By Kendrick Jackson, Advertising Manager
No. 21 for the Black and Gold, Jeremiah Ortiz, made West Liberty history last night by becoming only the ninth Hilltopper in school history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. However, Ortiz’ record-setting performance wasn’t enough to prevail the Hilltoppers over Fairmont State.
The Falcons of Fairmont State came into the matchup tonight as having one of the top defenses in the Mountain East Conference. The Falcons did not disappoint, winning the game 13-7 and holding our Hilltoppers to only one score.
That touchdown would come from no other than star running-back Ortiz. Ortiz rushed for a two-yard touchdown in the first quarter, as WLU took the first and their only lead of the game. Ortiz finished the game with 106 rushing yards on 33 carries.
The Falcons responded in the second quarter with a touchdown to tie things up. Early in the fourth, the Falcons put the Hilltoppers away by scoring a 44-yard passing touchdown. However, Fairmont State did miss the PAT.
Fairmont State finishes the regular-season as the third best team in the conference. Fairmont State was the closest team to beat Shepherd University, also the No. 2 Division II football team in the nation. Fairmont State still has hopes for postseason play as they finished the year 8-3.
On the contrary, West Liberty closes out their season 3-8 on a two-game losing streak. Our Hilltoppers never could find the right rhythm on the road this season, losing all of their games. Their only wins came at home.
Although this was the last season for Ortiz, our Hilltopper football program have some young and aspiring players for the future. During his first career start last night, freshman defensive end, Kenyon Felder, tied for most tackles in the game.
Junior Brenton Colabella has had a solid first year as the starting quarterback for the Hilltoppers. He finished the season with ten touchdowns and only six interceptions, completing almost sixty percent of his passes this season.
With Hilltopper football over, fans will now shift their focus to basketball.
Our men’s team opens the season tonight against Cheyney (Pa.) University at 5:30 p.m. in the ASRC. Our Lady Hilltoppers will start their season tomorrow in South Euclid, Ohio against California (Pa.) University. The game begins at 4:30 p.m.
Photo credit: Megan Sayre