Shepherd football advances to D-II semifinals with Hail Mary on final play


KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Shepherd Football was trailing Kutztown 28-24 with seven seconds left on the clock in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals when Rams junior quarterback Tyson Bagent fired a Hail Mary that was caught in the air and brought down in the endzone by graduate student Alex Wetzel to lift Shepherd over Kutztown 30-28 to advance to the Division II Semifinals.

“This is the craziest thing that I’ve ever been a apart of,” said Wetzel. “I’m just grateful that I got the opportunity to make the big play and I’m happy to be the Region I Champs, baby!”

“It’s pretty unbelievable that Wetzel goes up and makes that grab [at the] last second,” said Bagent. “You know it’s upsetting that one of the teams has to get knocked out of the playoffs [because] I feel like both of these teams deserve to be in the final four, but I’m just thankful that I have dudes on my team that can go up and make plays like that.”

A play so good that it was even picked up by ESPN.

Shepherd found themselves in the same situation they were in a week ago when Bagent fired a 23 yard game winning touchdown pass to Josh Gontarek to lift the Rams over Notre Dame (OH) to put them into Saturday’s quarterfinal against the Golden Bears.

The Rams gave up 21 unanswered points to Kutztown to diminish their 21-7 halftime lead, that left them tied with 10:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.

After a seven and half minute drive, in which Shepherd ran 16 pays for 35 yards, the Rams settled for a field goal made my senior kicker, Hayden August-Scriven, from 40 yards out to put them up 24-21 with 2:56 left in the game.

Kutztown would then drive 44 yards back up the field, eating up almost a minute and a half of the clock, as Donny Blaine and Derek Anderson connected for a 24 yard touchdown pass, leaving the Rams trailing 28-24 with 39 seconds left to work with.

WATCH: Shepherd’s final drive against Kutztown

Ronnie Brown opened up the scoring on Saturday with a 43 yard touchdown run that put the Rams up 7-0 with 6:14 remaining in the first quarter.

That score would hold until just under four minutes left in the half when the Rams found themselves at the one yard line after a seven-play, 20 yard drive that ended with a Tyson Bagent keeper for a 14-0 lead.

Kutztown would only run a couple of plays on their next drive before Rams’ redshirt freshman defensive back, Klayton Batten, picked off Kutztown’s Donny Blaine and ran it back for six for the Sheperd’s final points of the half.

Shepherd will now head to Big Rapids, Michigan to take on Ferris State in the NCAA Division II Semifinals.

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