For the second straight week the Shepherd Rams have struggled early, but found a way to earn the victory, this week against the University of Charleston Golden Eagles.
After receiving the opening kickoff ,Shepherd drove 62 yards down the field breaking the ice with a 26 yard field goal by Brendan Feehan, giving the Rams a early 3-0 lead. The next 15 minutes belonged to the Golden Eagles scoring two touchdowns and shutting down the Rams offense taking a 14-3 lead with 10 minutes remaining till halftime. Shepherd found a spark too close the half when Jeff Ziemba hit Billy Brown from 4 yards out for the score, a blocked extra point kept the Rams in single digits with the score 14-9. After a Charleston turnover on the first play of the ensuing drive Ziemba again found Brown from 31 yards out to give Shepherd a 16-14 lead heading into the half.
Shepherd and Charleston would swap scores in the third quarter with a 46 yard touchdown from Ziemba to CJ Davis, followed by a 46 yard reception by D’Andre Brooks, tying the game at 22 a piece heading into the fourth quarter, giving Ram fans one of the closest regular season games in years.
The Rams scored 3 times in the forth dominating both sides of the ball and breaking the game wide open. A 46 yard drive started the quarter and was capped off by a one yard quarterback sneak by Ziemba. A safety forced by a penalty in the end-zone extended the lead to 31-22 putting Shepherd up by two scores with just under 6 minutes to play. The Rams defense would shut down Charleston for the remainder of the quarter completing the second half shutout. Freshman running back Brandon Hlavach would add a late score sealing the victory.
The Rams offense was led again by their Senior leader Jeff Ziemba who finished the day 15-26 for 219 yards and 4 scores. Ziemba was also the leading runner on the day accounting for 70 of Shepherds 129 total rushing yards. Billy Brown had a game Ram fans were accustom to seeing scoring twice and pulling in 7 receptions for 94 yards.
While the defense struggled in the first half, they ended the game in dominating style keeping the Golden Eagles out of the end-zone after halftime and coming up with momentum turning takeaways when the game was on the line. Linebacker Octavius Thomas seemed to be in on every stop Thursday night commanding the Rams defense with 10 tackles and a recovering a fumble.
Shepherd will have a extended 9 day break to prepare for their next game against UVA Wise Saturday Sept. 17 at 12 p.m., hoping to improve their record to 3-0 in front of the home fans at Ram stadium.