Hilltoppers get first win of the season

By Cody Shook, Sports Editor

West Liberty football was on the road today at Urbana where they took on the Blue Knights in a Mountain East Conference matchup. The Hilltoppers got off to a slow start today as they were bombarded with penalties. Halfway through the first quarter Urbana got on the board with a wide up touchdown reception from nine yards out. A fumbled snap on the extra-point attempt led to an Urbana two point conversion to put them up 8-0 early.

Urbana made their first big mistake of the game in the second quarter when there punter mishandled the snap and the ball rolled all the way down to their own three yard line and that is where West Liberty took over. The Hilltoppers got their first score of the game with 10 minutes remaining in the first half from a short touchdown run by Dakota Conwell. They elected to go for the kick to make it an 8-7 score.

After a turnover on downs by West Liberty near mid-field, the Blue Knights took over with great field position and moved down the field quickly but a fumble deep in Hilltopper territory gave West Liberty the ball back with six minutes to work with before the half. Sadly they couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and were forced to punt. The defense has stepped up big all season by getting big stops and holding teams, as they did to end the first half getting another three and out to give their offense the ball back with two minutes to work.

Conwell got the offense rolling in the two minute drill to end the first half by completing multiple difficult passes to drive them 80-yards down the field for a touchdown to Anton McCallum seven yards out. West Liberty went up 14-8 and took that score into halftime.

The third quarter was an uneventful one with no scores and only one turnover which was an interception by safety Logan Deri in the end zone.

An illegal formation penalty nullified a 39-yard touchdown pass by Dakota Conwell to Dan Monteroso. Two plays later Conwell rolled out of the pocket and bought some extra time with his legs to find a wide open Ian Kelly in stride for a 44-yard touchdown. With the extra point by Christian Morris, the Hilltoppers went up 21-8 with 14 minutes left in the game.

The defense forced Urbana to punt because of a huge sack by Darnell Vickers so the offense got the ball back and drove down the field and really took a chunk of time off of the clock. On 4th and 25 the Hilltoppers went for it because they were in no man’s land and couldn’t go for a field goal but they took six minutes off of the clock on their long drive.

Urbana took back over with four minutes left in the game still down 21-8. The Hilltoppers defense stepped up big as they forced a turnover on downs and got the ball back with just over three minutes left. Conwell led the offense to another trip to the red zone where they let the time run off the clock and come away with a victory.

The Hilltoppers move to 1-3 on the season and make Urbana 1-3 with the loss. Dakota Conwell led the passing attack with 287 yards and two touchdown passes. Anton McCallum led all receivers with 108 yards and he added one touchdown catch. Logan Deri had seven tackles and one interception to lead the defense. The only concerning stat of the day was the 155 penalty yards but they came away with their first win of the season so the negatives are forgotten.

Photo by hilltoppersports.com

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