WEIRTON - Weir High was unable to get its offense untracked and dropped its fifth straight game of the season to Liberty Harrison Friday night at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
The previously winless Mountaineers opened a 23-0 halftime lead and cruised through the second half while limiting the Red Riders to a meager 53 yards of total offense.
Injuries and players deciding they no longer want to play football has the Weir High squad down to about 26 players and limits what happens on the field.
EYES UP — Weir High’s Matt Barnes runs the ball during Friday’s 37-6 loss to Liberty at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
-- Mike Mathison
"We don't have a single upper classmen running back right now," said Red Rider coach, Tony Filberto. "We had to play four freshmen and three sophomores on defense tonight. Most jayvee teams don't play four freshmen. We just have to get healthy quick."
Liberty racked up 324 yards of total offense and put the game away in the third quarter. Weir High scored in the fourth period when freshman Cameron Davis raced 58 yards against the Mountaineer reserves for the only Red Rider score.
"We struggled a little in the beginning until we figured out their blitzes, but I really thought our offensive line did an awesome job coming off the ball and staying with their blocks," said Liberty coach, Robert Shields. "I think that was the difference in the ballgame.
Liberty 37, Weir 6
Liberty 9 14 14 0 - 37
Weir 0 0 0 6 - 6
L: FG 32 Moore
L: Noss 3 run (kick failed)
L: Pumphrey 22 run (Moore kick)
L: Moore 17 pass from Noss 17 (Moore kick)
L: Bartley 72 run (Moore kick)
L: Bartley 6 run (Moore kick)
W: Davis 58 run (run failed)
RUSHING: Liberty: 40-272-4td (Bartley 12-128-2, Pumphrey 13-79-1, Noss 8-62-1, Draper 2-4, Norman 2-(-1), Murphy 2-0. Weir: 32-63-1 (Davis 8-69-1, Rice 2-14, Larch 14-2, Barnes 8-(-22).
PASSING: Liberty: 2-7-32-1-0 (Noss 2-6-32-1-0, Pumphrey 0-1-0-0), Weir: 6-15-38-0-0 (All by Larch)
RECEIVING: Liberty: Barley 1-3, Pumphrey 1-12, Moore 1-17-1. Weir: Davis 1-5, Rice 3-14, Ware 2-22.
FIRST DOWNS: Liberty 13, Weir 7.
PENALTIES: Liberty 11-110, Weir 12-114
FUMBLES: Liberty 2-0, Weir 4-0
"And our defense played really well especially our defensive ends and outside linebackers. They did a good job. We worked real hard this week on not letting them get outside on us and it went really well tonight."
The Mountaineers opened the scoring with a 32-yard field goal by senior kicker, David Moore, who also kicked four extra points.
Before the first quarter ended, the Mountaineers were on the board again when quarterback, Ty Noss, went up the middle on a keeper from three yards out. Moore's only miss of the night was a Red Rider block of his extra pont kick.
Liberty scored on a 23-yard scamper through a gaping hole on the left side by senior James Pumphrey. His touchdown run was the ninth play in a 51-yard drive that ate up six minutes in the early part of the second period.
The Mountaineers came back five minutes later with a touchdown pass from Noss to Moore that covered 17 yards.
Liberty had the first possession of the second half and it took them just four plays to score again. This time junior, Jaylen Bartley, got outside around the right end and dashed down the sideline 72 yards for the touchdown.
Weir High quarterback, William Larch, who is leading the team in rushing and is among the leading area ground gainers, got hurt on a seven yard run late in the first period forcing Filberto to move senior wide receiver, Matt Barnes, to quarterback. Larch, who was injured last year as a freshman and missed all but two games, returned in the second half, but was limited to mostly passing the football.
With Liberty defensive players blitzing most of the game, Larch, who averaged more than 100 yards a game rushing the first three games of the season, was held to negative yards on the ground for the first time in his brief career. He carried the ball 11 times for -25 yards. Larch completed six of 14 passes for 38 yards.
Bartley wound up as the leading ground gainer in the game rushing 12 times for 141 yards. Pumphrey chalked up 84 yards on the ground and Noss had 62. Noss completed three of six passes for 32 yards.
A lowlight in the game was a total of 19 penalties-11 against Liberty for 115 yards and eight against the Red Riders for 64 stripes.
"The kids are battling and that's all I can ask of them," Filberto concluded. "They are playing hard. They didn't always play good, but they are giving it all they have. We'll get out there Monday and work hard. We have one of our biggest rivalries of the year coming up next week when we play Oak Glen."