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Second half surge keeps Roughriders perfect

Photos by Melissa Adams

Information by Roger Jester


WEST LIBERTY – The hills are alive, with the sound of … winning.


Celebrating a birthday on Friday, iconic actress Julie Andrews is famous for many memorable roles including Maria in The Sound of Music.


Then, as the title character in Mary Poppins, Andrews played a nanny who was described as ‘practically perfect in every way.’


The same words could be used to illustrate the current West Jefferson High School football team.


Despite trailing their nemesis West Liberty-Salam by seven at the half, the Roughriders scorched their hosts for 29 unanswered points on their way to a 42-28 win. The victory moved West Jeff to a perfect 7-0 on the season.


The turning point happened in the waning seconds of the first half. Trailing 28-13, Roughrider QB Tyler Buescher connected with MJ Book for a 41 yard touchdown as the clock ran out to end the second quarter. A two-point run by Jacob Collins finished the West Jeff climb to a seven point deficit at the intermission.


Following the break, West Jefferson took over on both sides of the ball.


First of all, the Roughrider defense did not let any Tigers enter the end zone in the final two quarters. Garrett Higgins led the way with nine tackles.


Then, it was the offense that answered back. Hayden Salyer had a pair of double-digit yardage touchdown runs in the third quarter – first to tie it, and then to put West Jeff ahead for good. Salyer led all rushers with 161 yards on the ground.


West Jeff put the contest further out of reach in the fourth with another Buescher (game high 317 yards in the air) to Book (game high 204 receiving) touchdown connection.


The Roughriders got on the board first with a Buescher pass to Salyer for the score.


West Liberty answered as Christian Griffith connected with Trevor Berry. After a Buescher to Book TD, the Tigers scored three times in a row – two Gabe McGill TDs on the ground, and another Griffith/Berry connection.


That is when the Roughriders started the comeback win described above.


Next Friday, West Jefferson welcomes in Triad.