KU falls in fi­nal minute to West Ch­ester

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - SPORTS - Cour­tesy KU ath­let­ics

WEST CH­ESTER » Kutz­town Univer­sity’s Conor Sul­li­van (White­hall, Pa./White­hall) caught a touch­down pass and quar­ter­back Collin DiGalbo (Se­cane, Pa./ Mon­signor Bon­ner) found Josh Lee (Wil­low Grove, Pa./Abing­ton (Thad­deus Stevens)) on the two-point con­ver­sion try to tie the game at 21-21 with 1:55 to go, but West Ch­ester Univer­sity an­swered with the game-win­ning touch­down on the fi­nal drive to down the Golden Bears 27-21 on Satur­day af­ter­noon in Penn­syl­va­nia State Ath­letic Con­fer­ence (PSAC) East­ern Di­vi­sion ac­tion from John A. Far­rell Sta­dium.

Two sig­nif­i­cant plays down the stretch were an 85-yard West Ch­ester touch­down pass on third­down late in the third quar­ter, and on the fi­nal kick­off in a tie game, West Ch­ester broke off a 46-yard kick re­turn and KU was pe­nal­ized 15 yards to setup West Ch­ester deep in­side KU ter­ri­tory.

Notably, Kutz­town drove in­side the West Ch­ester 5-yard­line twice in the first quar­ter, but set­tled for two field goals.

Satur­day was a battle be­tween the two fa­vorites in the PSAC East. 2017 fa­vorite West Ch­ester moves to 4-1 and 2-0 in the PSAC, while de­fend­ing cham­pion Kutz­town falls to 3-2 and 1-1 in the PSAC. The loss snapped Kutz­town’s 11game PSAC East win­ning streak.

The Golden Bear de­fense played ex­tremely well down the stretch, forc­ing mul­ti­ple West Ch­ester punts to give the KU of­fense a chance at ty­ing the game. The fi­nal stand came with 3:27 to play, as a short West Ch­ester punt gave KU the ball at the WCU 39-yard­line, trail­ing by eight.

DiGalbo com­pleted first-down passes to Sul­li­van and Lee on the drive, set­ting up a 3rd-and-5 at the 10-yard­line with 2:02 to play. DiGalbo dropped back and found Sul­li­van in the back left cor­ner of the end zone for the 10-yard touch­down, bring­ing the score to 21-19 and set­ting up a needed two-point try. DiGalbo rolled to his right on the try and found Lee at the near py­lon for the suc­cess­ful try and tie the game at 21-21 with 1:55 to play.

On the en­su­ing kick­off, West Ch­ester’s Jarel Elder took the re­turn 46 yards across mid­field, and com­bined with a 15-yard KU penalty, set West Ch­ester up in­side the KU 35-yard­line. The KU de­fense stood its ground and forced West Ch­ester into a 3rdand-5 in­side 1:00 to play, but the Golden Rams con­nected on a 17yard touch­down pass to even­tu­ally win the game. Jhaloni John­son (Flour­town, Pa./Spring­field Town­ship) blocked the ex­tra­point at­tempt to hold WCU to a 27-21 lead with 49 sec­onds to play.

Kutz­town started with good field po­si­tion near mid­field fol­low­ing a West Ch­ester penalty. On sec­ond down, DiGalbo scram­bled out of the pocket and threw an in­ter­cep­tion un­der pres­sure to seal the fate for KU’s sec­ond loss of the year.

KU played with­out its greatest weapon of­fen­sively. Run­ning back Craig Reynolds (Wil­low Grove, Pa./Abing­ton) started, but saw lim­ited time due to an in­jury. Reynolds en­tered Satur­day third in Di­vi­sion II at 230.75 all-pur­pose yards per game. West Ch­ester ran for 56 yards — just Jim Cle­ments’ sec­ond ca­reer loss at KU when hold­ing a team to less than 100 rush­ing yards.

KU had more first downs (1614) than West Ch­ester, but rushed for a sea­son-low 60 yards and al­lowed West Ch­ester quar­ter­back

Paul Doo­ley to throw for 318 yards.

DiGalbo threw for 205 yards and a score, but of­ten found him­self on the run while get­ting sacked four times. Sul­li­van was his top tar­get with five catches for 71 yards and the ga­me­ty­ing touch­down.

The Kutz­town de­fense was sharp with a sea­son­high 11 tack­les-for-loss for the sec­ond week in a row. Jalen Nieves (Ben­salem, Pa./ Ben­salem), Zameer McDowell (Roy­ers­ford, Pa./SpringFord (Cal­i­for­nia (Pa.)) and Luke Sny­der (Le­vit­town, Pa./Penns­bury) each had seven tack­les apiece, while McDowell added 2.0 TFL. Nieves moved into 19th in school his­tory with 210 ca­reer tack­les.

Chris Kim­biz (Brick, N.J./Brick Town­ship) had a team-high 2.5 TFL and a sack in a six-tackle game.

Three play­ers had in­ter­cep­tions for KU — Ta­jier Jef­fer­son (East Orange, N.J./Queen of Peace) on the sec­ond play of the game, Shawn Turber-Or­tiz (Northum­ber­land, Pa./Shikel­lamy) at KU’s own 1-yard­line, and Jake Perry (Har­ris­burg, Pa./Cen­tral Dauphin) in the fourth quar­ter.

The de­fense held West Ch­ester score­less and to nine to­tal yards in the first quar­ter, in­clud­ing an in­ter­cep­tion by Jef­fer­son. KU went on to drive in­side the 5-yard­line on two oc­ca­sions in the first quar­ter, but was forced to set­tle for two Alec Rosen­feld (Ben­salem, Pa./Ben­salem) field goals for a 6-0 lead after the first quar­ter.

It marked Rosen­feld’s 19th and 20th ca­reer field goals, mov­ing into third in school his­tory.

After be­ing held to nine to­tal yards in the first quar­ter, West Ch­ester opened the sec­ond-quar­ter with a 65-yard touch­down drive, capped with a 39-yard touch­down pass be­tween two de­fend­ers to Tyler Karpin­ski for a 7-6 West Ch­ester lead.

Turber-Or­tiz picked off his third pass of the year to stop West Ch­ester in­side the red-zone in the sec­ond quar­ter — KU’s first red­zone stop of the sea­son — to pre­serve the 1-point deficit mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter.

Late in the half, West Ch­ester mounted an­other long drive, this time run­ning it in from the 1-yard­line and a 14-6 half­time lead.

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