West Chester visits Slippery Rock for PSAC title Saturday

Matt Leon
November 08, 2018 - 3:06 pm
West Chester University junior wide receiver Lex Rosario.

West Chester University Athletics

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SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — For a second straight season, the West Chester University football team is headed to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title game. 

The Golden Rams, currently ranked as high as No. 9 in the polls, will visit Slippery Rock for the title on Saturday afternoon.

West Chester improved to 9-0 on the season (6-0 PSAC East) this past Saturday, hammering a now 1-9 Lock Haven team, 48-14.

"It was a little bit of a catch game in there" — coming after a big win over Kutztown and before the PSAC title game — "that I was a little bit concerned about," West Chester head coach Bill Zwaan said, "but our kids did a good enough job, especially on offense. We played really well on offense."

West Chester rolled up 564 yards on offense in that win, 367 coming through the air with the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, A.J. Long and Paul Dooley, combining to complete 26 of 32 passes. Ten different Golden Rams caught passes in the win, and Zwaan said that was no accident.

"We were trying to get more receivers involved in the throwing game," he said, "because we've been running the ball really well last couple of weeks, but not necessarily throwing the ball that much. We did a really nice job throwing the football."

Slippery Rock is 9-1 and riding an eight-game winning streak since a Week 2 loss to Shippensburg. This is a dynamic offensive team as Slippery Rock averages 41.5 points per game.

"They have a really great running back, Wes Hills, transfer kid from Delaware," Zwaan said. "He's just a heck of a football player. Then they have a really good quarterback who transferred in from Valdosta State, and he's a dual threat like our guy is. He can run with the football and he can throw the football. So they've got a ton of weapons on offense that scare you."

That quarterback is junior Roland Rivers III, who has thrown for 21 touchdowns and rushed for an additional seven scores. Hills, a senior, has rushed for 1,113 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging an incredible 7.6 yards per carry. 

That Slippery Rock offense, however, will match up with a West Chester defense that has been dominant all season long. The Golden Rams allow just 15.2 points per game and they have forced 24 turnovers while sacking opposing quarterbacks 41 times.

Zwaan said avoiding turnovers when they have the football will be critical in this one.

"When we don't turn the ball over, we're a really, really good football team," he said. "Especially from a defensive standpoint, if we don't turn the ball over and don't give teams field position, it's really hard for teams to move on our defense."

West Chester is currently third in the NCAA Super Region 1 rankings, so the Golden Rams would already seem to be in excellent shape for a playoff berth.

Last year, West Chester lost the PSAC title game to Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Saturday's game will kick off at 1 p.m.

You can follow Matt Leon on Twitter @MattLeon1060.