HICKORY, N.C. - It was certainly not the result and definitely not the conditions with which West Chester wanted to end its football season.
The Golden Rams' high-powered offense was slowed by a tough Lenoir-Rhyne defense and hampered by terrible weather conditions as the Bears won the NCAA Division II football national semifinal matchup, 42-14, at Moretz Stadium.
For more than three quarters, a driving rain and temperatures in the 30s wreaked havoc on the grassy field and all but eliminated any chance West Chester had to battle back from a 26-14 halftime deficit with its passing game.
West Chester came into the game averaging 479.2 yards of offense and 39.3 points per game. The Golden Rams were held to 135 yards passing and 78 on the ground Saturday and were shut out in the second half.
"It was a tough day and a disappointing end to a great season," West Chester coach Bill Zwaan said. "The conditions were horrible for both teams.
"Those were the stakes we were playing - a game as big as that in those conditions. But that's the way it goes."
The conditions were particularly troublesome for West Chester, which is accustomed to playing on its home artificial turf.
"They did a great job. They didn't fumble at all, which was amazing considering what they were doing on offense," Zwaan said of the Bears. "They bottled us up on defense. After the first couple of drives, we couldn't get anything going."
West Chester ended its season at 13-2, falling in the Division II semifinals for the second time in school history. The loss was the Golden Rams' first to the Bears - West Chester owns a pair of wins over Lenoir-Rhyne in 1969 and 1970.
West Chester got off to a fast start, using a long kickoff return and 9-yard touchdown pass from Sean McCartney to Tim Brown to go up by 7-0 less than a minute into the game.
Lenoir-Rhyne quickly responded with a pair of touchdown runs but botched the extra-point attempt on each.
Rondell White's 60-yard touchdown reception gave West Chester a 14-12 lead in the second quarter, but the Bears scored twice in the last eight minutes of the first half and led, 26-14, at halftime.
"We don't play on grass, so we don't have spikes for grass, so we had to try to find something for the kids to help them out," Zwaan said.
"What can you do? It was a horrible field. Coming in we knew it was going to be that way, but there's nothing you can do about it."