The Marauders returned home to Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium on the losing side once again. Millersville lost to West Chester on Saturday by a score of 48-3. The Marauders have now lost 13 straight to West Chester.
“Obviously we are disappointed,” Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach said.
“We had opportunities early in the season to get a couple of wins, that didn’t happen. We’ve ran into two pretty good football teams with Slippery Rock and West Chester, both perennial, playoff and power houses in their respective side of the conference.”
Breitbach also stated that the team needs to come out the gates better offensively.
“Until we start scoring some points and finishing drives, we can’t do what we did today and expect to win,” he said. “We are struggling offensively, there’s no question about it.”
Early in the game, Breitbach’s game plan included trying to get his quarterback, JJ Paige outside the pocket which turned into some decent runs. Those early drives ended by costly penalties made by Millersville.
“As the clock began to tick and the game began to go on, we knew that we needed to shift gears and try to move the football better,” Breitbach said. “We were able to do that to a certain extent but not good enough to score the number of points we needed to score today to win.”
In his second start of the season, JJ Paige was able to complete 10 out of 22 passes. He carried the ball 16 times and rushed for 50 yards. Breitbach stated that he thought that Paige didn’t make a lot of mistakes.
“JJ competed hard,” Breitbach commented on his quarterback. “He’s trying hard to do the best he can out there.”
Paige managed to get more protection from his offensive line this week. His offensive line was able to allow him to move around to make plays. Unfortunately, his scrambles and throws didn’t produce points.
“I thought they did a little bit better today,” Breitbach commented on the offensive line. “We need to dramatically improve and we need to keep working hard to push our young people up this race to maturity to get better.”
Alongside JJ Paige, emerging freshman Phil Overton also carried the ball 16 times. He finished the day with 69 rushing yards from the 16 carries. The Marauders were able to total 128 rushing yards against the Golden Rams.
“Phil Overton ran hard especially later on in the game,” Breitbach commented on his young running back. “We are going to need a lot of running backs offensively. He’s a good player and we will use him, but our other running backs are extremely important to our offense as well.
Millersville missed many opportunities in the game where they could have scored more points. Breitbach did mention that Millersville was able to put together a couple of nice drives that resulted in them getting close inside the red zone. He stated that the team needs to finish those drives better than they did.
We need to create more of those obviously,” Breitbach commented. “But when we get down there, you have to be good at finishing drives.”
The Golden Rams scored on their first offensive possession of the game. Tight end Tim Brown caught a 22 yard pass from quarterback Pat Moriarty for West Chester’s first touchdown. Safety PJ Santos’s tackle was broken up by Brown as he walked into the end zone.
“Our hats off to West Chester and their ability to make plays,” Breitbach said.
Moriarty completed a 56 yard pass to Shannon Mayer to end the first quarter. For the first play of the second quarter, Jarel Elder scored a 1 yard touchdown for the Golden Rams.
West Chester would go on to score 3 more touchdowns in the second half. All three touchdowns came from the Golden Rams rushing attack. Eddie Elliott ran 64 yards while Jarel Elder ran 15 yard for his second touchdown of the game. After entering the game in the second half, Alec Werner scored West Chester’s file touchdown on a 6 yard run.
The Golden Rams finished the day with 255 rushing yards and 233 passing yards.
“Those guys made a lot of people miss and turned plays that they weren’t going anywhere into big plays,” Breitbach said. “But on our end, we need to do a better job of tackling and doing it more consistently.
Millersville’s only points came from a field goal from Evan Stahl. Stahl nailed a 47 yard field goal attempt which became his career-high.
However, there were bright spots from the game. Defensively, Rob Varner and Rasheed Johnson managed to finish the game with total tackles in double digits. Varner led the team with 12 tackles with Johnson’s 10 tackles being second.
PJ Santos, who recorded 6 tackles caught Millersville’s lone interception in the second quarter. He leaped into the air and grabbed the ball out of the West Chester receiver’s hands. His second quarter interception was his third of the season.
Millersville travels to face Kutztown next week. Breitbach went on to say that like any game there are things that he and the team wish that they could have gone different or better.
“We are not there yet, we’re not there in terms of being able to beat Slippery Rock on their home field or West Chester today. We are going to keep building and keep believing in our players, program.”