Turnovers Costly for Toppers

ATHENS – An opportunistic Concord football team played take away and keep away in cruising to a 21-3 victory against West Liberty on Saturday afternoon at Callaghan Stadium.

The Mountain Lions (6-4, 5-2 WVC) forced the Hilltoppers (5-5, 4-4) into five turnovers and held the ball for more than 40 minutes to pick up their fourth victory in the last five games.

Concord set the tone early by taking the opening kickoff and grinding nearly 10 minutes off the clock on a frustrating 18-play, 69-yard scoring drive.

The Mountain Lions converted two fourth downs – one on a Hilltoppers personal foul that wiped out a Concord punt – and also cashed in three third downs to take a 7-0 lead. The final third down conversion came on a third-and-goal from the West Liberty 13 when quarterback Evin Dusold hit wide receiver Tyler Smith on a crossing route over the middle for the score.

The Hilltoppers tried to answer but Dylan Lagarde was intercepted by Mike Carey at the Concord 25 and the Mountain Lions defensive back returned the interception to midfield.

The West Liberty defense stiffened but the WLU offense couldn’t move the sticks and a short punt gave the ball back to the hosts in Hilltopper territory as the second quarter got under way.

Concord drove inside the West Liberty 10 and appeared to have been stopped when Dusold fumbled the snap on fourth-and-one from the WLU 8 but an offsides penalty against the Hilltoppers gave the ball back to the Mountain Lions and fullback Ben Nestor scored from four yards out on the next play.

Lagarde was intercepted again on the ensuing possession, setting up a 40-yard field goal by Andy Ellington that made the score 16-0 at halftime.