Al-Hajj Shabazz (Bartram) and Brandon Pepper (Pennsbury) returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns 17 seconds apart in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game and lead No. 15 West Chester to a 28-7 victory over No. 6 Shepherd (11-1) in the Super Region 1 Championship of the NCAA Division II tournament Saturday at Rams Stadium in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
West Chester (13-1) moves on to the national semifinals, where the Golden Rams will face Lenoir-Rhyne (12-1), wich was a 42-39 winner over North Alabama in the Super Region 2 Championship game.
Shabazz intercepted Shepherd quarterback Jeff Ziemba's fourth-down pass at the West Chester 24-yard line and raced down the near sideline for a 76-yard touchdown that put the Golden Rams up by 21-7 with 6 minutes, 17 seconds to play in the game.
Pepper stepped in front of Ziemba's first-down pass attempt on the Rams' next drive and scored with 6:00 left. Pepper intercepted Ziemba's next pass to punch the Rams' ticket to the national semifinals.
Pepper has intercepted a pass in each of the Golden Rams' three postseason contests.
"Our defense stepped up today," West Chester coach Bill Zwaan said. "That is as good as I've seen them play all year. I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back interceptions returned for a touchdown before."
Harlon Hill finalist Rondell White (Rustin) rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown.
West Chester QB Sean McCartney (Archbishop Wood), who completed 16 of 25 passes for 180 yards, guided the offense to 304 yards, while the Rams defense limited Shepherd to 271 yards.
Wide receiver LaRon Lee finished with three catches for 93 yards, including a 31-yard TD.
The Rams will play Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday at a place and time to be determined.
The other semifinal will pit Northwest Missouri State against Grand Valley State.