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Rams, Beane bag victory

September 20, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College and Clarion had so many athletes running such long distances Saturday that their football game at times resembled a cross country meet.

Neither team showed much inclination for slow, methodical drives. Instead, they scored on long passes, long runs, long punt returns, long fake punts and long blocked punt returns.

In the end, Shepherd out-distanced Clarion 27-20 before 2,500 in Rams Stadium.

The game's two big names - Shepherd running back Damian Beane and Clarion wide receiver Alvin Slaughter - made their fair share of the lengthy plays. Beane, who racked up 254 yards on 34 carries, scored on a 42-yard run that put the Rams up 14-0 at 9:57 of the second quarter. Slaughter, who hauled in eight passes for 144 yards, scored on a 67-yard pass from Chris Weibel to get Clarion on the board at 7:29 of the second period, cutting Shepherd's lead to 21-6.

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But they weren't the only ones scoring from far out. James Rooths rambled 68 yards on a punt return to put Shepherd (2-1) up 21-0 at 8:52 of the second quarter.

"I had two great blocks,'' Rooths said. "Once I saw that, I took off.''

Shepherd was getting the best of the Golden Eagles (1-2) in the big-play battle until the third quarter. The Rams defense stopped Clarion at its own 32, forcing a punt, or at least into punt formation. Up-man Ryan Presutti took the snap and romped 68 yards for a touchdown.

"On the fake punt, we were going to block it,'' said defensive lineman Jason LaRue, who had three of Shepherd's five sacks. Thus, they were focused on the punter, Frank VanWert, and "were caught off guard,'' LaRue said.

"That was a great call. It took a lot of courage,'' said Shepherd coach Monte Cater.

The play cut Shepherd's lead to 21-12. But when Beane scored on a relatively short dash of 10 yards, the win looked secure for Shepherd, which led 27-12. But Clarion had one more big play in its playbook.

It took advantage of a bad snap to punter Alan Mullendore, and blocked the kick. Brett Wiley came up with the ball, and raced 37 yards for a touchdown, slicing the Ram lead to 27-20 with 1:03 left in the game.

"The fake punt and blocked punt ... it makes you kind of cringe,'' Cater said.

But big-play day was over, and the Rams had a win in their home opener.

Beane set the tone of the game early. He ran for six yards on the first play from scrimmage to become the No. 2 all-time rusher at Shepherd, passing Gregg Warfield's 3,244 yards from 1975-78. Two plays later, he went 65 yards to Clarion's 23.

"I got around the corner and didn't see anything but grass,'' Beane said.

It set up the first touchdown five plays later, a Matt Davis-to-Dan Woodward pass that covered a "mere" 7 yards.

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