Revenge served cold

November 08, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

Revenge served cold

Rams get payback at Glenville; almost in playoffs

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College running back Damian Beane called it irony.

Defensive lineman Johnathan Hibbard called it revenge.

Any casual observer would have called it a blowout.

Whatever terms you want to put it in, No. 13 Shepherd rolled on Saturday afternoon, riding James Rooths' NCAA-record fifth punt return for a touchdown this season and a dominating defense to a 36-6 victory over arch nemesis Glenville State at Ram Stadium.

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"I've been thinking about this one since the 10th game of last year," said Rooths, a sophomore.

For the Rams, it was deja-vu all over again. In 1997, Shepherd came into this game ranked No. 11 in Division II, undefeated in the West Virginia Conference and staring its first playoff berth square in the face. The Rams went out with a 44-14 loss, a drop from the playoff chase and only a share of the conference title.


"It's ironic that we beat them by the same amount that they beat us last year," Beane said.

"It was definitely revenge," Hibbard said.

Not according to head coach Monte Cater.

"I don't think we (the coaches) ever talked of revenge," Cater said. "We talked of having complete focus on the game. But I know a lot of the returning kids haven't forgotten it."

The Rams (8-1, 6-0 WVC) will let Glenville have those memories now after blowing it open in the last five minutes of the first half. When a drive stalled at their own 37, the Pioneers (5-5, 3-3) were forced to punt - and kicked a line drive directly at Rooths. He was off like a shot, running alongside a solid wall of navy blue uniforms 72 yards to take the NCAA and school record away from Bootsie Washington.

"I'm so proud of Jimmy," special teams coach Pete Yurish said. "He told me this summer he was going to get that record."

"Someone said when he runs, his pads don't move. He's that smooth out there. ... But he does everything for the team. He knows his goal is 10 yards per catch. Everything after that is gravy."

On Shepherd's next offensive possession, Glenville's last hope was mashed. Quarterback Tierre McNair played both ways Saturday, but he got hurt on defense and had to leave the game.

That left the Pioneer offense in the hands of freshman Jack Mental, and the Rams' defense promptly gave him a migraine, picking him off twice and sacking him five times on the day.

"We saw a little fear in his eyes," said Hibbard, who had one of the interceptions. "We just wanted to go get him. So we tucked our ears back and went."

And as the defense was holding Glenville to four first downs in the second half, the offense was grinding out more yards.

"We could see it out there," said Beane, who ended up with 199 yards on 39 carries. "They didn't want to take it anymore. They're not used to being down, and they don't play as well when they're behind."

Twice Shepherd scored on nine-play drives in the half, using safe passes from Matt Davis and big runs from Beane and reserve fullback Michael Evans to rub in the victory. Evans finished with 104 yards on 18 carries, giving the Rams their first double 100-yard game since Nov. 1, 1997.

"Our offensive line is like clockwork right now," said wide receiver Jason Siedor, who made four catches in his return from a four-week layoff after a motorcycle accident. "They're opening up huge holes."

And that leaves one hole left for Beane and his Shepherd teammates to fill. A win at West Liberty on Saturday would virtually clinch the team's first-ever Division II playoff game. And they don't want last year's thoughts about Glenville to turn into this year's thoughts of West Liberty.

"I don't think our kids aren't not going to be focused," Cater said. "There's still a lot to gain for us."

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