Charleston can't dance past Rams

October 07, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The Shepherd University football team used a 28-point second period to pull away from West Virginia Conference opponent Charleston 49-13 at Ram Stadium on Saturday.

Charleston, which entered the contest 3-0 in the conference, took a 6-0 lead early on quarterback DaRonte Hunter's 2-yard run, but it was all downhill from there as Shepherd treated a Homecoming Day crowd of 4,815 to an important - and impressive - victory.

The Rams (5-1, 3-1) amassed 28 first downs, 517 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns - including a 32-yard run by St. James graduate Jimmy Sutch in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

Sutch, a freshman, ran six times for 59 yards and his first collegiate TD, and also played on special teams.

Two minutes after Rams quarterback Tyler Lazear hit Nikko Norrell with a 44-yard scoring strike, Deante Steele's 68-yard punt return for a touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the first half gave Shepherd a 28-13 halftime lead.


"This was a real team effort, offense, defense, special teams, but I thought the punt return late in the second quarter really turned the game in our favor," said Shepherd coach Monte Cater. "We were leading 21-13 at the time and the outcome was still in doubt. The punt return was a big play."

The visiting Golden Eagles never recovered from those two quick scores and seemed bothered in the second half by the warm, humid weather and an aggressive Shepherd defense.

As usual, senior running back Dervon Wallace led the offensive attack for Shepherd and Lazear also enjoyed an outstanding game.

Wallace, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, carried 25 times for 175 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 17 yards. Lazear completed 11 of 14 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns before leaving late in the fourth quarter.

"I felt comfortable out there today," Lazear said. "We tried to establish the run early and that definitely opened up the passing game. We're playing pretty good right now. The Glenville State game (an early-season conference loss) was kind of a wake-up call. Both the offense and defense played poorly that day. Since then, we've been OK."

Vincent Riggs ran for 70 yards, while Ryan Lavin was Lazear's favorite passing target with three receptions. Mark Springirth caught two passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and Nasser Muhammad and Nikko Norrel also had TD receptions.

Charleston stayed in the game early by keying on Wallace, but Shepherd solved that strategy quickly.

"They know our strengths," Cater said. "They keyed on Dervon and stopped some plays early but that helped open up our offense. I thought our offensive coaches made the proper adjustments and Lazear showed some good leadership. We played a complete game against a strong opponent."

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