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ESU Warriors Roll past Kutztown, 42-14, as they eye West Chester
East Stroudsburg, PA - The East Stroudsburg Warriors (6-1, 2-1) of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference got off to a sluggish start during their Homecoming on Saturday to defeat the Kutztown Golden Bears (1-6, 1-3), 42-14. Record- setting QB Jimmy Terwilliger had an "off day" though, while throwing three TDs and running for one for the ninth-ranked D2 Warriors. Terwilliger, a junior, holds the D2 record for most 300+ yard passing game in a career. Last week in a 56-0 victory over Clarion, he hit the mark for the 18th time in 29 games. In this game, he exceeded the 10,000 passing yards career milestone. Collegefootballfan.com believes the Warriors may have been looking past the lowly Bears to their game next week against the 6-2 West Chester State Golden Rams in a key PSAC match-up which CFF will attend as the final game of our Fearsome Foursome weekend.
WR Evan Prall returned the opening kickoff for ESU to the Kutztown 46. ESU looked lethargic after that with dropped passes and a procedure penalty to get to the Kutztown 23 where PK Mark Brubaker missed his first FG attempt of the day. The Warrior defense forced Kutztown to punt after three downs on their first possession, and ESU took over from its own 25. Still looking lethargic, a Terwilliger pass was picked off at the line of scrimmage by DL Nick Cresta who rambled 25 yards toward the end zone and coughed up the ball which rolled into the end zone to be recovered by fellow DL Scott Smith to take an early lead for the Bears. P Ryan Nye bobbled a difficult snap from center on the conversion, but picked it up and rolled around left end for a two-point conversion to spot the Bears an 8-0 lead. Before the game under the grandstand at ESU's Eiler-Martin Stadium, and Warrior fan was overheard to say, " This should be an easy one today." It seemed the Warriors felt the same way in Q1, and their play showed it. The team averaging 41 points per game punted two more times in Q1, and trailed 8-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second period, with the slight wind at their backs, the Warrior offense finally got moving as Terwilliger capped an 81-yard drive with a 8-yard TD run. Brubaker's conversion made the score 8-7. KU was held to 13 yards on its next drive, and the wind pushed back Nye's punt for eight net yards. ESU was in great position at the KU 41, but Brubaker's 48-yard FG attempt went wide left to allow the Bears to maintain their slim lead. The Warriors would eventually take over again from their own 20, and the offense seemed to be clicking, driving to the four where Terwilliger connected with WR Tim Strenfel (108 yards on 6 catches) on a 4-yard slant pass for a TD and a 14-8 Stroudsburg lead. Brubaker attempted another 48-yarder for the Warriors with :18 left, but he was off target once again. ESU took the 6-point lead into the locker room at the half.
Halftime festivities included the Homecoming Queen and her court, seven new inductees into the ESU Sports Hall of Fame, and a half-time performance by its marching band. This was the first time in four trips to East Stroudsburg that we'd ever seen a marching band. Its pregame show was a "Tribute to Troy". Why? We don't know, maybe the band director likes the song, otherwise, what does ESU have in common with USC? Maybe it will drive #9 ESU to #1 in D2. Any way, it's much more inspirational when its played by a band ten times the size of ESU's. It was a great and appreciated effort by CFF and the 3,000 fans at Eiler-Martin. It was definitely the biggest turnout we ever attended there. We also give a lot of credit to the groundskeeping crew at ESU. It's the only grass surface we've seen in a long time that is lined for soccer as well as for football. Both varsity clubs play here and the field is in great shape despite two months of dry, hot weather and one full week of rain.
KU took the opening kickoff of the second half and did nothing. ESU responded with 75-yard drive culminated by a 40-yard swing pass from Terwilliger to FB Anthony Carfagno who got a couple of good blocks before rambling to pay-dirt down the left sideline. With a 21-8 lead for the Warriors, the Bears could have quit, but they didn't. They retaliated with a scoring drive of their own with PK Matt Scartozzi drilling a 37-yarder to close the gap, 21-11. ESU's next drive ended in a fumble when a hard hit jarred the ball loose from RB Derek Lucas (79 yards on 21 carries) and Kutztown recovered at the ESU 33. Scartozzi came up with three from 30 yards away this time to make it a one TD game, 21-14, with 6:59 in Q3. However, WR Evan Prall (136 yards on 8 catches) gave the Warriors the spark they needed when he returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the Bear's 32. With a minute left in the period, Carfagno took it in from the three for his second score of the half to double the Warrior lead, 28-14. However, the Warrior's weren't finished for the period. DB Tyree Townes intercepted a Kyle Spotts' pass and returned it for a 35-yard TD to extend the lead 35-14 with :42 left in Q3. Though sluggish at first, ESU took any wind out of the sails of the Bears, and the two teams played out the fourth quarter.
