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Wesleyan clinches share of WVC title

by Russell Mazzie

CORRESPONDENT

BUCKHANNON -- West Virginia Wesleyan assured itself at least a share of the West Virginia Conference crown, as the Bobcats claimed a 34-14 victory over Shepherd at Cebe Ross Field on Saturday.

The win moves Wesleyan to 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the conference, while the loss dropped the Rams to 3-6 overall and 3-3 in the league. All the other teams in the WVC have at least two league losses with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.

"We've now won five games in a row this year and have won 10 straight league games," said Wesleyan coach Bill Struble, whose team won the league title last season. "Shepherd was the preseason pick to win the league so this was a big win for us, and it keeps us alive in the conference race."

After a scoreless first period, the Bobcats took the lead in the second period, as Luke Struble scored his first of four touchdowns on the day to give the hosts a 7-0 lead. The Rams answered with Alex Herbert's 68-yard scoring run, but the point-after kick failed and left the guests behind, 7-6.

Wesleyan added a touchdown late in the second period to take a 14-6 lead at the break and led 21-6 in the third period. But a Shepherd score at the beginning of the fourth period and a two-point conversion cut their deficit to 21-14.

However, that was as close as the visitors could get, as Wesleyan answered with a 58-yard scoring drive on the next possession that took the wind out of Shepherd's sails and secured the win for the hosts.

Luke Struble finished the game with 94 yards and the four scores for the hosts, while Bobcat quarterback Marc Kimes threw for 187 yards and one score.

In all, Wesleyan rolled up 370 yards of offense while holding the Rams to just 239 yards for the game.

"I have to give credit to our defense," said Bill Struble. "They've been doing a great job for us all year. We have eight seniors over there and coach (Paul) Price has them prepared.

"They are a special group. They play as a unit and just do a god job."

n WEST LIBERTY 28, Glenville St. 24: In Glenville, sophomore Derrick Stickles carried 28 times for 235 yards and three touchdowns, including the winning TD, as West Liberty won its first game of the season.

West Liberty (1-7, 1-4) amassed 341 rushing yards compared to 271 yards rushing for Glenville (4-5, 4-1). The Hilltoppers' Bo White rushed for 125 yards and one TD for the day.

Both teams battled back and forth in the first half, each scoring three times. After halftime, Glenville's Antonio Carter scored on a 40-yard pass from Joey Conrad. Conrad completed 19 of 31 passes for 233 yards.

Stickles' 20-yard TD run came less than three minutes later in the third quarter to put West Liberty ahead for good.

The Hilltoppers had not won at Glenville since 1991.

n FAIRMONT ST. 13, West Virginia St. 10, OT: In Institute, sophomore Tyler Bailey's 35-yard field goal in overtime helped Fairmont State defeat West Virginia State.

West Virginia State (3-6, 3-2) received possession first in overtime. On the first play, Chris Lester fumbled, and Dustin Hass of Fairmont (4-4, 3-2) recovered the ball. Lester had 92 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown.

Mike Williams had 103 yards on 16 carries and one TD for Fairmont to lead all rushers. It was the second 100-yard rushing day of his career.

n TIFFIN 47, Charleston 17: In Tiffin, Ohio, Ryan Harpold threw three touchdown passes to Nate Washington, and Garrion Corbin rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns to lead Tiffin to a victory over Charleston.

n CONCORD 44, West Virginia Tech 28: In Concord, Concord's Kory Wright, a senior from Henderson, N.C., broke the NCAA Division II career reception record for a tight end in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard pass with 16 seconds left as Concord beat West Virginia Tech.

Wright caught three passes for 21 yards, which gave him 200 career catches, one more than the previous record holder, Barry Naone of Portland State, who caught 199 passes from 1985-88.