FAIRMONT - West Liberty senior quarterback Zach Amedro became the leading passer in West Virginia Conference history and went past the 12,000-yard mark for his career Thursday night as West Liberty raced away to a nationally televised 43-23 victory against Fairmont State.
Amedro completed 26 of 39 passes for 373 yards and a pair of touchdowns while guiding a Hilltoppers attack that racked up 43 points and nearly 600 yards of total offense against a Falcons squad that came into the game as the WVIAC's No. 1-ranked defense, allowing just 13.0 points per game.
The 24th 300-yard passing game of Amedro's career pushed his total to 12,073 yards, eclipsing the previous WVIAC record of 11,883 set by Glenville State's Joey Conrad, and vaulting the senior signalcaller all the way to No. 4 on the all-time NCAA Division II passing list.
Playing before a national TV audience on the CBS College Sports Network, West Liberty (2-2 overall, 1-1 WVC) was far from a one-man show as two more of the Hilltoppers' senior standouts proved more than ready for their prime-time debuts at Fairmont State (2-3, 0-3).
Tight end Ryan Travis - the nation's leading receiver - hauled in 13 passes for a career-high 214 yards and a touchdown, while tailback Kevon Calhoun - the WVIAC's leading rusher - rambled for 185 yards and three TDs on 24 carries.
It was a strong second-half performance by an aroused West Liberty defense that enabled it to break open a close game and win going away.
After putting up nearly 200 yards of total offense in the first half, Fairmont opened the second half with a short march to set up a 41-yard field goal by Frank Keenan.
That cut the West Liberty lead to 17-16 with 10:46 still showing on the third-quarter clock, but a long kickoff return by DeVaughn Gordon set up an answering, 14-yard TD run from Calhoun - his third of the game - and the Hilltoppers defense slammed the door the rest of the way.
The Falcons were held to 22 yards of total offense and one first down for the remainder of the evening as West Liberty reeled off four straight touchdowns to take a 43-16 lead with 3:20 remaining.
A long kickoff return and a penalty set up a consolation score for the hosts with 36 seconds remaining.
Fairmont quarterback Logan Moore completed 11 of 33 passes for 163 yards while Patrick Pinchinat was the Falcons' leading rusher with 40 yards on 10 carries as Fairmont finished with 250 yards of total offense compared to 580 for the Hilltoppers.
It was the sixth straight victory for West Liberty in the series with the Falcons, and the sixth consecutive season the Hilltoppers have held Fairmont State under 300 yards of total offense.
West Liberty returns home to face Glenville State at 1 p.m. Oct. 9 at Russek Field.