Weir High avoids upset to James Monroe, improves to 3-0

Weir High’s Sebastian Spencer tackles James Monroe’s Monroe Mohler after a fumble recovery on Friday. Also shown are Weir’s Jake McCoy (7), Rob Valenti (65) and James Monroe’s Landon Hall. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WEIRTON — Weir High scored a touchdown late Friday night and then had to hold on for dear life with a stop at its 1-yard line as time ran out to seal a thrilling 26-20 victory over James Monroe.

The large Jimmy Carey Stadium crowd was on its feet with 2.7 seconds left on the clock as Maverick junior quarterback Monroe Mohler, who rushed for 112 yards in the game, rolled to his right looking to pass. He couldn’t find a receiver open, so he tucked the ball and made a dash for the end zone but was stopped just short when he was hit by Chris Helms, Reed Reitter and Garet Hostuttler.

“We made one more play than they did,” Weir High head coach Tony Filberto said. “Look at that scoreboard, 26-20. That was a heck of a high school football game. That’s the way the game should be played.”

With Weir High’s passing game out of sync, the Red Riders turned to Donavan Kirby. The husky senior transfer answered the call, especially in the fourth quarter when the Red Riders needed it most. He finished the game with 175 yards rushing and ran with reckless abandon to score twice down the stretch, once to tie the game and the second time with 3.57 left for the win.

The Red Riders (3-0) got off to slow starts in it’s first two games but both ended up in lopsided victories. On Friday, Weir High got on the board first with a 1-yard smash over the middle by senior quarterback Tyler Komorowski less than five minutes into the game. That score was set up when junior Sebastian Spencer returned the opening kickoff 39 yards from his own 21 to the James Monroe 40. Sophomore Gage Reitter, who was filling in at kicker for his older brother Reed, booted the point after for an early 7-0 Red Rider lead.

The lead didn’t last long as the Mavericks responded with a score on their first possession on a 45-yard pass from Mohler to senior tight end Channing Carr. The Mavericks pulled one out of the hat when Mohler handed off to Jacob Mann, and then Mann found Mohnler open with a pass for the two-point conversion that put James Monroe ahead, until Kirby’s 6-yard blast with 3:57 left in the game.

The James Monroe coaches found a soft spot in the middle of the Red Rider defense late in the first quarter and kept exploiting it with Mohler on keepers. But, it was back-to-back big plays in the second quarter, first a 76-yard punt return by Mohler for a score and then an 85-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff, that ended up giving the Mavericks a 14-13 halftime lead.

Mohler made it 20-13 just 59 seconds into the second half when he went up the middle on a keeper and burst into the open on a 61-yard run. It was just the second play of the second half. A Mohler pass for the two-pointer fell incomplete.

Weir High tied it at 20-20 when it drove from its own 29 in seven plays, with Kirby reeling off the final 29 to pay dirt, getting the last couple of yards into the end zone with a James Monroe tackler on his back. Kirby gained 105 of his game-leading yards in the second half and finished with 19 carries.

After Kirby’s touchdown put them ahead, the Weir High defense, which held the Maverick defense to under 200 total yards in the game, forced a three-and-out with Mohler’s punt rolling dead at the Red Rider 49. The James Monroe defense rose up, stopping Kirby twice for no gain and Reed Rietter, who nursed a banged up knee through the week with daily treatments, punted off the side of his foot to the Maverick 33 with 1:56 left in the game.

On the first play, the Red Riders were hit with a roughing the passer penalty, one of 11 infractions in the game, to put the ball at the 48. Out of timeouts and with the clock ticking, Mohler was Mr. Cool under pressure, hitting junior Xander Castillo for 8 yards, then a 1-yard toss to Nick Jewell. On fourth down, he plunged ahead on a keeper enough to move the sticks on a measurement to the Weir High 43. Mohler found Castillo again for 8, and then sophomore Ryker Brown made a leaping catch for 29 yards while going out of bounds at the Red Rider 7 with 2.7 seconds on the clock.

That’s when the Red Rider defense rose up to stop Mohler short of the goal line as time ran out.

Weir High finishes the four-game home stand next Friday when Keyser, another 2017 playoff team, invades Jimmy Carey.

Weir High 26, James Monroe 20

James Monroe 8 6 6 0 — 20

Weir High 7 6 0 13 — 26

W: Komorowski 1 (G. Reitter kick)

JM: Carr 45 pass from Mohler (Kohnler pass from Mann)

JM: Mohler 76 punt return (pass failed)

W: Spencer 86 kickoff return (kick failed)

JM: Mohler 61 run (pass failed)

W: Kirby 29 run (R. Reitter kick)

W: Kirby 6 run (kick failed)

RUSHING: James Monroe 35-139-1 (Mohler 23-113-1, Mann 4-2, Castillo 6-18, Moore 2-6); Weir High 33-217-3 (Kirby 19-175-2, Semedo 3-14, G. Hostuttler 1-(-9), Spencer 1-5, Komorowski 9-32-1).

PASSING: James Monroe 6-14-97-1-2 (Mohler 5-13-97-1-2, Brown 0-1); Weir High 5-13-66-0-1, (all by Komorowski).

RECEIVING: James Monroe (Carr 1-45-1, Fullen 1-14, Castillo 2-16, Jewell 1-1, Brown 1-29); Weir High (McCoy 3-38, Hostuttler 1-4, Kirby 1-34).

FIRST DOWNS: James Monroe 10; Weir High 7.

PENALTIES: James Monroe 7-38; Weir High 11-110.

FUMBLES-LOST: James Monroe 1-0; Weir High 2-1.

INTERCEPTIONS: James Monroe: Mohler; Weir High: Helms, Spencer.