West Liberty Steamrolls W.Va. Wesleyan, 31-0
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – West Liberty exploded for 260 yards of total offense in the second half and the WLU defense pitched its second straight road shutout here Saturday in a 31-0 blanking of West Virginia Wesleyan at sun-splashed Cebe Ross Field.
Senior QB Jack Allison completed 16-of-23 passes for 229 yards and a pair of highlight-reel touchdowns to senior WR Isaiah Robinson, who posted his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game with 3 catches for 118 yards.
Coach Roger Waialae's Hilltoppers (2-2, 2-1) struck first as Allison capped West Liberty's first possession with a 25-yard TD pass to Robinson, who laid out to make a spectacular diving catch just inside the left corner of the end zone. Owen Rozanc's PAT made it 7-0 with 11:45 still to play in the opening quarter.
The WLU offense struggled for the remainder of the half – finishing with just 111 yards of total offense in the first two quarters – but the defense took matters into its own hands just before intermission.
Wesleyan QB Nathan Payne fired a quick out to the right sideline but Hilltopper cornerback J'Aire Pritchett jumped the route. Pritchett caught the ball in stride at the WVW 36 and sprinted untouched into the end zone for a 14-0 Hilltopper lead with 1:29 left in the half.
The second half was all West Liberty as the WLU offense found its footing with several long scoring drives. The Hilltoppers opened the third quarter with a lengthy match that ate nearly seven minutes off the clock before Rozanc booted a 27-yard field goal for a 17-0 bulge.
The back-breaker came just before the end of the third quarter when Robinson hauled in a short comebacker, pirouetted between two defensive backs and outraced everyone down the right sideline for a 77-yard touchdown.
That made it 24-0 heading into the third quarter and the issue had been all but decided. West Liberty tacked on another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter when tight end Jesse Collins picked up a fumbled shotgun snap and dove into the end zone from a yard out to conclude the scoring.
After picking up a respectable 178 yards of total offense on 45 first-half snaps, the Bobcats were held to just 49 total yards on 20 snaps over the last 30 minutes. Payne completed just 13-of-31 passes for 146 yards with two interceptions while Juwan Linzy had 5 catches for 96 yards. Javian Tomlinson was Wesleyan’s leading rusher with 5 carries for 26 yards on the final possession of the game.
Tyler Moler fell just shy of a third straight 100-yard rushing game, checking in with 87 yards on 21 carries. Linebacker Donte Davenport led WLU with 7 tackles and 2 tackles-for-loss while splitting a quarterback sack with DE Trevor Hoosier, who also had 2 tackles-for-loss among his 5 total tackles.
After blanking Alderson Broaddus, 24-0, two weeks ago in Philippi, Saturday’s win marked the first time West Liberty had posted multiple shutouts in the same season since the 1995 Black and Gold recorded three whitewashes.
The 2021 Hilltoppers return home to host Glenville State this week. Kickoff for the annual Hall of Fame Game is set for 1 p.m. at West Family Stadium.