As of Friday night, there is certainly no question in Buckeye Local land that Weir is deserving its lofty ratings in the state of West Virginia.With an offense that churned out 318 yards on the ground and built a 41-0 lead at the half and a defense that limited the Panthers to just over 100 rushing yards, Weir rolled to a 48-13 win over Buckeye Local at Memorial Stadium in Yorkville Friday night.
With a week to rest, first-year coach Eric Meek's Red Riders finished off the regular with a near perfect 9-1 record and an OVAC Class 4-A title. Friday night's win over the Panthers, only the third in the nine-game series, gave the Riders a good send-off to the West Virginia playoffs in two weeks.
Weir has been ranked in the top three for most of the season in West Virginia's Class 2-A ratings and is certain to host a first round playoff match when the post-season gets underway in two weeks.
Buckeye Local, in a major rebuilding year under veteran coach Ron Pobolish, finished out the 2005 campaign with a disappointing 1-9 record. Just two years removed from an unbeaten playoff team, the Panthers closed out the season with its worst mark in 15 years.
Meek's charges also closed the season with its first pair of 1000-yard rushers since 1948 when senior Josh Smith surpassed the mark with his 180-yard effort to join speedster Corey Lyons.
Buckeye Local's opening drive was thwarted by a Ken Staats pass interception with 8:44 on the clock and Weir needed just six seconds to get on the board. On their first offensive play of the game, Lyons exploded up the middle and covered nine yards for the score at the 8:38 mark. Ryan Dennis, who has been nearly perfect for the Red Riders this season on PATs, booted the lead to a 7-0 mark.
Again the Panthers offense was stymied by the Weir defense and was forced to punt at the 5:59 mark of the third. Brian Harvey's 39-yard kick was downed at the Weir 31.
Weir opened with a 22-yard gainer by Brandon Sperlazza and two plays later got a 17-yard from the feet of Smith. Smith added another yard to the 22 and Lyons took it from there. With 3:08 on the clock, Lyons again bolted through the middle of the Panther defense and covered 22 yards for the score. Dennis' PAT stretched the lead to 14-0.
Buckeye's hopes in the first quarter closed with a last minute punt that assured the Panthers of going scoreless in the first frame for the season.
Midway through the second stanza, the Red Riders got on the board again. A 15-yarder of right tackle by Lyons and a 40-yard scamper by Smith that eventually moved the winners to the Panther 13, set the stage for Lyons third straight score from the 13 with 5:40 left in the half. Again Dennis booted the PAT.
A rash of miscues spelled doom for the Panthers as the hosts fumbled away control on three straight possessions that resulted in three consecutive scores.
With 4:47 on the clock, Mike Buffo picked up a loose ball at the 32 and raced untouched for the score.
With 3:51 on the clock, Dustin Smith pounced on a loose ball for the Riders and set a Josh Smith scoring run from the five with 3:06 on the board.
Seconds later, Dawand Smith jumped on a Panther fumble for the Weir defense and two plays later, Lyons ran in from 25 yards out for the score. Along with Dennis's PATs, the winners led by 41-0 at the half.
Opening the third quarter, Weir close out its end of the scoring as Josh Smith capped off a 59-yard drive with an electrifying 30-yard scamper with 10:13 on the clock.
Buckeye managed to score twice in the final quarter. The first coming on the heels of an Isaac Omaits fumble recovery at the Weir 10.
Cameron McKim bolted off the left side to cover the 10 yards and put the hosts on the board with 8:27 on the clock. Mike Kubat booted the PAT.
With just 29 seconds remaining in their season, the Panthers added another score as Brian Harvey connected with Spencer McKim on a 45-yard scoring play. The PAT kick was off the mark.
Monroe Central 28,
Tyler Consolidated 0
At Woodsfield, Jordan Wells returned an interception 65 yards for a score to highlight a shutout victory over the Silver Knights.
While no Monroe Central running back rushed for more than 100 yards, the Seminoles did rush for 155 yards in the victory as a team and held Tyler Consolidated to just 58 on the ground.
Caldwell 40, Shenandoah 20
At Caldwell, while both teams rushed for more than 200 yards, it was Caldwell's defense that picked off quarterback Cody Johnson three times that led the Redskins to an easy victory.
Shenandoah's Travis Moore rushed for touchdowns of 69 and 49 yards and 145 yards overall