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Red Riders still seeking elusive first victory

November 3, 2011
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor (mmathison@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

SISTERSVILLE, W.Va. - Jason Kekseo knew he was in for a rebuilding year, he just didn't see this coming.

The first-year Weir High football coach takes his 0-9 team on the road this week to face a 1-8 Tyler Consolidated squad coming off its first win of the season.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"I really want to get this one for us," he said.

Freshman William Larch is expected to be back at quarterback. He has been out since Week 2 with a separated shoulder and got some time in last week's loss to East Liverpool.

"I think we'll have a nice spark with William Larch back," said Kekseo. "He was voted captain last week by the senior class. He is a leader and a football player.

"I'm not saying we couldn't win with Harley (Mills), but William gives us more options right now.

"We all need to focus on the positive. Negative things are going to happen during a game, but we need to judge this program how we respond to that adversity."

The Silver Knights earned a 20-0 win over Clay County last week.

"Tyler likes to play defense, they get to the ball," said Kekseo.

The Red Riders have outscored Tyler Consolidated this year, 75-66.

"When you get down to it, defense is based on one thing, the speed to the ball - whether the quarterback is getting crushed, the running back is getting hit behind the line of scrimmage or the receiver is paying the price after a catch," said Kekseo. "You have to have a mean streak in you to play defense. There has to be a group mentality when everyone wants to make the tackle. You have to have a defense that takes pride in what they are doing.

"We weren't tackling well at all last week. We have to play a more aggressive style of defense to accomodate our athletes. We have to tackle better and we work on that on a weekly basis."

Regardless of the outcome Friday, Kekseo looks forward to getting this program moving in the right direction.

"I honestly believe what we are doing is going to work," said Kekseo, who has about 50 players in the program. "I know this can be done. We need to get people involved in a positive way.

"We're all learning what these kids are made of and what makes their individual clocks tick.

"We'll get this."