’14’ is Shepherd’s favorite number in brushing past Fairmont
It was a dominant performance by Shepherd.
The Rams scored 14 points in every quarter to crush conference rival Fairmont, 56-0.
Quarterback Jeff Ziemba, a second-year starter, was 14-for-14 with his well-protected passes, garnering 262 air yards of the 532 yards of total offense the Rams amassed against the Falcons.
Defensively, the Rams allowed only a meager 77 yards of total offense and five first downs to their Mountain East Conference rivals.
And in another basically clean performance after overwhelming West Liberty in their season opener, the Rams were penalized only six times for 50 yards.
So forceful in keeping Fairmont at bay were the Rams that freshmen running backs Malik Harleston (15 carries for 87 yards) and Trenton Cannon (11 carries for 61 yards) were given free rein in the second half as regulars Jabre Lolley (three touchdowns) and Allen Cross (two touchdowns) were kept on the sidelines in front of the large, appreciative crowd.
Fairmont was without a first down with its first four possessions.
By that time, Shepherd had a 14-0 lead in the light rain that prevailed for most of the first half.
With its first possession of the second quarter, the Rams went 65 yards with three first downs to still another score, making it 21-0 . . . and the Falcons showing only 39 yards of total offense and one completed pass.
Field position got the Rams their fourth touchdown. A Ryan Earls’ punt was downed at the Fairmont one. After forcing a punt, the Rams took over on the Falcon 43. Ziemba connected with Dalton Boyd on a 32-yard strike. And on the next play, Lolley scored from the 11.
Opening the third quarter, it took the Rams only three plays to up the count to 35-0. Ziemba found William McKenzie on a 64-yard pass completion to the Falcon six. Cross scored on the next play.
When C.J. Davis returned a punt to the Fairmont 17, Lolley scored again with his sprint through the Falcons.
Cannon and Harleston became Shepherd’s runners after that last Lolley score.
Fairmont’s ineffective offense could not keep Shepherd’s offense off the field.
It was 49-0 after the Rams traveled a crisp 74 yards in just nine plays with Cannon bursting over from the eight.
Harleston was given his chance to score from the Fairmont four and the slippery 5-foot-8 back burrowed across for the Rams’ eighth touchdown.
First-year player Jaylen Johnson had seven tackles for the Rams. Freshman James Gupton, first-year starter Shaneil Jenkins and sophomore Octavius Thomas were close behind Johnson in tackles before being held on the sidelines for the last quarter.
Fairmont receiver Fabian Guerra, who had 13 catches for over 200 yards in a seven-point loss to Notre Dame College the previous week, had one catch for 10 yards against the sturdy Rams.
Shepherd goes to Ohio to see Urbana on Saturday, and then returns to Ram Stadium on September 27 to play West Virginia Wesleyan at 12-noon.
The rain had stopped by halftime last Saturday. The Shepherd domination continued on unabated.