Last year Shepherd quarterback Jeff Ziemba threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams won 48-31 at Glenville State against their Mountain East Conference rival.
Ziemba has continued to post big numbers for Shepherd (4-0), which hosts Glenville State Saturday on ASN.
“Glenville is always a tough opponent for us,” Ziemba said. “Last year they had two really good running backs and we didn’t struggle too much with them. I just know they are a very good program.”
Ziemba has completed 78 of 117 passes for 1243 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions while the Rams are averaging nearly 42 points per game this season.
“He has put some great numbers,” said Monte Cater, the Shepherd head coach since 1987. “You want leaders and he can make plays. He has been so consistent over the years. He is a leader and obviously he has skills. He has some mobility.”
Ziemba, from Delaware, was a Harlon Hill Trophy finalist last year as the Rams lost in the Division II title game to Northwest Missouri State. He is a therapeutic recreation major and spends time with children who are mentally challenged.
Cater, meanwhile, has built one of the top Division II programs in the region, thanks in part to recruiting heavily in the Baltimore-Washington region.
The Shepherd campus in the panhandle of West Virginia, about two hours outside Baltimore and Washington.
One of the top offensive players for the Rams is senior wideout Billy Brown, who leads the team with 32 catches, 529 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He is a great receiver,” Ziemba said. “As long as you are on the same page, he is going to come down with the football. He knows the game well.”
Brown is from Gaithersburg in Montgomery County, Md., which borders Washington.
“We get a lot of great players out of Prince George’s County. A lot of my good friends are from there,” Ziemba said.
One of them is teammate Tre Sullivan, a defensive tackle from Gwynn Park High who is among the team leaders in tackles with 24. Junior inside linebacker James Gupton is from southern Maryland and also has 24 tackles.
Cater is in his 30th season at Shepherd and he has 257 wins going into the game against Glenville State. He ranked third in the country among active Division II coaches in wins going into this season.
“He definitely knows what he is talking about,” Ziemba said. “I love playing for him. He has been around a very long time and has a winning program. I just like the way he treats the players.”
The Rams were a record-setting 13-1 last and captured their second MEC title in the last three seasons.
Glenville State is coming off a 34-28 loss to Notre Dame of Ohio on Saturday. The Rams beat Notre Dame 38-17 on Sept. 24.
The Rams are ranked among the top teams in their region.
“We try and stay away from that,” Ziemba said of rankings. “Rankings really don’t mean anything until after you get done with the regular-season. We try to focus on the regular season.”