Old rivalry back in action
Edison, Weir High looking to get in the win column once again
WEIRTON — Reeling from its fourth-straight loss to Fairmont Senior, Weir High returns to the friendly confines of Jimmy Carey Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday to renew an old rivalry, as a resurgent Edison football team comes to town with the intent of spoiling senior night for the Red Riders.
The loss to the Polar Bears dropped the Red Riders from eighth to 15th in this week’s Class AA rankings, and that’s a long way from where coach Tony Filberto’s team wants to be.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats also took it on the chin last week in a 42-10 loss to East Liverpool that spoiled their senior night. After some lean years, the Wildcats have surged to a 3-4 record under first-year head coach Shane O’Brien, who feels his club needs more consistency and has to learn to finish games.
“For us this year, the effort is there,” said O’Brien, whose team has better numbers and has been in some close ball games. “It’s all about the process. We’re getting there one step at a time. We’ve had a couple of close wins and a couple of close losses.”
The Wildcats were driving to tie East Liverpool at 14-14 going into halftime last week when they had a touchdown called back by a penalty. Then, the Potters put together a scoring drive to open the second half. With that, O’Brien felt there was a momentum change, and his Wildcats couldn’t get that momentum back.
Meanwhile, Filberto said that was a similar scenario for his Red Riders, which played the Polar Bears, the state runner-up last year and top ranked AA team this year, tough through the first half when a turnover (interception) deep in Red Rider territory in the third quarter changed the complexion of the game.
“We went down to Fairmont without two all-staters in Tyler Komorowski and Reed Reitter and still played them tough,” said Filberto, whose club now is 5-2. “Komorowski has missed four and a half games with a knee injury, and Reitter had some health problems last week that kept him out. Both will be back Friday, and we’ll be as healthy as we can be at this time of year.”
Senior running back Chad Custer, who missed six games, returned last week from a broken hand and ran the ball nine times for 38 yards.
Filberto said that even though Komorowski will return, Sebastian Spencer will be the starting quarterback.
“It is just like it was last year when we lost Tyler for five games,” he said. “It’s not fair to him to throw him in there after missing that much time. He’ll work his way back. He’ll play defense where he was first-team all-state last year and get some time at quarterback.
Turning his attention to Edison, Filberto said the Wildcats are a much better football team than they have been in the past.
“We used to play them every year, but the series got interrupted. It is renewed now, and that is a good thing,” Filberto said. “They have a new coaching staff and 17 seniors that are providing them with leadership.
“They seem to want to play the spread offense, and their quarterback runs it pretty well. He is a good athlete, runs with the football and has some speedy athletes at the other skill positions.”
Filberto was referring to senior quarterback Anthony Sinicropi, who is in his first year of high school football after playing at the middle school level. Sinicropi completed 17 of 34 passes last week against East Liverpool for 200 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He ran the ball 16 times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
In pre-game ceremonies that start at 6:30 p.m., Weir High will honor 12 seniors who will be playing their final regular season game on the Jimmy Carey turf. Also honored will be senior band members, cheerleaders and several senior athletes from other fall sports. Filberto said his senior leadership has been good all season, and he feels there will be no let down from the loss last week.
“We talked to the kids about the final three games of the season and what they can mean to us as we get closer to the playoffs,” Filberto said. “I’ve always said it is where you finish that counts, and we still have a very good chance to make the playoffs and even get at least one home game if we can win out.”
O’Brien said he’s looking for his team to be more consistent.
“We have to win at the line of scrimmage and control the Weir rushing game,” he said about his keys to winning. “We have to slow down (Donavan) Kirby before he gets started. We just need to be consistent and execute better, while finishing drives.”
Kirby, the area’s leading ground gainer, was held to 54 yards on 14 carries last week.
Filberto said his keys to victory include being more productive on offense than the Red Riders were against Fairmont Senior. They were limited to just 95 yards on the ground by the Polar Bear defense. Spencer completed 9 of 19 passes for 116 yards, with two touchdown passes and an interception.