Weir, John Marshall Look to Avoid 0-2 Start
MOUNDSVILLE — A pair of teams looking for big things heading into the 2019 campaign both find themselves staring down the barrel of an 0-2 start to the season when Weir pays a visit to Monarch Stadium on Friday night to take on John Marshall.
Coach Tony Filberto’s Red Riders and Jason Willis’ Monarchs were their own worst enemies a week ago, watching turnovers turn the tide in their respective games.
John Marshall watched University score a pair of defensive touchdowns, one on a 75-yard interception return and another on a fumble recovery in the end zone, leading to an 18-7 setback to the Hawks.
“You can’t turn the ball over like that, especially allowing touchdowns,” Willis said. “But we did move the ball all night and our defense played great. University had very little luck moving the ball on us.”
Meanwhile, Weir turned the ball over five times, twice on fumbles and three times on interceptions, in losing to arch rival Oak Glen, 34-13 — the Riders’ first loss to their Hancock County rivals in seven years.
“Sometimes in football the result is of your own doing,” Filberto said. “We just didn’t play well or coach well last week and a lot of things didn’t go in our favor. But the focus has to remain on us, not our opponents.”
Weir’s turnovers helped put it in a 27-0 halftime hole the Red Riders were never able to recover from. Along with that, Filberto’s squad was unable to get their most valuable asset going, senior do-it-all Sebastian Spencer. The speedster was limited to five rushes for 2 yards and one reception for 10 more.
Junior quarterback Anthony DiMatteis was effective, rushing 18 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns while completing 9 of 23 passes for 139 yards, but did have the three interceptions.
Drew Curtis carried five times for 19 yards while Elijah Gillette hauled in two passes for 68 yards.
The Riders gained 340 yards on the night while the defense, defending a short field for much of the first half, surrendered 264 yards.
“They look big up front on film and we are going to need to contain and control the line,” Willis said. “But the biggest thing is that we need to keep an eye on Spencer with his tremendous speed.
“From our point of view we have to limit mistakes and work on ball security. We know we have to take one game at a time, but every game is a big game.”
While racking up 333 yards of total offense at University, the Monarchs’ defense limited the Hawks to 128 yards and nine first downs. Senior quarterback Justin Frohnapfel showed he has the ability to be a two-way threat, rushing for 46 yards and a score and throwing for 110 yards while being picked off twice
Junior Derrick Derrow ran for 97 yards on 15 totes while Dakota Bonds had three receptions for 50 yards and Ethan Gray three grabs for 25.
“John Marshall was pretty good last year and I think they are probably an even better team this season,” Filberto said. “They are a little limited in what they do, but what they do they do well.
“Everyone has a vision of the big picture, but the most important game of the year is the one we are playing in any given week. No matter if you won or lost last week that can’t be important to how you prepare for the upcoming week.”
The two teams didn’t play each other last year. Weir defeated John Marshall, 29-26, in 2017 and 15-6 in 2016.