The West Chester University football team entered unfamiliar territory after Saturday night’s 33-27 overtime loss to Slippery Rock (3-0) at Thompson Stadium in the second of two PSAC cross-over games for both squads.
Not only did the Golden Rams’ loss mark the first overtime game the team played since a 24-21 loss to Shippensburg on November 6, 2004, it also was the first time West Chester opened the season 0-3 since 2001, when the Rams lost three road games at New Haven (32-28), East Stroudsburg (28-9), and Bloomsburg (27-14). The Rams’ last win in overtime was a 38-37 defeat of East Stroudsburg on October 23, 2004.
Meanwhile, the son of a former NFL placekicker carried on his family’s heritage of clutch field goal kicking to force the overtime session. Rock placekicker C.J. Bahr, son of Chris Bahr, kicked a 47 yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 27-27.
After a scoreless first quarter, D’Andre Webb rushed for a 4 yard touchdown with 11:42 left in the first half to open the scoring for the Rams. Brian McDermott opened the second quarter with a 19 yard rush to get the Rams into the red zone, an area where West Chester had been struggling with during the first two games of the season. Webb finished the game with 47 yards on 11 carries.
Bahr brought Rock within 7-3 with a 39 yard field goal with 7:49 left in the half, however. Rock was hurt by a false start penalty by Brandon Fusco on the West Chester 17 to take the home team out of the red zone.
The Rams answered with a 10 play, 76 yard drive, capped off by a Mike Mattei touchdown pass to Dan DePalma from the Rock 27, making it 14-3 with 3:51 left in the half. Mattei, who finished with 222 yards after completing 13 of his 24 passes, scampered for 20 yards early on in the drive.
Rock responded as Ryan Sabo completed a 4 yard touchdown pass to Josh Gardner with 49 seconds left in the half to bring the score to 14-10 West Chester. Rams kicker Shawn Leo had a chance to increase the lead before the half ended, however, his 49 yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds remaining sailed wide to the left.
Leo’s missed kick would very well prove to be the difference in the contest.
Leo, however, did redeem himself with a 33 yard field goal with 9:45 left in the third quarter, increasing the Ram lead to 17-10. A pair of penalties – a Kevin Leary false start at the Rock 18 and a holding penalty on Chris Faix at the Rock 23 – thwarted the drive, although Mattei did complete an 18 yard pass to DePalma on 3rd and 20.
Rock would tie the score with 36 seconds left in the third period, as Akeem Satterfield broke off a pair of 11 yard runs deep in West Chester territory; the second of those two runs led to a Rock touchdown, tying the score at 17-17 entering the final quarter.
The Rams offense came out firing in the fourth quarter as Mattei completed a 63 yard pass to Jackson Fagan from the Rams 21. West Chester had started the drive at its own 17 after a holding penalty on a kickoff return nullified a Rondell White 25 yard return to the 33 yard line.
After Mattei’s 12 yard run into the red zone, Andre Freeman drew a personal foul penalty on the Rock, which put the ball at the Rock 1. McDermott scored on the next play, making it 24-17 Rams with 13:59 left in regulation.
Satterfield, who was named PSAC West offensive player of the week, scored for the second time on Rock’s ensuing possession. Satterfield ran from 6 yards out to once again tie the game with 8:30 left in regulation, capping off an 11 play, 67 yard drive that lasted 5:29.
Leo converted a 20 yard field goal with 2:37 left in regulation to give the Rams a 27-24 lead. Bahr responded with a 47 yard field goal with 31 seconds left to tie the score and force overtime.
Rock won the coin toss and Satterfield took advantage. On the first play of overtime, Satterfield rushed for 17 yards to the Rams 8. On the next play, Satterfield took the ball into the endzone, giving Rock their first lead of the game, 33-27. The Rams blocked Bahr’s PAT attempt.
The Rams, however, couldn’t capitalize in their overtime drive. After a Mattei pass to White drove the Rams to the Rock 11, Fagan fumbled on the ensuing first down play, losing 9 yards in the process, and setting up 2nd and 19 from the Rock 20. The Rams would only get as close as the Rock 13, as Mattei’s final two pass attempts fell incomplete after the sophomore quarterback rushed for seven yards.
West Chester begins PSAC Eastern Division play on Saturday as they travel to East Stroudsburg. The Warriors enter the game 1-2, coming off losses to perennial PSAC West powers Indiana (Pa.) and California (Pa.).