Them meaty bones the Weber High football players snarf up after victories never tasted better than on Friday.
For that matter, a win never tasted sweeter for these Warriors than did their 17-14 victory over Bountiful in the 4A championship game at Rice-Eccles Stadium.And it only figures Weber's defense made the difference in this down-to-the-wire thriller.
"That's been our forte all year, and defense wins championships," smiled Weber's Ashton Buswell.
Coming into the championship, the Warriors were only giving up just over eight points a contest.
And seeing as Weber's offense was limited to 155 yards and a meager nine first downs, the defense had to compensate in order for the school to pick up its first title since 1985. And the Warriors trailed 8-3 in the second half when their defense decided to take over. Darin Scott specifically.
Just two minutes after halftime, Scott picked off Bountiful's injured quarterback, Seth Patterson. Weber's hard-nosed linebacker then hauled downfield full steam for a pivotal 44-yard touchdown return, putting Weber up 11-8.
"That was the game-breaker right there," said Weber defensive end Dalton Jones, who came up with a couple of big plays himself including a late sack.
"Wow! That's Darin Scott for you," exclaimed Weber coach Kory Bosgieter. "He's the Region 4 defensive MVP, and he showed it right there."
Scott led the Warrior defense with 16 tackles and his one pick. Buswell added 14 tackles, Ben Henry and Mark Miller chipped in with 10 apiece, and Jones had nine.
The Warriors got the biggest break of the game while playing defense, but it was more luck than anything as the slick ball squirted out of Patterson's hands as Bountiful began a potential go-ahead drive. Defensive lineman J.D. Hall pounced on the pigskin and Weber scored shortly thereafter on Mike Bailey's 6-yard toss to receiver Jon Graves.
Bountiful battled back, scoring a touchdown and getting the ball back with 1:40 left behind by three. But the Warriors' defense held tough only allowing the Braves to complete one of four passes, and Buswell was there to make sure that short fourth-down reception didn't amount to a first down.
"Our defense has been tough all year," said Bosgieter, whose team finished with an 11-2 record. "I'll tell you, they'll hit you and they'll hit you every play of the game."
Weber's hard hitting was part of the reason Bountiful struggled so much and had to play musical quarterbacks.
Starting quarterback Seth Patterson, who had guided the Braves to a 12-0 pre-finals record, rotated in and out of the game because of a couple of separate injuries. During Friday's title game, he suffered a deep hip pointer, experienced spasms and took a brutal shot to the head.
Patterson, who ended with 119 yards passing and 67 rushing, was first replaced by Erik Soderberg, who was then replaced by Mark Nelson after suffering a compound fracture on his pinkie finger. Anthony Vance was then subbed in for Nelson before Patterson returned to finish the game.
"That hurt a bunch," said Bountiful coach Larry Wall of the volatile QB situation. "We never could get into offensive control. We spent half of the game in damage control."