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Football: Huskies, Riders Are Set to Tangle

August 30, 2012
By JOSH STROPE , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WEIRTON - Weir opened the new Jimmy Carey Stadium with a thud last week in a 52-12 pasting by Indian Creek. Things won't get much easier in Game 2 on the new turf Friday when Harrison Central rolls in.

The Huskies are coming off a 14-7 victory against Wheeling Central, but Coach Justin Kropka knows that as much as everyone wants to win the opener, there is still plenty of season left.

''I think I have won more openers than I've lost,'' Kropka said. ''Sometimes they can be a big boost, sometimes they can go the other way. You think you've just caught the big fish, but you are just 1-0.

''People forget all about Week 1 in Week 7.''

One person fans likely won't be forgetting about any time soon is Harrison Central running back Maurtice Hython.

The Huskies standout more than lived up to his billing against the Maroon Knights, rushing for 194 yards and a touchdown.

''We have a very special tailback and our offense features him,'' Kropka said. ''We expect those kind of games out of him. We expect him to be our workhorse. We expect him to carry the ball 30 times a game, grind it out and get us first downs.''

That could spell doom for a Weir team that surrendered 403 yards rushing against Indian Creek, including touchdown runs coming from 76, 65, 56, 44, 8, 7, and 3 yards.

''We gave up way too many big plays,'' Weir coach Tony Filberto said. ''(Indian Creek) took off for some big chunks of yardage.

''Hython is a great back and he is going to be a major concern for us because he might have the same effect as Indian Creek. We just hope we can limit him. He is going to get his yards and he is going to get his points.''

Recent history has had close games between Weir and Harrison Central, including two years ago when the Huskies won in double overtime.

Last season's game was a blowout but Weir quarterback William Larch went down early with a shoulder injury in that game. He didn't play the rest of the season.

But even with limited exposure to the Red Riders quarterback, don't think Kropka is oblivious to what kind of athlete he can be.

''I saw him in the eighth grade and he was one of the better eighth-grade quarterbacks that I saw,'' Kropka recalled. ''We didn't get to see him much last season so I really hadn't seen him since then.

''This kid is going to be really good. Right now he's just learning a new system. He starts as a freshman, gets hurt, and now has to hit the reset button with a new coaching staff. He's going to be a special player and I see him getting better and better each week. I just hope he waits until next week to start reaching that potential.''

Larch passed for just 41 yards against the Redskins, but carried the ball 12 times for 221 yards and two scores. ''He is just as comfortable running the football as he is throwing it,'' Filberto said. ''Whatever the defense is, that will dictate how much we have him run.

''William ran the ball well and we need him to continue to do that. (We are going to have to control the clock), absolutely, but we have to score points when we get the opportunity as well. We made too many mistakes (against Creek) and we have to capitalize on our opportunities.''

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