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- West Liberty82°light rainhumidity: 66%wind: 3mph WH 81 • L 67Weather from OpenWeatherMap
By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
The night began slowly at West Family Stadium due to a weather delay that started just over an hour before scheduled kick-off. The game was scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. but with all of the delays, the game didn’t start until 7:36 and the players were only able to warm up for roughly 15 minutes.
Once the game started, it didn’t move any faster. The Hilltoppers came out slow and were plagued by penalties. West Virginia Wesleyan got on the board first with an 11-yard run by senior stand out running back Michael Anderson. In Anderson’s previous game he rushed for 237 yards and he wouldn’t be stopped on this night on the Hilltop.
The Bobcats were performing on all sides of the ball in the first half as they forced the Hilltoppers to put deep in their own territory. Then the Dan Monteroso punt was returned to the end zone for a 54-yard score to put them up 14-0. The Hilltoppers looked to be in business as they were driving down the length of the field to end up on the opposing 11 yard line when Dakota Conwell threw an interception in the end zone. The Bobcats capitalized on the turnover with a field goal to go into the half up 17-0.
Sadly for Wesleyan, the game wasn’t over there. The downpour started as the sky opened up and the tale of two halves started. Both teams first possessions were three and outs but then the Toppers got on the board with a 6-yard pass from Dakota Conwell to Tyler Peterson to make the score 17-7.
They weren’t done there, two minutes later, a great run by Tyriq Dorsett that went for 57 yards and a countless amount of broken tackles put the Hilltoppers on the board again putting them down by three. The fourth quarter started with another touchdown pass to Dan Monteroso from Dakota Conwell to make it 21 unanswered points and the first lead of the game for the Hilltoppers.
Two plays later, star running back for the Bobcats run around the edge for a 70-yard touchdown to take all momentum away from West Liberty and put his team back on top 24-21.
The Hilltoppers weren’t fazed though, because later in the fourth they drove back down the field and got it to the two yard line and were attempting to kick the game tying field goal. Unfortunately there was a fumbled snap and they weren’t even able to get the kick up. At this point there was a lot of doubt in the air but the resilient Hilltoppers never stopped battling. With 29 second left in the game Dakota Conwell dropped back threw a laser pass to senior receiver Anton MccCallum for a 13-yard score to put West Liberty back on top 28-24.
The game would end with that score and all of the remaining fans that stuck it out through the rain got to see an amazing game and their team go out on top in a nail bitter.
The Hilltoppers will be back in action next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Charleston University. Be sure to grab this week’s Trumpet for a game preview.