By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You would be hard pressed to find a team that made a bigger statement to open its season than Division II West Chester.
The Golden Rams dropped the hammer on a New Haven team that came to town ranked #12 in the nation, 45-14 was the final score.
“Our kids were really ready to play,” West Chester head coach Bill Zwaan tells KYW Newsradio. “They came out and did what they needed to do. We had a lot of positives throughout the game in all phases of the game. Quarterback Sean McCartney played really well, (senior running back) Rondell White, (junior linebackers) Ronell Williams, Mike Labor, all our kids that we count on a lot played well. Our kicking game was really good. So a ton of positives coming off that first game and its a good boost to the psyche as we head forward and now we have to get ready for this next one.”
That next one will be the first road game of the season as West Chester, now ranked #23 in the country, heads to Erie to visit Gannon University. Last season, these two teams played on West Chester’s home field and the Golden Rams needed a late rally to grab a 21-17 decision.
“They have a lot of kids back from that team last year,” Zwaan says. “I think our guys got caught off guard by how physical they were defensively and it took us a while to get going. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that we finally got in front of them and then held on.”
Gannon opened its season with a 36-33 shootout win last week over Lake Erie College.
“They are very good on offense, they gained (639) yards last week,” Zwaan says. “The quarterback that played against us last year (Liam Nadler) is back. He’s a big, tall physical kid. He can throw the football around. Their running back (Jansen Jones) had over 200 yards rushing last week. So we’re going to have to stop him for sure, because I think if we can stop their running back, that will cut down on how effective their throwing game will be.”
West Chester and Gannon will kick-off at noon on Saturday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw