Amedro Shines for Toppers
WEST LIBERTY – The potent West Liberty offense came into Saturday’s Homecoming game against Glenville State with one hand tied behind its back.
Fortunately for the Hilltoppers, that hand wasn’t attached to the strong right arm of quarterback Zach Amedro.
Amedro completed 37 of 55 passes for 462 yards and five touchdowns as the Hilltoppers (3-2 overall, 2-1 West Virginia Conference) – playing without injured rushing leader Kevon Calhoun – knocked the visiting Pioneers (3-3, 2-1) from the ranks of the WVIAC unbeaten in a 47-21 rout at Russek Field.
Amedro, the WVIAC’s career passing leader, moved into the No. 3 spot on the all-time NCAA Division II passing list with 12,556 yards and is just two touchdown passes shy of the WVIAC career mark of 104 scoring tosses, held by Glenville’s Joey Conrad.
”Kevon actually got hurt on the first play of the Fairmont game but with all that adrenaline, he was able to play through it,” West Liberty coach Roger Waialae said. ”When he went out to warm up before the game, he wasn’t able to cut off the foot so we shut him down.
”DeVaughn (Gordon) did a really good job of learning on the fly. Kevon was right there with him on the sidelines helping him with what he needed to do and Zach and everybody else stepped up. This was a good team win against a very good football team.”
Gordon, a sophomore from Wheeling Central, rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while adding 31 more yards on three catches out of the backfield, but Amedro and the Hilltoppers did most of their damage through the air as three receivers went past the 100-yard mark.
Senior tight end Ryan Travis padded his NCAA Division II-leading receiving stats with 13 catches for 126 yards while senior Pauly Ferguson had a breakout game with eight catches for a career-high 128 yards and two TDs. Jermaine Carter had his second 100-yard game of the season with nine catches for 112 yards and a score.
”Zach makes so many plays and does such a good job of getting us into the right play at the line of scrimmage that you almost take him for granted,” Waialae said. ”Ryan Travis is a tough matchup who not only gives us great production but opens a lot of things up for his teammates. We have a lot of good receivers so we never tell Zach who to throw to; we just tell him to go through his progressions and hit the open guy. He usually finds him.”
Glenville kept things interesting early by hitting a couple of long touchdown passes to trail 20-14 at the half, but Amedro opened the third quarter with touchdown passes of 19 yards to Ferguson and 11 yards to Travis and the Hilltoppers coasted home.
Despite giving up the two first-half touchdown passes, the West Liberty defense turned in another solid performance.
Glenville managed just 11 first downs and never got its running game going, netting just 15 yards on 19 attempts. The Pioneers finished with 277 yards of total offense compared to 524 for West Liberty.
Hilltoppers defensive end Ryan Mirich led the defensive effort with two tackles-for-loss, a fumble recovery and his first career interception, which he returned 16 yards into Glenville territory during the first quarter.
”I was pretty pleased overall,” Waialae said. ”We gave up the two easy scores in the first half but we came to play in the second half. We have to stop making those mistakes that keep the other team in the game and we need to be more consistent in the back. We’ve been able to shut down the run but the more teams see that, the more they’re going to throw against us so we have to be prepared for that.”