PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It will be a key road game on Saturday for Division II West Chester University as the Golden Rams visit Shippensburg in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East match-up.
West Chester is 4-1 on the season (2-0 in the PSAC East) after a big 27-21 win over Kutztown last weekend. The Golden Rams scored the winning touchdown with just 49 seconds remaining when quarterback Paul Dooley hit Marcus Sydnor with a 17-yard touchdown pass.
“Was really happy with us hanging in there and pulling it out at the end,” West Chester head coach Bill Zwaan tells KYW Newsradio. “I think there were times in the game that we did not play as efficiently as I think we can. I think that kept the game close, close enough for them to get back into it. But a real positive ending and a lot of things we can learn. I think a lot of our young guys playing in the first really big game of their careers had a little jitters early, and then they came back out and played a little bit better later. So I think getting through that experience will help us down the road.”
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Rasheem James had a huge day in the win. The Benjamin Franklin High School product caught six passes for a career-high 142 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown.
“I think he’s our next big star as far as the wide receiver [position] is concerned,” Zwaan says. “We’ve had some pretty good ones here, he really has a chance to be something special. He has great speed, he runs really good routes, he catches the ball with his hands, he doesn’t use his body hardly at all, so that means most of the balls that are thrown to him, he catches. He has the potential to be a really, really great player. He had a little jitters early, dropped a couple early but then came on and played great late for us. He really has had a good year so far and each week we’re using him more and more.”
For the season, James has 21 catches for 405 yards and five touchdowns.
Shippensburg is 5-0 on the season (2-0 in the PSAC East). The Red Raiders have won their last three games by a combined score of 108-6. They have a very talented senior quarterback named Ryan Zapoticky who is completing 61% of his passes. He has thrown for 1,499 yards and 12 touchdowns with just one interception. He also has rushed for 155 yards and an additional score.
“He keeps plays alive,” Zwaan says. “I mean if he doesn’t like something, he’ll scramble a little bit and either gain yardage and keep a drive alive or scramble and throw. So he’s not just a guy who pulls it down and takes off, he pulls it down and is looking up the field and he’ll find a guy wide open by doing that. Some of his bigger plays have come off of scrambles, that’s the one piece you’ve got to really be careful of. You’ve got to make sure he doesn’t get outside that pocket where he can really hurt you.”
Last season, West Chester beat Shippensburg, 31-15.
Saturday’s game gets underway at 1:00pm.