Rams rise on shoulders of defense

CHARLESTON—Shepherd hadn’t scored. There was less than a minute to play before halftime. The Rams looked to be bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

Charleston had the football and was trying to add to its 10-point lead.

And then the sunny afternoon at Laidley Field suddenly and surely tilted toward the Rams.

Keon Robinson intercepted a John Knox pass and returned it 48 yards for a Shepherd touchdown.

Shepherd trailed by only three points as the teams trooped off to their dressing rooms.

Charleston had scored its last points. Shepherd would get the lead early in the third quarter when Jihad Rasheed scored on a six-yard run. A safety would be added to Shepherd’s scoring total.

And with all of the game’s last points the Rams had a turnaround 16-10 win over the Golden Eagles . . . a win that moved them to first place (with a 2-0 league mark) in the WVIAC and made them 3-1 overall while previously unbeaten Charleston dipped to 1-1 in its conference games and 3-1 overall.

It had been a crucial conference win. And it had been provided mostly by a defense that limited Charleston to only 191 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. The Golden Eagles averaged just 1.8 yards per rushing attempt. Charleston’s two quarterbacks combined to complete only 13-of-39 throws, were sacked twice, and intercepted twice as Levi Barber joined Robinson in stealing a pass.

The Rams had their most ground yards of the season, getting 220 as Mike Haynes had 24 carries and 104 yards and Rasheed had 13 attempts and 75 yards.

About the only area where the Rams stung themselves was the number of penalties they incurred, getting flagged 11 times for 100 yards not counting the penalties Charleston refused. Charleston had 13 penalties enforced against it for 113 yards.

Shepherd’s Dominique Dixon, A. J. Parrish, Barber, Tim Durrant, Dontrewell Kelley, Jon Pearson, David Carter, and Phillip

Rhoden all had at least four tackles.

The game’s tenure had turned in a matter of seconds. And Shepherd didn’t allow it to be turned again in Charleston’s favor.

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