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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Haven wins football opener

This is from New Haven football beat writer, Chris Hunn

WEST HAVEN — Shawn Leo had just booted his fourth field goal to put West Chester (Pa.) University ahead in overtime.
So New Haven coach Pete Rossomando knew it was time to call for the play action that he said he was “holding in his pocket” for the right moment. This was it. He expected man coverage. The Chargers were inside the Golden Rams 20-yard line.
Running back Mike DeCaro came around for the handoff. West Chester’s defense bit on the fake. That left quarterback Ryan Osiecki with just enough time to hit a wide-open Josh Smart in the flat for a 13-yard touchdown.
The game-winning strike lifted the Chargers to a 35-32 season-opening victory Saturday in front 3,112 at DellaCamera Stadium.
“That’s a great win for our program,” Rossomando said. “That’s a good team. They’re going to win eight games. I guarantee you that. I told our guys, they won’t know how good this win is until eight, nine weeks down the road.”
The win over the Golden Rams, a strong program out of the powerful Pennsylvania Athletic State Conference, could prove to be critical when it comes time to select teams for the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Aside from a 7-3 lead they held for about 4 minutes in the second quarter Saturday, the Chargers were down — but never out.
See UNH, C3
Continued from C1
West Chester quarterback Matt Carroll connected with LaRonn Lee for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Golden Rams up 26-14 early in the fourth quarter. Then DeCaro returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards. That helped setup a 3-yard touchdown run for Anthony Tillman, which cut the deficit to 26-21.
Later in the quarter, following an Osiecki interception, Leo made a 28-yard field goal to put West Chester up 29-21 with just over 4 minutes to play. West Chester kept its drive alive during that possession, coming through facing fourth-and-12.
New Haven came right back and Osiecki scored on a 1-yard run with 1:12 to go. The Chargers had to go for a two-point conversion at that point. Osiecki’s pass attempt to Chris Ruffin was incomplete, but the Golden Rams were called for pass interference. Osiecki got another chance and took advantage, hitting Ruffin in the back of the end zone to knot the game at 29 and force overtime.
“We made mistakes,” Osiecki said. “But to be able to come back, that’s the biggest part.”
Said Rossomando: “We practice that stuff. We talk about overcoming adversity. They’ve been through it all. You name it, 60-10 drubbings, 60-10 wins, nail-biters. That’s the best thing about these guys. They fight. They don’t give up.”
Osiecki completed 16-of-27 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked three times and had three interceptions. He also rushed for 54 yards on a team-high 14 carries. Demetrius Washington-Ellison caught two touchdowns. In his first game since tearing his MCL last season, running back Victor Jones rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries.
Desmond Anderson and J.D. Chalifoux each had nine tackles for the Chargers.
The Golden Rams used two different quarterbacks. Carroll threw for 110 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 90 yards. McCartney threw for another 173 yards.
“They have a ton of talent,” said West Chester coach Bill Zwaan of New Haven. “Their defensive line gave us fits all day. Offensively, their quarterback did a lot of nice things. They have good receivers. They established that run game later.”

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