Red Raiders’ second half surge wasn’t enough to defeat West Chester
By Jake Rohm
SHIPPENSBURG – The Red Raiders faced off against a tough West Chester Golden Rams team this past Saturday at Seth Grove Stadium, losing to the Golden Rams 37-27
Coming into the weekend, Ship was at the top of the PSAC East with a 5-0 record with West Chester right behind them at 4-1. Both teams undefeated in PSAC play.
On the first drive of the game, Ship’s offense, led by Senior Quarterback Ryan Zapoticky, drove 75 yards in under 2 minutes. Zapoticky capped the drive off with a 12-yard passing touchdown to Charles Headen to give Ship the lead 7-0.
It did not take long for West Chester to make their mark on the game, as the Golden Rams drove 79 yards on 18 plays. With the help of three 3rd Down conversions, West Chester was able to keep the drive alive and kick a field goal to make the score 7-3.
Ship tacked on a Billy Deane field goal late in the 1st Quarter to make the score 10-3 after 1.
Just 5 seconds into the 2nd Quarter, West strikes from 1-yard out with a pass from Paul Dooley to Mike Class. West Chester ties the game at 10.
Midway through the 2nd Quarter, Ryan Zapoticky’s pass was intercepted on 3rd Down by West Chester’s Jarey Elder. Elder returns the interception 21 yards to set up the Golden Rams inside the 10. Jarel Elder scores on the next play with a 7-yard run. West Chester takes the lead 17-10.
Another score by West Chester gave the Golden Rams the lead at the half, 20-10.
West Chester started off the second half with an impressive 7 play, 75 yards drive, increasing the lead to 27-10.
Just when the Red Raiders looked out of it, the surge began. It took Ship 3 plays to drive 65 yards, with the help of a personal foul penalty, and score on a Zapoticky run. Red Raiders trailed by 10 with under 11 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter.
After the Ship defense forces a three and out, Zapoticky hooks up with Freshman Winston Eubanks for a 54-yard gain to set up the 1-yard rushing touchdown by Cole Chiappialle. West Chester leads 27-24 at the end of the 3rd Quarter.
Midway through the 4th, both teams kick field goals. A 20-yarder by Billy Deane tied the game at 27, but West Chester drove down the field on the next drive to take back the lead 30-27.
With 4 minutes left in the game, Ship’s defense needed a stop to put the ball back in the hands of their offense. On 1st Down, Jarel Elder takes the handoff to the left side, and is looked to be stopped in the backfield. But Elder finds a way to stay on his feet and goes 63 yards for the score.
The Raiders come up short 37-27. Ship moves to 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in the PSAC. Their next game is this Saturday at Cheyney.