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FOOTBALL LOOKAHEAD: Weir, Oak Glen Players Fired up for Rivalry

September 26, 2012
By JOSH STROPE , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The Weir-Oak Glen rivalry is always an intense one, no matter what the records of each team.

And this game couldn't have come at a better time for both squads.

After starting 2-0 in impressive fashion, Oak Glen has stumbled to three straight losses. Weir has yet to get into the win column, losing its first five.

Needless to say, Friday's winner at Jimmy Carey Stadium will have a huge monkey lifted off its back.

''We got hit with some adversity and our kids didn't handle it very well,'' Oak Glen coach Ian Whittington said. ''The mood was very somber after the Steubenville Central game. But this is Weir week and everybody is fired up.

''It will be a televised game and the kids really want to show Coach (Tony) Filberto that he shouldn't have left.''

Filberto will face his former team for the first time since returning to Weir.

The former Golden Bears coach knows there will be a lot of emotion when he sees many of the players that suited up for him the past few seasons.

''You always want to say it's a normal game as coaches, but I know it's not,'' Filberto said. ''I have great respect for those kids and I truly love them. Any other week, I am really rooting for them.

''Ian is doing a knockout job. He is a young coach that is full of energy. I think he is continuing a lot of the things we were able to accomplish.''

Both coaches have capable quarterbacks that are known more for their legs than their arms.

Oak Glen's Bub Haddox and Weir's William Larch are both averaging more than 100 yards per game rushing the football. Larch entered last week as the second leading rusher in the Ohio Valley among Big Schools with 142.5 yards per game.

''(Larch) is a good-sized kid with decent speed and they have shown that he is their offense so we want to try and keep him in the pocket and not let him get out,'' Whittington said.

Piling up the yards hasn't been a problem for the Red Riders. It's been finishing the drives with points on the board.

Filberto knows that if Weir wants to avoid clinching a losing season, that has to be the main priority.

''Oak Glen is awfully good and they are bringing back a lot of players that won 10 games last season,'' Filberto said. ''We have a lot of injuries right now and we don't have that many numbers. At one time last week, we had four freshmen and three sophomores on the field.

''We need to keep the football away from them, eat some clock and finish drives. We have to play good solid defense and we can't make mistakes because we aren't good enough to overcome our mistakes.''

Despite Weir's 0-5 record, don't expect Whittington to overlook the Red Riders and Filberto, whom he served under as a defensive assistant.

''This game scares me because they are young, athletic, fast, and they have nothing to lose,'' Whittington said.

''I learned a lot from Coach Filberto and I use some of the tendencies I learned under him. Tony knows a lot about the game, he's been coaching since before I was born, and he will have these guys ready.''

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