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Football Lookahead: Weir Battles Magnolia


October 4, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Weir coach Tony Filberto thinks highly of Magnolia receiver Stephen Rogalski and has a real simple way to deal with him when the Red Riders and Blue Eagles matchup Friday at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

''Maybe I'm wrong, but we don't waste time trying to double cover him or anything,'' Filberto said. ''He is the kind of player that is going to get his catches. You just have to hope that you put enough pressure on the quarterback to limit the chances he gets.''

Maybe that is the philosophy that will work because stopping Rogalski has been easier said than done.

The Blue Eagles receiver, who passed Kenny Fisher to become the school's all-time leader in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and receptions has been as impressive as any athlete in the Ohio Valley this season.

Rogalski has 37 receptions for 577 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 96.1 yards per game to put him tops in the Ohio Valley among the small schools.

He has also taken three punts back for scores, bringing Filberto flashbacks of Jeff Hissam, his former standout at Oak Glen that was just as dangerous on kick returns.

''The speed is very similar, and last season they had a great battle,'' Filberto said. ''They both had tremendous speed and the ability to be able to create space.''

Weir has its share of speed, led by quarterback William Larch. Unfortunately for Filberto, he also has plenty of youth and that has ultimately led to the Red Riders' 0-6 record.

That inexperience is not something you need when Magnolia, winners of five straight and No. 7 in the WVSSAC Class A rankings come to town.

After being torched by Linsly in the opener with the Cadets' Wildcat package, the Blue Eagles have rebounded and found success against running quarterbacks C.J. Burch of Wheeling Central and Korey Lafferre of Monroe Central.

Larch is one of the top rushers among big schools.

''Linsly caught us off guard but since then, we've done a nice job stopping the run,'' Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. ''We work on that every week and Larch is just one of the nice athletes they have.

''(Jonathan) Rice and Kameron (Davis) are nice players in the backfield with them.

''Weir is very athletic with a very aggressive defense. They are playing a lot of younger guys who are getting better with every snap. I am impressed with them and I like how hard they play. Coach Filberto is doing a nice job.''

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