There was magic – in abundance – in Shepherd’s quarterback Tyson Bagent’s right arm.
Along with throwing a pair of touchdowns to win back-to-back playoff games in the final scrimmage matches and gain recognition from ESPN, Bagent went where no Shepherd player has gone before: Bagent won the Harlon Trophy. Hill as the best Division II football player.
Of course, a first should be the first: it represents the best sporting history of the year for the Eastern Panhandle.
Shepherd has already had four finalists for Harlon Hill, even a pair of two-year-old winners, but none of them finished higher than third in the poll.
That’s until junior quarterback Shepherd won the award in a historic season for him.
An assembly of around 50 people – family, friends, teammates, coaches and fans – watched on December 17 in the ballroom at the Shepherd Student Center as the announcement came via a feed that Bagent had won the honor.
It was the most important of many honors Bagent has received in a historic season.
In addition to winning the Harlon Hill Trophy, he was named first-team All-American quarterback by the Associated Press, AFCA and D2CCA, was D2CCA Offensive Player of the Year Ron Lenz, the D2CCA Super Region 1 offensive player of the year and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division offensive player of the year.
Bagent finished with 5,000 passing yards and threw 53 touchdown passes as Shepherd advanced to the National Semifinals for the fourth time in school history. He has led the nation in various categories of assists.
While not all of his stats have caught a nation’s attention, Bagent’s exploits in a pair of playoff games have won him some followers.
Against Notre Dame in the second round of the playoffs, Bagent threw a 42-yard pass to Josh Gontarek with one second left to give the Rams a 38-34 victory.
The following week, in the regional super final, Bagent met Alex Wetzel on a passing play from Hail Mary 42 yards on the last play of the game to defeat Kutztown 30-28.
Bagent has one more final season at Shepherd.
He threw for 12,378 yards and 117 touchdowns during his three-year career.
A good thing happened to Bagent after winning the Harlon Hill Trophy, which he will receive on January 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas. A local fan found a 1961 Harlon Hill football card and presented it to Bagent.