PLEASANT VIEW — Simply stated, over the past couple of years, the Warriors' football program has hit rock bottom.
So now there's only one way to go — up.
And they're counting on Matt Hammer to be the guy who's gonna take 'em there. Yes, indeed, these folks up here are really hoping that Hammer time turns into winning time at Weber High School.
Hammer, who spent the previous seven seasons as an assistant coach at Weber State, takes over a Weber program which has fallen on tough times, to say the least.
The Warriors have endured 23 straight setbacks — two-plus seasons of losing and more losing. And in Hammer, they have a youthful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic new coach who feels like this program has the potential to climb back off the mat and be a somebody again, instead of the doormat it's become the past couple of years.
"There's good enough kids here to win," Hammer said. "Our biggest weakness could be one of the best things about these kids, and that's that they truly care about one another. Out of all the teams I've ever been around, this team cares more about each other — the help and encouragement they give each other, all that good stuff that you try to instill in your team, these kids have it.
"And I think they're so d--- hungry to just taste a varsity win — Sept. 17, 2010 — that's a long time since they won a football game on a Friday night here.
"I think we're capable of winning some games," he said, "so it'll be a fun thing to do and go through. The talent is here, the players are here, and now we've got to do our job as coaches."
It hasn't really been that long — 2009 — since Weber High had a winning season and went to the state playoffs. It just seems longer than that, especially after back-to-back winless seasons in 2011 and 2012.
But Hammer is delighted to have an opportunity to coach at the high school level after the seven-year grind of college coaching, which has become a 24/7, 365-days-a-year commitment, and he has found many positives in his new job already.
"The thing that's been nice about coming back to high school football is you find that pure joy of the game and pure love of the game with these kids, and how much growth they can have in such a short amount of time," he said.
"I have an opportunity to be around coaches who I have known for a long time and appreciate being around. And my college coaching experience has definitely prepared me for this job.
"And unlike a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old college players, these kids are still in high school and they have their parents to discipline them off the football field, so I don't have to baby-sit 'em all the time," Hammer said.
He has also been able to spend much more time with his family, finding the time to coach his 6-year-old son's baseball team — something he could never have done if still coaching at the collegiate level.
What's more, the talent level is enough that the Warriors could burst back into the win column very soon this season.
At quarterback, junior Cole Dean has earned the starting job. Dean is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete who also plays basketball and "looks the part, and he can spin the ball and make all the throws," Hammer said. "He'll get the ball where it needs to go numbers-wise."
He'll be backed up by senior Colton Child.
At running back, senior Auston Tesch returns. He suffered a broken collarbone early last season but is considered a Division I prospect. "He's a good football player, and he's an even better person," Hammer said. "... He's a special kid."
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