The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

October 5, 2013

Webster beats Raiders for 1st victory

GLEN DANIEL — Liberty lost in the fog, but coach Jeff Alexander knows the game got away long before the pea soup rolled in.

Webster County had a 200-yard rusher, recovered two onside kicks and got its first win of the season, beating the Raiders 50-38 Friday night in Glen Daniel.

“This program, we have been through so much adversity this year,” said first-year Highlanders head coach Wesley Eddy. “We’ve had a ton of kids hurt. It’s been tough. But a lof of these kids are resilient. I mean, the stuff they had to do to win this game. We ended this game with 18 healthy bodies.”

The Highlanders (1-5) dressed only 21 players, lost two to injury and had another ejected. But Eddy was more than happy with the way his players fought.

Halfback Walker Lawson, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior, was among the players on the field for just about every snap. He still wound up with 232 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

His effort was part of a night where neither team did much defensively. Liberty edged Webster 417-414 in total offense.

The difference came on special teams — particularly when the Highlanders kicked off. Webster recovered two onside kicks, as well as a pooch kick, to give itself possession on Liberty’s side of the field.

The Highlanders scored on just one of the plays — senior quarterback Jacob Thayer’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Davis in the first quarter — but the Raiders squandered chances to stay in the shootout.

“Our special teams coach (Ross Robinson) saw something in film study, and he just badgered me the whole time, “We gotta do this, we gotta do this,’” Eddy said. “I said, ‘You want me fired.’ We were joking, but he did a good job of studying. He implemented the game plan and it worked out great.”

“You just can’t do that,” Liberty coach Jeff Alexander said. “We gave them every opportunity to win and that’s what they did. They took advantage of it.”

Thayer also had a big night for Webster. He completed 4 of 9 passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 65 yards and another pair of touchdowns.

“When you run veer option, he has to make so many decisions,” Eddy said. “He’s got to reach and ride that fullback and trust that that mesh is there. He made a lot of great decisions tonight. He made a lot of great (option) pitches that were right on the mark to (Lawson). He was a good game manager.”

Liberty quarterback Hunter Wright was 14-of-24 for 272 yards and three touchdowns. Tre’Shaun McDowell had eight receptions for 154 yards and two scores, and also scored on a 1-yard run.

Liberty was within 44-38 late, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call thwarted a drive at its 15-yard line. The Highlanders took over there, and Thayer’s 5-yard touchdown made it a two-touchdown game with 2:04 to play.

The last six minutes of the game were played as a fairly dense fog settled onto the field.

“I think we lost a couple balls in the fog, but that’s not an excuse,” Alexander said. “We had opportunities before that.”

Sophomore running back Christian Whittaker carried 13 times for 93 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders.

“We are our own worst enemies,” Alexander said. “That’s just the way it is. I’ve been saying they’re young, but that’s not an excuse. It’s time to grow up.”

Liberty sophomore John Goff was taken off the field on a stretcher after making a tackle with 8:53 left in the third quarter. His neck was immobilized, but he moved his arms as he was being wheeled away.

Webster will try for its second win next Friday against Class AA No. 15 Nicholas County. Liberty is off before hosting Raleigh County rival Independence on Friday, Oct. 18.

— E-mail: gfauber@

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