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Gordon makes Rams' change

August 29, 2000

Gordon makes Rams' change



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd quarterback Joel Gordon knew something would be different for the 2000 season.

He just thinks that he's already taken care of it. The sophomore changed his uniform number before the season - he's now wearing a big 7, not 13, on his jersey.

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The Rams, ranked No. 20 in the first AFCA Division II coaches poll released Tuesday, hope it won't change his fortunes as Shepherd, ran head into their season opener Saturday at Shippensburg.

"It's just a little different situation than last year. I got thrown into a good situation ... and I was being helped by some good coaches," Gordon said during the team's annual media day. "That's where the success came from. They got me where I needed to be."

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While the coaches got Gordon where he needed to be, he went a little farther on his own. As a true freshman, Gordon twice passed for five touchdowns in a game to tie the school record, and finished with 20 for the season in just seven starts.

However, Gordon struggled in the Rams' rainy playoff game at Millersville, watching his counterpart (Chambersburg, Pa., native Drew Folmar) pick apart the Shepherd secondary with an 18-for-24 performance.

"I'm sure it will. I can't feel it now, but I'm sure it will when I come up under center in the first game," Gordon said.

In the first games last year, opponents hadn't figured out that the Shepherd offense consisted of a lot more than Harlon Hill Trophy candidate Damian Beane. Beane is gone, but again Gordon doesn't expect much change.

"I think they knew (about me) last year after the first couple of games. But we've still got a great running back," Gordon said of senior Dalevon Smith. "The first couple times he touches the ball last year, he scored two touchdowns over 80 yards.

"I don't think teams can change too much on how to stop us, because they know we can throw the ball, but Dalevon can run right by them if they try to stack up."

Smith is a little more vocal about things than Gordon, predicting more big things for the Rams offense this season. His prediction is bolstered by wide receiver Jason Dirting, a junior whose 10 TDs last season led the West Virginia Conference.

Gordon just hopes he won't have to change a thing in the process.

"(Dalevon) could be right. We've got to keep working hard," Gordon said. "If we put it together, we should be a pretty potent offense. But we'll just wait and see."

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