2015 Football: Cross eager to lead Rams in senior season

Shepherd's Allen Cross (31) tries to elude Concord's Mishawn Cummings (7) during their game last year in Shepherdstown. Journal Photo by Ron Agnir

BRIDGEPORT — Alan Cross suffered a considerable dropoff in his rushing yardage from his sophomore to junior season.

That’s OK to the Shepherd senior, who was joined by running mate Jabre Lolley in declining statistics, largely attributable to a much-improved passing game for Shepherd in 2014.

Cross is fine with whatever his statistics turn out to be during his senior season.

“Stats aren’t everything,” said Cross, at the conference media day while sitting in a room that included a pair of attention-grabbing, yardage-chomping backs from Mountain East Conference teams who do most of their team’s rushing.

Shepherd splits carries equitably between Cross and his junior partner, something Shepherd coach Monte Cater indicated helps keep his running backs fresh.

“I’ve been blessed to win conference championships and be in the playoffs two of three years,” Cross noted.

The 5-foot-7, 188-pound Cross really just wants to lead a relatively young but talented Shepherd outfit — in whatever way that turns out to be.

“Our role as a team leader is to do what’s best for the team,” Cross said. “I’d rather win a championship than carry it 25 times [a game].”

It’s all about his team for Cross.

“I’d like to keep [personal goals] to myself,” he said. “I just want to do whatever to help us win championships.”

Cross realizes Shepherd’s improved passing attack with Jeff Ziemba, one of the nation’s best in terms of completion percentage, helps the Rams’ rushing attack. And vice versa, a strong running game helps the passing offense.

“The passing game takes defenders out of the box when [a defense] has to worry about that element,” Cross said. “That’s a huge key. Every offense has to share the football because of all the great athletes we have.

“Sure, there’s not enough balls to go around, but it helps make us what we are.”

Cross said he thinks what the Rams are is a strong team that is hungry after the empty feeling left by last season’s finish.

“I’m excited,” Cross said. “It’s my senior year, last year to make memories.

“We want to make it one of the best seasons ever at Shepherd.”