Sunday, September 21, 2014

Game Report - West Chester 45 - Seton Hill 10

The Golden Rams moved to 3-0 as they toppled the Seton Hill Griffins by a score of 45-10 Saturday night in Greensburg.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Club News - September 18 Meeting

The Golden Ram Football Club will be meeting on Thursday at 7:45pm at Timothy's in the Parkway Shopping Center in West Chester. The meeting will begin immediately following the Bill Zwaan Football Show which is also held at Timothy's starting at 7:00pm. Golden Ram fans unable to attend the show can listen to it live on WCHE1520AM.COM. The meeting will not be broadcast.

According to the Bill Zwaan Football Show facebook page, junior fullback Camille Max and junior tight end Tim Brown will be the special guests on Coach Zwaan's show. Max, primarily a blocking back, had a key reception in the Golden Rams' win over California last season. Brown was key in West Chester's 2013 playoff run and has eight catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns so far this year.

Come out to Timothy's at 7:00pm to participate in the show live.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game Preview - Seton Hill

The #10 Golden Rams (2-0) travel to Greensburg, PA to take on the Seton Hill Griffins (1-1) for their homecoming on Saturday. Kickoff at Offutt Field is set for 6:00 pm.

Series History:

This will be the first time these two teams meet on the football field.

Scouting the Opponent:
Seton Hill was a women's college until 2002. The Griffins inaugural football season was 2005 and they joined the now defunct West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2006. After finishing the 2008 regular season 9-2, they advanced to the NCAA playoffs and defeated American International in the first round before getting trounced by California in the second round. From 2009 through 2012, the Griffins had a cumulative record of just 4-40. As part of the WVIAC breakup after the 2011-12 school year, Seton Hill, along with Pitt-Johnstown (which does not sponsor football), joined the PSAC. The Griffins lone victory last season was a 17-10 win over Cheyney and they're coming off a 27-16 win over Lock Haven last week.

After amassing a 25-8 record in three seasons at Widener University, head coach Isaac Collins is seeking the same level of success in his second season at Seton Hill. And so far this season, he's off to a good start. Last season the Griffins totaled just 22 touchdowns. Consider that Rondell White himself had 24 touchdowns for the Golden Rams. And in 2013, the Griffins surrendered almost five sacks per contest. Compare that to West Chester's average of one per game against a schedule that included four games against playoff participants. But this year's Griffin offense is markedly improved after the first two games.

Sophomore Jarvis McClam started and finished last season as a wide receiver (16 catches, 132 yards, 1 TD). However, he played five games at quarterback and used his legs (107 carries, 476 yards, 4 TD's) more than his arm (32-81 246 yards, 1 TD, 1 int) to move the Griffin offense. Throwing the ball when McClam lined up wide was Nick Halfhill (91-173, 1,002 yards, 9 TD's, 11 interceptions) who has now been moved to tight end. So who's playing quarterback this season? Primarily Drew Jackson (32-76, 440 yards, 5 TD's, 1 interception) who missed last year due to an injury, although Dan Pietrangelo (10-13, 97 yards) has also seen time under center. The offensive line has yet to yield a sack. Top receivers are FJ Williams (8 catches, 122 yards, 2 TD's) and Erik Kerns (7 catches, 123 yards, 1 TD), but nine other players have at least one catch. Brandon Stout (32 carries, 123 yards) leads the rushing attack.

Despite registering six sacks and four interceptions over their first two games, Seton Hill has the second worst defense in the PSAC, surrendering 509 yards (184 rushing, 325 passing) and 35 points per game. After last season, linebacker Tyler Zimmer (11 tackles) was All-PSAC West, All-Super Region 1, and an Academic All-American. He's flanked by Tim Johnson (18 tackles, 3.5 TFL's, 1 forced fumble). Up front is Arthur Tsapdong (10 tackles, 2.0 TFL's) and Alex Attia (9 tackles, 2.0 TFL's). Ricardo Housen (12 tackles, 1 int, 2 PBU's) and Otis Williams (10 tackles, 1 PBU) are a pair of big defensive backs, while Phillip Moreland (9 solo tackles, 5 PBU's) leads the PSAC in pass breakups.

Saturday starts a string of three games against opponents that went a combined 5-28 last season. No opponent should be overlooked, and despite the Golden Rams' 2-0 record, they have yet to look sharp this season. Sean McCartney, the PSAC's top-rated passer with a 161.8 efficiency, should be able to take advantage of a secondary that yields 325 yards per game through the air. Seton Hill doesn't have a grind-it-out offense as five of their seven offensive touchdowns have originated outside the red zone. So the Golden Ram defense needs to pressure the quarterback while being weary of the big play.