Terwilliger connected with Prall once again for a 17-yard TD pass with 5:43 to put the game on ice, 42-14. Terwilliger and company stayed on the sideline thereafter to start thinking about PSAC nemesis West Chester as the second teamers gained some experience for the future. It certainly was not an exhilarating, Homecoming game for ESU, but we expect the attitude to be somewhat charged next week in West Chester when the Warriors meet the 6-2 Rams who are 4-0 in the PSAC. Last season, the Warriors fell twice to the Rams at their own Eiler-Martin Stadium.
In the regular season, the Golden Rams prevailed in OT in come-from-behind fashion, 38-37, when a blocked extra point made the difference. The Rams took the PSAC East title in this one. Then the Rams returned to ESU during the D2 playoffs where they advanced to the national semi-finals by defeating the Red and Black, 48-38. They succumbed to Valdosta State of Georgia in the semis the following week. No wonder why the Warriors seemed to be looking past the Bears. Next week is a big one, and don't let the Rams two losses fool you. This season, they fell to national, D2, powerhouse North Dakota and to 1AA Delaware, whom we will also see next Saturday when the Blue Hens host James Madison. The ESU-WCU match-up should be the icing on the cake for our Fearsome Foursome weekend. The Warriors will be going in with eyes wide open and adrenalin pumping. We're looking for Terwilliger to come out on fire. West Chester comes off a 63-20 win over Mansfield State that was 49-6 at the half. Like ESU, the Golden Rams dominated Kutztown and Clarion. ESU's lone loss was to undefeated Bloomsburg, 30-24 in OT. WCU will visit Bloomsburg the following week. All three are in serious contention of the PSAC East title.
Extra points: Our one previous visit to West Chester was in 1980 where we saw the Golden Rams defeat none other than the Kutztown Golden Bears , 19-0, in a Friday night game. We remember WC had a big band for a D2 program. We're looking forward to another night game this time - a 6:00 start.
The ESU starting offensive line weighs in across the front at 298, 305, 292, 295, and 314! And this is D2! Where do they find these kids? Even though they're comparable in size to D1, you don't get that impression sitting in stands holding 5,000 compared to those holding 30,000 or more. Of course the difference is the speed, but it shows you how training and science have changed the size of the players significantly even at this level. KU wasn't any smaller. ESU RG Mike Engler, who weighs in at the 295 above , was taken off the field with an air cast on his leg in the first half. We hope the best for him.
ESU home games are telecast by Blue Ridge Cable TV network and replayed on Saturdays and Wednesdays throughout the Poconos. One Blue Ridge sideline cameraman got wiped out on one play and went down hard, but recovered quickly. The PA announcer requested a big round of applause for him. Another person on the lift with a cameraman in the end zone screamed at the refs when they signaled one of Breakers' attempts was no good. He kept yelling "Bulls___!" We don't know if he was with ESU or Blue Ridge, but he had the best view in the whole place.
Head Coach Denny Douds has guided the Warriors for 32 years and yesterday was his 194th win. His offensive coordinator, Mike Terwilliger, father of Jimmy, is a former player from his first team and has coached with him for 28 years.
ESU's Homecoming & Athletic Hall of Fame day was designated as Rock&Roll Day. Music was coming from the tailgate parking lot close to the stadium. The crowd seemed a little larger than the announced 3,000. It was the largest crowd we'd ever seen there.
Issue Three of Touchdown Illustrated in the Warrior Program , Sideliner, has features of players and coaches in all divisions including its own Jimmy Terwilliger, a nominee for the Harlon Hill Trophy. This award was named for former Florence State (now North Alabama) and Chicago Bear wide receiver that is presented to the top D2 player in the country every year. Started in 1986, other nominees are RB Germaine Race of Pittsburg State and RB Danny Woodhead of Chadron State. It's also the first football program we've seen featuring pictures of the ball boys. One major mistake in the program , however, is that the starting lineup listed for KU were names not on the KU numerical roster. They must have been names of another ESU opponent.
The stadium is in a nice setting the in East Stroudsburg. It would be great if they ever put in lights to have some night games.
A sign that fall weather is upon us - the Kutztown cheerleaders started the game with sleeveless Maroon uniforms. In the second half, they wore white long sleeved shirts underneath. We sat through a brief, cold rain shower at Halftime.