By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
Coming off of a disappointing loss last Thursday to an out of conference Eastern New Mexico University team, by a score of 24-45, the Hilltoppers will travel to Fairmont, W.Va. tonight to take on Fairmont State University. This Mountain East Conference (MEC) match-up is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff. West Liberty enters the final week of the season with a 3-7 record, whereas the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons enter in third place in the MEC, with a 7-3 record.
Last week against the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds, West Liberty was unable to stop their high powered triple-option offense, as the Greyhounds were able to rack up 529 yards of total offense with a heavy portion of that (454) coming on the ground. The West Liberty offense, that has struggled all season, had two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown to go along with their 296 yards of total offense against one of the top ranked defenses in the country.
The Fighting Falcons of Fairmont State are coming off of a huge shutout victory over the Concord Mountain Lions, by a score of 35-0. The Falcons lead in almost every statistical category in this one-sided contest, and they were able to control the game with their well balanced offensive attack, lead by 307 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Senior running back Terrell Charles will be somebody that the West Liberty defense will be looking to contain as last week he had 134 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown.
Charles is the team’s rushing leader with 495 yards and three touchdowns on the season. The Falcons are also able to move the ball down the field through the air with a multitude of receivers, and quarterback JuJuan Young-Battle will be looking to find one of his four receivers that has 20+ catches and over 300 yards receiving on the year.
Last year when these two teams faced off at West Family Stadium, the Hilltoppers fell just short in a 21-20 affair. West Liberty took a 20-7 lead into the fourth quarter after getting a field goal in the first and third quarter, and then scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter. Quarterback Brenton Colabella was asked to step in after senior quarterback Dakota Conwell was knocked out of the game with an injury.
Colabella did a great job filling in, as he hit a few big throws, but it wasn’t enough. With two minutes left in the game, Charles ran for a 10-yard touchdown to give the Falcons the one point lead and on the Hilltoppers final drive, they turned the ball over on an interception, which gave them the one point loss.
This will be the Hilltoppers second straight Thursday night game, so they will be plenty rested for this high powered offense.
The game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Fairmont, W.Va. Be sure to check back here on the Trumpet Online for a full game recap, and pick up next week’s issue of the Trumpet for a season recap.
Photo credit: Savanna Sieger