Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rams Defeat Pioneers

This past weekend, the Shepherd University Rams traveled to Glenville State to play in a much anticipated rematch. In the regular season finale last season, the Pioneers defeated the Rams at home on senior day to ruin Shepherd’s perfect season. This game, however, would see a different ending.

The scoring began early for the Rams. After the Glenville punter dropped the snap and attempted a pass, Larry Lowe caught the ball for an interception and returned it 45 yards for the game’s opening touchdown.

The Pioneers would attempt to answer on their next drive. Glenville’s Joe Mesadieu took the first down hand off 33 yards to the Shepherd 27 yard line. After an incomplete pass on third down, kicker Colston Bayless connected on a 36 yard field goal.

The Rams would showcase the passing attack of Bobby Cooper to Nikkolai Norrell on their second drive. The duo would find each other three times for 26 total yards. Cooper would finish the drive himself, however. On second and one on the Pioneer 3 yard line, Bobby Cooper snuck it in himself for the touchdown.

The defense would then flex its muscle. After a sack by Howard Jones, Dom Dixon intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

Glenville would finally answer with a touchdown drive of their own on the next possession. Darold Hughes took the handoff 34 yards for a touchdown. Shepherd was leading after one quarter by a score of 21-10.

After relying on senior running back Thomas Addison, the Rams were once again within striking distance. After two straight Shepherd penalties, the offense would stall and Eric Dobratz booted a 34 yard field goal attempt.

The Pioneers would show off a passing duo of their own on their next possession. Darold Hughes found Jordan Griffin four times with the last being a four yard touchdown pass. Glenville State was back within seven with a score of 24-17.

Shepherd managed to keep scoring throughout the first half. The Rams relied on the wrecking ball that is Kenny Williams by feeding him the ball seven times on the drive. Once again, the Rams drive stalled inside the red zone and Eric Dobratz connected on yet another field goal, this time from 24 yards out.

Cooper and Norrell were not done, however. Cooper found Norrell three times in the final minute of the first half. Dobratz came on to kick his third field goal of the game with just under a minute left in the half. The halftime score was Shepherd: 30 to Glenville: 17.

Glenville opened the second half with a field goal producing drive to bring the score back to within ten points.

The Rams looked unstoppable as the fourth quarter began. Kenny Williams once again led the offense down the field to the Pioneer 1 yard line. Williams was not able to punch the ball through the goal line, however, and Shepherd was stopped on the 1 yard line on fourth down and turned the ball over on downs.

Shepherd’s defense forced a three and out and the offense took the field on Glenville’s 33 yard line.

The offense once again could not get the ball in the endzone. Eric Dobratz took the field for a 24 yard field goal. The kick appeared to come out low and the attempt was blocked.

Dom Dixon once again proved to be the Pioneer offense’s worst enemy. Dixon came up behind the runner and forced a fumble by punching the ball out of the ball carrier’s hand.

Thomas Addison once again was the focus of the drive. Addison carried the ball three times for 25 yards all the way down to the Glenville 5 yard line. The Rams then brought in Kenny Williams to put the game out of reach. After an offsides penalty was called against the defense, Williams found the endzone on a 3 yard touchdown run.

The defense was not done. On fourth down, Corey Washington dove and intercepted Steffen Colon’s pass.

When the dust had settled, the Rams were victorious by a score of 37-20.

“It’s been a while since we won [against Glenville]. To be able to beat them down here is pretty special. Our effort was excellent,” said Head Coach Monte Cater.

The Rams were penalized 13 times for 136 yards. When asked about the penalties, Coach Cater declined to comment.

Thomas Addison led the way for the running backs with 16 carries for 90 yards. Kenny Williams finished the game with 20 carries for 85 yards and 1 touchdown. “The line did great and I just hit the holes. We came out hard and our line put us on their back,” said Williams.

Bobby Cooper had a solid outing going 17-20 with 185 yards. Cooper also contributed to the running game with a touchdown of his own. Bobby Cooper has now eclipsed 2,000 yards passing this year.

Nikkolai Norrell led the receivers with 9 receptions for 90 yards. John Frick and Larry Lowe both had 2 receptions for 42 and 29 yards respectively. “We practiced really hard. I have never beaten these guys and I really wanted to,” said Norrell.

The offense finished with 349 total yards. The defense held the Glenville offense to 218 total yards.

Dominic Tolson led to way for the Rams defensively with 7 total tackles. Howard Jones and Xavier Tyler both had one sack. Dom Dixon forced a fumble and had an interception return for a touchdown. Corey Washington and wide receiver Larry Lowe both had an interception. “It was a team game. We won as a team,” said Dixon.

The Rams have improved to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the WVIAC. This week the Rams travel to Fairmont State for their regular season finale. Kickoff is at noon.