Shepherd strikes in a big way

August 29, 2009

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- If the Shepherd University football team is looking for a nickname, Strike Force might be available.

The Rams hit hard and were lightning fast doing it.

Running back Tommy Addison rushed 14 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns and receiver Raymond Mends added three catches for 162 yards and a pair of scores on Saturday to lead Shepherd to a 34-23 win over Shippensburg in the 12th annual Great Valley Classic at Ram Stadium.

All five of Shepherd's scores came on big plays, the shortest going for 31 yards.

It took just 18 seconds for the Rams to counter a 35-yard field goal by Shippensburg's Kyler Ford with 2:17 in the first quarter. Mends pulled in a 78-yard scoring strike from quarterback Kevin Clancy. Eric Dobratz hit his first of four extra points for a 7-3 Shepherd lead with 1:59 to go in the period.

Just as quickly, the Rams grabbed a 14-3 lead on a Clancy-to-Mends connection for a 73-yard touchdown with 11:29 to go in the half.


Shippensburg moved to within 14-10 at the half, using a 12-play, 87-yard drive capped by Chad DiFebbo teaming up with Mark Rossi on a 2-yard scoring toss with 39 seconds left.

The Red Raiders tried to set the tone in the second half when DiFebbo hit Mike Harris for a 5-yard touchdown to give Shippensburg a 17-14 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Rams changed the momentum in a big way when cornerback Deante Steele picked off a DiFebbo pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown and a 20-17 lead with 2:07 left in the third quarter.

Addison took over and helped the Rams put the game away.

He started with a 84-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter to stake the Rams to a 27-17 lead. He capped the scoring with a 31-yard breakaway on a third-and-15 situation with 1:24 left for the touchdown to seal tha game.

Shippensburg made Addison's second score all the more important earlier in the quarter when DiFebbo hit Mark Rossi with a 16-yard touchdown pass with 5:42 remaining to cut Shepherd's lead to four points.

Clancy hit on 5-of-10 passes for 196 yards and two scores. DiFebbo connected on 17-of-37 passes for 236 yards and three scores.

Harris led the Red Raider receivers with five receptions for 70 yards.

Andy Casale had a game-high 12 tackles (10 solo) to pace the Shippensburg defense.

Junior linebacker Brian Taylor and senior free safety Layton Hersh had nine tackles each to lead the Rams. Hersh added an interception, while Steele had a pair of picks and three pass breakups.

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