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No. 21 West Liberty Rallies Past Shepherd

October 18, 2009

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – No. 21 West Liberty stormed back from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter here Saturday to beat Shepherd, 31-30, in a West Virginia Conference battle of regionally-ranked foes at Ram Stadium.

Quarterback Zach Amedro torched the Shepherd secondary for a season-high 427 yards through the air while wide receiver Kashif Walls surpassed the 200-yard receiving mark and the Hilltoppers (7-1, 5-0) came up with several clutch defensive stands down the stretch to post their seventh straight win.

West Liberty tailback Kevon Calhoun (34) outraces Shepherd defensive back Deante Steele (28) to the end zone on a 25-yard scoring run during the third quarter of Saturday's West Virginia Conference game at Ram Stadium in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

West Liberty tailback Kevon Calhoun (34) outraces Shepherd defensive back Deante Steele (28) to the end zone on a 25-yard scoring run during the third quarter of Saturday's West Virginia Conference game at Ram Stadium in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

West Liberty battled poor field position and trailed for much of the game against a Shepherd (5-3, 4-2) team that had won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the two schools.

Ram All-American return specialist Deante Steele had restored the hosts’ 13-point lead with less than 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter when he answered Kevon Calhoun’s 25-yard TD run by returning the kickoff 86 yards to paydirt to put the Hilltoppers in a 30-17 hole.

But Amedro found Walls behind the Shepherd secondary for a 32-yard scoring toss in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and the West Liberty defense dug in its heels.

Derek Evans short-circuited the ensuing Ram possession with his WVIAC-leading 6th interception of the season.

Amedro marched the visitors back down the field only to see Shepherd’s Layton Hersh come up with his second interception of the day to snuff the Hilltopper drive inside the Ram 5.

With time becoming a factor, the West Liberty defense delivered a 3-and-out and a short punt gave the Hilltoppers the ball at the Shepherd 29.

Six plays later, Amedro rolled to his left and threaded the needle to Ryan Travis for a 6-yard scoring play. Mike Blewett’s PAT gave West Liberty a 31-30 lead with 5:13 remaining.

After the Hilltopper defense delivered another 3-and-out, Amedro and Walls just missed connections on a 33-yard pass into the end zone and Blewett came on to punt the ball out of bounds at the hosts’ 15 with 2:48 remaining.

Clancy drove the Rams across midfield but just as Shepherd was drawing into field goal range, All-America linebacker Clay Beeler came up with a game-saving interception at the West Liberty 36 with just 1:40 to go and the Hilltoppers ran out the clock.

Amedro’s big day – he completed 30-of-55 passes for 427 yards and 2 TDs – moved him into fourth place all-time in the WVIAC in passing yards (8,694) and touchdown passes (68) while boosting him into fifth place in total offense (8,526).

Walls has caught at least one TD pass of 25 yards or longer in every game he’s played this season. Saturday’s 9-catch, 204-yard performance gives him 851 yards and 13 TDs on the year.

Calhoun was held under the 100-yard mark for only the second time all season but still ran for 87 yards and 2 TDs on 16 carries, leaving him just 11 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Clancy completed 12-of-28 passes for 181 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions for Shepherd. Tommy Addison ran for 111 yards on 24 carries in a losing cause while Neal Hardie had 4 catches for 118 yards.

West Liberty came into Saturday’s game ranked No. 7 in the Northeast Region. Beating the Rams, who were ranked No. 9 regionally, set up what will likely be billed as the WVIAC game of the year next weekend.

The Hilltoppers will go back on the road to battle No. 11-ranked Charleston (8-0, 6-0) with first place in the WVIAC standings and the inside track to a playoff berth on the line. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Laidley Field.

West Liberty 31, Shepherd 30

West Liberty 3   7   7 14 – 31

Shepherd 0 16 14   0 – 30

First Quarter

WLU: FG Blewett 23, 10:43

Second Quarter

SU: Muhammad 26 pass from Clancy (Dobratz kick), 13:23

SU: Hardie 33 pass from Clancy (Dobratz kick), 7:25

SU: Safety, punt snap out of end zone, 5:19

WLU: Calhoun 23 run (Blewett kick), 1:10

Third Quarter

SU: Addison 4 run (Dobratz kick), 8:58

WLU: Calhoun 25 run (Blewett kick), 3:04

SU: Steele 86 kickoff return (Dobratz kick), 2:46

Fourth Quarter

WLU: Walls 32 pass from Amedro (Blewett kick), 14:41

WLU: Travis 6 pass from Amedro (Blewett kick), 5:14

A: 1,864

Game Statistics

RUSHING: West Liberty 27-78, Calhoun 16-87, Hills 2-6, Travis 1-0, Amedro 4-(-3), Team 4-(-12). Shepherd 38-148, Addison 24-111, Hoyte 10-47, Muhammad 1-1, Clancy 3-(-11).

PASSING: West Liberty 30-55-427-2td-2x (all by Amedro). Shepherd 12-29-181-2td-2x (all by Clancy)

RECEIVING: West Liberty 30-427, Walls 9-204, Walker 8-87, Travis 6-59, Calhoun 4-37, Hills 3-40. Shepherd 12-181, Hardie 4-118, Muhammad 4-47, Lowe 2-23, Addison 1-(-3), Fry 1-(-4).

First downs: West Liberty 23, Shepherd 14

Fumbles: West Liberty 0-0, Shepherd 0-0

Penalties: West Liberty 7-54, Shepherd 5-41

Time of Possession: West Liberty 31:39, Shepherd 28:21

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