WEIRTON - If there's one thing Tony Filberto has been good at through the years, it's rebuilding projects.
He faces a big one in his second go-around as head coach at Weir, coming over from Oak Glen where he turned the Golden Bears into a playoff contender. Filberto was previously the head coach of the Red Riders from 2002-2004 and had assistant coaching stints in 1983-88, 1993-94, and 1997-98.
''Maybe I'm not a long-stay but we get in there and get things right and it's the next guy's responsibility to keep it right,'' Filberto said. ''Right now, I feel it's such an honor to be the coach at Weir High School. I think Weir High School has history that nobody in the Ohio Valley has.
''You walk up and down the halls and see those plaques on the way. Bob Jeter, who played in the first two Super Bowls, and Bob Gain the Outland Trophy winner, we've had three Kennedy Award winners, numerous state championships. There is a lot of history here and I am very proud to be a part of that.''
Weir won the state title in 2005 under former coach Eric Meek, the year after Filberto left. Meek stepped down three years ago and the Red Riders went a combined 3-27 the following three seasons under Tom Taylor and Jason Kekseo.
Even with a string of unsuccessful seasons, Filberto isn't looking toward the future is trying to get his team to focus on winning right now.
''I have expectations of winning football games,'' Filberto said. ''We didn't come here to build for the future and that's never my attitude. We owe that to our older kids and our approach is we are going to win right now.
''We have a pretty good football team. I wish we had a few more numbers but this is a group of players that has worked as hard as any group I have ever coached.''
William Larch, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound sophomore, again begins the season as the starting quarterback. His freshman season was a short one as he was injured in the second game and spent the rest of the time on the sideline.
''He came in as an untested sophomore,'' Filberto said. ''He has grasped our offense, he leads our offense and he's a big, strong kid that runs well and throws well.''
Joining Larch in the backfield will be running backs senior Eric Piatt (5-10, 195) and sophomore Phil Digiloramo (6-1, 230).
Wideouts will be Matt Barnes (5-8, 140) and Clarence Bennett (5-11, 155). The tight end is junior John Frankovitch (5-11, 185). Others in the mix are Brandon Zapotoceny and Jonathan Rice.
The offensive line will consist of center Shain Livada, right guard James Owens, left guard will be split between Austin Wolverton and Dan Mohoroski, right tackle Daren Baldwin and left tackle Devin Dollison.
''We have a lot of speed and I am real, real pleased with that,'' Filberto said. ''If you have speed, people say you are undersized. I don't think we are undersized because we have a lot of 6-1s, 225s, 250s. We don't have a lot of 270s, 280s but I don't do well with a 280. We are more of a speed approach and we have always been that way offensively and defensively.
''The pieces of the puzzle that we want are there.''
Livada (5-10, 205) will be the nose tackle with Baldwin and Owens playing the tackles. The defensive ends will be split between Dollison, Digiloramo, and Frankovitch.
Piatt will be the middle linebacker while Matt Barnes and Zapotoceny are on the outside.
Bennett and Rice will play at corner with Larch at safety.
''I have six seniors that have been through the spring and summer and we have a lot of leadership in those kids,'' Filberto said. ''Who will step up and be noticeable? I think Daren Baldwin is going to be a great football player. I think James Owens is going to be a great football player. Matt Barnes is a receiver who is awfully good. Eric Piatt is our true leader.
''We want to put them in high pressure situations to see how they are going to react and so far the kids have done a pretty good job handling those.''