West Liberty Football drops a close one on senior day with a final score of 33-28

​​ In the final home game for the West Liberty football team (4-6), they welcomed in the Yellow Jackets of West Virginia State University (6-4).

On Saturday, Nov. 6, the Hilltoppers not only closed the book on their home games for the year but also celebrated the seniors that have dedicated so much of their time to the football program. The seniors on the defensive side are defensive linemen Jack Davis, Kenyon Felder, Trevor Hoosier, TJ Lew, Deven Lewis and Devon McNutt. The Linebackers are Maceo Christmas and Donte Davenport. The lone graduating defensive back is Jamaal Petteway. The seniors on offense are wide receivers Will Billeter, Joey Diven, Tariq Glenn, Wisdom Jenkins, Nate Phillips and Isaiah Robinson. The running backs are Jared Alphonso and Savion Johnson. Offensive linemen include Wyatt Gardner and Austyn Todd. Last but not least is quarterback Jack Allison.

Prior to the game all 20 seniors and their families were brought out onto the field and honored by their fans, coaches and teammates.

To start the game, the Hilltoppers were looking to break their losing streak and win the seniors their final home game. After the Hilltoppers lost two straight fourth quarter leads at the hands of Wheeling University and UNC Pembroke, they looked primed to right the ship.

On the opening drive the Yellow Jackets drove the ball up the field and took an early lead. They had to settle for a field goal so the Hilltoppers only saw themselves down 3-0 five minutes into the game.

The Hilltopper defense later in the fourth quarter came up big and helped their own cause with a forced fumble recovery in the West Virginia red zone. David Gilcreast stripped the football from the Yellow Jackets quarterback and Lewis recovered the football at the 7-yard line. From there, Allison found Jenkins in the endzone to take the lead. Owen Rozanc nailed the extra point for a 7-3 lead.

The Yellow Jackets in the ensuing drive chipped away at the Hilltoppers lead with a field goal. The score was then 7-6 Hilltoppers. In the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets came out and snagged a lead with back-to-back touchdowns to take a commanding 20-7 lead.

With three minutes remaining before halftime, the Hilltopper offense looked to cut the lead to within a touchdown and they did just that. After starting with the ball all the way at the West Liberty 26-yard line, the offense beat the clock and found the endzone with 21 seconds to spare. Allison found Kameron Kruzelyak for the six-yard score making it 20-13. The Rozanc extra point made it 20-14.

Coming out of the half, both defenses held the offenses silent until the Yellow Jackets struck back and extended the lead with a touchdown with three minutes left in the third quarter. The score was 27-14 in favor of West Virginia State.

The following possession the Hilltoppers closed the gap. The drive started at the West Liberty 23-yard line. From there Allison and the Hilltopper offense drove up the field. The drive was capped off with an Allison 11 yard pass to Kruzelyak in the endzone. Rozanc’s extra point made it 27-21.

With under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers took their first lead since the second quarter. The Hilltopper offense took over and drove down the field in under two minutes to take the lead. Allison found Phillips in the endzone for an 11 yard touchdown. The score was then 28-27 West Liberty with five minutes remaining.

Next, the Yellow Jackets took the lead with a touchdown of their own to make the score 33-28. The two point conversion was no good and the Hilltoppers had an opportunity to take a lead late in the fourth quarter.. With only 47 seconds remaining in the game. At midfield a Hilltopper fumble ended the comeback effort as the Hilltoppers fell to the Yellow Jackets on their final home game of 2021.

Allison completed 31 of his 43 passes with 294 yards and four touchdowns. Jenkins had eight receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown.

The Hilltoppers will hit the road to close out their season on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. They will face off against a solid Frostburg State squad that comes into the matchup with a 9-1 record. For more information visit HilltopperSports.com.