How does Shepherd improve a 31-0 record
The record now reads 31-0.
No losses. No ties. The closest game was way back in 1989 when Shepherd, with Coach Monte Cater in his third season, beat West Virginia State, 7-6 in a West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game.
Cater became Shepherd’s head coach in 1987, and even though the Rams had a 4-6 record that season they defeated the Yellowjackets, 20-7.
The two-touchdown success in Cater’s initial season has snowballed since, like an avalanche that begins almost innocently but then becomes so large it covers or crushes everything in its downhill path.
Since 1987, West Virginia State has sent eight head coaches against Cater’s teams. None of them ever found a victory.
Current Shepherd radio broadcast analyst Carl Lee, who is in his first season at 95.9 FM (the Big Dawg) coached at West Virginia State for 10 seasons (1996 through the 2005 campaign). Lee’s record against the school he now does radio for was 0-10. The losing scores ranged from 16-11 to 63-14 with the Rams notching over 40 points five times when facing Lee’s teams.
The long list of Yellowjacket coaches who never solved Cater’s Rams include Clifton Moore, Bob Gobel, Scott Tinsley, Eric Gates, Lee, Earl Monroe Jon Anderson and now John Pennington.
Pennington’s 2017 team had one of the best showings in two decades, losing 56-41 just a few weeks ago.
Cater’s Shepherd tenure has now reached its 31st season.
Counting the 2010 season and moving forward, the Rams have accosted nearly every opponent, moving smartly to a 79-12 record in those 7 1/2 seasons. Five of the losses were in NCAA playoff games.
The Rams recorded an unbeaten regular season in 2005 and 2006; came back with another spotless regular season in both 2015 and 2016 and had a 5-0 record going to tough-to-beat Fairmont last night in Marion County.
In both of the last two seasons, Shepherd had a 13-0 record before losing to Northwest Missouri State in the national championship game in 2015 and to North Alabama in the national semifinals in 2016.
In the past two seasons, the Rams have tamed national powers Grand Valley State (Michigan), Slippery Rock, California and Indiana. Their record in Mountain East Conference games is 25-0 since the beginning of the 2015 season.
Now, 25-0 is eye-opening, but it isn’t quite the same as the 31-0 record Cater has carved against West Virginia State since 1987.