Heritage Hall (Okla.) High's Sterling Shepard was a big part of the Chargers' 56-14 win over Newcastle (Okla.) High on Friday, scoring five touchdowns and playing a key part of a hook-and-ladder play which added a sixth. Still, it wasn't the points that were most impressive about Shepard's night, it was how he scored them on only six touches of the ball.
"That was crazy. I don't know what else to say about that first half," Shepard told The Oklahoman. "We knew this was going to be a tough game. This meant a lot in the district race."
According to The Okalahoman and OKBlitz.com, every single time Shepard touched the ball on Friday, Heritage Hall finished the play in the end zone. Considering that the versatile playmaker got in on the action as a wide receiver, running back, quarterback and defensive back in one half alone, it's undestandable that Newcastle was left feeling dizzy trying to find a way to slow Shepard down.
The Chargers already had a 7-0 lead from a 75-yard run by Barry Sanders Jr. when Shepard first got in on the action, getting his mitts on an interception of Newcastle quarterback Blake Woodard and returning it 40 yards to give Heritage Hall a 13-0 lead. On the Chargers' next possession, Shepard was part of a hook-and-ladder play that finished with a pitch from the junior to Shaun Tkach, who gave Heritage a three-touchdown edge. Moments later, Shepard returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown, and before the first quarter was even over, the Chargers' star moved over to quarterback and took an option keeper 20 yards for yet another touchdown.
Shepard's stats only got more impressive from there, with the multi-positional threat scoring on a 64-yard run on his first touch of the second quarter and a 102-yard interception return with just 15 seconds remaining in the half. By mid-game, he'd touched the football six times, and Heritage Hall had scored on all six plays, with Shepard earning credit for the points five times himself.
"That might be the best first half we've ever played," Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert said. "We said all week that we wanted to get on them early. And, well, we definitely did that."
That's all the action Shepard would see, with Bogert pulling both Shepard and Sanders Jr. at halftime to keep them out of injury's way. Sanders finished with an impressive 162 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries himself.
While Sanders Jr. may have the top pedigree on the team, Shepard isn't exactly the first in his family to play competitive football. Shepard's father is Derrick Shepard, a former NFL wide receiver for the Redskins, Saints and Cowboys who played collegiately at Oklahoma.
Derrick Shepard died in 1999 while serving as an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming, but if his son keeps racking up stats at his current pace, there's little question that the Shepard family's legacy will live on in NCAA football in the near future.
- Heritage Hall