PLEASANT VIEW -- Experience can sometimes be overrated. But that's exactly what the Weber Warriors are going to have to rely on if they expect to compete in arguably the toughest region in the state.
"I don't think competing will be a problem for us," said second-year coach Rick Corbridge. "I see our region as probably the toughest in the state, certainly at least one of the top two. We will definitely have our hands full each week, and there won't be an easy one on our schedule. But it will be nice to not jump into league play right away."
With Region 1 being pared from nine to six teams, the Warriors will have the luxury of playing four non-league games before kicking off region play against Layton in week 5, Sept. 16.
"By then the competition for some open spots should be settled on. Who knows what our starting group will be like in week 5," Corbridge said.
That should give the Warriors enough time to fine tune their option offense with Brad Boswell at the helm. Weber switched to the option midway through the 2010 campaign, and from the looks of things, it could pose a problem for opposing defenses.
"We changed half way through the season partly because we don't have the size up front (offensively) to match up with defenses," said Corbridge. "This way we don't have to worry so much about blocking their better players. It's an equalizer. It's also a lot of fun to watch and the kids are getting pretty deceptive at it. There're a lot of times that I don't know where the ball is at."
Corbridge will rely on Boswell to run the offense, but he has an ace in the hole with backup quarterback Jason Mann who saw considerable action last year with Boswell sidelined with a concussion.
"We are fortunate to have a couple of good quarterbacks. Jason is the better passer and Brad a better runner. Right now Brad will start for us, but I won't hesitate putting Jason in if we feel we need it. Both have their strengths and do a good job with the offense," said Corbridge.
If the Warriors are to be successful in putting points on the board, a lot will hinge on the play of running backs Austin Tesch, a hard-nosed running back, and slot backs Drew Ouderkirk and Troy Bouchard who have excellent speed and catch the ball well out of the backfield. They will be running behind a talented line led by Chandler Hart and Andy Dubose. Wideout Mason Schleange will be a main target for Weber quarterbacks.
Defensively, the Warriors should be a force to contend with. "We are an attack defense," said Corbridge. "We will run a 3-4. These guys have great speed and are going to attack and hit you."
Anchoring the defensive line are seniors Dalton Wheeler and Connor Heatherly, who both saw a lot of playing time last year. Linebacker Luke Blanch, cornerback Joe Luna, and defensive back Kyle Capener will give Weber much-needed experience and behind the front line.
The Warriors will also have one of the top kicking games in the region with Austin Tolver providing the chores.
"We had a lot of injuries last year, and a lot of our kids that are coming back this year had a lot of playing time. Our kids are really excited for the season to start. This senior group struggled the last two years and they know they can compete, but wins have been hard to come by. I'm confident they will go out and get it done," Corbridge said.
The Warriors kick off the season Friday at home against Box Elder at 7 p.m.
About the Warriors
Head coach: Rick Corbridge (2nd season)
2010 in review: 2-7 in Region 1, 3-7 overall, missed state 5-A playoffs
2011 slate: 5-A’s Region 1
Returning starters: 4 (2 offense, 2 defense)
Players to watch: Brad Boswell, senior, quarterback; Luke Blanch, senior, linebacker; Dalton Wheeler, senior, defensive end; Chandler Hurt, senior, offensive lineman; Austin Tesch, sophomore, running back; Mason Schleange, senior, wide receiver; Joe Luna, senior, cornerback; Kyle Capener, senior, defensive back; Austin Tolver, senior, kicker; Connor Heatherly, senior, defensive lineman; Andy Dubose, senior offensive lineman.