By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
Last week, the Hilltoppers got things started early and often against the Blue Knights of Urbana as Christian Morris nailed a 40-yard field goal three minutes into the game. Junior quarterback Brenton Colabella connected with Osman Kargbo on a beautiful 34-yard touchdown pass to end the first quarter and put the toppers up 10-0 after an extra point field goal make by Morris.
The game got close in the third quarter when Urbana quarterback Tajuan Green ran one in from three yards out to make it a four point game. In the fourth quarter, senior cornerback Terrance Baldwin intercepted a pass and took it 63 yards the other way for a pick six that put the Hilltoppers up 24-13. The Blue Knights did tack on a touchdown late and converted a two point conversion but their efforts were stopped short as the Hilltoppers came away with the 24-21 victory.
The Bobcats also won on opening night as they beat Concord in a 23-18 affair. Senior quarterback Ryan Deal threw for two touchdowns, two interceptions and 146 yards. Another key player to watch for in this upcoming week will be sophomore running back Devin Montgomery, coming off of an impeccable 238 rushing yards on opening night.
Last year when West Liberty and West Virginia Wesleyan faced off, the Hilltoppers fell behind early by 17 points at West Family Stadium on a rainy Thursday night on the hilltop. 21 unanswered points gave West Liberty the lead and they never looked back as they won in a hard fought 28-24 game. West Liberty holds the lead in the all-time series against Wesleyan with a 36-23-1 record.
One of the major differences between last year and this year is the quarterback for the Hilltoppers after having to replace recently graduated Dakota Conwell with junior Colabella. He has had reps in past seasons but no major chunks, as he was the back-up role learning behind a very talented Conwell. In game one of the 2017 season, Colabella threw for 196 yards and two touchdown passes to propel his team to a victory.
Going into week two of the season, five teams are 1-0 and six teams are 0-1. Moving forward, the Hilltoppers will host Charleston next Thursday and then travel to UVA-Wise for a Saturday afternoon game. Players are very optimistic about their start to the 2017 season because winning on opening night and starting the season undefeated is a huge momentum boost moving forward.
You can tune into the football game this Saturday afternoon on WLTV-14 and be sure to read the postgame recap here on the Trumpet Online. Grab next week’s issue of the Trumpet for more game previews and player profiles.
Photo credit: Hilltoppersports.com