By Luke Wiggs, Panhandle News Network Sports
Martinsburg, W.Va– Sunday’s Division 2 selection show ended as expected, with Shepherd being 1 of the 7 names selected for Region 1. Although, the number next to their name was not as high as it could have been. A PSAC Championship loss to IUP saw Shepherd fall from #1 to #2, replaced by the same Crimson Hawks team that beat them.
What Went Wrong in the Title Game?
Coming into this game, Shepherd had trailed in just over 50 minutes of total game time. After surrendering an early 1st quarter touchdown to IUP, they trailed for the remaining 43:42 of the game.
.@SURamsFootball fell yesterday in the PSAC Championship to IUP 21-24. Listen back to the highlights from yesterdays game heard only on 95.9 The Big Dawg @tysbagent @Ronnieb_30 @marloncookjr @Dorsey__Jr @PSACsports @CaryMoyer @D2Football @D2Chuck pic.twitter.com/Ks8fhH8cdv
— Jordan Nicewarner (@RadioNice_) November 13, 2022
Shepherd had come from behind several times this season, but not in the horrible weather at Frank Cignetti Stadium. Their inability to rush the ball (53 yards rushing) meant quarterback Tyson Bagent had to attempt the 2nd most passes (50) as he had all season long. It was also just his 2nd multi interception game of the season. In fact it was just the 7th time he had eclipsed 50 passing attempts in a game in his career, not at all conducive to the slippery conditions of Saturday’s contest.
The Rams also turned the ball over twice inside the IUP 30 and failed to recover 2 key fumbles forced on special teams. Lastly, the Rams, who were #8 in the nation on 3rd down conversions (49%) were just 2-10 in the game.
Scouting the Region 1 Field
5) Notre Dame (OH)
6) Slippery Rock
7) New Haven
Super Region 1 Playoff teams in points allowed (nationally)
7) Ashland (14.4)
7) Assumption (14.4)
9) Slippery Rock (14.45)
14) Shepherd (15.55)
17) New Haven (16.3)
17) Notre Dame (16.3)
25) IUP (17.6)@D2Chuck @CaryMoyer @NCAADII@RadioNice_ @RileyGriffith12 @LukeWiggs4
— Panhandle News Network: WEPM & WCST (@EPNewsNetwork) November 14, 2022
The Shepherd slayers earned the #1 seed in the region and were well deserved. The Crimson Hawks crescendoed in a conference title over the Rams to finish the regular season 9-
1. The run heavy Hawks average 4.6 yards per tote and 172 yards on the ground per game. Defensively, they have given up more than 21 points just twice this year, holding their opponents under 300 yards per game of total offense. They are clearly the team to beat.
The Greyhounds enter the postseason on a 4 game winning streak 8-2 overall. They are also a run heavy bunch averaging over 4.6 yards per attempt. Their leading rusher is senior quarterback Jake Cady who has 673 yards on the ground and another 1,500 through the air. Defensively they boast 5 different players with multiple sacks and have 16 interceptions as a team. They are the #7 defense in the nation in fewest points allowed, tied with our next team.
Also #7 in points allowed (14.4) the Eagles have just one loss this season. Coached by Lee Owens, the Eagles are (and see if you notice the trend here) a run-first team, having attempted a remarkable 429 rushes to the tune of 4.9 yards per rush through 10 games. Junior tailback Larry Martin is their talisman, reaching the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. Their Quarterback, Austin Brenner, is as seasoned as they come, starting 34 games and throwing for over 6,000 yards as an Eagle. Defensively, Deeb Alawan leads Ashland with 7 sacks.
Notre Dame (OH)
Always nice to get a little Mountain East Conference flavor in the mix. The Falcons have 2 tough losses on their resume, a week one loss to fellow Super Region 1 competitor Ashland, who they’ll rematch with in round 1. And a 2 OT loss to Frostburg. Notre Dame boasts 1,000 yard rusher Idris Lawrence who averages 5.5 yards per scamper and Nathan Moore who is 10th in the country in tackles.
One of 3 PSAC teams in the field of 7, “The Rock” are among the most balanced teams in the group, attempting 395 rushes to 355 passes. They also have defender AJ Adediwura who is #10 in the nation with 10.5 sacks. They are also coached by former WVU tight end Shawn Lutz.
Shepherd’s first-round opponent is the biggest surprise to the field. Many expected MEC’s Concord (coached by former Martinsburg head coach David Walker, lead in receiving by Martinsburg’s Jarod Bowie) to snag this spot, but to no avail. Instead, the 8-2 Chargers were selected as the last team in. New Haven also boasts a 1,000 yard rusher in Christopher Ais. Their quarterback is a transfer from 1-AA Holy Cross. Their coach, Chris Pincince, is coming off
of a season being named NE-10 coach of the year. He is the winningest coach in program history.
Shepherd begins their post-season campaign this Saturday at home against New Haven at 1 pm. You can catch the broadcast here.