A.J. Proger, Sports Editor
The West Liberty University Football team was stunned for the second time in a home game this season with a 43-41 controversial loss to West Virginia Wesleyan.
West Virginia Wesleyan’s Trey Massey put the winning score on the board with 9.6 seconds remaining in the game when he went downfield and took three strides out of bounds before diving back in bounds to catch a 21-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Adam Neugebauer.
This was a game that was back and forth all afternoon with plenty of excitement and drama for fans of both teams.
The visiting Bobcats scored the game’s first 13 points.
Jonas Celian got things going 3:25 into the game as he recovered a fumble, scooped it up and ran 60 yards untouched for the touchdown and the Phillip Warner PAT made it 7-0 in favor of the visitors.
The Bobcats extended the lead when Neugebauer found T.J. Benners pass for a 14-yard reception.
The extra point was blocked, making it 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The hosts would get on the board 15 seconds into the second frame when Kevon Calhoun ran into the endzone to cut the Bobcat lead to 13-7 on the Mike Blewett extra point.
Head Coach Roger Waialae went to the bag of tricks as Blewett attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Toppers’ Lawrence Robinson at the Wesleyan 38 yard line.
Zack Amedro took matters into his own hands with an eight-yard quarterback keeper, and Blewett hit the PAT for a 14-13 Topper advantage.
The hosts struck again with 5:19 remaining on the second quarter clock when Ryan Travis caught a 26-yard reception for a 20-13 lead with theextra point attempt blocked.
The visitors answered that score with one of their own as Jon Meadows caught a 31-yard Neugebauer pass and the converted extra point knotted the score to 20.
The Toppers responded right before the teams went into the locker room with a 10 yard Amedro to Willie Walker pass, finishing the first half with a 27-20 Topper advantage.
Early in the third quarter, Wesleyan’s Julio Valentine ran it in from a yard out, making it 27-27.
Philip Warner capped the third quarter scoring with a long 43-yard field goal and a 30-27 Bobcat lead at the end of three.
The fourth quarter provided many fireworks on the scoreboard.
Amedro found David Carter for a 20-yard touchdown reception, and the hosts regained
the lead 34-30.
With 6:59 remaining in the ballgame, Alec Wood made an extremely costly mistake when he muffed a punt at the Topper 20 that was recovered by the Bobcats’ Jeff Parish at the Topper 14.
The Bobcats made the Toppers pay, as Ryan Reed caught a four-yard touchdown pass, and Wesleyan regained the lead 37-34 with 5:09 remaining in the game.
The theme of “anything you can do, I can do better” continued on the next drive, as the hosts drove the length of the field, and Calhoun picked up his second touchdown of the afternoon on a one-yard run to put the Black and Gold back on top to 41-37 with 1:32 remaining in the contest.
Stephan Knox returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the Bobcat 48, setting the visitors up in great field possession.
Neugebauer completed the scoring with the 21-yard pass to Massey, and the Bobcats came out on top with the 43-41 upset victory.
The loss drops West Liberty to 1-2 and 0-1 in conference play.
A nationally televised game at Fairmont State is on tap for tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
Viewers who do not get CBS College Sports can view the game live on West Liberty Television WLTV Channel 14 on Comcast Cable.
The Toppers return home Saturday, Oct. 9 as the Glenville State Pioneers come in for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.
In other games around the conference, Glenville State defeated Fairmont State in overtime 17-14, Concord over Charleston 38-27, and Shepherd downing Seton Hill 46-17.
Upcoming games in the WVIAC this week include West Virginia Wesleyan at Seton Hill, Charleston at Shepherd, Glenville State at UNC-Pembroke, and West Virginia State at Concord.