GRAFTON - For Weir High head football coach, Tony Filberto, there is good news and bad news in the clash Friday between his Red Riders and the Grafton Bearcats.
The good news is that it is a good matchup for the Red Riders in that they are playing a good Class AA football team in West Virginia.
The bad news is that the Riders have to travel so far because this year's renewal of the rivalry is in Grafton about 100 miles away.
Filberto continues to be pleased with the progress his Red Riders have shown over the first three games of the season, all losses.
"We're getting better in all aspects of the game and we're working toward that goal of just getting better every day," Filberto exclaimed. "But the kids know we have a long way to go. But they are working hard each practice and it is showing in the games."
After two lopsided losses, the Red Riders last week flexed their muscle and led the Edison Wildcats by 20-6 at halftime. However, Edison prevailed in the second half with a 41-20 victory.
(games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
12 Indian Creek 52
7 Harrison Central 36
20 at Edison 41
Sept. 14 at Grafton, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 Liberty
Sept. 28 Oak Glen
Oct. 5 Magnolia
Oct. 12 Catholic Central
Oct. 19 at Brooke
Oct. 26 at E. Liverpool, 7:30 p.m.
"We don't have a lot of depth so I think as the game went on we began to wear down," said Filberto. "It's not that we're out of shape, it's just that we have a lot of players going both ways, and then we had three of four kids that got banged up and couldn't finish the game. At one time in the second half, we had three sophomores and three freshmen on defense.
"I keep telling the kids that if they keep battling good things will happen. I think that will come sooner than later, at least I sure hope so. The kids know they are getting better and I believe a game like last week shows them what it takes to get there."
Sophomore William Larch continues to lead the Red Rider offense. He also leads all ball carriers among the 11 teams in the Daily Times/Herald-Star coverage area. Larch has gained 535 yards with 67 carries, an average of 7.99 yards per carry. He has five rushing touchdowns, including three last week against the Wildcats. Larch had 164 yards on 29 carries against Edison.
He completed six of 14 passes for 111 yards. For the season, Larch has competed 12 of 43 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.
His leading receiver is senior Eric Piatt with four catches for 51 yards, but he missed the Edison game and Filberto said he won't play against Grafton because of an injury.
Senior Austin Wolverton, however, should be ready to bolster the Red Rider defense against Grafton, according to Filberto.
"We have some other players with nagging bumps and bruises, which adds to our depth problem, but my kids have done everything we've asked them to do," Filberto continued. "We have a lot of youth, but I'm real proud of the way we are playing."