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West Liberty Football Blasts Battlers

PHILIPPI — The West Liberty football team bolted out to a 24-0 halftime lead Saturday and coasted to a 38-6 win against Alderson Broaddus in Mountain East Conference action at ABU’s Multi-Sport Performance Stadium.

Coach Roger Waialae’s Hilltoppers (1-1) racked up more than 400 yards of total offense and 27 first downs while holding the Battlers (0-2) to just a dozen stick-movers and picking off three Alderson Broaddus passes in an impressive performance on both sides of the ball.

Redshirt freshman QB Jamie Diven impressed in his first collegiate start. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound southpaw completed 11-of-16 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns while operating a balanced WLU attack that ran for 242 yards and threw for 185 more. Senior tailback Quincy Wimbish keyed the potent Hilltopper ground game, rushing for a career-high 135 yards on 18 carries.

West Liberty’s defense and special teams also found their way to the scoreboard. Freshman defensive lineman John Brown had an interception and 15-yard TD return in his collegiate debut. Junior kicker Owen Rozanc drilled a 42-yard field goal and was perfect on all five PATs. The versatile Rozanc also averaged just under 40 yards a punt while driving all four of his punts inside the AB 20.

WLU took charge from the opening kickoff, driving 75 yards on just six snaps on the first possession of the game. Wimbish accounted for 45 of those yards on just two carries and Diven covered the last 21 yards by rifling a strike to WR Tariq Glenn in the back of the end zone.

Rozanc’s field goal pushed the lead to 10-0 heading into the second and that’s when West Liberty broke it open.

Two snaps after a 45-yard Rozanc punt had been downed at the AB 7-yard-line, Brown dropped back into a short zone coverage from his defensive line slot and picked off a short toss from Battler QB Ethan Garwood. The 5-10, 275-pound freshman found enough daylight to get to the end zone for a 15-yard TD return and a 17-0 WLU lead midway through the second.

West Liberty got the ball back inside its own 50 following a short Alderson Broaddus punt and ground out a 7-play, 46-yard scoring drive capped by a 3-yard Wimbish TD run to make it 24-0 at the half.

The Hilltoppers tacked on a 2-yard TD pass from Diven to senior TE Kyle Ritz in the third and concluded the scoring with a 3-yard bootleg run by redshirt freshman QB Jordan Wood late in the fourth.

The Battlers got a short fourth-quarter TD run from Dymeir Still to avoid the shutout.

West Liberty finished with a 27-12 edge in first downs and a whopping 35:49-24:11 advantage in time of possession after holding the Battlers to just 50 offensive snaps. Junior DE David Gilcreast had a team-high three tackles-for-loss while Brown, Jason Mitchell and Jamaal Petteway all had interceptions.

Next up for the Hilltoppers is their April 3 home debut against Frostburg State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. under the lights at West Family Stadium.

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