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Shepherd DB takes his turn

October 29, 2000

Shepherd DB takes his turn



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Members of the Shepherd College football team have an unwritten rotation for making the plays needed to win games.

Freddie DelVillar's number came up on Saturday against Glenville State and he literally rose to the occasion.

DelVillar charged up the middle of the field and leaped to bat down Gerald Wilburn's 36-yard, game-tying field goal attempt with 34 seconds remaining to turn an overtime situation into a 21-11 Shepherd victory at the new Ram Stadium.

The deflection rolled to the right sideline, where James Rooths picked it up on the run and turned it into an 80-yard touchdown to make the final score seem cushy. But to a man, the Rams knew they dodged a bullet to remain in the middle of the West Virginia Conference title race.

"We've practiced blocking kicks all season," DelVillar said. "I moved the referee and came up the middle. I had to jump over the center and just high enough to get to the ball. We have a lot of big players on this team. At one time or another, we all have to step up. It just happened to be my turn this time."

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The freshman defensive back picked the right time to answer the ball for the Rams. Shepherd held a 14-3 lead until Jamall Lovett pulled in a 6-yard scoring pass from Mark Gray. The Pioneers added the conversion to move within three with 5:45 remaining.

Glenville found itself pinned at its own 4 with 3:30 remaining in the game and worked its way upfield until stalling at the Shepherd 19 before the field goal try.

"We were looking at overtime," Shepherd coach Monte Cater said. "We have been getting blocked kicks in a lot of games in a row, but this one meant the ballgame. We could have gone to overtime, but that doesn't guarantee a win."

The block was lightning in a bottle for the Rams (6-2, 4-1). The win allowed Shepherd to stay atop the WVC standings with Fairmont State (a 31-17 winner over West Virginia Weslyan) and West Liberty State (a 28-10 winner over West Virginia State) with two weeks remaining in the season. The Rams travel to West Liberty for a showdown next week.

"We were desperate," special teams coach Pete Yurish said. "We even lined up wrong. But the line told me they a push up the middle on the first field goal. We were breaking down films and saw (Glenville) was weak up the middle. We got the push and Fred just got up high enough to get the ball."

The block also helped the Rams survive in a game where the running game carried an inconsistent passing attack and four turnovers allowed the defense to preserve the lead.

"I wish we could have mixed the offense up some," said tailback Dalevon Smith, who rushed for 238 yards and both Shepherd touchdowns. "The passing wasn't there today. I wish it was because those guys spent more time in inside my helmet than I did."

Glenville took a 3-0 lead on Wilburn's 26-yard field goal with 2:58 left in the first half. Shepherd responded with a 17-play, 69-yard march in 2:37, capped by Smith's 1-yard plunge for a 7-3 halftime lead. The drive was highlighted by Joel Gordon's 6-of-10 passing for 44 yards and a fake field goal run by holder Jason Dirting to keep the drive alive.

Shepherd jumped to a 14-3 lead on the first possession of the second half. Smith followed up a 7-yard run with a sweep around the right end that he cut back and ran diagonally left to break loose for a 78-yard touchdown.

The Rams held their own until the final six minutes when the Pioneers challenged until DelVillar put the smack down on the final kick to the surprise of everyone but the Shepherd football team.

"I wasn't surprised that Fred blocked the kick ... I was more surprised that James got it and ran it in," Smith said. "The block was nothing. Fred does it every day in practice."

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