The Rams fell to the Fighting Falcons of Fairmont State by a 38-17 score at home Saturday afternoon in a game in which Shepherd never held a lead. The loss brings the Rams to a 4-2 record as Fairmont State improved to 5-2.
The Rams received the opening kickoff and went three and out in a sign of things to come for the remainder of the game. Fairmont in turn scored on their first position in a four-play drive that took just 1:28 off the clock with a nine yard touchdown pass from quarterback Crews-Naylor to receiver Alquawn Vickers. Running back Khalik Hamilton added to the Falcons first quarter lead with a three yard touchdown run at the 6:28 mark after an eight play 64-yard drive that took nearly five minutes.
With the Rams offense sputtering, Fairmont was able to build up a 17-point lead early in the second quarter after a 37-yard field goal from kicker Colin Harvath. The Rams got on the board with just under 10 minutes left in the second quarter with a 30-yard field goal from sophomore Hayden August-Scriven after the offense stalled in Fairmont territory.
Shepherd’s defense forced a quick three and out on the Falcons next possession, which led to the Rams’ first touchdown of the game from freshman running back Ty Hebron. The 14-yard run came after a nice looking 88-yard drive from the Ram offense in one of the few bright spots on the day.
Fairmont blew the game open in the second and third quarter when running back Khalik Hamilton rushed for a 33-yard run with 45 seconds to go in the first half to bring the score to 24-10. Falcons’ defensive back Michael Porter picked off Rams freshman quarterback Tyson Bagent and took it to the house for a 36-yard touchdown that extended the lead to 31-10. The pick was Bagent’s second interception of the game.
The Rams final score came at the 4:32 minute mark in the third quarter on Bagent’s lone touchdown pass of the game, a three-yard score to senior wide receiver Ryan Feiss after a 16 play six minute drive.
The Falcons effectively iced the game with Hamilton’s third touchdown run of the game early in the fourth quarter, a three-yard run following a 15-play 70-yard drive. From the visitors’ sideline the Falcon’s coaches yelled to players “it’s 0-0, it’s 0-0″ to keep their focus and foot on the gas despite that fact they had just gone up 38-17.
Fairmont running back Khalil Hamilton had a game high 115 rushing yards and three scores to lead the Falcons in the win with quarterback Crews-Naylor adding 148 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Bagent went 23-39 for a game high 217 yards with one touchdown and two picks. Hebron led the running backs group with 12 carries for 75 yards and a score and four catches for 35 yards. Sophomore outside linebacker Ponce Deleon led the Rams defense with 15 total tackles 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack.
It was an uncharacteristic day for the Rams as a whole, they were unable to get into a groove offensively and the defense was unable to force a turnover to flip momentum.
“It was a lack of focus and intensity on our part, Which led to them making plays,” Rams sophomore defensive back Justin Cole said post game.
The Rams will try to get back on track and avoid back-to-back losses next Saturday, Oct. 20 when they head on the road to face Urbana with kick-off slated for noon.
Vaughn is the sports editor for the Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com