Spring football update: West Chester Golden Rams

Matt Leon
April 24, 2018 - 11:56 am
West Chester University football team

Courtesy of West Chester University Athletics

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The West Chester University football team is winding down spring workouts.

The Division II Golden Rams are coming off a 9-4 2017 season which saw them advance into the second round of the playoffs and head coach Bill Zwaan likes what he sees so far here in 2018.

"I really like our team," Zwaan tells KYW Newsradio. "We've got a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball as far as our front is concerned and most of our secondary is back. It really looks like, from a defensive standpoint, a lot more mature and really physical group of players. Then offensively, we lost a couple guys on the offensive line, but we are returning three starters and a fourth kid who started when a couple guys were hurt. So we have some guys with experience. We don't have as much depth as we'd like there, so we're trying to develop some of that this spring."

West Chester is in really good shape at the quarterback position with two talented players, Paul Dooley and A.J. Long, returning.

"They both did some good things for us at different times during the year last year," Zwaan says. "So we're kind of letting that play out to see who is going to get the most playing time. But we're planning on playing both of them because they both have a lot of talent and they're actually both having a nice spring."

Dooley, a rising junior, saw the majority of playing time in 2017, throwing for 2,372 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 333 yards and four more scores. Long, a rising redshirt junior who is a transfer from Syracuse, had six touchdown passes in just 45 attempts and also rushed for 380 yards and two scores.

The Golden Rams are adjusting to life now without one of the better players in recent program history. Running back Jarel Elder rushed for 3,256 yards (seventh in program history) during his four-year career with the Rams. He had 5,907 all-purpose yards and that's good for third all-time in program history. It's a big hole to fill, but Zwaan is confident in the players that will now get the chance to step up.

"Mike Class, Mark Dukes are the two back-up guys who are actually going to be seniors," he says. "They've played a lot over the years. They've just been waiting for their turn. They're actually looking pretty good right now."

West Chester's spring game on Friday will get underway at 7 p.m. at John A. Farrell Stadium.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @Mattleon1060.