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ncaa_football_logo(Shepherdstown, WV) -  With starting quarterback Kevin Atkins sidelined with an injured ankle, the Shaw offense struggled to find its footing, as the Bears lost their NCAA opening round game 40-6 to homestanding Shepherd.

The loss ends Shaw’s eight-game winning streak, and brings their season to an end with a 9-3 record – the best in the modern era.  Shepherd will take on Kutztown in the next round of the NCAA tournament with a 10-1 record.

“I’m proud of this team,” said Shaw Head Coach Darrell Asberry.  “There’s no place I’d rather be right now.  I hate to lose, but this team – these seniors especially – have done the program proud.  We were banged up and it showed, but we gave it all we had.”

The four-year seniors on the squad lost only 10 games over four years.

Raymond Williams led the Bears with 78 yards rushing – 71 of those in the first half – but his fumble midway through the second quarter proved to be the turning point of the game.

With two minutes gone in the second quarter, the Rams took a 3-0 lead on an Eric Dobratz field goal.  The Bears answered with a 70-yard drive of their own, moving to the Shepherd 12-yard line.  On second down and seven, Williams ran around the right side of the line, but lost the handle on the ball.  Shepherd recovered the fumble and immediately drove down the field for the 10-0 lead.

The turnover appeared to take the steam out of the Bear defense as well as the offense.   Prior to the turnover, the defense held Shepherd to one field goal on four possessions.  For the rest of the game, the Bears defense stopped the Rams only twice, allowing five touchdowns.

In the second half, the Ram defense found a way to stop Williams and the rest of the running game, and showed a blitz that they’d seldom employed earlier in the year.

“We didn’t see the blitz in the film,” said freshman quarterback Quinshon Odom, who wound up under center when Atkins went out of the game.  “I think they used it because they knew I was a younger quarterback.”

Odom led the Bears on their lone scoring drive, throwing for 66 yards, concluding with a 23-yard bomb to the back corner of the end zone that Julius Gregory pulled in for the touchdown.  The Bears failed to convert on the two-point attempt.

Odom was 13 for 29 for 150 yards and the touchdown.  Gregory and Tyrone Bolden each had 40 yards receiving.  Williams had 32 yards receiving to give him 110 all purpose yards.

Fred Sparkman led the Bears defensively with eight tackles (five solo and three assists).  LaMichael Howell had six tackles (five solo and one assist). Kieni Wilson and Rico Brown each had six tackles on the game.

Two Rams rushers had over 100 yards on the afternoon.  Tommy Addison had 145 yards while Nate Hoyt had 106.  Kevin Clancy was 15 for 31 for 165 yards and two touchdowns.  A.J. Parrish had nine tackles to lead the Rams while Ben Minturn had eight.


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