West Chester Visits Shippensburg In Critical PSAC Showdown
By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Golden Rams of West Chester just keep rolling along. They sit at 7-0 on the season (4-0 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East) after a 34-13 win at Lock Haven last weekend. Now the Golden Rams are preparing for what is probably the biggest game of the season to this point, a Saturday visit to Shippensburg.
West Chester got another big game from Rondell White in last week’s win (196 yards rushing, 85 yards receiving, two touchdowns) over a 2-5 Bald Eagles team that head coach Bill Zwaan says really battled them throughout.
“Yeah they did, especially in the second half,” Zwaan tells KYW Newsradio. “I think our guys may have looked a little bit ahead in that second half and we kind of let Lock Haven get back in the game. We went out in the fourth quarter and did what we had to do, but they are definitely a better football team and certainly somebody we can’t take lightly and I think our guys learned a little bit of a lesson there.”
Shippensburg is 5-2 on the season, and they are also a perfect 4-0 in PSAC East. They actually started out the season losing their first two games, but since then they have run off five straight victories – averaging just under 50 points a game during the winning streak.
“They’ve got a lot of players back from last year’s team,” Zwaan says. “Which was really one of the best offensive football teams I’ve ever seen. Their quarterback, (senior) Zach Zulli, was the player of the year in Division II (won Harlon Hill Award in 2012), and he’s now back to playing like he was last year.”
Zulli threw an obscene 54 touchdown passes in his award winning junior season of 2012. So far here in 2013, he has thrown 22 scoring strikes, while completing 60.1% of his passes for 2,125 yards.
“He runs (their) system really, really well,” Zwaan says of Zulli. “He has a good feel for it, he’s really accurate with his passing game. He knows where to go with the football in the system. So he has a good idea which guy will probably come open against certain looks and he’s not afraid to throw the football in there. He definitely has a lot of courage as a quarterback and he makes good decisions most of the time. That’s the tough part about it, he really understands the offense and makes good decisions.”
Last season, Zulli threw five touchdown passes in a 42-24 Shippensburg win at West Chester. The Golden Rams actually jumped out to a 21-0 lead in that one early in the second-quarter, but the Red Raiders outscored them 42-3 the rest of the way.
Kick-off on Saturday at Shippensburg is set for 1:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.