WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty-Salem defeated Southeastern in convincing fashion Friday night, running away with a 42-10 homecoming victory in OHC action.
The Tigers jumped out early when Brandon Wolfe went 61 yards on the second offensive play of the game. Wolfe also scored on a 73-yarder early in the second quarter and proved to be a bit much for the Trojans to handle, finishing with 198 yards on 11 carries with a pair of touchdowns.
WL-S opened up its lead to 14-0 when Dominic Smith found Brandon Upton wide open on a throw back to the quarterback. Upton caught the 6-yard pass near the 3-yard line and literally walked into the end zone.
The boys in orange threatened again on the next drive, as the defense recovered a fumble deep in Southeastern territory and drove the ball to the 5-yard line. But a couple of dropped passes left the ball there, with a turnover on downs.
“We looked good in bursts but there’s plays we need to work on and clean up,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said.
Late in the first quarter, Upton found Braden Miller for a 5-yard touchdown pass and the Tigers led 21-0.
The lead got pushed to 28-0 on Wolfe’s second long scoring run of the game early in the second quarter.
Upton telegraphed a throw on the Tigers’ next drive, leading to an easy interception and 42-yard touchdown return for Southeastern’s Trevor King. The pick-six made the score 28-7 in favor of the Tigers and took some life out of the home crowd.
That was the case until Upton threw the ball to Luke Woods behind the line of scrimmage and Woods hit Wolfe down the field for a 31-yard touchdown pass, igniting the homecoming crowd and opening the lead to 35-7 at halftime.
The second half went quickly, with Justin Salyers punching the ball in from the 2-yard line to put WL-S up 42-7 midway through the third quarter. That score activated the running clock that would expedite the inevitable conclusion.
“We feel like we have some guys that can do some good things with the ball in their hands,” McGill said. “Some of the guys that aren’t showing up in the box score every week – they work hard in practice and they deserve some recognition, too.”
Levi Moell picked off a pass late in the game for the Tigers’ defense to give the second string offense a shot, but the Tigers had to punt it away.
“I thought they played their assignments well,” McGill said of his defense. “But we still have to improve our open-field tackling.”
The Trojans would drive against the second string defense and put a field goal on the board with just under three minutes left to make it 42-10, but the Tigers recovered the ensuing onside kick and killed the clock.
Upton finished 11-of-18 passing for 148 yards, while Woods caught 4 passes for 55 yards and Dusty Moell had 2 catches for 42 yards.
WL-S (7-2, 5-1) closes out the regular season next Friday night by hosting Springfield Catholic Central.
Soccer time changed
The start time for the varsity boys soccer tournament game at West Liberty-Salem on Saturday has changed from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. West Liberty-Salem hosts Xenia Christian at Tiger Stadium.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller