West Liberty football drops game against Wheeling in overtime

Game on Oct. 23 vs Ohio County.

The West Liberty University (WLU) football team (4-4) hit the road to face their north division rival Wheeling University (4-4).

A week after defeating Fairmont State with a huge fourth quarter comeback, the Hilltoppers looked to keep the momentum and carry it on the road. In the first quarter, both defenses did not budge as the scoreboard read all zeros. The second quarter saw the offenses wake up and trade blows.

The Hilltoppers started their drive at the Wheeling 40-yard line. After a few Tyler Moler carries and a Jamie Diven scramble to get the Hilltoppers to the Wheeling 24-yard line. The Hilltoppers sent out Owen Rozanc to give the Hilltoppers a lead and he did just that as the Hilltoppers broke the ice first to make it 3-0.

The Hilltopper defense then flexed their muscles by forcing a Wheeling three and out to give the offense the ball right back. Starting the drive at the West Liberty 19-yard line, the offense went to work and marched up the field. Facing a fourth and three at the Wheeling 41-yard line, the Hilltoppers went for it. Diven handed the ball to Moler who picked up eight yards and the first down to keep the drive alive. Next, the Hilltoppers had a third and nine at the 32-yard line and Diven found Isaiah Robinson for a 15-yard gain. Facing a fourth down at the 17-yard line, the Hilltoppers sent out Rozanc who picked up another field goal to make it 6-0.

With under four minutes to go in the half, the Hilltoppers extended their lead making it 13-0. The big play of the drive was a 41-yard dime from Diven who hit Jerome Harris to get the Hilltoppers into the red zone. From there Moler got the Hilltoppers to the two-yard line and Diven then took the ball himself and extended their lead. Rozanc’s extra point was good as the Hilltoppers led 13-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

The Cardinals then marched down the field and drew closer with a touchdown of their own. Heading into the half the score was 13-7 Hilltoppers.

In the third quarter, it was the Hilltoppers striking first once again. On their second possession of the half, the Hilltoppers had a deep drive going when they couldn’t convert on a third down and forced them to kick a field goal at the Wheeling 12. The Hilltoppers field goal sailed wide of the goal posts but running into the kicker was called which gave the Hilltoppers a first down. After a Moler run, Diven hit Robinson in the endzone to make it 19-7. Rozanc nailed the extra point and the score was 20-7.

In the fourth quarter with the score still 20-7, Wheeling started clawing back. They drove down the field and scored to make it 20-13. Their extra point was no good so the Hilltoppers stayed in front by seven rather than six.

The following drive for Wheeling saw the Cardinals even the score at 20 a piece. The Hilltoppers with 2 minutes to go drove passed midfield and set up a potential game winning field goal from 41 yards out. With time expiring the kick sailed wide and the fans were treated to some extra football.

West Liberty started with the ball and did not convert. Wheeling then ran with the opportunity and downed the Hilltoppers with a game winning touchdown. The final in the game was 26-20 Wheeling.

Diven completed 17 of his 34 passes for 204 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown. Moler rushed for 155 yards on 41 attempts.

The Hilltoppers will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 30 at noon against UNC Pembroke. The game will be at home so make sure to come out and support your Hilltoppers.