PLEASANT VIEW — There’s a handful of red and black banners at and around Weber High School’s football stadium these days.
But the banners are for the fútbol team.
It’s been almost 10 months since the Warriors’ boys soccer team put on the glass slippers, played every 6A state playoff game on the road and came out of nowhere to win the 6A championship.
But if anyone thinks for a minute that Weber is going to make some soup, put its feet up on the ottoman, relax with a warm blanket and watch a movie in 2020, think again.
“It’s honestly pushed us way harder than it has before because we know that there’s an even bigger target on our back,” junior midfielder Colby Lee said. “So if we have, like, any chance of winning state again or going far, we know we’re going to have to work 10 times harder than last year. And everyone knows that.”
“JV pushes varsity as hard as varsity pushes JV,” Lee added.
Weber’s foot became re-acquainted with the gas pedal in early May of last season after a 3-1 home win against Layton following a run of three-straight losses.
The Layton win started a run of six straight wins to close the season.
The foot is still on the gas pedal.
“We’re working hard. I think actually team-wise, as far as starting off the season, we’re better off than where we started last year,” head coach Jan Swift said.
In Wednesday’s season-opening win against Mountain Crest at home, Weber was held scoreless the first 60 minutes of the match.
Early in the second half, Weber started to get some goalscoring chances, all of which were saved by the Mustangs’ goalkeeper.
The Warriors had to be patient and keep knocking and banging on the door until it flew off its hinges.
They got two goals in a stretch of seven minutes from sophomores Caleb Graves and Jake Youngberg to put away MC 2-0.
“Believe it or not we’re still young, we’re a young team. We got some returning starters, obviously, but they were young last year,” Swift said.
As soccer fans have seen the past three seasons, the team that wins the state championship in the highest classification isn’t the team that’s the best team from start to finish. It’s the team that gets hot at the right time.
In 2017, Herriman had a plus-54 goal differential in 19 games heading into the 5A championship game against Layton.
The Lancers won the state championship game on penalty kicks, completing the season on a seven-game winning streak.
In 2018, Herriman once again had the state’s best team with an unbeaten 19-0 record and a plus-58 goal differential. Pleasant Grove beat an even better Mustangs team in the 6A final on penalties.
Last season, it was the aforementioned Pleasant Grove that had the best team.
In a rain-soaked semifinal, Weber ran the Vikings off the field 3-1, then the Warriors later won the title 1-0 against Copper Hills.
Winning the championship has had an impact on this year’s team even if it happened nearly a year ago.
“I think it gives us a lot more confidence going into each match, but it definitely gives us a target on our backs. We’re still not going to overlook any other team, but we still have that confidence and we’ll keep that confidence,” senior Josh Maughan said.
Last week, the Warriors could’ve looked at their two opponents in Mountain Crest and Ben Lomond, noticed they were both 4A schools who are rebuilding to a degree, and figured: piece of cake.
After the 2-0 win against Mountain Crest, Weber jumped on defending Region 11 champion Ben Lomond early and thrashed the Scots 8-0.
This year, Swift says the team is trying to take advantage of any tailwinds that are still blowing from last season.
“We’re kind of starting the season off how we left last year, and that was positive attitude, work ethic,” Swift said.
Another impact the state title has had on the team is putting its goals in perspective. The Warriors still want to win the state title again, but this group hasn’t won a Region 1 championship.
Weber came close two years ago, but ultimately ended one point behind Layton in the region standings.