WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. The West Liberty University football team had Glenville State on the ropes coming down the stretch Saturday but couldn't deliver the knockout punch and the Pioneers slipped out of town with a 17-14 victory.
"We have to learn how to win," Hilltopper head coach Roger Waialae said. "We made plays on both sides of the ball today against a very good football team. If one more play swings our way at any point, we're probably walking out of here with a win. We just couldn't come up with that play."
Glenville (2-3, 2-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead on two first-quarter TD passes by senior quarterback Darold Hughes. The veteran signalcaller tossed a 6-yarder to Darian Cleckley following an early West Liberty (2-3, 1-2) turnover and closed out the quarter with a 29-yard post route to Orlandus Harris.
The Pioneers, who entered the game averaging 37 points and nearly 500 yards of total offense against NCAA Division II competition, appeared on their way to another offensive extravaganza only to see the Hilltopper defense slam the door.
West Liberty held Glenville to just one field goal over the final three quarters and limited the Pioneers to just 285 yards of total offense while intercepting a season-high 5 passes.
"The most discouraging thing to me right now," Waialae said, "is that we're 2-3 and our defensive front has controlled the line of scrimmage in every game."
On the offensive end, Hilltopper true freshman Dylan Lagarde provided a spark in relief of starting QB L.D. Crow, passing for a career-high 232 yards and guiding a pair of long scoring drives.
Lagarde entered the game on WLU's first possession of the second quarter and ignited a 6-play, 68-yard drive that put the Hilltoppers' first points on the board.
The freshman completed 3-of-4 passes for 36 yards on the march.