WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty jumped out to a 30-0 halftime lead and never looked back here Saturday in racing away to a 47-6 thrashing of Concord before a happy Homecoming crowd at sun-splashed West Family Stadium.
Quarterback Zach Phillips threw for 302 yards and 3 touchdowns, tight end Thomas Cole had 7 catches for 148 yards and the WLU defense forced five turnovers as Coach Roger Waialae’s Hilltoppers (3-3, 3-3) handed the Mountain Lions (0-6, 0-5) their sixth straight loss.
“We played well in all three phases of the game today,” Waialae said. “It was just a great team effort. We took advantage of our opportunities and even when things didn’t go perfectly, we still had guys step up and make plays.
“Offensively, we were able to take our shots on some 1-on-1 matchups and our guys won the 50-50 balls. We were much more aggressive defensively and did a great job of creating turnovers and we made several big plays on special teams. We played well in all three phases.”
A 24-yard TD pass from Phillips to tight end Ridge Durbin and a 2-yard scoring burst by tailback Quincy Wimbish capped West Liberty’s first two possessions as the hosts jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Concord had picked up its initial first down.
The Mountain Lions appeared to have turned the momentum when they blocked a WLU field goal try and followed that up with their longest play of the day, a 42-yard pass from Kyle Akin to Tywan Pearce that set up first-and-goal at the West Liberty 10.
Concord came away empty-handed, however, as returning All-Region cornerback Josh Ojo made a leaping interception in the end zone on the very next snap. The Hilltopper offense then marched 80 yards in 11 plays to go up 21-0 on a 12-yard slant to WR Isaiah Robinson, all but putting the game out of reach before the first quarter had concluded.
The West Liberty defense pushed the count to 23-0 midway through the second frame when safety Brandon Morrison tackled tailback Josh Maxwell in the end zone for a safety. Durbin’s second touchdown catch of the half, a 19-yard fade route from Phillips, made it 30-0 at the break.
The Hilltoppers racked up well over 300 yards of total offense in the first half with Phillips completing 15-of-29 passes for 275 yards. Cole pulled in all 7 of his catches in the first two quarters to go along with Durbin’s two touchdown grabs as the WLU tight ends found plenty of room to operate.
“Our tight ends are a little different than what you’re used to seeing,” Waialae said. “Their speed gives us an advantage with some matchups and we go a lot more vertical with them than most teams.”
Durbin led the team in receptions a year ago while Cole, who hails from nearby Brooke High School, transferred back to the valley from Wake Forest this year in order to be closer to home. Phillips, who has passed for nearly 1,500 yards with 13 TDs and only 3 interceptions this season, likes having these guys around.
“Concord played a lot of ‘man’ defense today and our guys did a great job of not just getting open but picking up a lot of yards after the catch,” the senior quarterback said. “What you saw today is a credit to those guys and what they’re capable of doing in this offense. We have playmakers everywhere – tight ends, wide receivers, running backs – and we’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
West Liberty picked up right where it had left off when play resumed, taking the second half kickoff and rumbling 65 yards in 5 plays with Wimbish’s 2-yard run pushing the count to 37-0.
The Hilltoppers’ Logan Deri blocked a Concord punt on the ensuing drive and Wimbish turned a short pass from backup QB Erick Taylor into his third touchdown of the day, an 18-yarder that made it 44-0 West Liberty with 9:06 left in the third quarter and allowed Waialae to rest most of his starters the rest of the way.
West Liberty more than doubled the Mountain Lions’ offensive output. The Hilltoppers had 470 yards of total offense with 325 coming through the air and another 145 on the ground. Concord managed just 51 rushing yards and 187 passing yards for 238 yards of total offense while throwing 3 interceptions and losing a pair of fumbles.
Robinson had 4 catches for 58 yards and a score while Durbin caught 3 passes for 45 yards and 2 TDs. Wimbish ran for 40 yards and 2 TDs on 9 carries while adding 47 more yards and another score on 2 pass receptions.
West Liberty goes back on the road next week for its only non-conference game of the season, traveling to Canton, Ohio to take on Walsh at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Concord 0 0 6 0 – 6
West Liberty 21 9 14 3 – 47
WLU: Durbin 24 pass from Z.Phillips (Rozanc kick), 12:19
WLU: Wimbish 2 run (Rozanc kick), 10:01
WLU: Robinson 12 pass from Z.Phillips (Rozanc kick), :34
WLU: Safety, Maxwell tackled in end zone by Morrison, 7:21
WLU: Durbin 19 pass from Z.Phillips (Rozanc kick), 5:47
WLU: Wimbish 2 run (Rozanc kick), 12:42
WLU: Wimbish 18 pass from Taylor (Rozanc kick), 9:06
CU: Plyler 2 pass from Akin (kick blocked), 4:44
WLU: FG Rozanc 33, 14:10
RUSHING: Concord 31-51; Maxwell 17-54; Kincaid 3-14; Shearer 1-4; Pearce 1-4; Mohler 1-0; Akin 8-(-25). West Liberty 34-145; Frisby 7-53; Wimbish 9-40; Johnson 4-36; Farmer 7-23; Taylor 2-0; Z.Phillips 5-(-7)
PASSING: Concord 12-25-238-1td-3x (Akin 12-23-187-1td-3x, Shearer 0-2-0-0). West
Liberty 19-40-325-4td-0x (Z.Phillips 17-31-302-3td-0x; Taylor 2-9-23-1td-0x)
RECEIVING: Concord 12-238; Pearce 4-100; Plyler 4-37; Kincaid 2-19; McNeal 1-16; Maxwell 1-15. West Liberty 19-325; Cole 7-148; Robinson 4-58; Durbin 3-45; Wimbish 2-47; Rita 2-22; Smoot 1-5.
First downs: Concord 10, West Liberty 23
Fumbles: Concord 3-2, West Liberty 1-1
Penalties: Concord 7-66, West Liberty 6-46
Time of Possession: Concord 30:41, West Liberty 29:19