INSTITUTE — Shepherd’s Keon Robinson had two touchdown returns, one a 61-yard punt return and the other an 88-yard kickoff return, as Shepherd defeated West Virginia State, 41-20, in a WVIAC game on Saturday.
To augment his all-around game, Robinson also led Shepherd in tackles and even played some on offense.
The Rams improved to 5-1 in the conference and continue to lead Charleston (4-1) and Glenville (4-1) by a half-game in the standings. The Rams are 6-2 overall and have an open date on Satrurday before closing out the regular season with consecutive home games against Glenville (Nov. 3) and Fairmont Sate (Nov. 10).
West Virginia State fell to 1-4 in the WVIAC and 2-6 overall.
The game was scoreless through much of the first half until Shepherd’s Jihad Rasheed scored on a three-yard run to cap an impressive 10-play, 90-yard drive that consumed 9:46 of the Lakin Field clock. Robinson’s 61-yard punt return with 2:01 remaining in the half brought Shepherd’s halftime lead to 14-0.
The homestanding Yellow Jackets halved Shepherd’s lead by taking the second half kickoff and marching some 75 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a nine-yard Ricky Phillips-to-Sharin Bennefield pass.
Shepherd paried with three straight scores, the first a 31-yard Ryan Earls’ field goal, the second a six-yard pass from Bobby Cooper to John Frick, and the third a 33-yard interception return by De’Ontre Johnson.
Near the close of the third quarter, Robert Dooley scored on a 39-yard run to give West Virginia State its second touchdown. That’s when Robinson bolted 88 yards with his kickoff return score to counter Dolley’s run.
The fourth quarter scoring saw Earls boot a 27-yard field goal and the Yellow Jackets get their final points on a 10-yard Phillips-to-Aubura Taylor score with 8:33 remaining.
Shepherd finished with 379 yards of total offense with the Yellow Jackets having 323 yards of total offense.
Shepherd grabbed two turnovers on pass interceptions from Phillips.
The Rams were able to keep their penalties to only four for 40 yards.
Robinson and Dominique Dixon each had seven tackles and Dominic Tolson had an interception and six tackles. The Rams had four sacks and recorded eight tackles for lost yardage.
It was a case of many happy returns for the Rams. A punt return score. A kickoff return for six points. And an interception return for another touchdown gave Shepherd 21 of its 41 points.