Shepherd, Jefferson have early season wins
A steady stream of first-year starters and true freshmen were promoters of Shepherd’s season-opening win (38-13) at West Liberty last Saturday.
The nation’s 12th-ranked Rams showed a completely revamped defensive front four to the confident Hilltoppers and moved crisply out to a 31-0 lead deep into the second half.
With a corps of new starters in its defensive secondary as well as its front four, Shepherd limited the Hilltoppers to just 29 rushing yards and fewer than 200 yards of total offense in winning its season opener on the road. C.J. Davis, previously known more for his statistics as a punt and kick returner, started for the first time in the secondary and intercepted two passes.
Freshmen James Gupton (a starter at linebacker) and Trenton Cannon (who ran eight times for 54 yards) were early-career contributors. The game marked the return of wide receiver Billy Brown (out all last season with a knee injury) and he had three catches for 81 yards.
Shepherd rushed for over 200 yards and overcame an uncharacteristic three lost fumbles to drown the Hilltoppers.
This week’s Mountain East Conference game against visiting Fairmont is at 12-noon and is Shepherd’s home opener.
The Falcons had six turnovers, including four pass interceptions thrown by Cooper Hibbs, in a 42-35 loss in Fairmont to visiting Notre Dame (Ohio).
Fairmont had 551 yards of total offense against Notre Dame, but ceded 456 yards of offense to the Ohio-based Falcons.
Fairmont’s Fabian Guerro set a school record with 13 pass receptions for 247 yards and one touchdown.
Tyler Benton and Emanuel Ivey each had 11 tackles against the Cleveland-area, Mountain East Conference opponent.
Notre Dame had an early 21-0 lead, but then fell behind, 35-28, before it scored the game’s last two touchdowns to win by seven points.
Jefferson High posted a 23-6 win over Mountain Ridge in a game played last Friday in Frostburg. Along with its season-opening 24-point win at Spring Mills, the Cougars will bring a 2-0 record against Hampshire tonight in Shenandoah Junction at 7 p.m.
Hampshire lost its opener at Preston County and then defeated Elkins by one point in overtime last week in Romney.
The Cougars relied heavily on Christian Johnson in defeating Spring Mills, 48-24, on Sept. 5. Johnson scored five touchdowns, four on passes from Andrew King and another on a long return of a Spring Mills kick.
Jefferson didn’t allow Mountain Ridge’s Miners much total offense in stopping the western Marylanders in their opener last Friday.