PLEASANT VIEW — They’ve won the Region 1 championship two straight years. They’ve gone to the state quarterfinals two straight years.
They’ve been one of the most consistent high school football teams in the area in that time.
The question for the Weber Warriors isn’t, ‘Now what?’ after the head coach who guided those two seasons took a coaching job at Weber State and the core group of seniors that orchestrated those two seasons graduated.
The question is, ‘What’s next?’
“It’s no longer, ‘Oh we hope to be there at the end (and) be the guys on top,’ it’s, ‘No we’re going to be the guys on top,’" head coach Jayson Anderson said. "That’s the expectation, that’s kind of how you have to talk and get yourself set that way.”
Anderson takes over the marquee football program in Region 1 and in Weber County, his second stint as a high school head coach after a two-year period at Logan High.
It’s his second season back on the Warriors’ coaching staff. He was who many Weber assistant coaches wanted to be the new man in charge when Matt Hammer left for Weber State.
The message is mostly the same. The method is mostly the same. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The expectations are the same, even after a very influential and successful group of seniors graduated.
“The kids that graduated last year (were) awesome examples. Our coach last year was awesome. Now we’ve got a good coach this year and we’re just going to keep it rolling,” quarterback Kohl Hogan said.
Hogan threw 14 touchdowns against three interceptions last season and rushed for six more scores (he also caught one touchdown).
He and a handful of offensive linemen return this year. The big challenge offensively will be to see who steps in at the skill positions.
Anderson says the Warriors will lean on the offensive line and that they have “seven to eight guys” that they’re comfortable with up front.
On defense, they return linebackers Tyler Short (94 total tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles) and Nic Erickson (60 total tackles), and they get a new starter named Aisea Moa.
Moa is just a sophomore but is already turning heads on the recruiting circuit, getting scholarship offers from Utah State, Utah and Brigham Young University despite hardly any varsity experience.
Moa’s older brother is Sione Moa, who’s signed to play college football at Utah State, and his dad is Ben Moa, a former standout football player at the University of Utah.
The defensive scheme isn’t changing and the offense is changing ever so slightly. Anderson saw no need to radically turn things upside down.
Tyler Short doesn’t think Weber’s going to skip a beat.
“I think we’re right on the same path and climbing upwards,” Short said.
The fruits of Weber’s success in Region 1 resulted in back-to-back playoff quarterfinals.
Another sign of the Warriors’ improving prestige is a home-and-home series with the vaunted Bingham Miners, this year’s odds-on 6A state title favorite, beginning this season at home in the season opener.
Head coach Jayson Anderson is new and so is the brand-new turf field. Anderson will call plays on offense. Shane Hansen, who coached with Anderson at Logan, and Ben Moa will help coach, as well.
20 YEARS GONE: The last time Weber and Bountiful met was the 1999 4A state title game, a 17-14 win for the Warriors. The two will meet on Aug. 23.
BACK-TO-BACK: Not only did Weber win back-to-back region titles in 2017-18, but it was the first time the Warriors had back-to-back playoff appearances since a streak from 1995-97.
BADGER PARTY: Anderson and Bountiful head coach Tyler Hughes coached together at Snow College in the mid-to-late 2000s under then-head coach Steve Coburn. Anderson was helping with the secondary while Hughes was the offensive coordinator.
2018 SEASON: 7-4, 6-0 Region 1, beat Granger in the first round of the playoffs and lost to American Fork in the second round.
2019 OPPOSITION RECORD: 53-50 (.515)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kohl Hogan (QB), Nic Erickson (LB), Tyler Short (LB/RB), Aisea Moa (LB/DE), Cannon DeVries (WR)
STRENGTHS: Big senior class and offensive line
WEAKNESSES: Leadership. Last year’s seniors were masters at motivating and leading the team. Weber will need people to step into that role.
RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)
BASE OFFENSE/DEFENSE: Spread & Power/3-4
BY THE NUMBERS
5.75: Average points Weber has allowed per game in its last 12 region games.
12: Consecutive Region 1 wins. The last time Weber lost a region game was on Oct. 21, 2016.
2,531: Total yards of offense accumulated by quarterback Kohl Hogan last season (responsible for 21 touchdowns).
Aug. 16: Bingham, 7 p.m.
Aug. 23: at Bountiful, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30: at Clearfield*, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 5: Syracuse*, 7 p.m. (KJZZ)
Sept. 13: at Northridge*, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: Layton*, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 26: at Fremont*, 7 p.m. (KJZZ)
Oct. 4: Davis*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11: at Roy*, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 16: at Bonneville, 7 p.m.
*Region 1 game