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‘Storm’ Warning Issued for West Liberty

September 11, 2009

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty University head football coach Roger Waialae has issued a “Storm” warning for Saturday afternoon at Russek Field.

    That’s when Waialae’s Hilltoppers close out the non-conference portion of their schedule against the Lake Erie (Ohio) Storm in the 14th annual Alumni Scholarship Bowl.

    Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. with a pre-game tailgate party getting under way at 11 a.m. in the parking lot adjacent to Russek Field.

    In just its second season of intercollegiate football, Lake Erie is rapidly building a reputation as a West Virginia Conference “killer.”

West Liberty QB Zach Amedro ranks No. 2 nationally with 645 passing yards through the Hilltoppers’ first two games.

West Liberty QB Zach Amedro ranks No. 2 nationally with 645 passing yards through the Hilltoppers’ first two games.

    The first football victory in Lake Erie history was a 34-27 upset of eventual WVIAC champion Glenville State last fall. The Storm comes into Saturday’s game fresh off a 27-24 overtime victory against Fairmont State.

    “Lake Erie definitely has some talented players,” Waialae said, “and they’ll give us a very different look from what we’ve seen our first two games.

    “They like to run the option and they’ll spread the field and throw the ball. Preparing for them this week was a lot like preparing for Charleston.”

    Sean Bedevelsky leads the Storm attack. The sophomore QB has completed 36-of-61 passes for 368 yards and 3 TDs. He’s also emerged as a running threat with 18 carries for 57 yards and 3 more scores.

    Against Fairmont last week, Bedevelsky led Lake Erie on a 67-yard drive for the tying touchdown in the final 48 seconds of regulation before hitting Brandon James for the game-winner in overtime.


    Tony Howard, one of only three seniors on the Lake Erie roster, is the workhorse of the Storm ground game. The burly Kent State transfer has rushed for 190 yards and 2 TDs on 42 carries this season.

    James is Lake Erie’s top possession receiver with 12 catches for 88 yards while Dave Romeo offers a downfield threat with 11 catches for 154 yards.

    This is the first meeting between the Storm and the Hilltoppers but Waialae doesn’t believe his team will be caught looking ahead.

    “One thing our guys have always been pretty good about is focusing on the task at hand,” Waialae said. “They have a passion for playing the game so they don’t care who’s on the other sideline when Saturday gets here.”

    That passion was on display in a pretty big way last Saturday when West Liberty raced out to a 41-3 halftime lead before cruising to a 48-17 victory against Walsh.

    Quarterback Zach Amedro passed for 358 yards and 4 TDs. Tailback Kevon Calhoun posted his second straight 100-yard rushing day and wide receiver Kashif Walls had 7 catches for 129 yards and 2 TDs.

    Amedro ranked No. 2 in the nation this week with 645 passing yards through 2 games and is just 441 yards away from cracking the WVIAC’s top 10 career passing list.

    Waialae says his junior QB may be working with the deepest and most talented corps of wide receivers in Hilltopper history.

    West Liberty has had 12 pass completions of 20 yards or more in the first two games with five different receivers as the targets.

    “This is the best we’ve been at wide receiver since I came here,” said the coach. “We saw a couple of plays on tape where all five receivers in the pattern were open and Zach had to decide which one to pick. I guess that’s a great problem to have.

    “What it means is that we have 6 or 7 guys we can go to in the clutch. Most teams just have 1 or 2. That really opens things up for an offense.”

    The five newest members of the West Liberty Athletic Hall of Fame – E.J. Burt and Greg Dailer (football), Ashlea Bland and Kelly West (women’s basketball) and Brian Edison (wrestling) – will receive their commemorative plaques and be introduced to the crowd at halftime of Saturday’s game.

    The Hilltoppers kick off their WVIAC slate on the road next week with a 1 p.m. kickoff at West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday.


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