Sophomore running back Kenny Williams (Elgin, Ill./Eastern Illinois) rushed 23 times for 155 yards and three touchdowns to lead Shepherd University to a 50-24 win over West Liberty in WVIAC football action at Ram Stadium on Saturday.
West Liberty took a 6-0 lead when L.D Crow teamed with Brandon Carver on an 80-yard scoring strike on the first play from scrimmage. The extra point attempt was blocked by sophomore defensive tackle Robert Hayes (Sterling, Va./Park View).
Shepherd answered back when senior cornerback Elijah Davis (Silver Spring, Md./Wheaton) picked off a pass and went 35 yards for a score with 9:25 remaining in the first quarter. Senior kicker Eric Dobratz (Woodbridge, Va./Potomac) added the extra point to give the Rams a 7-6 advantage.
West Liberty took a 12-7 lead on a one-yard sneak by Crow with 4:34 left in the first quarter. Sophomore defensive end Howard Jones (Woodbridge, Va./Freedom) blocked the extra point attempt.
Dobratz connected on a 34-yard field for the Rams with left to cut the lead to 12-10 with 14:16 left in the second quarter.
An errant snap by the Hilltoppers went out of the end zone to give the Rams a safety to tie the game at 12-all minutes later.
Dobratz gave the Rams a 15-12 lead with a 24-yard field goal with 10:50 left in the second quarter.
West Liberty took an 18-15 lead with 9:01 left in the second quarter when Alec Wood forced a fumble by junior quarterback Bobby Cooper (Davidsonville, Md./South River) and Nick Augustyn recovered in the end zone for a score.
Shepherd took a 22-18 lead into intermission with 6:06 left in the half on a three-yard touchdown run by Kenny Williams.
Williams added a two-yard scoring run with 9:50 left in the third quarter to increase the Shepherd lead to increase the lead to 29-18.
West Liberty cut the lead to 29-24 when Justin Black returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score with 9:37 lef in the third quarter. Crow's pass attempt for the two-point conversion fell incomplete.
Williams added his third touchdown run of the day on a two-yard plunge with 4:03 left in the third quarter to give the Rams a 36-24 lead.
Cooper connected with senior wide receiver Nikkolai Norrell (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) on a 12-yard scoring strike with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter and junior cornerback Corey Washington (Alexandria, Va./Edison) scored seconds later on a 34-yard interception return to complete the scoring.
Cooper completed 15-of-21 passes for 121 yards for the Rams. Crow connected on 15-of-28 passes for 204 yards for the Hilltoppers.
Senior wide receiver Neal Hardie (Alexandria, Va./West Potomac) had four catches for 31 yards for Shepherd. Carver had a pair of catches for 101 yards to pace West Liberty.
Shepherd ran up 411 yards of total offense while limiting West Liberty to 193 yards. The Rams yielded only -13 rushing yards.
Marco Ricchetti and Kyle Augustin each had 12 tackles for the Hilltoppers. Junior linebacker A.J. Parrish (Madison Heights, Va./ Amherst County) led the Rams with six stops.
Shepherd improves to 5-2, 3-2 in WVIAC play, while West Liberty falls to 1-6, 1-4. The Rams return to action next Saturday when they host West Virginia State at noon for Homecoming.