It was an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure. —Weber quarterback Austin Bartholomew
PLAIN CITY — Weber’s first region title in more than two decades didn’t come without a whole lot of drama.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure,” said senior quarterback Austin Bartholomew after the Warriors held off a Fremont rally to beat the Silver Wolves 28-20. “It feels like you have it in the bag, and then it seems like everything that can go wrong does go wrong.”
In the end, the Warriors three interceptions and one fumble recovery iced the victory and gave Weber its first region title since 1996. The third-ranked Warriors are now 5-0 in region play, while Fremont is tied for second place with Northridge at 3-2.
“We kept battling and battling,” said Weber head coach Matt Hammer. “You know, I felt like we just didn’t finish the game very well offensively, and gave them too many opportunities. We have to do a better job of managing the clock, and that’s on me. To our kids’ credit, they continued to fight and we continued to battle and make plays that we needed to make to win games. And that hasn’t happened here. So you know, I’m very happy (for) their resiliency and to continue to fight and continue to play and win the game.”
Weber answered on their next possession with a touchdown pass from Bartholomew to Hudson Schenck. The three-yard pass play would be the first of three touchdowns the duo would score. A failed two-point conversion allowed Fremont to retain a 7-6 lead until Weber scored in the second quarter on a 19-yard pass play between Bartholomew and Schenck.
A pass to Sione Moa gave Weber a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Fremont nearly scored before the half, but a swatted pass turned into an interception for defensive lineman Trevor Lewis.
The Warriors scored again when Bartholomew connected with Braedon Iverson, who also had a 76-yard reception in the first half, and then in the fourth when Bartholomew found Schenck for his third touchdown.
Fremont answered with a touchdown from Sanford to Chaedon Dayton, but the extra point was no good, allowing Weber to lead 28-13.
With about seven minutes left in the game, it looked the Warriors were going to implode.
A three-and-out turned into a disaster when Fremont’s Calvin Peterson blocked the punt and Fremont took over at the 5-yard line. The Silver Wolves scored on a two-yard run from Jay Scott, and then the kick was good for a 20-28 game with 5:44 remaining.
Weber’s next possession was riddled with penalties and miscues, including a dropped pass to senior receiver Ty Barnett that would have converted a third down with a 30-yard pass.
“I was super bummed,” Barnett said after the game. “I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ It was a big play that I should have made.” His teammates told him “flush it away” because he was needed on defense.
"I have to say he made up for it," Bartholomew said smiling.Comment on this story
Fremont took over with four minutes remaining at the Warriors 40. Four plays later, Barnett earned the first of two interceptions that would ice the victory for his team.
“I just forgot about it,” Barnett said. “After the first play, I just flushed it away. Especially the last one to seal the game, that was a big one. That made me feel better.”
Hammer said his advice to his players after each setback was “just keep playing.”
“Our season and our fate is not going to come down to one play,” he said. “We’re going to continue to play, continue to work, and it’s exciting to see our kids make plays when they need to play.”