Shepherd moves past Indiana, Slippery Rock next
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Maybe, down the line, the last minute Shepherd scoring drive that brought it from behind to outlast Indiana (Pa.) 31-27 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Super Region One playoffs will be known as “The Drive.”
After all, the Rams found themselves on their own 16 with only 1:34 to play after the Crimson Hawks forged their lone lead of the cold western Pennsylvania afternoon by moving to their own touchdown with just 1:40 remaining.
With just 11 seconds remaining, Shepherd quarterback Tyson Bagent found wide receiver Devin Phelps four yards behind an Indiana defender in the front of the Crimson Hawk end zone.
Phelps’ arms-extended reception sent the Rams back in front, and back to the same area of western Pennsylvania to play top-seeded and undefeated Slippery Rock this weekend in a 1 p.m. Regional semifinal.
The quick-strike points dazed the Crimson Hawks and ended their season with a 10-2 overall record. In winning for the eighth straight time, Shepherd will carry its 10-2 record to Slippery Rock.
Almost as important as Phelps’ TD grab was the one receiver Dylan Brewer made with just 15 seconds left in the second period that lifted Shepherd into a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Troubled by Indiana’s second-half time of possession margin, Shepherd scored points on its only two possessions in the fourth quarter. Hayden August-Scriven’s field goal that climaxed a seven-play, 68-yard move had the Rams ahead, 24-20, before the Crimson Hawks gnawed over 7:30 off the ever-shrinking clock to take its 27-24 lead with only 1:40 left.
Indiana had 35:35 in time of possession and Shepherd had only 24:25.
Both teams ran up impressive total offense yardage stats with Shepherd getting 516 yards and Indiana 460. The Crimson Hawks had 75 plays to Shepherd’s 60 plays.
A significant statistic saw Shepherd penalized only six times for a meager 44 yards after averaging over 11 penalties per game during the regular season.
Bagent threw 39 times and completed 25 passes for 389 yards and four scores. Indiana’s Quinton Maxwell passed 39 times and had 28 completions for 312 yards and two scores.
Shepherd’s Deonte Glover had 18 carries for 117 yards, while Brewer caught nine passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Phelps grabbed six passes for 98 yards and another two scores. Indiana’s Samir Bullock carried 20 times for 137 yards and both Jojo Gause and Justice Evans had seven catches for Indiana.
Shepherd’s Chrys Lane and Ponce Deleon each had 12 tackles with Ricky Robinson (seven stops) and Frankie Stevens (six tackles) coming next for the Rams. Damon Lloyd (11 stops) and Nazir Streater (nine stops) paced the Crimson Hawk defenders.
The Denver Broncos of quarterback John Elway had their widely-recognized “The Drive” against the Cleveland Browns one bitter cold playoff afternoon by Lake Erie, but Shepherd people, players, coaches and followers will long remember “The Drive” they saw in the last 94 seconds of a Super Region One playoff win in 2019.