Rams fly past Concord

October 31, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd University played three quarters of football on Senior Day, and that was more than good enough to crush Concord University 47-7 on Saturday's home finale at Ram Stadium.

In the process, Shepherd racked up its sixth straight win and secured at least a share of the West Virginia Conference championship, its first since the 1999 season and coach Monte Cater's eighth title in 18 years as coach of the Rams.

Shepherd (6-3, 6-0) also kept alive its hopes of an NCAA Divison II postseason berth if it can win on the road next Saturday against West Virginia Tech and get a spot in the Top 10 of the Division II poll, where the Rams currently are 12th.


"This was the first time our seniors had a chance to play for a championship," said Cater. "It got away from us last year, but everyone responded to the challenge today."

Shepherd joined forces with Concord (4-6, 3-3) through a scoreless first quarter in which each team managed one first down and were held to several three-and-outs offensively.

For the first time in conference play this season, the Rams fell behind. Concord took a 7-0 lead with 13:02 left in the first half when LeBryan Patterson ran 13 yards on a pitch to cap a 12-play, 61-yard drive.

That put a charge into the Rams, who rode the rushing of senior Alex Herbert to set up a career-best 43-yard field goal by Ricky Schmitt nearly three minutes later.

On Concord's first play following the kickoff, Brian Courtien intercepted a pass by Ryan Pimental to give Shepherd good field position at the Rams 40-yard line.

Herbert then combined his pass-catching abilities with his running, snagging a short flare from quarterback Len Ferguson in front of the Concord sideline and acting like Mike Alstott, bowling over two tacklers on the way to paydirt and Shepherd's first lead, 10-7.

"I love doing that kind of thing (breaking tackles)," Herbert said. "I didn't want to go out of bounds so the only thing to do was to try and go through them."

Fredy Del Villar intercepted a pass by Pimental that set up a 22-yard field goal by Schmitt and a 13-7 halftime lead, before the Rams poured it in the second half, both offensively and defensively.

Late in the third period, Del Villar tipped a Concord punt to give the Rams great field position at the Mountain Lions 27. Herbert did the rest of the work on the ground on six carries, the final a 3-yard TD run giving the Rams a 20-3 lead at the 2:02 mark.

Seven seconds later, Dustin Dudinski intercepted a pass and ran 25 yards for a touchdown.

The Rams added three scores in the final 15 minutes as Ferguson hooked up with Jesse Correll on a 34-yard strike, Demetrius Weeden scored from 5 yards out on a run and Ron Frazier, a senior, capped his final home game with a 58-yard interception return for six.

"I didn't expect (Concord) to score," said senior Demar Atwood, who had seven tackles and is the Rams' leading tackler on the season. "We did a lot of stunts and I think me and Frazier are a good pair on the strong-side defense."

Ferguson had a subpar start, completing only 6 of 22 attempts for 160 yards, but he hit two big plays to Herbert and Correll which made him feel much better.

"I couldn't get my shoulder loose," said Ferguson, who had injured his shoulder two weeks ago. "(Concord) hurried us early but I started to get loose and we executed much better."

Herbert rushed for 108 yards on 23 attempts, his sixth consecutive game of more than 100 yards and seventh this season.

"It was frustrating early because we weren't getting any first downs and they were blitzing a lot," Herbert said. "We started running some different plays and finally got going."

The Rams' defense held Concord to 144 net yards, while Shepherd's offense gained 297.

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