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Rams run on 6 cylinders

November 14, 2000

Rams run on 6 cylinders



Half-dozen Shepherd players honored on All-WVC team

By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - When it came down to it, the Shepherd College football season was the sum of its most experienced parts.

The Rams didn't have many seniors on the roster when they tried to win their fourth straight West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. And maybe in the long run, that cost Shepherd.

If the Rams needed any proof of how important their seven seniors were to the outcome of their 7-3 season, all they needed to do was check the all-WVC team.

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All seven of Shepherd's seniors - including five on the first team - were recognized for their season of achievements on the all-conference team, which was released Tuesday.

"I was pleased, especially for our seniors," Shepherd coach Monte Cater said. "This comes right on the heels of having two players earn player of the week honors and one national honor. It was a pretty nice day."

Tailback Dalevon Smith and offensive linemen Dan Woodard along with junior receiver Jason Dirting were named to the first-team offense while end Chris Field, linebacker Chanse Twyman and defensive back James Rooths - three more seniors - won first-team honors on defense.

Shepherd's other two seniors, receiver Shane Snyder and fullback Jerit Seidor, won special honorable mentions on offense.

But it was the play of Smith, Rooths and Field which defined the strength of the Rams.

Smith led the league with 1,495 yards in nine games in a season where he tied Shepherd's single-season school record with 19 touchdowns. He was named the WVC's co-offensive player of the week this week for setting Shepherd's school mark with 267 yards rushing in one game.

Woodard, who was a all-WVC first-team selection at tight end last season, earned recognition at offensive line.

"I was pleased with Woodard's selection," Cater said. "He went from a position he dominated last year and moves to another and still gets first-team honors. Not many players can say they've done that."

Junior Jason Dirting was second in the WVC with 45 receptions. Quarterback Joel Gordon earned second-team honors.

Rooths completed one the more remarkable careers at Shepherd by returning two punts for touchdowns in his final home game. It extended his NCAA all-division record to 10 punt-return touchdowns, three better than anyone else in history. He earned defensive player of the week and was named D2Football.com's national special teams player of the week.

He also led the conference with nine interceptions. Rooths was selected to the first team on both defense and the special teams.

"Rooths had the record and then he goes out and extends it," Cater said. "That's a record which will stand for a long, long time."

Field and Twyman were two of Shepherd's most experienced players on defense. Field was seventh in the league in tackles and second with 16 sacks. Twyman finished with 71 tackles.

Defensive back Tyron Shelby was a defensive honorable mention.

Fairmont State quarterback Bryan Harman was named the league's offensive player of the year, while the West Liberty end E.J. Burt was named the league's top defensive player. West Liberty's Bob Eaton was named coach of the year.

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