WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Rudy Garcia led the West Liberty University football team to three straight touchdown drives to start the second half and Shon Stephens snagged four, of WLU’s six, interceptions to propel the Hilltoppers to a 30-17 home opening win over Alderson Broaddus this evening at West Family Stadium.

West Liberty improves to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in Mountain East Conference play, the first 2-0 start since 2007. 

Stephens brings his impressive season total to now six interceptions in two games to start the year, his four picks tonight set an MEC record for most in a single game. The defense as a whole tied the MEC single game record with six interceptions in the win. J’Aire Pritchett and Jason Mitchell added fourth quarter picks of their own to bolster the defense.

The Hilltoppers were kept out of the endzone in the first half with the only points coming off the leg of Justin Kaplan. He sent in a 24 yard field goal after a 10-play opening drive to go up 3-0.

Alderson Broaddus tied things up at the three minute mark in the first quarter and then took the lead with the only score of the second quarter, a 20-yard touchdown rush with 3:30 to play in the half.

Rudy Garcia got the ball under center for the Hilltoppers in the second half after Jamie Diven went down with injury. Garcia led West Liberty to a 20-point third quarter to take control of the contest.

The first three drives of the Hilltoppers second half resulted in touchdowns. On the opening drive, Garcia found Craig Bober for 38 yards and the score to bring the ‘Toppers within a point. 

On a 4th-and-3 at the 24 yard line Garcia scrambled and dove across the goal line to put West Liberty out in front, 16-10. The rush capped off a 9-play, 93-yard drive for the Black and Gold with just over five minutes to play in the third.

After the defense forced a turnover on downs near midfield, Garcia put the offense to work again and worked them deep into Battler territory. RayQuin Glover pulled in the Hilltoppers third touchdown of the quarter on a four-yard lofted pass from Garcia to the far pylon.

Alderson Broaddus made it interesting with a touchdown with three minutes to play in the game. Then, a fumble by West Liberty with two minutes left gave the Battlers the ball on the WLU 25 yard line. Stephens made his third interception of the game in the endzone to immediately halt the Battler attack on the first play after the turnover.

AB was able to get the ball back once more with 30 seconds to play. Stephens was back at it with his record-breaking fourth interception of the night, this time a pick-six on the second play of the drive to put the nail in the coffin.

Edwin Linares-Rivera led the Black and Gold tackling with seven, including three for loss. Linares-Rivera also added three sacks to his record.

Garcia ended the night 11-of-15 for 122 yards and two TDs. The Hilltoppers outgained the Battlers overall on the night and featured a commanding advantage on the ground game, while obtaining 25 first downs in the contest.

West Liberty hits the road next week for their first Saturday game of the season when they take on Notre Dame College. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 noon.