Dec. 4, 2010

Courtesy of Shepherd Athletics

ERIE, Pa. -
Junior running back Nate Hoyte (Waldorf, MD/McDonough) rushed 17 times for 109 yards and four touchdowns and junior running back Tommy Addison (Germantown, MD/Quince Orchard) added 15 carries for 135 yards and a pair of scores to lead #18 Shepherd University to a 49-14 win over #11 Mercyhurst in NCAA II Super Region One final football action at Tullio Field on Saturday.

Shepherd took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Addison with 11:57 left in the first quarter to cap a six-play, 53-yard drive. Junior kicker Eric Dobratz (Woodbridge, VA/Potomac) added the extra point.

Mercyhurst took advantage of a Ram turnover and answered back on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Travis Rearick to Terrence Coon with 11:30 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-all.

Shepherd regained the lead when Nate Hoyte scampered 14 yards for a score with 9:26 left in the second quarter to give the Rams a 14-7 advantage.

Bryant Kimball picked off a pass by senior quarterback Kevin Clancy (Westminster, MD/Westminster) weaved his way into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown return with 3:42 left in the second half to tie the game at 14-14.

Mercyhurst had a chance to take a lead into the break on the final play of the half, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Steven Wakefield went wide right.

Shepherd took a 21-14 lead on a 15-yard run by Hoyte with 6:06 left in the third quarter as the Rams drove 48 yards on six plays after an interception by sophomore defensive back Keon Robinson (Fairfax Station, VA/Lake Braddock).

The Rams extended their lead to 28-14 with 11:14 left in the fourth quarter on a 15-yard score by Hoyte.

Addison sprinted 69 yards for a touchdown with 10:04 left in the game to increase the Shepherd lead to 35-14.

Hoyte tacked on his fourth score on the day on a three-yard run with 6:04 remaining.

Senior defensive end Will Wheeler (Chantilly, VA/Westfield) returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown with 6:10 remaining for the games final tally.

Clancy completed 17-of-27 passes for a 245 yards, while Rearick connected on 22-of-47 passes for 191 yards.

Shepherd piled up 483 yards of total offense while limiting Mercyhurst to 225. The Rams defense allowed only 34 rushing yards.
Junior wide receiver Robert Byrd (Alexandria, VA/Troy) had six catches for 106 yards and junior wide receiver Neal Hardie (Alexandria, VA/West Potomac) had six receptions for 88 yards to lead the Ram receiving corps. Coon had eight receptions for 107 yards for the Lakers.

Senior outside linebacker Ben Minturn (Gaithersburg, MD/Damascus) had a game-high 10 tackles (7 solo) and senior linebacker Brian Taylor (Elkridge, MD/Long Reach) added seven stops to lead the Shepherd defense. Ryan Taylor had nine tackles to pace Mercyhurst.

The Rams had four picks on the day as junior cornerback Elijah Davis (Silver Spring, MD/Wheaton) and sophomore free safety Corey Washington (Alexandria, VA/Edison) each had interceptions.

Shepherd improves to 12-1, while Mercyhurst completes its season at 10-3. The Rams advance to the national semifinals to face either Delta State (MS) or Albany State (GA) next Saturday.

Notes: Shepherd (12 victories) set a new school and WVIAC single season mark for wins. The Rams become the first WVIAC school to reach the NCAA Division II football national semifinals.