Story and photo courtesy of West Chester Athletics
CALIFORNIA, Pa. – Ronell Williams intercepted California (Pa.) quarterback Peter Lalich with 1:18 remaining in the game to help visiting West Chester preserve a 37-34 upset over sixth-ranked Cal Saturday afternoon at Adamson Stadium.
West Chester (4-1) remains unbeaten against Division II opposition while handing preseason PSAC West favorite Cal (4-1) its first loss of the campaign.
Running back Rondell White rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown while also catching another TD pass and accumulating 280 all-purpose yards in the win. Quarterback Mike Mattei finished 23-for-43 for 289 yards and three TD tosses. Wide receiver Jim Kelly posted his second consecutive 100-yard receiving day with eight catches for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Cal’s Trey Johnson caught a 12-yard TD pass from Lalich with 3:29 left in the third quarter to draw the Vulcans into a 27-all tie with the Golden Rams. However, West Chester’s defense held Cal to three straight three-and-outs while its offense put up 10 points to build a large enough cushion.
Shawn Leo kicked a 43-yard field goal, and White plunged over the goal line from one yard out that gave the Rams a 37-27 advantage. Johnson caught his second TD of the game with 2:16 left, and Cal’s defense this time held West Chester to a three-and-out, giving the Vulcans the ball back with 1:43 remaining and one final shot at possibly tying the game.
Lalich completed a 5-yard pass on first down. However, Williams came up with the defensive play of the day when he picked off Lalich’s second-down pass attempt and returned it to the Cal 23. West Chester then ran out the clock, ending a personal four-game losing streak to the Vulcans in the all-time series.
John O’Donnell got the Golden Rams off to a fast start when he scooped up a fumble by Cal’s Nadir Brown and raced 48 yards to paydirt on the fifth play of the game that put West Chester on top, 7-0. Following a three-and-out by Cal, the Rams went on a 12-play, 56-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard TD pass from Mattei to Kelly that gave the visitors a 14-0 advantage.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter, with each missing an extra point, as West Chester took a 27-13 lead into the locker room at halftime. White caught a 22-yard TD pass from Mattei, and Kelly snared a 51-yard scoring catch in the second frame.
Cal took advantage of a pair of turnovers by West Chester in the third quarter to score back-to-back touchdowns and knot the game at 27-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
West Chester travels to East Stroudsburg next Saturday afternoon for a PSAC East showdown with the Warriors at Eiler-Martin Stadium.