Final drive gives Shepherd win over Shippensburg
SHIPPENSBURG, Md. — Shepherd had no timeouts to use. It was 80 yards to the Shippensburg end zone. And the offensive-minded Red Raiders held a four-point lead with just over three minutes to play.
With all those factors stacked against them, the Rams literally passed their way down field and scored the game-winning points with only 42 seconds remaining when quarterback Tyson Bagent leaped over the goal line on a sneak from the one.
The Rams had a scintillating 32-30 conference win, after the two teams traded leads time after time as the early dampness slowly faded into an afternoon where the 4,850 fans often changed their frowns and scowls for faint smiles and loud clapping.
After losing close verdicts at Ram Stadium to Ohio Dominican and unbeaten Kutztown, Shepherd had its first homefield win of the season. The Rams will hold a 4-2 record when undefeated West Chester visits tomorrow at noon with its 6-0 ledger and nationally recognized record.
Somehow overcoming its 14 penalties, the Rams found themselves trailing by small margins throughout the day. Shippensburg, now 1-5 overall, once held leads of 7-6, 14-13, 21-20, 27-26, and 30-26 before the late-game Shepherd March From One End to the Other.
The offenses pretty much ruled the game. The Rams produced 510 yards of total offense with Bagent completing 27-of-39 throws with two interceptions. Brycen Mussina, the son of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Mike Mussina, matched Bagent with his 28 completions in 37 throws for 409 passing yards and three scores.
Deonte Glover rushed for three Rams’ touchdowns, including runs of 81 and nine yards where his blocking was so efficient and crisp that he wasn’t touched on either carry.
It was on Shippensburg’s possession immediately before Shepherd’s heralded game-saving march in the final minutes that was vital to the victory.
The Red Raiders set up shop at the Shepherd 35 after a moody 28-yard Ram punt. The Red Raider lead was at 27-26 at that time.
With 4:09 remaining, the Red Raiders pondered a first down at the Shepherd 10. The Rams used all three of their timeouts to save as much of the shrinking clock as possible.
Shippensburg could not score a touchdown and took the three points a field goal of 22 yards gave them.
The Rams faced a 30-26 deficit with 80 yards to negotiate.
Bagent completed six passes as the Rams quickly fled downfield, finally reaching the one, from where Bagent got in by going over the stacked Red Raider front wall.
Now comes West Chester with its unbeaten record and national ranking. It’s Athletic Hall of Fame Weekend at Shepherd. It’s the Rams versus the Golden Rams.
And the beat goes on.