Returning sophomore quarterback Dylan LaGarde opened Thursday
night's Black and Gold Game with a 58-yard pass to transfer wide
receiver Anton McCallum, setting up the first touchdown of an
entertaining evening at West Liberty's Russek Field.
LaGarde-to-McCallum connection was merely the first of several
explosive plays by offensive and defensive players alike as the Gold
(offense) posted a 66-47 win against the Black (defense) on a perfect
evening for football on the Hilltopper campus.
was a little worried the offense might lay an egg tonight after I
talked about how much more competitive we've been on that side of the
ball this spring," head coach Roger Waialae said after bringing down the
curtain on his 10th set of spring drills, "but that's what we've seen
days the defense has had the upper hand and other days it's been the
defense but the main thing is we've had competition on both sides of the
ball and that's what makes you better."
TB Isiah Moody slammed across from the 2 on the next snap as the
offense got off to a flying start but the defense put some points on its
side of the ledger with three straight 3-and-outs in the complicated
scoring system which awarded points for defensive stops, turnovers,
tackles-for-loss, sacks, first downs, etc.
safety Marco Ricchetti, showing no rust after sitting out a redshirt
year, had a tackle-for-loss during this stretch along with junior
defensive back Josh White and sophomore linebacker Dylan Dominico.
Sophomore linebacker Zach Barnes recorded the game's first quarterback
freshman QB Dan Leonard then got into the act, scampering 16 yards on
3rd-and-15 to keep a drive alive. He converted another third down by
rolling out to his right and hitting diving sophomore WR Daree Goodwin
with a 45-yard strike to the 3-yard-line. Two snaps later, Goodwin – the
game's leading receiver with 3 catches for 69 yards – leaped high for a
one-handed TD grab at the back of the end zone.
running backs made positive impressions. Moody had 13 carries for 71
yards while freshman Braxton Gamble ripped off a 42-yard run and
finished with 72 yards on 6 carries. Redshirt freshman Jeremiah Ortiz
had a 30-yard run to highlight a 12-carry, 55-yard performance.
As Waialae noted, West Liberty's veteran defensive corps turned in its share of highlight-reel plays.
starters Andrew Faraimo and Alec Wood each were charted with multiple
tackles-for-loss while sophomore NT Khalil Seaburn had a sack. Sophomore
LB Garrett Vulcano and redshirt freshman DB Ellis Randall had the two
biggest hits of the night.
safety Tanner Stocker just missed a "pick-6" when he was tumbled out of
bounds at the 3 at the end of a nice interception return midway through
West Liberty kicks off the 2014 season at home on Sept. 6 against defending Mountain East Conference champion Shepherd.