Hilltoppers step up big to get the win at Charleston

By Cody Shook, Sports Editor

The football team traveled three hours south to face the University of Charleston in a Mountain East Conference match-up. The Hilltoppers came into the game with a 2-2 conference record and on a two game winning streak and they were looking to make it three in a row. The Golden Eagles of Charleston are 2-3 on the season and they are also on a two game winning streak. West Liberty comes into the game in the #6 spot in the conference standings with Charleston sitting right behind them at #7.

The game kicked off at 1 p.m. at the Charleston stadium and for the second straight week the Hilltoppers had to play in the rain. The game started off with a great kick return by Osman Kargbo but it was brought back to near their own goal line because of a penalty and then a few plays later quarterback Dakota Conwell got sacked in the end zone for a safety which put Charleston up 2-0. Charleston got the ball back and immediately drove down the field and scored a touchdown to go up 9-0 with 11:42 left in the first quarter.

Later in the first quarter, a few great runs by Conwell to extend the drive and a long pass to Dan Monteroso lead to a touchdown as the first quarter came to an end. The touchdown pass was 26 yards from Conwell to Monteroso. The extra point attempted by Christian Morris was missed, which made the score 9-6 with the Golden Eagles still on top.

The second quarter started quickly for Charleston as they faked a jet sweep and ran for an easy 35-yard touchdown by Joey Augustin to extend their lead to 16-6 after an extra point field goal. The very next drive West Liberty was able to drive down the field with great runs by Tyriq Dorsett and Dakota Conwell and they capped it off with a touchdown pass from Conwell to Monteroso from 10 yards out. With the made extra point by Christian Morris the lead was narrowed down to three.

The Golden Eagles next drive ended in a missed 46-yard field goal which gave the Hilltoppers pretty decent field position. On the first play of the drive Dakota Conwell faked a quarterback keeper and then threw it to wide receiver Anton McCallum for a 70-yard reception where he was brought down at the one-yard line. Conwell then ran it in for the one-yard touchdown with 4:19 seconds left in the first half. The extra point kick was good and the Hilltoppers had their first lead of the game with a score of 20-16.

Over half way through the third quarter the Hilltoppers pushed down the field with help from two huge penalties, one of which was a targeting call which disqualified a Charleston player. The drive resulted in a Christian Morris 38-yard field goal to put the Hilltoppers up 23-16.

The Hilltoppers started the fourth quarter off with the ball in Golden Eagle territory and didn’t waste any time as they got on the board for another score on a touchdown run by Tyler Peterson. The extra point was made by Christian Morris and that put West Liberty up 30-16. That made it 24 unanswered points after falling behind early to the Golden Eagles.

Two plays later after a quarterback change for Charleston, they scored on a 77-yard touchdown pass to star receiver Joey Augustin and with an extra point they cut the lead down to seven with 13:36 left in the game.

It didn’t take long for Conwell to lead the offense back into the Charleston red-zone with great passes to Monteroso and Marcus Malara but they weren’t able to get into the end zone. They were fortunate enough to come away with another Christian Morris field goal to put the Hilltoppers up ten by a score of 33-23.

After a turnover on downs, West Liberty got the ball back deep in Charleston territory, Tyler Peterson got into the end zone for his second touchdown run of the game. The extra point was made by Christian Morris and that put them up 40-23 with 1:43 left in the game. Charleston got the ball back after the kick-off but on their first run the running back fumbled the ball and Zach Barnes recovered the fumble. The Hilltoppers then got in victory formation and took a few kneel downs to conclude the game.

West Liberty came away with the victory against Charleston with a score of 40-23 and moves to 3-2 in the conference and makes the Golden Eagles 2-4 in the conference. The Hilltoppers will be back in action next Saturday against UVA-Wise at home for the homecoming game and that is set for a noon kickoff.

Be sure to grab this week’s Trumpet for an all football edition in the sports pages.

Photo by Savanna Sieger