Scroll to bottom of story to see Weber Felt's Facts
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.
"He's a tough sucker," Corbridge said of the 6-foot, 200-pound Mills. "He's pretty mean and ferocious; he likes to hit people.
"And he's so quick off the ball, those poor offensive linemen have a hard time blocking him. He's the strongest kid on our team."
Seniors Teagan Moore and Austin Ulugala will also see playing time at defensive tackle.
At middle linebacker, senior Case Crawford came to Weber from Syracuse, and junior Huston Wade is "a big kid and we expect a lot of good things from him," according to Corbridge.
At outside linebacker, senior Jaxon Gift is a returning starter, and he's joined by seniors Wes Young and Hunter Riggs.
At cornerback, Corbridge is hoping that senior Rayce Nye can come back from a couple of concussions, while seniors Taylor Robbins and Jake Vondrus will also see duty there.
The free safety position will be manned by senior Bleu Moran and junior Tyson Lindley, with seniors Elijah Taylor and Zack Huntsman at strong safety.
Corbridge feels like the Warriors' program is turning the corner, but he realizes it's a long, slow process, and he appreciates the patience of the administration and community.
"It's been a rough two years," he said. "We hope to sneak by one or two of 'em this year. We've got to be able to start competing and build some confidence in these kids.
"We hope to pull out a couple of 'em in preseason, and we've got high hopes with this group. We feel really good about 'em. These kids are players.
"I feel very good about things — a lot better than we did last year," the personal, positive-minded Corbridge said. "We're excited, but we've got to win a ballgame. That's all I've got to say — we've got to win a ballgame."
Of course, the schedule definitely doesn't do the Warriors any favors, with a preseason featuring Box Elder, Mountain Crest, Roy and Bonneville, followed by a Region 1 guantlet against five fierce opponents who don't ever offer a breather, and then a non-league finale against Sky View.
"If the dumb coach wouldn't get such a tough schedule," Corbridge, who's the schedule-maker, shrugged with a laugh.
But he realizes that high school football is about much more than just wins and losses — it's about learning, sacrifice, hard work, teamwork, togetherness and overcoming adversity, too.
"The community has been great; they've been very supportive," Corbridge said. "They want a program that's gonna help their kids, and I think that's what we're giving them. It's not just football. There are the classrooms and all the other stuff we do after practice. These kids are learning how to work and learning some good life lessons, too."
Weber Warriors at a glance
Coach: Rick Corbridge is in his third season as Weber's head coach. He has compiled a 3-15 overall record at the school. He is a graduate of Fremont High.
(3 returning starters; Pistol formation offense)
Jason Mann has ample experience at quarterback, and Austin Tesch is a proven talent at running back. Nathan Kelly, David Welch, Garret Beckey, Makray Joseph, Damian Morley and Mitch Mordaunt will join those two in giving the Warriors enough weapons to put some points up on the scoreboard. The progress of the O-line may hold the key, though.
(8 returning starters; Base 4-3 defense)
The good news is they have a ton of experience; the bad news is the Warriors allowed an average of over 41 points per game last season. And in six of their losses, they gave up at least 41, including 50 or more three times. Obviously, there's plenty of room for improvement, and they feel like it's well within their grasp.
Coaches preseason Region 1 straw poll: Sixth
Deseret News Region 1 prediction: Sixth
Bottom line: When a team goes 0-9, obviously there's only one way to go — up. And Weber will definitely be much-improved this season. But a brutal schedule with non-league games against three 4A playoff teams from last year, plus a regular-season schedule against one of the toughest regions in the state, is not a recipe for success. The Warriors do, however, play arguably the three best teams in Region 1 — Northridge, Davis and Syracuse — on their home field. Chances are the Warriors will likely be much, much better this year, even if their win-loss record doesn't necessarily reflect their improvement.
Aug. 17 at Box Elder, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 ROY, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Bonneville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 MOUNTAIN CREST, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Layton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 NORTHRIDGE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Fremont, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 DAVIS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 SYRACUSE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Sky View, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Weber High School
All-time record: 280-450-22 (86 years)
Region championships: 5 (1948, 1952, 1964, 1985 co, 1996 co)
Playoff appearances: 16
All-time playoff record: 8-14
State championships: 2 (1985, 1999)
State championship record: 2-1
Most played rivalry: 71 meetings with Box Elder dating back to 1926. Box Elder leads 50-18-3. Meet on Aug. 17.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Weber holds the single-game sack record (tied with Morgan) of 15, set in 1978 against Highland.
Weber coaching history
2010-present — Rick Corbridge (3-15)
2005-2009 — Richard Murray (16-34)
2003-2004 — Aaron Tillett (5-15)
1994-2002 — Kory Bosgieter (49-41)
1990-1993 — Glenn Prisk (13-24)
1983-1989 — Rod Buckwoldt (26-38)
1978-1982 — Hal Lewis (15-31)
1976-1977 — Joe James (4-14)
1974-1975 — Jerry Coggins (13-6)
1970-1973 — Unknown (11-21-2)
1967-1969 — Lee Bunnell (6-20)
1965-1966 — Richard Connelly (4-13-1)2 comments on this story
1953-1964 — Mel Wood (56-43-11)
1952 — Unknown (5-4-1)
1948-1951 — Mel Wood (10-26-2)
1945-1947 — Floyd "Slick" Slater (9-22-2)
1944 — Glenn Arnett (5-2)
1932-1943 — Unknown (25-55-2)
1931 — Mark Ballif (2-4-1)
1927-1930 — Unknown (7-19)
1926 — Fred Dixon (1-5)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2002 — Mitch Payne, P
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.