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Shepherd back in the playoff picture

November 16, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College football coach Monte Cater only hopes his team performs better under pressure than the school's satellite system.

With the announcement of the Division II playoff bracket Sunday afternoon, Cater gathered his to see its name flashed on the big screen. But when the big moment came, nothing came on the TV.

So Cater was forced to get the good news - his team will travel to Indiana (Pa.) Saturday in the first round - over the telephone.

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"It's disappointing that these kids couldn't see their name up there," Cater said. "(But) we're glad to be going."

He may not be so glad when he gets there. The Indian defense is solid, allowing only 78 yards rushing per game and chalking up 45 sacks and 25 takeaways in 11 games.

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"It's not supposed to be easy when you get to this level," Cater said. "And if you're supposed to be there, you're supposed to find a way to move the football."

But Shepherd counters that immovable object with its own unstoppable force. The Rams (9-1) have put up at least 30 points in six of their last nine games, and outscored Glenville and West Liberty, 99-16.

Yes, Harlon Hill candidate Damian Beane and the offense had a heavy part in that, but Cater said it's the other facets of his team that have Shepherd in position for its 10th straight victory at Indiana (10-1).

"That's the way our team has played over the last month," Cater said. "Our special teams are putting points up. Our defense, if they're not, they're setting up points with turnovers and field position."

That defense helped the Rams to a perfect record in the West Virginia Conference, which is starting to get a little recognition. It'll be the second straight year a league team is in the playoffs.

"It's a great feeling," Cater said. "Now you want to do the things to represent the conference, not just yourself now.

"Our kids will be excited to be playing; they'll respond to something like this."

The only real problem stares at Cater on his left wrist. Indiana has played a couple of night games at home this year, and the time for the game still hasn't been set. Cater is hoping the sun will be out when things kick off on the astroturf in Indiana.

"It's not the normal time and your normal routine gets thrown off," Cater said. "I don't know if they have a time that they're bound by, but if it's not (in the day), we're still going."

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