Local trio shines at Shepherd’s scrimmage
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — With Shepherd University’s football opener a little under two weeks away, the Rams held their first open scrimmage on Saturday and three former area players saw significant time with the first team.
Former James Wood High School quarterback Trae Tinsman, sophomore wide receiver Dalton Boyd and junior safety David Carter all made the most of their opportunities in a Blue-White scrimmage that concluded the team’s media day at Ram Stadium.
Tinsman completed 7 of 14 attempts working with the first team throughout the scrimmage. He went 2 for 3 (including what likely would have been a touchdown in a game situation) in the sudden-change portion of the practice that simulated the offense being down by three points. Tinsman went 5 for 11 in the actual scrimmage, connecting with Boyd on a 60-yard touchdown.
Tinsman, a 6-foot-3, 206-pound junior, is competing with red-shirt freshman Jeff Ziemba (6-3, 186) to replace Ram starting quarterback Bobby Cooper, who was a senior last season.
“He was against the ones [first team defense] most of the time,” said Shepherd quarterbacks coach Joel Gordon, a former standout quarterback for the Rams who will be inducted into Shepherd's Hall of Fame later this year. “We expect to be able to operate against our defense. We’ve been operating against them for the past five days. It’s a little bit different with the pass rush today when those guys on the defense turn it on. I know he had some pressure, and I know he had some bad snaps. That's just part of the quarterback position, and I think he handled it pretty well today.”
Tinsman bounced back after having an interception returned for a touchdown after a running back bobbled a catch and had the ball swiped off the back of his shoulder pads for what ended up being a pick-six. On his next series, Tinsman found Boyd wide open after the Ram defense made a mistake in coverage, allowing a long touchdown.
Gordon said Tinsman made the right read, finding Boyd on the scoring play.
“We did some good things today,” Gordon said. “And that was a nice connection today on the touchdown pass. Our goal is to have five explosive pass plays where we’re getting 20 yards or more and that was definitely past midfield.
That’s good to see because they did what they were supposed to do and executed it. We threw it to the right guy. There's a lot of times where you bust a coverage and the quarterback misses that throw. I think Trae missed that throw in the spring game and today he hit it. That’s a positive thing for him to build on.”
Based on the amount of time Tinsman, Boyd and Carter saw with the first team on Saturday, all appear in the mix for significant playing time for Shepherd this year.
While Tinsman and Boyd hooked up on the scoring play, Carter also shined with a big hit that drew a reaction from the fans and he also made two interceptions, the second of which came against Tinsman but was ruled out of bounds after he out-jumped a Ram receiver for the ball along the sideline.
“David is battling with Corey Washington right now and at this point it’s a toss up,” said Shepherd defensive coordinator Josh Kline. “Corey’s still in the middle of his rehab so he's competing with Corey and he’s getting the calls down.
“I like how he’s playing. He played well [Saturday] and got his hands on a couple footballs. He had two picks and I know the hometown ref Soupy [Hillyard] didn’t give it to him but he had two picks and was in on some tackles.”
Shepherd, coming off an 8-3 season and a berth in the NCAA Division-II playoffs, heads into its first season in the new Mountain East Conference. The Rams join former West Virginia Conference rivals Charleston, Concord, Fairmont State, Glenville State, West Liberty, W.Va. State W.Va. Wesleyan and newcomers Notre Dame College (of Ohio), Urbana (of Ohio) and U.Va.-Wise in the Mountain East.
The Rams, who open the season at home against Shippensburg, Pa., on Sept. 7 (at noon), were picked as the preseason conference favorite earlier this month, receiving eight of the possible 11 first-place votes from the coaches.
Rams head coach Monte Cater said the team has high expectations with several ex perienced players, including the team’s entire offensive line plus defensive standouts Howard Jones, a 6-4, 238-pound defensive end, and Mike Franklin, a 6-2, 308-pound defensive lineman.
“We’ve got a big group of seniors coming back and that’s one of the things that’s exciting,” said Cater, whose team returns eight starters on both offense and defense. “We have a number of multi-year starters, whether it be three or four years, and guys who’ve had a chance to be All-Americans and not just all conference.
“We’re looking forward to it without a doubt. There’s a lot of new faces if you look at the change in the conference and the number of new coaches [Jason Woodman at Fairmont State, Jon Anderson at W.Va. State and George Shehl at W.Va. Wesleyan] that are going to be heading those programs and the three new schools in the Mountain East. “It’s going to be a challenging league and obviously a little bit larger [than the WVC] but we’re looking forward to competing against some new schools and renew some rivalries with the old ones.”
— Contact Robert Stocks at email@example.com
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