DRAPER — There were moments during the season where the Weber Warriors weren’t at their best, not even close.
The Warriors dropped back-to-back-to-back games during region play, losses to Clearfield, Davis and Northridge.
A week before that slide began, they dropped a contest to Layton, a game they were never really in, which didn't exactly sit well with the team.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” said Warriors head coach Jan Swift. “We saw our vision of a region championship kind of slip through our fingers because we forgot to show up at times.”
They didn’t forget Tuesday afternoon at Juan Diego High School.
Each of the goal scorers found the back of the net in the second half, as the Warriors scored all three goals in a 15 minute window.
“We knew what we could do. We have been up and down all season, but the boys worked hard and saw the vision,” Swift said. “We are just pumped. We are excited.”
They were at the beginning of the contest too, as the Warriors dominated possession and limited the Vikings to very little in the way of an attack.
“Every game we have come out high pressure, we’ve won," said Swift. "That is the story of our transformation, really, from struggling to winning games. High pressure and not giving up.”
For all of the pressure exerted by Weber, neither team could find a breakthrough in the opening 40 minutes.
After that scoreless first half, it didn’t take the Warriors long to get on the scoreboard, however.
Pobanz gave Weber its first lead of the game a mere two minutes into the second half, when he bested Pleasant Grove goalkeeper Chris Jenkinson after a series of deft passes between Weber teammates.
“They played the game how we want to play,” said Swift, “possession, move the ball quickly. They executed excellently.”
Five minutes later, the Warriors were back at it, as Youngberg found himself alone in a 1v1 matchup with Jenkinson.
Youngberg made good on the opportunity, and seven minutes later it was Maughan who did the same, on an almost identical 1v1 opportunity.
“We moved the ball around quite a bit and exposed their full back line,” said Swift.
The expert finishing was unexpected, though a most welcome occurrence.
“We’ve struggled finishing all year to be honest,” Swift said. “Against Herriman” — Weber defeated the Mustangs 3-1 in the first round of the tournament — “we had 27 shots. We have had a lot of shots but haven’t been able to put them in the back of the net.”
Increased shot training played a role in the Warriors improved showing, as well as a little luck.
“We have worked a lot on finishing and it is finally starting to pay off,” said Swift. “Finally, we are starting to get a few.”
Tyler Ashby netted Pleasant Grove's only score late in the game, with just over three minutes remaining, but the effort was too little too late as the game belonged to Weber.
"They knew that if they believed in themselves, they could play with anybody,” said Swift. "They showed that today."
A major storyline heading into the contest revolved around Weber seniors missing their high school graduation ceremonies in favor of playing in the semifinal.Comment on this story
Per Swift, it wasn’t really an issue.
“Our administration did an awesome thing,” he said. “We had an award ceremony on Monday, and (the) school recognized them as seniors and soccer players.”
Additionally, Swift, opined, “what do you think they’ll remember most, their high school graduation ceremony or playing in state? I think state,” he said with a laugh, “and we are not done.”
The Warriors will battle the Copper Hills Grizzlies in the 6A state championship game Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.