Homecoming will find Rams undefeated
After its first seven possessions against Concord, Shepherd had notched touchdowns on six of those opportunities and had a comfortable lead in its Mountain East Conference game against the Mountain Lions.
Eventually, the Rams and quarterback Connor Jessop had steered their offense to 30 first downs, 573 yards of total offense and a 49-20 win on a sun-splashed afternoon in Athens where Shepherd was penalized an eye-opening 20 times for 207 yards.
Now 4-0 in its early-season games, the Rams are at home this Saturday at 12-noon for their annual Homecoming feature versus conference foe West Liberty, now 2-3 overall.
As usual, Jessop was mostly on target, completing 16 of 32 passes for 327 yards and three TDs. Ryan Feiss had eight catches for 132 yards and a score. Wanya Allen and a returning Hakeem Holland, playing for the first time since the season opener, both caught touchdown throws from Jessop.
Tailback Jabre Lolley carried 16 times for 131 yards and scored twice. Another tailback, Patrick Griffin, had 17 carries for 93 yards and two more scores.
After spotting Concord a 3-0 lead, the Rams scored on three consecutive possessions to carve out a 21-3 lead. The Mountain Lions brought the count back to 21-13 before Allen scored on the 30-yard pass play just six seconds before halftime.
Taking the second-half kickoff, Shepherd rollicked to another score in just over three minutes. When the Rams also scored again on their next possession they had a 42-13 lead.
Shepherd had a 49-13 lead after it had posted 21 points in the third period.
Besides its troublesome 207 yards in penalties, the Rams had other areas of positive note, including their 24th straight conference win since the beginning of the 2015 season.
Ruan Venter punted four times for a 45.8 yards per punt average. There were three sacks on the Concord quarterback. The Mountain Lions, now 1-4 overall, had 290 yards of total offense and were hamstrung by the Ram defense, rushing some 29 times for a total of only 16 yards.
James Gupton had a sack and a fumble recovery and Myles Humphrey had a sack and caused two fumbles, both of which Shepherd claimed as turnovers.
Shepherd’s complete ownership of the third quarter quelled any thoughts the 1,000 or so Concord fans had of any upset.
In charge until the very end, Shepherd actually took a knee in the waning seconds when it was camped on the Concord six-yard line.
The Rams are averaging 50.25 points a game, the second-highest figure in the country, but their penchant for drawing penalties of every shape, form or walk-off distance continues to plague them.