Roughriders run over Shepherd Pirates, 56-6
The Shepherd Pirates held their own for the first two quarters of play against the Center Roughriders this past Friday but things got quickly out of reach for Shepherd in the second half.
Head coach Scott Ponder said the game allowed the coaching staff to play a lot of the team, including moving from junior varsity players up to the varsity squad. The Riders are 1-1 in district and 5-2 for the season after Friday's victory.
“We were able to get some guys in different positions to help develop some depth,” Ponder said.
The visible result was the 56-6 drubbing the Riders gave their guests at Roughrider Stadium. But the first half ended with Center only leading by 14-6.
“We came out a little flat at the beginning but we got better as we went,” he said. “It was pretty exciting and we came out relatively healthy for this time of year.”
He said then the team went into the locker room at halftime needing some motivation. Evidently they got it as they came back in the second half fired up.
“We came out in the second half and played pretty well. The first half was kind of sloppy and our intensity was probably not where it needed to be,” Ponder said.
The Riders coaching staff named Jumarcus McCollister as Defensive Player of the Game while Marques Hall took Special Teams Player of the Game.
“He's (Hall) been electric for us all season. He's done a great job for us on special teams defensively and helped us on offense,” Ponder said. “He's as fun of a guy as I've ever been around to coach. He brings energy to the field when he's out there and he's just a pleasure to work with. He's a special player.”'
McCollister has been playing hard for the Riders all season, he said.
“JJ's been playing really well all season, he's big, he's strong, he's nasty,” Ponder said. “He plays hard and with great physicality — that's something he's done week in and week out. He's been a staple for us.”
McCollister was credited with 12 tackles against Shepherd, including six solos.
“He's hard to handle. Between him and Colton Crawford we really give people fits,” Ponder said. “When the two of them are playing well we're really tough defensively.”
While the first half was slow-going for the Riders overall, Center's Jermaine Preston got things rocking on the Riders' opening possession. Preston took the opening kickoff from about the 25-yard line to Shepherd's 44-yard line to set things up for Center.
Unfortunately, Center turned over the initial possession on downs and then Shepherd did the same as they are unable to get the Pirates offense going.
The first score of the night came after a nice defensive play for the Roughriders when DeKylin Hoyt tackles the Pirates ball carrier, forcing the ball loose and allowing a fumble recovery by Jamarcus McCollister.
When the Riders took possession, KeAmodre Horace was able to take a handoff from quarterback Jake Hanson at the 4:16 mark in first quarter, putting Center up 7-0 over Shepherd.
That lead was one the Roughriders would hold onto for the entire game.
Horace again crossed the goal line for the Roughriders second TD of the night at 2:09 left in first quarter, Center up 14-0.
The Riders kept that advantage until late in the second quarter when the Pirates scored on a 1-yard running play. Shepherd tried and failed a 2-point conversion attempt, leaving the Riders ahead 14-6 going to the locker room at half time.
When play resumed the Roughriders would add 42 unanswered points in the second half with 21 points in each of the third and fourth quarters.
Horace got the Roughriders second half scoring blitz going early in the third quarter when he ran the ball in at the 9:21 mark from about 55 yards out, to extend the Riders lead to 21-7.
At 4:37 left in third quarter Marques Hall took the ball in for a Rider touchdown on a punt by the Pirates from 48 yards out; Riders up 28-6.
With 0:47 seconds left in third quarter, KeAmodre Horace busted through the Pirates line to run up the middle for a Roughriders TD, extending Center's lead to 35-6.
When the final quarter opened, the Roughriders would continue their steady course with Marques Hall taking a Pirates punt from across the right side of the field to the left dodging Shepherd defenders down the left sideline from 48 yards out to score. The PAT was good, lifting the Riders to 42-6 with 10:41 to go in the game.
MarMar Evans would add to the Pirates pain with 4:51 left in the game when he latches onto a Jake Hanson pass in the end zone for a touchdown. With another point after kick through the uprights, Center led 49-6.
But the Riders were not done.
With just 49 seconds left in the game and the Pirates with the ball, Keshun Hoyt intercepts a Shepherd pass and runs down field for about 76 yards to seal the Roughriders scoring effort for the night, giving Center a 56-6 victory.
This Friday the Riders are on the road in Madisonville, a team which fell to Rusk last week, 37-29.
“Madisonville has a very solid ball club and they're talented in a lot of spots,” Ponder said. “They've been trying to find the right mix defensively as far as personnel. We don't know exactly what we're going to see in certain positions.”
The following week, Oct. 30, the Roughriders are scheduled to play Jasper on the road and then conclude regular season play back at home against Rusk on Nov. 6.
For more photos from Friday's game against Shepherd, please visit: https://lightandchampion.smugmug.com/Center-defeats-Shepherd-56-6/
Scores by quarter
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Center 14 0 21 21 56
Shepherd 0 6 0 0 6