Game Coverage:

Live Stats   Audio  

D2football - PSAC Columnist - Week 3 in the PSAC

Monday, September 15, 2014

Team News - Golden Rams Fall to #10 in AFCA Poll

Although West Chester defeated Mercyhurst 38-14 on Saturday, the Golden Rams slipped one spot to number ten in the most recent coaches' poll. Ohio Dominican, last week's #10 team, topped then #18 Grand Valley State 28-24 in Allendale, MI to move up to #9. West Chester remained #10 in the poll. West Chester's next action is at 6:00 pm on Saturday at Seton Hill (1-1) in Greensburg, PA.

American Football Coaches Association - Division II Coaches’ Poll – September 15, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Game Report - West Chester 38 - Mercyhurst 14

The Golden Rams moved to 2-0 as they beat up on the Mercyhurst Lakers by a score of 38-14 on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Farrell Stadium.

After the first four drives of the game, West Chester fans had to be feeling pretty good. And why not? The Golden Ram offense went on a six minute, 55-yard drive to open the scoring. The offense was evenly divided: 30 yards on the ground including 22 by Brandon Monk, and 25 through the air including a critical four-yard Sean McCartney to Eddie Elliott completion on fourth down to extend the drive. The possession was capped off by a McCartney two-yard naked bootleg to the end zone. West Chester’s second drive was the complete opposite. Erick Brundidge took a little swing pass and used a Mike Doty block to dash down the left sideline for a 74-yard touchdown reception.

Meanwhile, the West Chester defense was doing its part, forcing a three-and-out on Mercyhurst’s first possession and then a Drew Formica pick six from 39 yards out on their second possession. After four exchanges, the Golden Rams had 21 points and the Lakers had only 11 yards.

But then Mercyhurst started to move the ball a little with their passing game and the Golden Rams had three straight three-and-outs. And just when the West Chester offense gained a first down midway through the second quarter, Elliot fumbled which resulted in a Mercyhurst scoop and score. Suddenly it was 21-7 and the Golden Ram offense had been absent for a while.

Perhaps the Mercyhurst score was a wakeup call. After a McCartney to Doty 18-yard completion and a roughing the passer penalty, Tim Brown hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass to reignite the offense. Mercyhurst failed to convert a fourth down at midfield with under a minute left in the half. Although the Golden Rams managed to move the ball down to the 25, a 42-yard Rich Bruno field goal attempt was blocked and the teams went to the locker room.

Under a steady rain, West Chester maintained control of the game in the third quarter. Mercyhurst had drives of just 2, 5, -2 and 14 yards. However, the West Chester offense, despite moving the ball, was thwarted by a slippery snap on a field goal attempt and later by an interception. Enter Jarel Elder. The redshirt freshman had rushes of six, eight and six yards before a Shawn Driggins holding call stopped the momentum. But McCartney hit Doty for a 25-yard pickup and then Brown for a 31-yard touchdown.

The two teams traded scores – Mercyhurst a 34-yard touchdown pass and West Chester a 22-yard field goal – to close the scoring. Then everyone got to play as Anthony Brown carried the ball five straight times to run out the clock.

Notes – The West Chester defense held Mercyhurst to 255 total yards – 43 rushing, 212 passing – with 99 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter after the outcome had been determined...There were 22 Golden Rams who registered at least one tackle in the game, led by Andrew Cohen who had seven stops including West Chester’s lone sack...Al-Hajj Shabazz had three pass breakups while Mike Labor, Ronell Williams, Ralph Reeves, Shaquil Ryder, and John Dubyk each registered a quarterback hurry...Adam Dempsey had six catches for 43 yards and Dion Shaw made his first two West Chester receptions.

ESPN3 - Game Replay
D2football - PSAC Columnist - Recapping Week 2 in the PSAC

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Player News - Mike Culbreath Featured

Behind two of the best linebackers in the PSAC, Mike Culbreath didn't see the field a lot in 2013. Despite getting limited action, he still logged 22 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Culbreath was recently featured in an article in The Times Herald on how his move to defensive end should increase his playing time and give the Golden Rams an opportunity to create a different look on defense.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Player News - Ronell Williams Featured

Senior linebacker Ronell Williams led the Golden Rams last season with 110 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and three pass breakups. He was named AFCA All-American after his sophomore year, ECAC Division II Defensive Player of the Year after his junior year and preseason All-American by several organizations prior to this season. In Saturday's 35-30 win at New Haven, Williams was credited with nine tackles. He was recently featured in a CBS Philly article.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Player News - Brandon Pepper Featured

Junior free safety Brandon Pepper led the Golden Rams last season with five interceptions, with none being more crucial than his pick six to seal the 28-7 victory in the Super Region I Championship at Shepherd. He also finished 2013 seventh on the team in tackles with 53. In Saturday's 35-30 win at New Haven, Pepper was credited with two fourth-quarter tackles. He and fellow Pennsbury Falcon Dante Devine were recently featured in the Yardley News.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Club News - September 11 Meeting

The Golden Ram Football Club will be meeting on Thursday at 7:45pm at Timothy's in the Parkway Shopping Center in West Chester. The meeting will begin immediately following the Bill Zwaan Football Show which is also held at Timothy's starting at 7:00pm. Golden Ram fans unable to attend the show can listen to it live on WCHE1520AM.COM. The meeting will not be broadcast.

