WHEELING - There's been a recent change of culture when it comes to the Weir football program.
After starting out winless, the Red Riders (3-3) have won three straight games to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season.
They'll be looking to get their fourth victory tonight in New Martinsville as they take on Magnolia (3-3).
''Weir has run on some lean times lately,'' Red Riders coach Tony Filberto said. ''This is good for everyone in the community. As far as the kids, they understand what it means now to have expectations. They're practicing differently. Not that they weren't practicing hard before, but they understand what their purpose is now.''
Two of the three Red Riders victories were of the come-from-behind variety, including last week's 27-23 triumph against Oak Glen where the Golden Bears jumped out to a 13-0 lead against their Hancock County rivals.
The Red Riders, though, battled back and were able to engineer a game-winning drive, conducted by backup quarterback Jake Wypasek.
''We really like that about this team. They battle,'' Filberto noted. ''They've been able to stay focused. It takes real courage to be a finisher. We keep telling them 'if you keep battling, good things will happen' and it's worked out.''
Leading the Red Riders charge is running back Kam Davis. The sophomore finished with 139 yards and two scores as well as returning a kickoff 75 yards in last week's victory.
''Kam did an outstanding job for us last week,'' Filberto said. ''He's a quality football player.''
Filberto, however, also knows the Blue Eagles have some quality players as well, most notably running back Drew Keller.
''He's about the 14th Keller they've had and they're all good,'' Filberto said. ''He's a good, good player. Pretty good on defense, too.''
Magnolia (3-3) is fresh off a 32-8 victory against Monroe Central where Keller totaled 148 yards and a touchdown on the ground. On the season, Keller now has 587 yards and four scores.
''They've lost a couple of heartbreakers,'' Filberto said of the Blue Eagles. ''They're a good football team. They give you about a million things to deal with offensively.''
While the Red Riders aren't trying to chase down Keller, quarterback Jacob Brill will be looking to put the ball down field into the capable hands of receiver Eric Smith, who is having a breakout senior season.
One plus on the Weir sidelines will be the return of a healthy William Larch at quarterback. Larch sustained a knee injury two weeks ago against Liberty Harrison, but will take the field Friday night to lead the Weir offense.
''A lot of kids have played big the last couple of weeks,'' Filberto said. ''This is the healthiest we've been since Week 1.
''With these kids, I always like my chances.''