Football ‘Cats fall on last second field goal to West Liberty, 23-21

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan (0-4, 0-3) football team dropped a road game to West Liberty (3-1, 2-1) on Saturday (Sept. 24) at West Family Stadium.

After missing an extra point and a 32-yard attempt earlier in the game, Justin Kaplan drilled a 48-yard game-winning field goal late in regulation that gave the Hilltoppers a 23-21 lead with 10 seconds left in regulation.

WVWC Leaders
Nathan Payne completed 11 passes for 110 yards and a score. Javian Tomlinson rushed for 81 yards and rumbled into the end zone. Devin Washington tallied a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown.

Deontre Logan recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss. Logan and Donovan Woods both led the Bobcats with seven total tackles. Woods added two breakups. Renard Matthews forced a fumble.

West Liberty Leaders
Rudy Garcia passed three touchdowns for 272 yards in the air. Quincy Wimbish rushed for 86 yards. T.J. Griffin hauled in three receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Shyoun Petteway recorded seven tackles, a breakup and an interception.

Inside the First Half
The Hilltopper offense started the game generating six points after going seven plays for 61 yards. WLU missed an important extra point. The Bobcats jumped out to a 7-6 lead after Washington punched in a four-yard rush. The Hilltoppers attempted a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter but could not capitalize. Wesleyan held a one-point advantage after the first half of play.

Inside the Second Half
Garcia connected with Griffin for a 16-yard pass to put the Hilltoppers on top in the third quarter. Garcia threw his third touchdown pass of the afternoon at the 2:57 mark in the third frame to give WLU a 20-7 lead.

The Bobcats scored early in the fourth quarter to erase the deficit to six points. Payne delivered an 18-yard touchdown completion to Devin Washington. Matthews punched the ball out of Wimbish’s arms with 9:36 to go in the final quarter to give WVWC favorable field position. The Wesleyan offense orchestrated a 10-play, 56-yard scoring drive that was capped off by Tomlinson finding the end zone on a rush. Cam Ceccotti nailed the PAT, and Wesleyan led by one point with 6:05 remaining.

On the ensuing WLU drive, the Bobcat defense forced a turnover on downs with 2:15 of game time left. The Bobcats went three-and-out while West Liberty burned all of its timeouts on the next possession. The Hilltoppers regained possession at its 38-yard line with 1:05 left on the clock. Garcia led the ‘Toppers to the WVWC 31-yard line in 55 seconds to set up a 48-yard field goal attempt for Kaplan to put WLU back ahead. Kaplan hit the field goal and WLU survived, 23-21.

Up Next
West Virginia Wesleyan football will host Wheeling on Saturday (Oct. 1) for its homecoming game. The game is set to begin at noon from Cebe Ross Field.

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