By John Bombatch
JAMESTOWN — Brandon Upton threw five touchdown passes — and four of them went to Dusty Moell — in West Liberty-Salem’s 52-31 win over Greeneview at Don Nock Field.
Moell returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score, and snagged his final TD reception in the fourth quarter to give the Tigers a 15-point lead, but it may have been a pair of fourth-quarter fourth-down stops by the Tigers defense that ensured the West Liberty-Salem win.
“Greeneview has a nice team, and stopping their offense is difficult any time. We struggled tonight defensively and they took advantage of some things they saw in our alignment and attacked us. Obviously it worked for 31 points, but making those two fourth down stops in the fourth quarter was huge,” said Tigers coach Dan McGill. “It seemed like we were in a track meet with them for a while, but those stops seemed to kind of put a stop to that pattern.”
Trailing 46-31 with 8 minutes left in the game, the Rams went for it on fourth down-and-2 near midfield. Logan Test got the call, but defensive linemen Trevor Burden and Hunter Stewart stopped Test a yard shy of the first down.
Seven plays later, West Liberty-Salem’s Brandon Wolfe scored from 5 yards out for the game’s final 52-31 margin.
Desperate to try and claw their way back into the game, the Rams again went for it on fourth down with less than three minutes left to play, but quarterback Collin Matt was stopped on a 4th-and-2 run around the left side, and the Tigers ran out the clock from there.
West Liberty-Salem is now 4-1 this season and 2-0 in the Ohio Heritage Conference with a big league matchup at home against Mechanicsburg on Friday.
Greeneview falls to 3-2 overall, 1-1 OHC. The Rams are at Springfield Catholic Central next week.
The Rams had two players gain more than 100 yards on the ground in Friday’s loss.
Test ran for 186 yards and three scores, and Matt finished with 121 yards and a TD run on the ground.
Rams placekicker Bryce Wilson converted all four of his extra-point attempts, and booted a 25-yard field goal to pull Greeneview within seven points of West Liberty-Salem — trailing 24-17 — at the break.
“(Greeneview) did well, they played hard. We made some mistakes. We had some things go against us — some of it was our own doing; some of it was because West Lib’s pretty good. … But our kids kept battling. I think our kids should take a lot of pride in that. Now if we want to be good, we better start fixing some things,” Rams coach Neal Kasner said.
Upton threw for 211 yards on 15-for-21 passing in the Tigers win. Moell (pronounced ‘mail’) caught nine passes for 134 yards and those four scores. The Tigers shifty stop-n-go senior running back Trevor Anderson carried the ball 14 times for 151 yard and one TD.
Score by quarters
West Liberty-Salem 12 12 14 14 — 52
Greeneview 7 10 7 7 — 31
W — Dusty Moell 10 pass from Brandon Upton, Run failed.
W — Jeret Smith 14 pass from Upton. Run failed.
G — Logan Test 72 run, Bryce Wilson kick.
W — Moell 5 pass from Upton. Pass failed.
G — Collin Matt 34 run, Wilson kick.
W — Moell 85 kickoff return. Pass failed.
G — Wilson 25 field goal.
W — Trevor Anderson 31 run. Woods pass from Upton.
G — Test 8 run, Wilson kick.
W — Moell 29 pass from Upton. Pass failed.
G — Test 26 run. Wilson kick.
W— Moell 51 pass from Upton. Woods pass from Upton.
W— Brandon Wolfe 5 run. Run failed.