Shepherd University football teams wins Division II playoff opener


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Junior running back Ronnie Brown (Baltimore, Md./Dundalk) rushed 20 times for 223 yards and a pair of touchdowns and senior quarterback Tyson Bagent (Martinsburg, W.Va./Martinsburg) completed 28-of-39 passes for 235 yards to lead Shepherd University (11-1) to a 16-13 win over New Haven (8-3) in first-round action of the 2022 NCAA II Football Championship at Ram Stadium on Saturday. 

New Haven took a 6-0 lead when Connor Degenhardt scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 9:26 left in the first quarter. The extra point attempt was no good. 

Shepherd answered back on a 61-yard scoring jaunt by Brown with 4:11 left in the first quarter. Redshirt sophomore kicker Jacob Haynie (Fairfax, Va./Robinson) added the extra point to give the Rams a 7-6 advantage. 

Haynie connected on a 33-yard field goal with 11:38 left in the third quarter to up the lead to 10-6. 

Brown sprinted 47 yards down the left sideline with 8:13 left in the third quarter to give the Rams a 16-6 lead. 

Degenhardt tossed a two-yard scoring pass to Dante DeLorenzo and Vince DeSimone added the extra point with 2:15 left in regulation to cut the lead to 16-13. 

Shepherd converted a third-and-eight with a 43-yard pass from Bagent to junior wide receiver Rodney Dorsey (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora/Towson) in the game’s final drive to seal the victory. 

Degenhardt completed 22-of-41 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown for the Chargers. 

Christopher Ais had 13 carries for 77 yards to lead New Haven. 

Freshman wide receiver Cameron Dorner (New Market, Md./Oakdale) led the Shepherd receivers with six receptions (27 yards). Senior tight end Brian Walker (Clarksburg, Md./Clarksburg) (48 yards) and Brown (19 yards) each added five grabs, while Dorsey had four catches for a game-high 75 yards. Terrell Ford had seven catches for 74 yards to lead the Chargers. 

Shepherd had 471 yards of total offense, while New Haven had 265 yards. 

Junior linebacker Dewayne Grantham (Martinsburg, W.Va./Martinsburg/Lackawanna) had a team-high eight tackles (six solos) to lead the Rams. Senior defensive end Kyle Smith (Sterling, Va./Dominion) posted four solo tackles including a pair of sacks. Devonte Myles had a game-high 11 stops (10 solos) to lead the Chargers. 

The Rams return to action Saturday when they host Slippery Rock (10-2), a 17-14 playoff winner over Assumption, at noon at Ram Stadium. 

Notes: Bagent had 232 yards of total offense in the game to give him 16,464 for his career. He broke the NCAA II mark of 16,432 that was held by Bo Cordell ofTusculum (2009-13). Shepherd’s win was the first over New Haven in the three games the teams have played.

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