West Chester pulls away with win over Shepherd
West Chester returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 28-7 win over Shepherd in quarterfinal action of the NCAA II Football Championship at Ram Stadium on Saturday.
West Chester took a 7-0 lead on a three-yard run by Harlon Hill candidate Rondell White with 6:44 remaining in the first quarter.
Shepherd answered back on a two-yard run by redshirt-freshman running back Jabre Lolley (Wilmington, Del./St. Mark’s) with 28 seconds left in the first quarter. Sophomore kicker Ryan Earls (Stevensville, MD/Kent Island) added the extra point.
Sean McCartney teamed with LaRonn Lee on a 31-yard scoring pass with 11:05 left in the second quarter to give the Golden Rams took a 14-7 advantage at the break.
Shepherd drove into West Chester territory late in the fourth quarter. Al-Hajj Shabazz picked off a Shepherd pass on a fourth-and-six play and raced 76 yards for a score with 6:17 left in the game to give West Chester a 21-7 lead.
The Golden Rams added a final score on a 35-yard interception return by Brandon Pepper with 6:00 remaining to seal the win.
Redshirt-freshman quarterback Jeff Ziemba (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) completed 13-of-31 passes for 151 yards. McCartney connected on 16-of-25 passes for 180 yards.
Lolley had 15 carries for 69 yard to lead the Shepherd ground attack. Sophomore running back Allen Cross (Elkridge, Md./Long Reach) added 62 yards on 15 carries. White rushed for a game-high 94 yards on 24 carries for West Chester.
Junior wide receiver William McKenzie (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglass) led the Shepherd receivers with five catches for 49 yards. Lee had three grabs for 93 yards and White added five grabs for 15 yards to pace the Golden Rams.
West Chester gained 304 yards of total offense while Shepherd gained 271.
Senior defensive lineman Mike Franklin (Silver Spring, Md./Long Reach) and junior outside linebacker De’Ontre Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Dr. Henry A. Wise) each had nine tackles to lead the Shepherd defense. Eric Edwers had nine stops to lead the Golden Rams.
Shepherd ends its season at 11-1, while West Chester improves to 13-1. West Chester advances to the national semifinal as against Lenoir-Rhyne Saturday.
Notes: Shepherd’s 11 wins on the year tie for second most in program history. The home loss was first for the Rams since dropping a 28-24 decision to Glenville State on Nov. 13, 2010.