By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It will be the home opener for West Chester on Saturday as they host PSAC foe Gannon University.
The Golden Rams will be looking to bounce back from last week’s season opening 41-21 loss to Delaware. Making matters worse was the fact that West Chester suffered a big injury in the loss.
“We lost out starting quarterback (junior) Sean McCartney to an ankle injury, broken ankle,” head coach Bill Zwaan tells KYW Newsradio. “He’s been operated on and it looks like he’s probably not going to be able to come back for this year. So that’s really disappointing because Sean did a really nice job getting to the point where he was at. But we are lucky a little bit that we have (senior) Mike Mattei, who is a seasoned veteran, behind him and Mike started for us before. So he’s going to step in and take over.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Bill Zwaan:
After replacing McCartney, Mattei was 6 for 8 for 91 yards throwing the football in the Delaware loss. He threw a touchdown and an interception. The Chestnut Hill Academy product has started ten games under center during his West Chester career, throwing 13 touchdown passes.
While the injury to McCartney makes that Delaware loss sting even more, there were a lot of positives for the Golden Rams to take out of the game. Most notably a running attack that rolled up 224 yards on the ground – including a career high 209 from junior running back Rondell White.
“What was nice to see from that is we went in with our offensive line being a little bit of a question mark,” Zwaan says. “They are veteran guys, but they didn’t necessarily start (in the past) and I was really happy with the way they played. They stayed on blocks really well. We didn’t necessarily push Delaware around, because we don’t have that kind of ability, but we were at least able to stay on our blocks and that gave Rondell a chance to find seams. And boy he found a bunch of seams and made some great plays.”
As for Gannon, they come into this game fresh off a season opening 36-33 win over Lake Erie College last week and Zwaan says they present an interesting challenge.
“They probably threw the ball 40 times, so we’re probably going to see a team that’s going to throw the football. They didn’t run the ball very well against Lake Erie, so we’re expecting them to throw the ball all over the place. We have never played them before, so they’re a little mysterious to us because we don’t really know the calibre of physicalness they’ll bring to the table. And they’re doing some new things as compared to what they did last year – they do have a new head coach, although he was on the staff. So they do look a little bit different then they did a year ago.”
West Chester and Gannon kick-off at noon on Saturday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.