Rams make progress with maturity of many reserve players
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Here comes Shepherd.
And the Rams are causing unsolved problems for their opponents with the quality depth they have developed this season.
Shepherd simply has more “playmakers” than their opposition can find to play against it.
Depth has become almost a trademark of the Shepherd defense.
Since the beginning of the season, when turnovers became the albatross around its neck that brought Shepherd down against Ohio Dominican, the Rams have moved through numerous changes to its starting defensive lineup.
And more and more, players are playing significant minutes, as the season rolls along with a 7-2 overall record.
Chrys Lane is still the defensive leader. And Ponce Deleon, although slowed some by injuries, is a contributing factor. Down linemen Ricky Robinson and Juwan Addison have maintained their status as disruptive on-field players.
As the season has moved toward its end, David Wilson, Frankie Stevens, Tim Womack and Antonio Fox have become forces the opposition should try to avoid.
Michael Blackman-Herbert, Donnell Howard and Kyle Smith have started games throughout the season, and have piled up meaningful statistics at times. Added to the list of players to be trusted are Daijahn Anthony, Hassan Marshall and David Eppart.
Down lineman Michael Holt has been able to help stop the run. Not missing any time, Chigozie Onyekwere has reached the stat sheet with his tackles. Corey Shell has had his moments despite missing time, and Emonte Vaught also has been among the leaders in tackles at times.
Justin Cole, Scott Dixon and Chris Jones are three of the most experienced defensive players. Terrell Lindsey and nose tackle Nakeem Bridgeman play their minutes.
The Rams substitute so freely, that only Lane, and at times Deleon, might possibly need a few plays off during games. Offensively, there have not been as many interchangeable parts as the defense has found.
The core of the offensive line — Evan Ostrow, Keandre Batson, Eric Ostrow, Joey Fisher and Cole Weaver — stays in place throughout the majority of each game. Tyson Bagent, Deonte Glover, Devin Phelps and Dylan Brewer have been starters since the beginning.
DJ Cornish can be removed at times for fellow tight ends Alex Wetzel and Brian Walker.
Receivers Rodney Dorsey and Jordan Washington have made their marks, with Washington doing duty on special teams and Dorsey catching a variety of short passes. Ty Hebron might be on-field at any time the Rams have possession, and Zane Lewis returns punts effectively. Ronnie Brown has returned kickoffs and been used in relief of Glover or Hebron.
Shepherd has been the fresher team in the fourth quarter of many games. And its depth is the main reason for that.