WCU honors Dick Yoder
Legacy of former West Chester Mayor celebrated at football game
The legacy of former West Chester Mayor Richard B. “Dick” Yoder was honored at West Chester University’s Farrell Stadium with a special halftime event on Saturday during the Golden Rams’ football game against the Shippensburg Raiders. The event featured the presentation of a check in the amount of $25,125.00 for the Richard B. Yoder ’59 Football Scholarship Fund. From left are: Zeb Davenport, Jack and Kathy Yoder, Jean Yoder wife of Dick Yoder, Susan and Rick Yoder, Sue Fiorentino and Mayor Carolyn Comitta. West Chester defeated Shippensburg 31-15 in Saturday’s game.
WEST GOSHEN >> It didn’t surprise head coach Bill Zwaan one bit, but on Saturday he finally got to see what his team can actually accomplish without all of the self-inflicted blunders that have marred the first month of the football season.
The Golden Rams limited the game-altering turnovers and the demoralizing penalties – particularly in a near flawless first half -- and proceeded to clobber visiting Shippensburg, 31-15, in a critical PSAC East clash at Farrell Stadium. With frustrating losses in two of its previous three outings, the Golden Rams took out an awful lot of frustration on the Red Raiders, who entered the day riding a three-game winning streak and were in a three-way share of first place in the division (with Bloomsburg and Kutztown).
“We had some self-inflicted wounds in the second half, and we weren’t the same team,” Zwaan said. “Simply put, if we don’t turn it over and have the dumb penalties, then we are a really good football team.”
Just one week after a lifeless performance at Kutztown, WCU looked like the preseason favorite in the PSAC East. Now 2-1 (3-3 overall), the Rams are now back into the divisional race with a key
road contest at Bloomsburg next on the docket.
“We are right back in it and now we have another big one next weekend,” Zwaan said. “We had to win this to make the next one important.”
In what became a battle of the backup quarterbacks, West Chester’s Pat Moriarty clearly out-dueled Shippensburg’s Chase Yocum. Moriarty made his first start since the season opener at Bentley when starter Andrew Derr was sidelined with the same right foot injury that kept him out of spring workouts. Yocum played in place of Ryan Zapoticky (foot).
“I am thankful I got another shot,” said Moriarty, who recalled laying an egg against the Raiders a season ago. “I proved some people wrong, but I always knew I could do it.
“I didn’t come here to be a backup, but to help us win championships, so that’s what I am going to try to continue to do.”
Moriarty orchestrated was an almost surreal first half, as West Chester rolled up a 268-73 edge in total yards, and built a 31-0 lead on the scoreboard. The Rams reverted back to some old, troublesome habits the rest of the way -including a fourth quarter fumble while on the doorstep of the Shippensburg goal line – but the outcome was already secured.
“It’s been a tough week for all of us. We talked all week that we need to have a big first half and we did.” said junior wideout Tyler Karpinski.
“Mistakes have been the story all season,” Moriarty added. “It all comes down to focus. You have to treat every snap in practice like it’s a championship game, or a do-or-die game like it was today.”
Moriarty -- along with running back Jerel Elder and Karpinski -- were impactful offensive weapons during the stellar first half. Karpinksi hauled in a pair of scoring tosses from Moriarty, and set up another with a leaping grab that went for 48 yards.
“We talked to (Moriarty) about managing the game, making the throws he can make and not turning the ball over, and he did that and more,” Zwaan said. “He really did a great job.”
With WCU cruising 24-0 in the final minute of the first half following a pair of Elder TD runs and a careerlong 42-yard Brendan Paulison field goal, the Rams successfully executed what appeared to be an onside kick. Recovered by Jarey Elder, Moriarty then hit Marcus Sydnor for a 37-yarder to set up a short touchdown catch by Karpinski with 3.2 seconds on the clock.
“We were actually trying to squib-kick it and it happened to hit one of their kids, and we wound up taking advantage of it,” Zwaan admitted. “It wasn’t planned, but you can say it was a great coaching move if you want.”
Karpinski finished with a game-high seven catches for 103 yards, and Elder chipped in with 77 yards on the ground. Moriarty was 20-for-29 for 338 yards and –perhaps most importantly – zero interceptions.
“We haven’t got out and jumped on somebody like that in a long time,” Moriarty said.
“Pat played very well,” Karpinski added. “All of our receivers know whoever is in there at quarterback, they are going to get us the ball.”
Defensively, the Rams limited Shippensburg (21, 4-2) to 253 total yards, and the 53 plays were the run by the Raiders in head coach Mark Maciejewski’s six-year’s at the helm.
“It was a great defensive effort that gave us good field position, we had some real nice catches and Pat did a nice job running the offense,” Zwaan said.
“We had a lot of adversity this week and our kids hung in there tough and got the job done. This was a must-win. We had to come out and play and obviously in the first half, we were ready to go.”
NOTES » Saturday was Dick Yoder Day at Farrell Stadium. The former WCU student-athlete, professor, coach and administrator passed away on May 3. Nicknamed ‘Mr. West Chester,’ Yoder was also a twoterm mayor of West Chester and recently served as color commentator on radio broadcasts of Golden Rams football. In a very short period of time, over $25,000 has been raised for the Richard B. Yoder 1959 Football Scholarship to benefit future WCU football players … All-American left tackle Doug Gilbert made the start even though he missed a big portion of last week’s clash at Kutztown with a knee sprain ... Filling in for injured linebacker Ralph Reeves, sophomore Steven Denby paced WCU with 11 tackles, including a sack.
West Chester running Jarel Elder breat through hole against Shippensburg on Saturday. Elder ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-15 victory.
West Chester quarterback Pat Moriarty scans the field as he drops back to pass against Shippensburg.
Quarterback Pat Moriarty scrambles for West Chester in the first half against Shippensburg on Saturday.