Hilltoppers Drop Heartbreaker at Concord
ATHENS, W.Va. – The West Liberty University football team came out on the short end of a 20-16 score against Concord here Saturday in a bizarre Homecoming Game at Callaghan Stadium.
After the Hilltoppers (3-2, 3-2) took a 16-15 lead on a quarterback sneak in the opening minute of the fourth quarter only to see the Mountain Lions (2-3, 2-3) block the PAT and run it all the way for a 2-point defensive safety, regaining the lead at 17-16.
Concord tacked on a short field goal midway through the quarter to push the margin to 20-16 but the West Liberty defense came up big when Jason Mitchell picked off a Mountain Lion pass – his second interception of the day – at the WLU 37 with 3:40 remaining.
Fighting the clock and the Concord defense, the Hilltoppers drove down inside the CU 25 before a quarterback sack set up 4th-and-12 from the 30. Jack Allison fired a sideline dart to a diving Isaiah Robinson for an apparent first down at the 16 but Robinson was ruled out-of-bounds on the catch, allowing the hosts to take over with 1:32 to play and put the game on ice.
West Liberty drew first blood with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Allison to TE Jesse Collins to go up 7-0 at 2:57 of the first quarter. The Hilltoppers pushed the count to 10-0 when a Mitchell pick at the Concord 23 set up a 36-yard Owen Rozanc field goal.
The Mountain Lions broke through with a 34-yard TD throw from Jack Mangel to Tywan Pearce, cutting the margin to 10-6 with just 3:23 left in the half. Concord missed the PAT but a West Liberty miscue on the ensuing kickoff backed the Hilltoppers up to their own 1. Allison fumbled the first down snap but covered it in the end zone for a safety.
The Mountain Lions' Kris Copeland gave the hosts their first lead of the game, 15-10, when he capped a 69-yard, 9-play drive with a 5-yard scoring burst at 5:40 of the third quarter.
An exchange of punts set West Liberty up with great field position and the visitors capitalized with a 38-yard scoring march, touching off the bizarre turn of events that put Concord ahead to stay.
Allison completed 18-of-38 passes for 156 yards and Tyler Moler had 45 rushing yards on 16 attempts as WLU was held to just 189 yards of total offense on 70 snaps.
Copeland was the game's leading rusher for the Mountain Lions with 115 yards on 21 carries while Pearce finished with 6 catches for 70 yards. Mangel completed 21-of-35 passes for 195 yards with one touchdown and the two interceptions by Mitchell.
The teams combined for a staggering 221 yards on 25 penalties. Concord was flagged 17 times for 145 yards with WLU being assessed 76 yards on 8 penalties – both season-highs.
West Liberty returns home on Saturday to host Fairmont State in the Hilltoppers' annual Homecoming Game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at West Family Stadium.