CLARKSBURG - Lewis County had the game in hand at Hite Field Friday night before most fans finished devouring the hot dog in their hands.
The Minutemen, 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the Big 10, exploded for 33 first-quarter points and then cruised to a 53-0 victory over Liberty.
"This is like the fourth or fifth game where we got out to that kind of start," Lewis County football coach Eddie Vincent said. "It's always surprising."
Four minutes had not yet expired off the game clock, and Lewis County found itself leading the Mountaineers 20-0. The Minutemen needed a mere three plays to essentially score all the points they would need on the night, starting off with a 51-yard run by Caleb Butcher and capping off the drive with a 27-yard sprint down the sidelines by Chris Gum.
Liberty, 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the Big 10, fumbled on its first play from scrimmage, giving the ball back to the Minutemen. Lewis County promptly scored on the initial play as Butcher weaved between the defenders to reach paydirt from 14 yards away.
Two Liberty plays later, Jon Jerden intercepted a pass to give Lewis County back the football. The Minutemen this time needed four plays to reach the end zone, which came when Skylar Carlton stepped over a fallen Liberty defender for a 25-yard touchdown pass from Braden Montgomery.
Butcher added another 4-yard touchdown run, and Carlton pulled down another 55-yard pass from Montgomery to give Lewis County a 33-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Butcher rushed for 83 yards on just seven carries, while both of Carlton's receptions were for scores. Montgomery finished the night completing three of his four passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
Lewis County added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, one on a 4-yard run by Cam Golden and the other when Gum hauled in a 34-yard pass from Montgomery.
Mark Metzgar scored on a 54-yard run midway through the third quarter to close out the night's scoring for Lewis County. Metzgar finished with 143 yards rushing on just six carries.
The comfortable margin gave the Minutemen ample opportunity to play their younger players, who fought to keep Liberty out of the end zone and preserve the whitewashing.
"It seemed like we were on the field defensively all of the second half," Vincent said.
The Mountaineers were led by quarterback Ty Noss, who ran for 37 yards and threw for another 45. Running back James Pumphrey ran for 33 yards and had two catches for another 11 yards. Liberty was held to an average of just 2.4 yards per play by the Minutemen defense.
"Our guys are a defensive-minded kind of team," Vincent said.
Lewis County will travel to Elkins next Friday, fighting to keep its post-season hopes alive. Vincent said his staff and players have not discussed the recent West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission ruling which stripped Elkins of its seven victories on the season, other than to briefly mention what had been on the news.