By Trent Nicholson, Contributing Writer
West Liberty took a tough loss to Notre Dame by a final score 59-51 at West Family Stadium Thursday night. The Hilltoppers fall to an even rank of 4-4 on the year as Notre Dame advances to 3-5 on the season. West Liberty was down 38-10 at halftime, and they came back all the way to tie it up 38-38 early in the fourth quarter. After that, it was just even offense on both sides of the ball. Notre Dame prevailed though with their first away victory of the year.
The Hilltoppers combined for a total of 627 yards on offense. Quarterback Dakota Conwell went 24-42 for 405 yards with four touchdown passes, and two interceptions. Conwell also rushed with the ball 17 times for 84 yards, and two touchdowns. Running back Jeremiah Ortiz led the team in rushing with 19 carries for 91 yards. Tight end Daree Goodwin led the team in receiving with ten receptions for 158 yards, and one touchdown. Wide receiver Anton McCallum caught five passes for 115 yards, and two touchdowns. McCallum also had a fifteen-yard rushing touchdown on the night. Receiver Ian Kelly had four receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown. Head coach Roger Waialae said, “ I think as a team we need to play all 60 minutes. I just like how we played West Liberty football and made this game in to a contest as we fought back.”
The West Liberty defense allowed 625 yards of Falcon offense. Linebacker Garrett Vulcano led the team in tackles with ten. Tied with nine tackles were Andrew Faraimo and Charles Simons. Cornerback Solomon Dixon had the lone interception for the Hilltoppers.
Notre Dame quarterback, Malik Grove, went 30-42 for 499 yards with three touchdown passes, and one interception. Running back D.J. Greene led the rushing game with 31 carries for 142 yards, and three touchdowns. The receiving core came up huge for Notre Dame as three of their receivers had over 100 yards. Mitchell Shegos led the team in receiving as he caught 11 passes for 148 yards. C.J. Germany hauled in six catches for 138 yards, and one touchdown; while Emmanuel Smith received ten catches for 124 yards, and one touchdown.
Notre Dame’s defense could not stop West Liberty, but they still walked away with a victory. Linebacker Zach Chatlain was the standout man in tackles tonight with 13. Linebacker Elliot Long had an interception tonight along with defensive end Claudy Mathieu. Mathieu returned his interception 70 yards for a Falcon touchdown. That was the key turning point for Notre Dame’s victory.
West Liberty will be traveling to Shepherd next Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is set for 12:00 P.M.