home wins over East Carolina and the Fort Monmouth Signaleers. Back then, there were many military service teams including Fort Eustis, Fort Dix, Fort Belvoir, Fort Lee, and Quantico. After that, West Chester was shutout by a score of 7-0 to Drexel. Drexel, which discontinued football after the 1973 season, went undefeated in 1955 and their defense held all eight of their opponents to no more than 14 points. West Chester then lost to Youngstown in the second and last meeting between the two schools.

The Golden Rams won their next two road games at Lock Haven and East Stroudsburg, before winning their two final home games over Kings's and Millersville. The season ended with a loss at Pennsylvania State Teacher's College Champions Bloomsburg. So besides West Chester's current annual division foes, their 1955 opponents are now an FBS team, an FCS team, a Division III team, a defunct football team and a closed Army base.

The 1955 team was led by captains Bill Crozier and Ron Gatski. As an end, Crozier was West Chester's leading receiver that season, hauling in 13 catches for 195 yards. For his effort, he was named to the All-PSAC team which consisted of eleven players: a center, two guards, two tackles, two ends, and four backs. Future Killinger Hall of Famers Jack Wendland and John Harrington paced the offense. Wendland was the leading rusher with 521 yards and Harrington completed 32 of his 107 pass attempts for 346 yards and four touchdowns that season. The game of football was quite different that long ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Alumni News - Tiger-Cats Release Sam Scott

Former Golden Ram defender Sam Scott was released yesterday by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. In two games this season, he registered four tackles and, oddly enough, an 11-yard kickoff return.

Scott was a first team All-PSAC East linebacker in both 2008 and 2009. In 48 games at West Chester, he amassed 150 solo tackles, 92 assisted tackles, for 242 total tackles, 37.0 tackles for loss, an interception, three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. His 37.0 tackles for loss currently ranks third on the Golden Ram career list.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 1965

Devastating. No one word can better summarize the 1965 West Chester football season. For the second year in a row, the Golden Rams opened the season 0-2 with losses to East Carolina and East Stroudsburg. But it was then that devastation struck. With West Chester leading the visiting Millersville Marauders by a score of 6-0 early in the second quarter, Head Coach Jim Bonder collapsed on the sidelines. The game was stopped for several minutes while medical staff attended to him and ultimately rushed him to the hospital. West Chester would go on to win the game 33-6, but then learned in the locker room that their head coach had died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 51. In a little over five seasons at the helm at West Chester, Bonder amassed a record of 39-9 for an .813 winning percentage, the highest ever among Golden Ram coaches with at least ten games coached.

Under new Head Coach Bob Mitten, the Golden Rams would sweep the remainder of the PSAC East division games - Bloomsburg, Kutztown, Mansfield and Cheyney - losing only at Villanova for a final record of 5-3. The team was very young - 24 sophomores and 18 upperclassmen. Sophomore Roger Grove was the team's leading rusher and classmate Jim Haynie threw for 1,120 yards and seven touchdowns. Both are members of the Killinger Football Hall of Fame. Providing senior leadership was end Dan Ferguson who was the only Golden Ram named to the All-PSAC team. That year, the conference didn't select separate teams for each division nor was a second team identified.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Alumni News - McGrane to Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame

Former Golden Ram football player Paul McGrane has been named to the 2015 Inductee Class of the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame. McGrane graduated from Myers in Wilkes-Barre in 1976. Despite being just 5'10 and 200 lbs, he played center for the Golden Rams, starting in his final two seasons. After graduating in 1980, McGrane returned to the Wilkes-Barre area where he has successfully coached football, track, cross country, basketball and soccer for 35 years.

The 2015 Annual Induction Banquet will be held on Sunday, August 16th at Genetti's Hotel & Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 1975

The 1975 season was a tough one for the Golden Rams. They opened the campaign with a shutout loss at New Hampshire which would later advance to the Division II semi-finals. But it was the next three games that were difficult - three losses to American International, East Stroudsburg (yes, Denny Douds was head coach back then) and Millersville by a total of 13 points. After starting the season 0-4, West Chester then peeled off four straight wins, with the shining moment being a 42-7 whitewashing at Hillsdale who was nationally ranked at the time. The season closed with a 35-7 loss at Delaware which was led by quarterback Bill Zwaan.

