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7-0 or 0-7, support is paramount for all

October 17, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

I am a big fan of coaches and teachers.

It's not an easy job dealing with our kids in the classroom or on any athletic field.

Anybody who has read this column knows exactly where I stand on coaches, teachers, kids and parents.

Friday night, sports writer Brent Sobleski came back from covering the Weir High homecoming game against Catholic Central and simply said, "you're gonna love this quote."

Weir High football coach Jason Kekseo took over a program in March that, in the last five years, went 1-9, 1-9, 8-2, 2-8 and 3-7 after winning a West Virginia Class AA state championship in 2005.

Like all coaches who take over programs that have had, or not had, success, he had his work cut out for him.

Talking to him on occasion, I really liked what he had to say, how he was going to go about doing his job and his enthusiasm for what he believed was best for the Red Riders football players.

"Every kid at Weir who should be playing football should be out playing football," he said in late July. "We want the kids talking about it and getting excited to be a part of this program.

"We want to motivate the kids to win. My dad always said winning breeds winning. One approach is from a physical standpoint and one approach is from a mental standpoint. We don't want these kids to just be good football players. We want them to be good leaders, to be respected within the community and go on to be successful in life."

The Red Riders are now 0-7 with games remaining at home with Brooke and East Liverpool and at Tyler Consolidated. The Potters and Silver Knights are also winless.

Kekseo was rather pointed after Friday night's loss to the 3-5 Crusaders.

"We need to try and stay postive," Kekseo said. "I go into every game with an expectation to win. I don't think that's the attitude we have right now. It's the attitude we need.

"You're not going to see changes with Weir football with people making excuses whether it coaches, players or parents. We have to take responsibility for our actions as a whole and as the Weir community.

"We need to support these kids, and what we are trying to accomplish."


The problem with taking over a program that has not had success is changing the culture.

Kids don't want to play because the team loses. Kids don't want to play because they don't want to work hard.

Both are excuses, not reasons.

Adults and other fans don't want to support a team that does not win.

Again, an excuse.

The only way this program gets back to competing for state championships is for everyone to be on the bandwagon, whether that bandwagon has a team that is 7-0 or 0-7, and let one guy, Kekseo, be the driver.

I just don't understand why that is so hard.

I sat in Ed Robinson's office for over an hour last week and saw the enthusiasm on his face for the upcoming celebration of the final home game in the current 81-year-old football stadium at Toronto High School on Oct. 28 against Weirton Madonna.

The principal is working his Red Knights magic and it appears it will be a night to remember for everyone who attends.

Every former coach or player who stepped foot on that field have been invited to come back, inclusive of the families.

Remember, reservations are required.

I guess helmet-to-helmet hits are not flagged in high school football games. I saw one Friday night that, if it happened in the NFL, the defending player would have been fined about $20,000.

When is it OK for a high school volleyball coach to yell at a 15-year-old who is not on the team? Never. So, when that happened Saturday, why wasn't the coach handed a yellow card?

A.J. Hawk - really?

The former Ohio State linebacker, now playing in Green Bay, made an obscene gesture during Sunday's win over the terrible St. Louis Rams after sacking Rams quarterback in the second quarter.

He flipped the bird and later said that it "wasn't meant to get out there, for people to see."

You did so in the middle of an NFL game, in plain sight, and you didn't want people to see it? Really?

Now he hopes he is not fined by the NFL and promised not to do it again.

Aw, he promised.

How about a $50,000 fine. That should make sure he doesn't do it again.

Make the punishment worse than the crime.

Any Steelers fans go through a little angst Sunday?

Things still are not good in Pittsburgh, other than the 4-2 record. The team is still minus-10 in turnover ratio and that cannot continue. For the fifth time in six games, the defense did not force a turnover.

They had to hang on against a 1-5 Jacksonville team that has a rookie quarterback who looks completely lost at times.

The Steelers have a tough one next week in Arizona, which had a bye this week. Pittsburgh then hosts New England and Baltimore before visiting Cincinnati.

These four weeks are huge.

Brilliant win by coach Luke Fickell and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

They get a week off before hosting Wisconsin with the thoughts of revenge. Think the 'Shoe might be a little loud for that 8 p.m. game?

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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