By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
It was a cold and rainy one on the Hilltop for senior day, as West Liberty University took on the Concord Mountain Lions in a Mountain East Conference match-up. The Hilltoppers came away with a huge 44-14 victory to improve to 3-6 on the season.
The defense set the tone early on for West Liberty as senior cornerback Terrance Baldwin deflected the first pass of the game and sophomore safety, Logan Deri intercepted it to give the offense the ball with great field position. A few plays later, junior quarterback Lukas O’Connor found freshman wide receiver Isaiah Robinson in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. The extra point attempt hit off of the right upright, which gave West Liberty the 6-0 lead.
On the Hilltoppers next drive, senior running back Jeremiah Ortiz made his way into the end zone after a great 19-yard run with a few broken tackles. Christian Morris tacked on the extra point attempt to give West Liberty the 13-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The defense kept up the stellar play in the first quarter, not allowing Concord to get anything going on offense. Concord was able to block an Aaron Farmer punt, but they were unable to find the scoreboard on that drive.
The second quarter scoring was underway after a muffed punt by Concord in their own end zone, giving West Liberty the ball on the Mountain Lion’s 18-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage after the muffed punt, O’Connor found Ridge Durbin in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass. Morris split the uprights to give the Hilltoppers the 20-0 lead.
The Mountain Lions got their offense going late in the second quarter, with running back Jamal Petty capping off a long drive with a 31-yard touchdown run that had three tough broken tackles. Kicker Zack Keaton was successful on the after point attempt, cutting the lead to 20-7. Both teams got another possession before the end of the half; neither were able to find the end zone.
West Liberty started the third quarter by taking six minutes off of the clock, and a Durbin touchdown run. The Hilltoppers extended their lead to 27-7 after a Morris extra point attempt. The very next play, Deri got his second interception of the game and returned it for a 20-yard touchdown. Morris split the uprights and gave West Liberty the 34-7 lead with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
Then, West Liberty didn’t waste any time finding the end zone as a play action fake from O’Connor opened up wide receiver Quinton Jones for a 34-yard touchdown. Morris tacked on another extra point attempt to the Hilltoppers the 41-7 lead.
On the very next drive, the Mountain Lions drove 80 yards down the field and Nick Loftin capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it a 41-14 game late in the third quarter.
Morris came on to punt on fourth down and kicked a 69-yard punt to down Concord on their own two yard line and after a three and out, the Mountain Lions were forced to punt from their own end zone, which gave the Hilltoppers great field position. After a few runs to get the ball closer to the goal line, Morris was called upon and delivered a 26-yard field goal make, sealing the game at 44-14.
West Liberty came away with the 44-14 victory on senior day to improve to 3-6 on the season. The next game for the Hilltoppers will be on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at West Family Stadium. Grab this week’s Trumpet for a game preview.
Photo credit: Cody Shook