CALIFORNIA, Pa. — Ronell Williams intercepted California (Pa.) quarterback Peter Lalich with 1:18 remaining to give West Chester a 37-34 upset against sixth-ranked Cal on Saturday at Adamson Stadium.
West Chester (4-1) remains undefeated against Division II opponents while handing preseason PSAC West favorite Cal (4-1) its first loss.
Running back Rondell White rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown while also catching a TD pass and accumulating 280 all-purpose yards in the win. Quarterback Mike Mattei finished 23-of-43 for 289 yards and three TD tosses. Wide receiver Jim Kelly posted his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game 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 consecutive three-and-outs while its offense put up 10 points.
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 held West Chester to a three-and-out, giving the Vulcans the ball with 1:43 remaining.
Lalich completed a 5-yard pass on a first down. However, Williams picked off Lalich’s second-down pass attempt and returned it to the Cal 23. West Chester then ran out the clock, ending a 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.
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