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(September 9) Roger Gorby was back on the practice field Monday morning, following Liberty's 27-21 victory over Grafton last Friday.
For only the second time in a coaching career that
spans three decades, the veteran coach had missed a game.
But he didn't worry when he was gone.
"I feel I have some of the best assistants in the state," said Gorby, who underwent surgery Friday afternoon. "I wasn't surprised that they did such a tremendous job."
Missing the key Big 10 Conference game was tough for Gorby, however.
"I didn't find out until about 11 o'clock that we had won when my wife told me," he said.
The game, which had many ebbs and flows, was won in the final period when the Mountaineers rallied from a 21-14 deficit.
"We've been kind of snakebitten so far," Gorby said. "It seems like every day something has gone wrong with either an injury or something weird.
"So for these kids to suck it up and come back like they did really tells me something about them."
Not only did the Mountaineers not have Gorby, they began the game without two backfield starters, tailback Zach Carpenter and fullback Xavier Scott. In addition, big tackle Robert Searcy went down near the end of the first period with a knee strain and didn't play in the second quarter.
It seemed like a dire situation for assistant coach Bryan Fisher, who called the shots in Gorby's place.
"They began blitzing us more in the second quarter and it seemed to slow us down some," Fisher said. "We adjusted some, and had our backs check releasing out of the backfield instead of just releasing and that seemed to help."
After Grafton took the lead in the third quarter, Liberty's offense began moving the ball.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers used their ground game for the win.
"We were gaining five and seven yards a clip, so I wasn't about to stop" running the ball, Fisher said.
-- Nathan Fields, Elkins, completed 12-of-19 passes for 142 yards and two TDs while rushing for 28 yards and another score in the Tigers' 61-19 loss to Morgantown.
-- Dave Patterson, Liberty, hit on 15-of-22 passes for 223 yards and two scores in Liberty's win over Grafton.
-- Cody Phillips, University, completed 12-of-16 passes for 115 yards and a score in the Hawks' 27-0 win over East Fairmont.
-- Chad Northcroft, Tyler Consolidated, rushed for 180 yards and two TDs in Tyler's 19-9 victory at South Harrison.
-- John Loy, Valley Wetzel, gained 180 yards and scored three times in the Lumberjacks' 34-14 win over Frontier (Ohio).
-- Chris Yura, Morgantown, gained 196 yards on just 18 carries and scored five touchdowns in the Mohigans' win over Elkins.
-- Mark Wygal, Morgantown, rushed eight times for 130 yards and three TDS backing up Yura.
-- Chad Merchant, Fairmont Senior, ran back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a TD and gained 111 yards on nine carries in the Polar Bears' 28-7 loss to rival North Marion.