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Note: Weber High finished with an 0-9 overall record and went 0-5 in Region 1 in 2011. It did not qualify for the 5A playoffs.
PLEASANT VIEW — There's no sense in sugar-coating it: The Weber Warriors took their lumps last season.
This year, though, they're hoping there will be at least a few occasions when they're the "lumper" instead of the "lumpee."
Third-year Weber High head football coach Rick Corbridge and his troops endured a winless 0-9 campaign in 2011. But Corbridge is convinced that the valuable lessons learned from that difficult experience will pay dividends when the Warriors embark on their 2012 journey in a quest to regain respectability.
"We've got a good group of kids," Corbridge said. "From last year, we've got 11 returning starters and most of our JV played all of the fourth quarter, so I think we're gonna be OK. We've got a lot of game experience. And they're a great group — great attitude, great workers. We couldn't ask for a better bunch of kids."
Corbridge readily admits that last year's winless season wasn't much fun. In fact, it was downright demoralizing at times, but he has high hopes that his team will turn the tables on some folks this time around.
And he feels like Weber has got the horses to make it happen.
"We were one of the worst defensive teams in the state last year," he said. "But I feel like we've made some big improvements there this year. We're all very happy with what has taken place.
"During the offseason, they've been working their butts off. We've got some bigger kids. Last year, our biggest defensive lineman was like 220 pounds, but my biggest senior was only 195 — so we were little. We've got some size coming back this year."
Indeed, with eight returning starters back on defense, Weber should definitely make some strides this season.
And although only three starters return on the offensive side of the ball, Corbridge feels like the Warriors have plenty of potential.
And it should certainly help that they have a returning starter at quarterback in senior Jason Mann.
"We expect great things from him," Corbridge said. "He can run it and throw it and is a good all-around athlete and leader."
Mann will be backed up by senior Zack Noyes.
Another returning starter is senior fullback Austin Tesch, who's being depended upon to carry the load this year. "He's a good player," the Warriors' coach said. "We hope to give him the ball 20 times a game."
At H-back, junior Nathan Kelly and senior David Welch will split time. "They've got good speed on 'em, good ball sense. They go 100 miles an hour all the time, and they're great kids."
The tight end position features steady senior Garret Beckey, a three-year starter, and senior Makray Joseph, a transfer from Fremont "who's a good kid and someone who's gonna help us a lot," Corbridge said. "He does a lot of good things for us."
The team's top wide receivers are junior Damian Morley, who Corbridge says "will be a good one," and solid senior Mitch Mordaunt, but the Warriors are thin at the wideout position and are still trying to build some depth there.
Tyler Griffith, a senior, gives them a returning starter at center, where he's flanked by senior guards Chris Trivino and D.J. Jolin, with sophomore Wyatt Beckey backing them up. The junior duo of Ryan Beal and Quentin Hall will start at the offensive tackle spots.
On the other side of the ball, Joseph will be joined by senior Carson Malan and junior Jake Nalder at defensive end, and senior Jordan Mills, who started at linebacker last season, will help anchor the D-line at tackle.