Hilltoppers fall to Notre Dame (Ohio) 51-10


WLU SID department

WLU QB Jamie Diven hands off the ball to WLU RB Tyler Moler. Photo from WLU Sports Information Office.

The eight ranked Notre Dame College Fighting Falcons knock off the home-standing Hilltoppers 51-10 on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

The West Liberty Hilltoppers had a tough test in front of them against the number 8 team in the country Notre Dame College. The Falcons took the lead in the first quarter and did not relinquish it; as a result, the Hilltoppers lost their first conference game.

“We have to take care of the football and our playmakers have to make plays. We played in spurts. We gave ourselves multiple opportunities but didn’t do anything with them. You can’t play in spurts and beat a really good football team,” said West Liberty’s head football coach Roger Waialae when asked about his team’s loss.

Before the game, it was unclear who the starting quarterback would be in this game for Roger Waialae’s team. Redshirt freshman, Jamie Diven, trotted out on the field for the first drive of the game. The Hilltoppers moved the ball against one of the best defensive units in the Mountain East Conference (MEC), but the drive stalled.

The Falcons took little time to take flight. Senior Quarterback, Chris Brimm, lit up the scoreboard by finding fellow senior receiver Devanaire Conliffe on a 84-yard touchdown strike. The extra point was no good and the score was 6-0.

West Liberty was able to respond with a score drive of their own. The Hilltoppers added an Owen Rozanc 31-yard field goal to cut the lead in half to 6-3.

Forty-two seconds later, Brimm finds Conliffe again. This was a 70-yard touchdown strike to increase the lead to 13-3. This would be the score at the end of the first quarter.

The Falcons would just continue to put the pressure on the Hilltopper defense the rest of the first half. With 11:09 remaining in the second quarter, Brimm used his legs and scampered into the endzone for a six-yard touchdown run.

Then with 5:58 remaining in the half, Jalen Boyd plowed his way to paydirt on a one-yard touchdown carry.
On Notre Dame’s last drive of the first half, they were able to extend their lead on another Brimm touchdown pass. This time he found tight end, CJ Kiss, on an eight-yard pitch and catch. The score going into half was Notre Dame leading West Liberty 34-3.

After the break and a WLU fumble recovery, The Hilltoppers scored their first and only touchdown of the day. Diven was able to find senior receiver Isaiah Robinson on a 16-yard touchdown reception. The deficit was cut down to 34-10.

Notre Dame’s response was too much for the Hilltoppers for the rest of the game. Brimm was able to find Conliffe again for a 29-yard touchdown. This was the pair’s third touchdown connection.
With 9:33 remaining in the game, the Falcons were able to place the dagger in the hearts of the Hilltopper faithful as Brimm found Jeremy Hamilton this time on a 78-yard fourth down touchdown.

Notre Dame would add a late 19-yard Tanner Harding field goal to close the scoring, and to secure the 51-10 victory at West Family Stadium.

The Falcons finished the game with a total of 687 yards from scrimmage. This included 449 yards passing and 5 touchdowns from starting quarterback Brimm. Conliffe led the way in receiving yards with 194 yards on four catches. Tyris Dickerson had 87 yards rushing on 20 carries as well. Antoine Holloway II led the defense with two interceptions.

For the Hilltoppers in this loss, Diven threw for 154 yards on 16 completions. Tyler Moler on 19 carries had 109 yards rushing. Then finally Robinson led all Hilltopper receivers with 100 yards receiving on 8 catches.
The Hilltoppers will be on the road this Saturday, Sept. 25, as they travel to Buckhannon to take on West Virginia Wesleyan at 1 p.m.