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Shepherd wins conference title

By Staff | Nov 22, 2013

It wasn’t easy for Shepherd, though, as Concord battled back from a 20-2 halftime deficit and pressured the Rams through the second half.

Every time the Mountain Lions pulled to within a potential game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion, Shepherd scored a touchdown to get some breathing room.

The final touchdown for Shepherd came with 1:41 left as Ziemba hooked up with Ford from 32 yards away, giving the Rams a 15-point lead that was quickly reduced as Concord quarterback Brian Novak scored on a 7-yard run – the first rushing touchdown surrendered by the Rams this season – with 44 seconds left.

Shepherd hung on to move to 10-0 while Concord ended its season at 8-3.

Interestingly for a pair of teams that ranked first and second nationally in terms of scoring defense, both averaging slightly more than 11 per game, they gave up their most points in a single game.

The Rams scored on their first two offensive series to set a tone for the game.

Jabre Lolley scored on a 6-yard run with 9:07 left in the first quarter. Concord blocked the extra point and Josh Clark returned it for two points to cut the lead to 6-2.

The Rams increased their lead to 13-2 minutes later when Ziemba teamed with Ford on a 31-yard scoring strike after Shepherd partially blocked a punt.

Lolley added a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:27 left in the half to increase the lead to 20-2.

ATHENS – Shepherd drove its Ford Saturday to the Mountain East Conference championship and berth in the postseason.

Justin Ford caught three touchdown passes from Jeff Ziemba as Shepherd hung on for a 41-33 victory over Concord Saturday at Callaghan Stadium that secured the fourth undefeated record in school history.

As the lone undefeated team in Super Region 1, Shepherd will likely stay atop the regional rankings and have a bye during next week’s opening round. The top two seeds don’t play until the second week.

Then the game turn into a scoring frenzy.

Dalton Brindo connected with Javon McGill on a 63-yard touchdown pass on a trick play with 1:37 left in the first half to cut Shepherd’s lead to 20-9.

Ziemba teamed with Ford on a 45-yard scoring pass with 47 seconds left in the half to give the Rams a 27-9 advantage at halftime.

Andy Ellington connected on a 40-yard field goal for the Mountain Lions with 8:26 left in the third quarter to open the second half scoring.

Novak teamed with Shaun Workinger on a 4-yard scoring pass with 5:23 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 27-19.

Allen Cross scored on a 9-yard run with 1:07 left in the third quarter to give the Rams a 34-19 lead.

Novak teamed with Tiko Henderson on a 33-yard score to cut the lead to 34-26 with 6:01 left in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Ziemba and Ford teamed up on their final touchdown connection of the day, and then Novak ran into for a score.

Novak completed 17 of 28 passes for 239 yards for Concord, while Ziemba completed 14 of 15 passes for 231 yards.

Lolley rushed for a game-high 103 yards on 25 carries, while Cross added 78 yards on 20 carries. Calvinaugh Jones had 18 carries for 73 yards for the Mountain Lions.

Ford had four receptions for 108 yards to lead the Rams. Henderson had five catches for 113 yards to lead Concord.

Shepherd gained 409 yards of total offense, while Concord totaled 408.

-Staff reports