According to the Bill Zwaan Football Show facebook page, senior co-captain linebacker Mike Labor and senior wide receiver Mike Doty will be the special guests on Coach Zwaan's show. Labor was named second team All-PSAC East last season and also received two ECAC Defensive Player of the Week awards. In Saturday's 35-30 victory at New Haven, Labor logged 13 total tackles, ten of which were solo, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He was listed among BSN's "Top TFL's in Division II" for last week. Doty, a transfer from Temple, was the Golden Rams' leading receiver in the game with five catches for 75 yards. His first collegiate reception was an exciting one - a 38-yard touchdown to open the scoring on the day.

Come out to Timothy's at 7:00pm to participate in the show live.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Game Preview - Mercyhurst

West Chester (1-0) opens PSAC play when they host the Mercyhurst Lakers (0-1) at Farrell Stadium at noon on Saturday. Mercyhurst is coming off a 27-21 loss to Bentley in Waltham, MA last Saturday. In that game, the Lakers' offense struggled mightily as they managed a total of only 150 yards and only 44 of that came on the ground. Meanwhile, West Chester is coming off a 35-30 win over New Haven. Both New Haven and Bentley are members of the Northeast-10 conference.

Due to a rule change approved by the PSAC athletic directors in the offseason, all conference games, including crossover games against the West, will count in the division standings. Although this seems illogical due to the unbalanced nature of the crossover schedule, it is something that all teams need to consider.

Series History:

After spending ten seasons in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Mercyhurst just joined the PSAC in 2008. So these two teams have only faced each other once, with the Golden Rams defeating the Lakers 45-13 in 2009 at Farrell Stadium.

Last Meeting:

11/07/2009 West Chester 45 - Mercyhurst 13

In one of the most anti-climatic games in recent memory, the Golden Rams manhandled the Lakers in their first ever visit to Chester County. At the start of the 2009 season, the Golden Rams were coming off five consecutive playoff appearances and were picked to finished second in the PSAC East. But two division losses by a total of six points dashed any hope of extending the playoff streak to six years. Despite having little to play for, West Chester put on a dominating performance on both sides of the ball.

While no Golden Ram defender had more than five tackles in the game, the defense held Mercyhurst to just 50 yards rushing, 148 yards passing and 12 first downs. Both Sam Scott and Mike Dell registered interceptions on senior day. The West Chester offense was also very balanced as Dan DePalma and Steven Miller each had five catches for over 100 yards. That feat had not been repeated until Tim Keyser and Erick Brundidge did it last season against Kutztown.

Scouting the Lakers:

It's no secret that the Lakers offense centers on junior running back Brandon Brown-Dukes. Brown-Dukes rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, earning All-PSAC West first team and Don Hansen All-Super Region One third team honors after both of those seasons. One of the reasons for his success is senior right guard Ben Gysin who has started every game in his first three years at Mercyhurst. Senior tight end R.J. Miller is a two-time All-PSAC West selection and ECAC All-Star. Junior wide receiver Jaquan Williams (33 catches, 493 yards, 3 TD's) is the top returning receiver for the Lakers.

The Mercyhurst 3-3-5 defense is led by All-PSAC West linebacker Pat Behm (71 tackles, 2.0 TFL's, 1 interception). Senior safety Colin Kimball (57 tackles, 3.0 TFL's, 6 interceptions returned for 151 yards and 2 TD's) was All-PSAC West and an Academic All-American last season and a two time preseason All-American this year. Sophomore nose guard Ryan Carroll (24 tackles, 8.0 TFL's) was the ECAC Defensive Rookie of the Year last season.

Marty Schaetzle (63-70) is now in his 13th season as head coach at Mercyhurst. He guided the Lakers to their best season (10-3) in school history in 2010 when they defeated Bloomsburg 56-37 for the PSAC championship, then beat the Huskies again in the second round of the playoffs before falling to Shepherd in the NCAA quarterfinals.


With six starters returning on offense and seven on defense, the Lakers are looking to improve on last year's 7-4 finish. With inexperience at the quarterback position - Zach Emerick only had 25 pass attempts last season - the Lakers are likely to rely on Brown-Dukes even more heavily than the past two years. Their clock-consuming offense means fewer possessions for the Golden Rams, so treating those possessions accordingly is paramount. That means no turnovers, a lot of first downs, and touchdowns instead of field goals. Brown-Dukes and the Mercyhurst rushing attack may prove difficult for the young West Chester defensive front four. Game film from the Bentley game should prove valuable as the Falcons took a play out of Mercyhurst's play book by running for 180 yards, winning the first down battle 20-9, and dominating the time of possession by 13 minutes.

Game Coverage:

2014 PSAC Football Preseason Outlook - Mercyhurst
D2football - PSAC Columnist - Conference Play Begins for the PSAC