Champion Rams reap All-WVIAC spoils

“To the victor go the spoils”.

Shepherd was the victor. The Rams were the WVIAC football champions. They had a 7-1 record in the league and finished one game ahead of three other contenders — Glenville, Charleston, and Concord. All three of those teams had 6-2 conference marks.

As the victors, Shepherd reaped all manner of postseason honors.

Winning the conference title was the foremost reason for Shepherd’s gaining so much favor with those who selected the all-conference teams. Having the nation’s No. 1 defense against the run was another primary reason the Rams had five players selected to WVIAC first-team defense.

Mike Franklin, Howard Jones, and Robert Hayes were the Shepherd defensive lineman placed on the first team. Linebacker A. J. Parrish and cornerback Keon Robinson were also selected to the first team.

The champion Rams saw offensive lineman Isaiah Shelton, tight end John Frick, and quarterback Bobby Cooper also selected to the first team. The 2012 title run had led directly to Shepherd receiving so much postseason notice.

The selectors also placed Shepherd linemen Jordan Dixon and Hussam Ouri on the second-team. Joining those two Rams were wide receiver Larry Lowe, kick returner Keon Robinson, and linebacker Levi Barbour (who started six games).

The league’s special honorable mention list had Shepherd cornerback D. J. Scott and freshman wide receiver Billy Brown. Placed on the honorable mention list was linebacker Dominique Dixon.

The others on the first-team offense were backs Rahmann Lee (Glenville) and Jordan Roberts (Charleston), receivers DJ Carter (Seton Hill), Niko Hall-Brown (Seton Hill), and Ansel Ponder (Concord), and linemen Nick Lepak (Charleston), Mark Jackson (Glenville), George Davilla (Charleston), John Rasnick (Glenville), Matt Farhat (Charleston) and Chis Barfield (Fairmont).

Besides the Shepherd selections, the others on the first-team defense were linemen Jeff Green (Charleston) and Leonidas Redding (West Liberty), linebackers Matt Kelly (Charleston), Jake Lilly (Concord), and Tyler Zimmer (Seton Hill), secondary players Isiah Gibson (Charleston), Marco Ricchetti (West Liberty), Riyahd Richardson (Concord), and Justin Black (West Liberty).

The special teams first-team had Tanner Collins (punter from Glenville), Puma Nuredini (kicker from Charleston), and Matt Wilmer (kick returner from Fairmont).

Jake Lilly (Concord) was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year. Jordan Roberts (Charleston) was the Offensive Player of the Year. And Pat Kirkland (Charleston) was the Coach of the Year.

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