---- — By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
BLOOMSBURG -- Once again, two offenses in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division game rolled up impressive numbers.
However, it was some of the more esoteric happenings on Danny Hale Field at Redman Stadium that allowed Bloomsburg hold on for a one-point victory over West Chester and keep its Division II playoff hopes alive.
Two long Dan Fisher punts in the fourth quarter pinned the Golden Rams deep in their own territory and a Huskies' defense that allowed its first 200-yard rusher since 1998 forced the only two turnovers late in the final stanza in a 24-23 Bloomsburg victory Saturday afternoon.
"The kids were hungry. They wanted this one (after last week's loss to Shippensburg)," Bloomsburg coach Danny Hale said. "There are a lot of good teams in this league. We got a win in this one and we keep moving on."
Bloomsburg (9-1 overall, 6-1 PSAC) has one regular-season game remaining, a road tilt at Slippery Rock (6-4) next weekend. A win should give the Huskies a berth in the playoffs. West Chester drops to 6-4, 4-3.
The first big decision of the contest that played a large roll in the outcome came with 2:31 left in the third quarter. Rondell White ran 41 yards for a touchdown for the Golden Rams and a post-play personal foul would have made West Chester's two-point play from the yard and a half out. The Golden Rams opted for an extra point to cut the Bloomsburg lead to 24-23.
West Chester never had another opportunity to score.
The Huskies were forced to punt on their next drive and Fisher pinned the Golden Rams on their own 1. West Chester drove into the Bloomsburg red zone behind White who touched the ball on eight of 11 plays on the drive. However on a second-and-8 play from the BU 15, Dan Haverstock forced a White fumble that Jeremiah Lowery recovered for the Huskies at their own 10 with 4:39 left in the game. It took several minutes for the officials to get to the bottom of the pile to determine possession.
"It was what PSAC football is all about on the bottom of that pile," senior captain Jarrett Pidgeon said. "It was a dog fight (for the ball)."
The next chance for the Golden Rams came after a 52-yard Fisher punt gave them the ball at their own 27. West Chester gained 17 yards on the drive but Pidgeon knocked down a pass intended for White on a fourth-and-2.
"If I hadn't made the play, I probably would have been in trouble. I was supposed to blitz," Pidgeon said. "I saw (White) come across my face, so I dropped into coverage."
The Golden Rams got the ball back one final time with no time outs on their own 7, but after one first down Pidgeon recovered a fumble forced by Justin Shirk to clinch the game.
Bloomsburg took an early 14-3 on touchdown runs by Dai'shon Munger and Franklyn Quiteh in the first quarter, but the Huskies' defense had a tough time stopping White, who had 305 all-purpose yards. White finished with 211 yards rushing and nine catches for 94 yards.
A touchdown catch by White and the aforementioned 41-yard TD run along with three field goals by Shawn Leo allowed the Golden Rams to get back into the game.