COLLEGE SPORTS: Shepherd University football team outlasts Findlay in opening playoff game

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Shepherd University running back Ty Hebron heads to the end zone for one of his two scores in Shepherd's 38-31 Division II playoff win over the University of Findlay. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA—Junior quarterback Tyson Bagent (Martinsburg, W.Va./Martinsburg) completed 22-of-34 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns while junior running back Ty Hebron (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) had 20 carries for 124 yards and two scores to lead Shepherd University (11-1) to a 38-31 win over Findlay (8-4) Saturday in first-round action of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Findlay took a 7-0 lead when Garret Clark scored on a 19-yard pass from Matt Winzeler with 14:54 left in the second quarter.

Shepherd answered back on a 3-yard run by Hebron with 9:16 left in the second quarter.

Minutes later, graduate student running back Chantz Swartz (Mifflin, Pa./Juniata/Lock Haven) scored on a 14-yard jaunt to give the Rams a 14-7 lead.

Winzeler teamed with Marlin Richardson on a 78-yard scoring pass to tie the game with 2:02 left in the half.

Shepherd opened the second-half scoring when Bagent teamed with sophomore running back Ronnie Brown (Baltimore, Md./Dundalk) on a 57-yard scoring strike with 8:47 left in the third quarter. 

Winzeler fired a 66-yard scoring pass to Tanner Schroeder minutes later.

Hayden August-Scriven connected on a 39-yard field goal with 3:42 left in the third quarter to up the lead to give Shepherd a 24-21 advantage.

Winzeler tossed a 53-yard scoring pass to Mike Rigerman with 13:36 left in the fourth quarter to give the Oilers a 28-24 lead.

Hebron scored on a 15-yard run with 9:09 left to give Shepherd a 31-28 advantage.

Bagent later teamed with senior wide receiver Greg Leonard (Lusby, Md./Patuxent/Clarion) on a 31-yard scoring pass.

Findlay got a 51-yard field goal from Austin Snyder with 1:58 remaining to get the Oilers to within seven points at 38-31 with 1:58 left.

The Oilers attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but graduate student fullback Michael McCook (Hagerstown, Md./South Hagerstown) recovered for the Rams to seal the win.

Winzeler completed 16 of 31 passes for 398 yards and four touchdowns for Findlay. 

Graduate student wide receiver Josh Gontarek (New Market, Md./Linganore/Shippensburg) had seven receptions for 77 yards to lead the Shepherd receivers. Rigerman had eight catches for 178 yards and Richardson added three grabs for 101 yards for Findlay.

Shepherd amassed 488 yards of total offense. Findlay had 478.

The Rams will host Notre Dame, a 33-25 winner over Slippery Rock, in a playoff game next Saturday at Ram Stadium.

Shepherd volleyball tournament action

EAST STROUDSBURG – Shepherd University (24-4) dropped a 3-0 decision to Gannon (28-5) in semifinal action of the PSAC Volleyball Tournament action at East Stroudsburg over the weekend.

Gannon’s winning scores were 25-15, 25-14, and 25-16.

Junior outside hitter Mikaylah Hoy (Sharpsburg, Md./Heritage Academy) recorded 10 kills and eight digs to lead the Rams. Junior outside hitter Kiara Rakestraw (Uhrichsville, Ohio/Indian Valley) added five kills and 11 digs

Junior outside hitter Kitanna Rakestraw (Uhrichsville, Ohio/Indian Valley) paced the Rams with four blocks.

Sophomore setter Victoria Nicholes (North Huntington, Pa./Norwin) had 14 assists and eight digs, while redshirt-freshman defensive specialist/libero Claire Ellis (Louisa, Va./Saint Catherine’s School) recorded a match-high 18 digs.

Lauren Sampson had 15 kills and Ashley McClung added 10 to lead the Golden Knights. Ashley Byers added 13 digs, while Kenzie Lasher contributed 11.

Gannon advanced to the PSAC final, where they were swept on Sunday by Clarion.