Herb Mills led the Golden Rams in rushing with 720 yards and was named first team All-PSAC East. Quarterback John Newman attempted only 121 passes (for comparison, Sean McCartney attempted 418 last season), but he completed 75 of them for a 61.2 completion percentage which still ranks as one of the most accurate seasons in West Chester history. A freshman tight end by the name of Joe Senser was the top pass catcher and earned first team All-PSAC East. After his career at West Chester, Senser was drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings where he spent five seasons. Other All-PSAC East performers were offensive tackle Jack Simon, guard Sam Leedy, punter Steve Cook, defensive lineman Dave Sharpless, end Ron Hovart, linebacker John Scanlon, linebacker Gary Smith, and defensive back Dave Kline who led the team with five interceptions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Event News - Future Golden Ram in Scranton Dream Game

A future Golden Ram will be participating in the 81st Annual Scranton Lions Club Dream Game to be held at 7:30 pm on Wednesday July 29 at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium. Lex Rosario of Delaware Valley High School is slated to play running back for the City team in the contest.

The game pits the City team, which holds a 39-37 edge in the series which has seen four ties, against all-stars from the rest of the Lackawanna County. The City team will be coached by Brian Fahey of West Scranton while the County team will be coached by Western Wayne's Donnie McDonough. Last year, County won 14-7 in front of almost 7,500 fans. - Dream Game rosters released
Wyoming County Examiner - Lions make Dream Game

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Team News - Season Television Schedule Released

The SPORTSfever Television Network has released its broadcast schedule for the 2015 season and the Golden Rams are set to appear at least four times.

West Chester's first two games of the season - the Thursday night season opener against Lenoir-Rhyne and at Mercyhurst the following Saturday - are both set to air. Then two division rivals will be broadcast: West Chester's homecoming game against Bloomsburg and their annual battle with East Stroudsburg. Of course this is no reason not to attend the game live and in person, since most games are rebroadcast the following week. Check local listings for the channel that will air the broadcast.

September 3
6:00 pm
September 12
12:00 pm
October 24
2:00 pm
November 7
1:00 pm

Friday, July 10, 2015

Alumni News - Williams Helping Chester Youth

Former Golden Ram linebacker Ronell Williams was among a group of counselors at the John Mobley Skills and Drills Football Camp held in Chester this week. Williams was working with former Kutztown Golden Bear and Denver Bronco John Mobley, Chester resident and Atlanta Falcon Jerome Smith among others.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 1985

Danny Hale was in just his second season as head coach of the Golden Rams, and the youth movement was on. The offense was led by freshman quarterback Al Nielmela and his top receiver that season was another freshman, Billy Hess. The other main receiving threat was Jim Sheehan who was only a sophomore and midway through the season, Hale went to sophomore Jason Sims at running back. Providing leadership were the team captains: linebacker John Mininno and offensive tackle Gray Schippang. In 1986, Schippang was drafted in the 8th round by the Minnesota Vikings. All six of these players have since been inducted into the Killinger Football Hall of Fame.

West Chester opened the season with a narrow 7-3 loss at Indiana, they then easily handled Division III Glassboro State, now Rowan University, at Farrell Stadium. After tipping Kutztown on the road and dropping the Delaware game, the Golden Rams ripped off four straight PSAC East wins. In its final non-league game of the season, West Chester then beat Lehigh 20-17 for the program's only win over that Division IAA team in school history. Ironically, Lehigh defeated both Indiana and Delaware, the two teams that topped the Golden Rams up to that point in the season. This set up the final week of the regular season.

Sitting at 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the PSAC East, West Chester traveled to long-time rival Bloomsburg which was 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the division. The winner would advance to the PSAC Championship Game and, for West Chester, a rematch with Indiana. Regardless of which three schools it was, the winner of the PSAC Championship game would most likely get its first ever NCAA Playoff berth.

As expected at Redman Stadium in November, it was bitterly cold. But this game had the added feature of a drenching rain. In 1985, there was no artificial turf, so the game was played in freezing cold mud. The Golden Rams held a 6-2 lead when the Huskies executed a play action fake that caught the West Chester defense off guard and resulted in the only offensive touchdown of the game and a 8-6 lead. West Chester had their chances after that. One sure touchdown pass was dropped in the end zone and a later pass into the end zone was picked off. But the score would stand and West Chester's season ended. Among the 11 fumbles in the game was a bobbled WCU snap that was recovered in the end zone for a Bloomsburg safety and the difference in the final score.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Event News - PSAC Football Media Day

The PSAC will hold its annual Football Media Day on Monday, August 10. The schools from the East Division will be hosted by Kutztown University while the West Division schools will gather at Slippery Rock University.