WEIRTON - Oak Glen blew open a close game in the third quarter Friday night to defeat Weir 33-12 and get the first leg on a new Carl Hamill Trophy at the new Jimmy Carey Stadium.
Weir, loser of six straight games, surprisingly hung around but was unable to capitalize on several opportunities. The Red Riders trailed 7-0 at the half, but yielded two third-quarter touchdowns before finally getting on the scoreboard.
The victory snapped a three-game Golden Bears losing streak and gave them four straight victories in the annual clash of the Hancock County rivals..
''This win was something we really needed,'' first-year Oak Glen coach Ian Whittington said. ''We needed it to get our confidence back up and try to get on a roll.''
Weir kicked off to the Golden Bears to open the second half and senior Trey Smith ran the ball to the 43. Then, senior Tyler Steed took over running the ball five straight times down to the Red Riders 10 yard-line.
After an illegal substitution penalty put the ball back to the15, junior quarterback Bub Haddox threw an incomplete pass and then took the ball himself around right end on a keeper for a touchdown. Josh Weltner's kick made the score 14-0 to give the Golden Bears some breathing room.
The Golden Bears had also scored on their first possession of the first half with Steed going up the middle from 38 yards out.
Red Rider coach Tony Filberto said he was proud of his kids.
''I told you guys we had a lot of pride at Weir High,'' he said. ''We turned the ball over a couple of times, but we started five freshmen on defense and hung in there.''
In addition to playing the youngsters, three Red Riders upperclassmen were injured in the second half and were unable to finish the contest.
Right before the first half ended, the Red Riders had an opportunity to score as their defense had Oak Glen's back to the wall and faced with a fourth-and-15 at their own 5. Junior punter Colton Speece could only kick the ball out to his own 26.
Red Riders quarterback William Larch lofted a pass to the left corner near the end zone, but junior receiver Jaquan Ware dropped the football at the Oak Glen 2-yard line. On third down, Larch's pass was intercepted at the Golden Bears 5 by Cody Howell.
Larch, a sophomore, finished 5 of 13 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The two touchdown passes came on spectacular plays and both times he found sophomore wide receiver Jonathan Rice open, hitting him in full stride down the right sideline. One went for a 69-yard touchdown, the other was for 82 yards.
However, by this time the Golden Bears were in command by 21-0 on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Haddox, who scored three rushing touchdowns.
''We were playing a lot of man coverage and occasionally the receiver will get behind the defense,'' Whittington said of Rice's catches. ''That kid is a heck of a ballplayer and really fast. He went over our kid's shoulder and caught it and that will happen when you play man coverage all game.''