West Chester defeats Cheyney
Tight end from England helps WCU dispatch Cheyney
Maybe the happiest of the many contributors to West Chester’s 46-12 win against Cheyney Saturday was tight end Matt Sharp.
Sharp, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound graduate student from Great Britain, caught the first pass of his West Chester career, a nine-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone.
“Catching that touchdown was the best feeling of my life I could feel the energy from my teammates on the sidelines,” said Sharp, who came here from England in August 2015 and is studying for his Master’s degree in statistics.
The touchdown came with 2:11 left to play and West Chester holding a 34-6 lead. The play was a play-action sweep to the right, and Sharp rolled to the right to block, then broke to the left corner of the end zone and gathered in the touchdown pass.
Sharp is not really a newcomer to the sport, having played it in England as an undergraduate student at the University of Derby, which sponsors the Derby County Football Club.
“The Derby Club plays by NCAA rules, but the speed of the game is much faster over here,” noted Sharp, adding that, in the
United States, males start playing football at a much younger age than they do in England.
West Chester (5-3) ran up a 27-6 lead by halftime against Cheyney (1-7). The Wolves had been outscored 369-41 in their last six games coming into Saturday, but motivation was not a problem for the Golden Rams Saturday, playing in front of a Homecoming crowd.
“You feel blessed to play [at Homecoming],” said West Chester quarterback Pat Moriarity, who tossed three touchdown passes. “My parents were here today, as well as my football coach when I played at Harriton [Matt Barr] and my baseball coach at Harriton [Scott Kurzinsky]. [Former Harriton and West Chester teammate] Pat McDermott was here, too.”
Moriarity’s third touchdown pass, an 18-yard strike to junior wide receiver Tyler Karpinski in the right corner of the end zone, gave the Golden Rams a 34-6 lead with 8:50 to play in the third quarter.
“I saw [Karpinski] in motion, and I knew that I was about to take a hit [from the Cheyney defenders],” said Moriarity. “I got rid of the ball just before I got hit.”
The Golden Rams controlled the clock Saturday, possessing the ball for 40:41 and gaining 254 yards rushing on 53 carries. West Chester’s victory gave the Golden Rams a 49-1-1 lead in the all-time series between the two teams.
West Chester head coach Billy Zwaan said, “Our older guys played hard today, got us the early [big] lead, and then we were able to bring in our younger guys, and they did a good job for us.”
Zwaan praised the play of sophomore running back Mike Class, who gained 91 yards on 11 carries, leading all rushers.
“Mike’s done a tremendous job for us on special teams, as one of the kickoff and cover guys,” said Zwaan. “He’s been a key player, a special player for us - he fights off tackles [well] , and because he’s always hustling on every play, he makes the other team block him on every play.”
Another Homecoming hero Saturday at John A. Farrell Stadium - one with local roots - was Conestoga High School grad Blaise Toroni of Berwyn, a sophomore kicker for the Golden Rams. Toroni booted a 25yard field goal with 8:09 to play that finished the scoring for the day.
“Blaise has been working really hard in practice, and he did a great job for us today,” said Zwaan.
Another West Chester player who excited the Homecoming crowd was senior Ted Patton, who intercepted a Cheyney two-point conversion try and returned it 104 yards for two points with 12:36 left in the game to give the Golden Rams a 43-12 lead. Patton, a 5-foot9, 170-pound defensive back from McKeen, Del., intercepted the ball in the end zone and there was nothing but daylight ahead of him.
Patton’s conversion return followed a 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Cheyney junior defensive back Samuel Anojulu.
Cheyney broke loose for several sizable gains Saturday - junior running back Brandon French ran for 58 yards on one play, and junior quarterback Dominic Trautz hooked up with junior running back Devin Miler for a 62-yard gain that led to an early touchdown by the Wolves that cut the West Chester lead to 14-6. But the Golden Rams then scored on their following two possessions to take a 27-6 lead by halftime.
Cheyney head coach Chris Roulhac said, “We took advantage of some [matchups] early in the game, but we didn’t finish. Before the game, I told the team to play hard, to do the best you can to make a contest of it. But we don’t have enough people, West Chester has better personnel and Billy Zwaan’s a great coach.”
Jordan Banks scores on a four-yard pass from Pat Moriarty in the second quarter of West Chester’s 46-12 victory over Cheyney on Saturday. Roderick Malone (30) and Devin Miller attempted to make the play for the Wolves.
WCU’s Mark Dukes breaks away from Marvin Easter III of Cheyney on Saturday.
West Chester’s Jarel Elder breaks through past Jamiel Hines as Evyn Stadulis blocks during Saturday’s game.