By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
West Liberty University took on Notre Dame College this afternoon and Notre Dame came out on top with a 30-14 victory. The Hilltoppers were coming off a heartbreaking loss on homecoming last weekend against UVA-Wise and they were trying to get to .500 on the season.
It was a chilly 46 degrees in South Euclid and West Liberty looked to bounce back after their third, one point loss of the season. The game started in the worst possible way for the Hilltoppers as the Falcons take the opening kickoff all the way back for a touchdown to put Notre Dame up 7-0. The tables quickly turned as it didn’t take long for the offense to get going as Dakota Conwell did a play-action pass and found a wide open Max Kapron for a 78-yard touchdown to tie the score up at seven after a made extra-point attempt by Christian Morris.
The Falcons first play on offense was a quick pass but resulted in a fumble after a seven yard run and the Hilltoppers recovered the fumble on the Notre Dame 45. Three plays after the turnover, Conwell dropped back and found a tightly covered Dan Monteroso for a 26-yard touchdown. With the made extra point, the Hilltoppers went up 14-7, with 13:11 left in the first quarter.
Logan Deri a redshirt freshman comes up with his fifth interception of the year deep in West Liberty territory to halt a fast moving Falcons drive. The offense couldn’t get anything going so they had to punt from their own end zone which gave the Falcons great field position at the 33-yard line but they couldn’t make anything of their third offensive possession after three bad passes by the Notre Dame quarterback.
After a 16 play, 82-yard drive to start the second quarter, Notre Dame had to settle for a field goal to cut the score down to 14-10 with 11:28 left in the first half. West Liberty was forced to punt and unfortunately the punt was blocked so the Falcons took over with great field position. Quarterback for Notre Dame, Malik Grove put together a great drive full of short passes and extended plays to ultimately end the drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Smith. The extra-point attempt was missed by Kyle Kaplan and that put Notre Dame up 16-14 with 5:15 left in the first half.
West Liberty was forced to punt on their next drive which gave the Falcons the ball with great field position on another drive. Notre Dame used the remaining four minutes on the clock and scored on the last play of the half on a 1-yard quarterback run by Malik Grove to put the Falcons up 23-14 at the half.
The Falcons marched down the field while taking time off the clock to start the fourth quarter and by the end of the drive they found themselves in the end zone to go up 30-14. Running back Brian Walker was the one that punched it in for the 2-yard touchdown and kicker Kyle Kaplan converted the extra point attempt to put the Falcons up 16 with 11:40 left in the game.
West Liberty had a few more offensive possessions but they were unable to score any points to get closer to the Falcons. Conwell ends the game with 200 yards passing and two touchdowns. Max Kapron leads the West Liberty receivers with 78 yards and one touchdown. Kevin Melder led the defense with 15 tackles.
The final score in South Euclid was 30-14 and the Hilltoppers fall to 3-5 on the season and Notre Dame moves to 7-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play.
West Liberty will be back in action next week at West Family Stadium to take on the Shepherd Rams for a noon kickoff. Shepherd is ranked third in the nation and they are undefeated on the year and they went 13-1 last year so next weekend’s game at West Family Stadium will be a big one. Be sure to grab this week’s issue of the Trumpet for a game preview.