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Shepherd Football Clinches MEC Title with Win over Charleston

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – Senior quarterback Connor Jessop (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run/Virginia Tech) completed 25-of-39 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns and rushed six times for 67 yards and a score to lead Shepherd University (9-0, 9-0 MEC) to a 49-12 win over Charleston  (3-6, 3-6 MEC) in MEC football action at Ram Stadium on Saturday. The win clinched the MEC title for the Rams.

Shepherd took a 7-0 lead when Jessop teamed with sophomore tight end DJ Cornish (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) on a 34-yard scoring strike with 9:00 left in the first quarter. Senior kicker Zach Wise (Berkeley Springs, W.Va./Berkeley Springs) added the extra point.

Charleston cut the lead to 7-6 when Daniel Itza raced 71 yards for a score with 8:04 left in the first quarter. The extra point attempt was no good.

Shepherd took a 14-6 advantage when Jessop teamed with junior wide receiver Wanya Allen (Sterling, Va./Potomac Falls) on a 26-yard scoring strike with 9:26 left in the second quarter.

Colar Kuhns scored on a one-yard sneak with three seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 14-12 at the break.

The Rams took a 21-12 lead when Jessop tossed a 16-yard scoring pass to senior running back Jabre Lolley (Wilmington, Del./St. Mark's) with 13:47  left in the third quarter.

Jessop galloped 35 yards for a score with 6:18 left in the third quarter and Lolley raced 56 yards for a touchdown with 1:49 remaining in the quarter to give the Rams a 35-12 lead.

Shepherd closed out the scoring with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Jessop fired a 21-yard scoring strike to sophomore running back Deonte Glover (Inwood, W.Va./Musselman/WVU) with 9:22 left and senior offensive lineman Lavonte Hights (N. Chesterfield, Va./Meadowbrook) ran 15 yards for a touchdown with 3:34 remaining.

Itsa completed 5-of-13 passes for 50 yards for the Golden Eagles. He also rushed 14 times for 102 yards. 

Junior wide receiver Ryan Feiss (Forest Hill, Md./North Harford) led the Rams with 10 receptions for 115 yards. Allen added eight catches for 104 yards.

Lolley had 18 carries for a game-high 103 yards to lead the Shepherd ground game.

Shepherd gained 528 yards of total offense, while Charleston totaled 203.

Senior linebacker James Gupton (Waldorf, Md./North Point) had a game-high 11 tackles with five solo stops. He added two tackles-for-loss and a sack. Jaren Nelson had eight stops (six solos), while Zaire Lewis added seven tackles (five solos) for the Golden Eagles.

The Rams return to action on Saturday when they travel to UVa-Wise for a noon contest.

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