GOLD RUSH

Written by: Kyle Smith

The day has finally come for the Bloomsburg Huskies to close out the 2008 regular season. Currently 9-0, the gang squares off against West Chester University for the 2008 homecoming game. This is the deciding game in the PSAC East, the final obstacle before the “u” word can be accomplished, and the winner receives a trip to the 2008 PSAC East-West Championship game.

This game will live up to all the gold rush hype and husky nation will not be disappointed. There will be plenty of visitors in town for the weekend both because of the inauguration and homecoming festivities, students who don’t normally make it up the hill will be venturing up the hill for the first time this year, and the veteran followers will be out in full force. Last year’s homecoming game drew a crowd of 4,956 and there was no perfect season, division championship, or playoff berth on the line. Expect larger and louder crowds to invade Redman Stadium this weekend. The televised game is scheduled for a 3:30 kickoff. The late kickoff coupled with the longer game because of the television broadcast will mean the first ever game played under the lights at Redman.

This week we will have to discuss some of the added features of the homecoming game and the bells and whistles that come with it. First your Bloomsburg cheerleaders have designed a new and improved dance routine with different music, because of the King and Queen presentation the cheerleaders will be performing between the first and second quarters rather than their normal spot during half time. Of course they will continue the tradition of the t-shirt toss which is always a fan favorite.

During half time the king and queen finalists will be announced along with the crowning of the 2008 Homecoming King and Queen by the 2007 Queen winner Kay Adoo. The finalists this year for Homecoming queen are Megan Cashour, Katrina Scheibelhut, Gina Bellomo, Renee Casselbury and Gwen Wiscount. This year’s King finalists are Austin Brunson, Steve Whittmer, Michael Morton, Jimmy Harrington and Will Henry. This year voting is taking place on-line through 10 p.m. this evening, the link located on the Today page. You may also vote in person on the Warren Student Services Center patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Now onto the most important part of the weekend, the homecoming football game. Bloomsburg comes into the contest boasting an average of 424.8 yards per game of total offense this season. This has translated into 32.9 points a game compared to the 15.6 points allowed by the husky defense each game. West Chester this season is averaging 440 yards of total offense this season, while scoring 35 points per game. West Chester defense is holding there opponents to 17.8 point a contest. These numbers are extremely close, so close that the difference is basically irrelevant.

When it comes to the QB position it seems that the threat of West Chester’s Joe Wright is little to none. He averages an outstanding 3.9 yards per game this year. Bloomsburg’s backup quarterback Mike Wagner averages 5.7. Joe Wright has gotten into the end zone just twice this season on rushing touchdowns. Dan Latorre has scored six rushing touchdowns this year with a long of 49 yards. He averages 38.7 yards per game, and nearly 6 yards per attempt.

The tides turn however in the aerial attack. Dan Latorre’s 12 passing touchdowns this season are severely overshadowed by the 22 of West Chester’s Joe Wright. Joe Wright also averages over twice the number of yards that Latorre does with 250.1 compared to 118.3 for Latorre. Wright averages nearly 60 percent completion rate compared to 50.7 percent for Latorre. So the nod in the passing game seems to go to West Chester, however if it comes to the last second hail mary, Latorre takes the cake. His 77-yard hookup with receiver Kyle Ream for a touchdown against East Stroudsburg is longer than a 71-yard touchdown pass by Joe Wright.

The running game is a no-contest, surprised? Our top two running backs Dom and Price, a.k.a. Shock and Awe, average a combined 210.1 yards per game, West Chester as a team averages 166.2 yards per game. No further explanation or documentation of the Huskies rushing prowess is needed.

Husky defense has been a force to be reckoned with this season allowing only 15.6 points per game. West Chester hasn’t been too shabby either holding their opponents to 17.8 points a game. Interceptions is practically a wash with the Huskies picking off their opponents eight times for two touchdowns, while West Chester has taken two back on nine interceptions. The Huskies have returned 1 touchdown for 20 yards this season,

West Chester has not had a single fumble return. The nod here has to be given to the Huskies who will be playing in front of an electrified Redman Stadium for their homecoming game.

Coach Hale realizes the magnitude of this game and insists the team is unaffected. “There is an aura of exhilaration and excitement. This is what it’s all about, both teams undefeated in conference play. This is what motivates the players.” The Huskies will certainly be ready to go this weekend as they try to put the finishing touches on the regular season and prepare to move forward to the playoffs. A win this Saturday would mean so much it almost overshadows the fact that they would have the longest winning streak in school history. The Huskies have been working hard since mid-August to put themselves in this position and have 4-15 minute quarters left to achieve their first goal for the season. Coach Hale notes that “a large, high-energy crowd” and atmosphere at Redman stadium could translate to seven points for the Huskies.

It is homecoming Bloomsburg, your team is 9-0 on the verge on winning the PSAC East and putting themselves in the PSAC Championship. At 3:30 Saturday will you be ready to help the Huskies get the job done and finally be able to say the “u” word without knocking on wood?

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