West Liberty Football drops game to Concord: 20-16

The West Liberty Football team (3-3) was seeking their third straight victory heading into Saturday, Oct. 9, against Concord University (2-3).

The Hilltoppers fought until the clock ran out, but they were a call away from potentially winning this football game. The final in this game was 20-16 Concord as they claimed victory in their Homecoming game.

In the first quarter, the Hilltoppers struck first to take a lead in this one. After the Hilltopper defense forced the Mountain Lions to punt, the Hilltoppers set up shop at the West Liberty 39-yard line. Jack Allison moved the chains into Concord territory with an 11-yard pass to Wisdom Jenkins. The next play, the Hilltoppers moved even further into the Concord territory as there was pass interference against Concord giving the Hilltoppers 15 free yards.

On a third and seven, Allison came up big and found Nate Phillips for a 17-yard pass to push the Hilltoppers into the red zone. After an unsportsmanlike conduct against Concord, the Hilltoppers moved up to the seven-yard line. Allison then threw a dart to Jesse Collins to give the Hilltoppers a 6-0 lead. An Owen Rozanc extra point gave the Hilltoppers a 7-0 lead.

With the score 7-0, Defensive Back Jason Mitchell picked off the Concord quarterback at midfield and returned it 28 yards to give the Hilltoppers great field position at the Concord 23-yard line. The Hilltoppers were unable to move the chains, but they did put up points as Rozanc nailed a 36-yard field goal to make it 10-0 West Liberty.

Concord then drew closer as they saw a two play drive bring them within a touchdown. The first play of the Concord drive was a 33-yard rushing attempt by Kris Copeland. The second and final play of the drive was a 35-yard touchdown pass from Jack Mangel, making the score 10-6. The extra point missed wide right as the Hilltoppers were up by four.

After Concord kicked off, the Hilltoppers were pinned at their one-yard line. On first and 10, Allison tried to scramble in the endzone, fumbled the ball into West Liberty hands but was tackled for a safety making it 10-8 West Liberty. West Liberty hung on to the two-point lead heading into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Mountain Lions grabbed their first lead of the game with a 5-yard rushing touchdown to make it 14-10. The extra point this time was good and the Hilltoppers trailed by 5.

After West Liberty punted at the West Liberty 35-yard line, Rozanc didn’t give Concord very good field positioning as his punt ended up at the Concord 20-yard line. During the play, there was holding against Concord to push them back to the 10-yard line. The Hilltopper defense then stepped up and forced a three and out giving the West Liberty offense great field position to regain the lead.

A few running attempts later, the Hilltoppers were at the Concord 30-yard line and threatening. Back-to-back pass interference calls against Concord saw the Hilltoppers move to the Mountain Lions two-yard line. Allison took it himself and found the endzone giving the Hilltoppers the lead back. The score was 16-15 West Liberty. The extra point was however blocked, and Concord ran it back to regain the lead 17-16. On the ensuing possession, Concord extended their lead with a field goal making it 20-16.

With three minutes remaining in the game, West Liberty took over the ball at the West Liberty 37-yard line. The offense moved the ball all the way to the Concord 30 before facing a fourth and 12. On this drive they had already converted a fourth and five at their own 42-yard line. This time Allison found a diving Isaiah Robinson at the 16-yard line that would have kept the drive alive but Robinson was ruled out of bounds and the Hilltoppers dropped a close one. The final score was 20-16 in favor of Concord.

Allison completed 18 of his 38 passes for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Collins had three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, Mitchell had two interceptions and four solo tackles.

The Hilltoppers will return home for Homecoming to face Fairmont State (3-3) on Saturday Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.