SHEPHERDSTOWN – It’s not always a given when a former local high school standout, opting to attend a nearby college, continues his or her success at the local college.
Shepherd University quarterback Tyson Bagent, a former signal-caller at Martinsburg High School, is one of those exceptions.
Through four games this season, the junior quarterback has been the team’s leader. He lets his arm do the talking.
In his most recent outing, Bagent passed for 336 yards and five touchdowns, leading Shepherd (4-1) to a 59-27 win over Shippensburg University on Saturday at Ram Stadium.
It was a far different outcome than last week, when an error-plagued Rams squad fell to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, 37-29, at Ram Stadium.
Bagent has passed for 1,911 yards and 22 touchdowns through four games, a conference best. His completion percentage is .744. Bagent is averaging 382.2 yards passing per game.
Like everyone on Shepherd’s team, following the loss to the Golden Bears, Bagent did a quick self-evaluation, looked at game films and did what was necessary to correct what went wrong in the Kutztown game and hope for better results last Saturday.
That’s just what Shepherd got against the Red Raiders, who had gone into Saturday’s contest undefeated.
“It was a combination of things,” Bagent said of the Rams’ successful turnaround after last week’s loss. “We worked on a few things and were able to bounce back strong in a short period of time. We were more consistent in our play.”
The thing Bagent noticed the most in Saturday’s game was how well the defense played. Last week, Kutztown had its way with Shepherd, marching up and down the field without a whole lot of resistance.
This week, the Rams did a better job of containment. They did so even though Shippensburg quarter Brycen Mussina, son of former Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher Mike Mussina, completed 25 of 42 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Mussina was sacked five times.
“I think the defense and offensive line did a great job,” Bagent said, adding the offensive line gave him more time in the pocket to set up for his passes.
“We were fired up for this game,” Shepherd receiver Ryan Beach said.
Beach caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his TD catches came on quick, go routes.
Fourteen seconds into Saturday’s game, it looked as if Shepherd might be in for another long afternoon.
Shippensburg’s Dante Witcher fielded the opening kickoff at his own 1-yard line and raced 99 yards for a touchdown.
The Rams were already behind, 7-0, but four minutes later, Shepherd turned things around.
Bagent hit Beach with a 13-yard touchdown pass. Hayden August-Scriv kicked the extra point and the score was tied at 7.
The rest of the day belonged to Shepherd.
The Rams went up 21-7 after one quarter. By halftime, Shepherd led 35-14. Shippensburg was fading in a hurry.
“We had a little bit of a shaky start with that kickoff return, but I think we came out and answered the bell in this game,” Shepherd coach Ernie McCook said. “We had a great effort in the game, but Shippensburg is a good football team. We didn’t take them lightly.”
Shepherd pushed its lead to 56-24 after three quarters.
Ronnie Brown and Chantz Swartz were the Rams’ top rushers on Saturday. Brown rushed for 145 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. Swartz had 12 rushes for 120 yards and a pair of scores.
Jonathan Moss had three receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown for Shepherd. Ronnie Brown caught two passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Malik Holloway, Enelio Pena, Corey Shell, Kyle Smith and Jack Rosnage each had a quarterback sack for the Rams. Juwan Addison had an interception.