Questions follow Rams into new football season
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherd was 10-0 in 2015. Again in 2016, the Rams marched out to another 10-0 season. And for a third straight season in 2017, Shepherd flattened the Mountain East Conference with another 10-0 season.
Why are there so many questions trailing the Rams of 2018?
Answers: There will be a first-year starter at quarterback. There will also be a first-year starter at running back. Monte Cater has retired as head coach, and Ernie McCook will be in his first season as the head man. Three other first-year coaches in Shepherdstown will be joining McCook’s staff.
The Shepherd defensive front will be full of youth, and the Rams surrendered some large point totals last season. Linebacker Chrys Lane is probably the most effective defensive player, and he was only a part-time starter for much of the 2017 season.
Even last year the Rams could never find solidarity in the secondary. And no new faces with experience have joined that group of safeties and corners.
However, there must be some talent scattered across the field, because the Mountain East coaches have selected Shepherd to win its fourth consecutive league championship.
A number of productive receivers should help the confidence of the new quarterback. Ryan Feiss, DJ Cornish, Wanya Allen and company are the best group the conference has.
Levi Lloyd and Jaime Colon are likely all-conference linemen barring injury.
Ty Hebron is the first-year starter at running back, and has ample quickness to make people miss him either outside or inside.
Defensively, DeJuan Neal is a team captain at cornerback, and Juwan Addison could be a playmaker in the defensive line.
Ruan Ventor is a proven punter, giving the Rams a reliable weapon there.
The Shepherd season opener is tomorrow against Notre Dame in South Euclid, Ohio.
Last season’s opener at Ram Stadium saw Shepherd prevail, 54-49, in a grand ole shootout.
Notre Dame went 8-3 in its regular season games, including an 8-2 record in conference games.
The Falcons greet 15 starters from the above-average 2017 team.
Like Shepherd, Notre Dame has a first-year starter at quarterback who will have wide receivers Tay Johnson and Marvelle Ross to throw toward. Austin Treneff is an all-conference center and linebacker RJ Goodwin leads the defense.
Notre Dame was voted by the coaches to finish third in the conference standings, getting one point fewer than Fairmont for second place.
This will be Shepherd’s final season in the MEC, because it will join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference next year.
Questions abound about the 2018 Rams. But there are quality players still in camp. Are there enough of them?