WLU Announces 2018 Football Slate

WEST LIBERTY — Roger Waialae likes the way the 2018 football schedule shapes up as the veteran coach prepares for his 14th season at the West Liberty helm.

After kicking off the 11-game slate with three consecutive Thursday night contests — two of them on the road — the Hilltoppers play seven straight Saturday afternoon games before wrapping things up with one last Thursday night tilt under ≈the lights at West Family Stadium.

Starting times for all Saturday afternoon games will be announced at a later date.

“With so many Thursday night games the past couple of seasons, we wound up with some short week, long week, short week sequences that I think really wears on the players physically,” Waialae said. “Our first three games this year are all on Thursday nights, seven days apart, and then we have a 10-day break before our next game.

“I like the rhythm of the schedule because it allows you to settle into a routine from one week to the next. We get a weekend off after our first three games and then play on seven straight Saturdays. That places much less of a burden on our student-athletes.”

The season opens on Aug. 30 with a 7 p.m. game at Urbana with the Hilltoppers’ home opener set for Sept. 6 when West Virginia Wesleyan invades West Family Stadium. West Liberty heads to Charleston for another Thursday night game on Sept. 13 but won’t hit the field again until Sept. 22 when UVa-Wise comes to town.

The Hilltoppers head to Notre Dame on Sept. 29 before coming home to host defending MEC champion Shepherd on Oct. 6. An Oct. 13 trip to Glenville State follows and West Virginia State provides the Homecoming opposition on Oct. 20.

After making the long trek south to Concord on Oct. 27, West Liberty hosts Bloomsburg (Pa.) on Nov. 3 in WLU’s only non-conference game of the season.

“I was glad to finally be able to get a non-conference game in our region,” Waialae said. “Bloomsburg is a very good program so that’s a good game for both of us. Once we saw that our open dates meshed, we were able to put that together pretty quickly.”

The Hilltoppers bring down the curtain on the regular season on Nov. 8 when they welcome rival Fairmont State to West Family Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

On-field preparations for the 2018 season begin in earnest this weekend with the start of West Liberty’s spring practice. Spring drills conclude on April 21 with the annual Black and Gold Game.