The Rams were able to hold on to the 25-20 road win on Saturday afternoon, needing a stop from senior cornerback number 6 Dejuan Neal and sophomore linebacker number 4 Ponce DeLeon on fourth and one on the Rams 15-yard line. With the win, the Rams keep the three-game winning streak alive and improve their season record to 7-2. The loss drops Charleston to .500 at 5-5.
The game was more of a back and forth contest than the Rams previous two games as the Rams had scored 44 and 58 points against Urbana and West Virginia Wesleyan. There were opportunities for the Rams to score more than 25 points but timely defensive stops by Charleston forced sophomore kicker number 46 Hayden August-Scriven to kick two field goals in the third quarter.
After the game went scoreless in the first quarter Charleston Quarterback Mason Olszewski opened the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run with just over nine minutes to go in the second quarter. After a punt on their ensuing drive and a following defensive stop, the Rams got the ball back five minutes remaining in the half and executed a six play, 65-yard drive in two minutes resulting in a 33-yard touchdown catch and run from freshman quarterback number 9 Tyson Bagent to senior receiver number 3 Ryan Feiss. The extra point was blocked so the Rams remained down at 6-7.
The Ram offense was able to get the ball back quickly when freshman defensive back Lawrence Tucker forced a fumble on the Charleston kick returner with sophomore linebacker number 21 Delonte Berry recovering on the Charleston 31-yard line. The Rams then smartly drained the first half clock before Bagent connected on his second touchdown pass of the day to senior receiver number 13 Wanya Allen, a four-yard score with 43 seconds remaining.
The lead was 13-7 in the third quarter before Bagent was picked off by defensive back CJ Bagwell and returned 34 yards for a touchdown to put Charleston up 14-13. The Rams next two possessions in the third quarter took up a combined 10 minutes of game clock but the Charleston defense tightened up both times to force two Ram field goals. With the Rams holding onto a 19-14 lead with 14 seconds to go in the third quarter, Olszewski threw to receiver Michael Strachan resulting in a 75-yard score.
The Rams took the lead for the final time with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when the freshman’s Bagent and running back number 20 Antwan Squire connected for a 12-yard score to put the score at 25-20 after August-Scriven’s extra point was blocked.
The Shepherd defense knew they just had to prevent the big play, and more importantly a touchdown for the remaining 12 minutes. The Charleston offense went cold at the wrong time, as their final three possessions ended with punt, punt, and turnover on downs.
Bagent led the way for the Rams on offense with his 214 yards three touchdowns and two interceptions in the win. Squire continued to pace the Rams backfield with 68 yards rushing and 51 receiving with the touchdown catch on Saturday. Senior wideouts Feiss and Allen combined for over 130 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
The defense led the way for the Rams in Saturday’s game. Sophomore linebacker number 10 Chrys Lane led with eight total tackles and a tackle for loss, with sophomore linebacker number 59 Ricky Robinson contributing eight tackles, three for a loss and two and a half sacks. Fellow sophomore linebacker DeLeon also racked up seven tackles, two for a loss and a sack to go along with his potentially game saving tackle on Charleston’s final drive.
The Rams are hoping to make it four wins in a row when they welcome UVa-Wise to Shepherdstown next Saturday, Nov. 10 with kick off set for noon.
Vaughn Brewer is a sports writer for the Picket. He canbe reached at email@example.com