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Early dominance highlights Shepherd victory

By Staff | Sep 21, 2018

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Leading by three touchdowns by halftime, Shepherd received the second-half kickoff and scored again to punctuate its eventual 41-24 win over Glenville. It was the Rams’ first appearance at home, and they pleased most of the 4,731 fans with long scoring drives, 498 yards of total offense and a first half that saw them register 19 first downs, never punt and never be penalized.

Before the Pioneers could ever score with a Samuel Thomas interception return, Shepherd was charging along with a 27-0 lead, and often scored with pass-oriented drives that began deep inside its own end of the field.

No punts. No penalties. And 17-of-20 pass completions from quarterback Tyson Bagent.

A DeJuan Neal pass interception opened the way to Shepherd’s first points. Bagent scrambled from trouble and found Greg Leonard for a quick 7-0 lead.

Self-inflicted wounds marred Shepherd’s second possession.

However, Glenville remained unresponsive — even missing a 32-yard field goal attempt.

A brilliantly methodical 80-yard drive extended the Shepherd lead to 14-0, when Leonard took a 13-yard swing pass from Bagent.

Marching again, the Rams passed their way to the Glenville three. On third down, Bagent executed a nifty fake to Zyan Sturdivant (99 rushing yards for the afternoon) and cruised into the Glenville end zone before many people knew he had kept the football.

At halftime, Glenville had 42 rushing yards, had not scored and had seen Shepherd’s Ryan Feiss catch eight Bagent throws for 91 yards.

Dylan Brewers’ first collegiate points on a 47-yard pass from Bagent early in the third quarter had the Rams smoothly protecting a 27-0 lead. Thomas’ interception return had broken Glenville’s scoreless spell. But on another scoring drive where an offside penalty had been Shepherd’s first of two penalties, Sturdivant had runs of 12 and 10 yards, and Bagent again scrambled away from a pass rush to find Feiss. Finally, Sturdivant ran through the softened midsection of the Glenville defensive line for a 12-yard touchdown.

Sturdivant’s run capped a 78-yard drive.

Glenville quickly shaved its bothersome deficit to 20 points, when Javon Butler caught a 75-yard pass-run throw from Jaylen McNair to make it 34-14, with Shepherd still gliding along in front.

DJ Cornish had a decent return on the ensuing kickoff. And Shepherd set sail again. Bagent made a three-yard run for a first down on third down. And then Ty Hebron scored his first points as a freshman Ram with a 15-yard run, where he was never touched by the Glenville interior.

The Pioneers took the next possession some 86 yards and scored when Tre Cutcher caught a four-yard pass.

Only 15 seconds were left when the Pioneers made a 34-yard field goal for the conference game’s last points.

Bagent was 32-for-41 overall, with three scoring passes.

Glenville rushed for just 50 yards in seeing its record dip to 1-2 overall.

Shepherd moved to 1-1 and gave first-year head coach Ernie McCook his first-ever victory.

Rejuvenated West Virginia State, which has given signs of being much more dangerous than it has been for decades, will host the Rams in Institute on Saturday. The Yellowjackets lost all 31 games they attempted against just-retired Shepherd coach Monte Cater, but appear to have a quarterback with points in his system waiting for the Rams this season.