PLEASANT VIEW — It's been a long time since Weber High has had a say in region and state title races.
The Warriors haven't won more than four games in a season since capturing the 4A state title and going 11-2 in 1999. Weber has been mired in mediocrity and stuck in a rebuilding stage.
That may be changing.
The Warriors are a strong candidate to enjoy a turnaround season in 2009. Weber returns nine defensive starters, as well as some weapons on offense. The Warriors have plenty of depth as their sophomore team went undefeated last year, and their junior varsity came close to pulling off the same feat.
"It feels like we've been building up to this year," said linebacker Mason Moore.
It feels that way because Weber's current senior class has ended the last two seasons on the field. They earned their way onto the varsity field as sophomores and took some lumps against Region 1's top teams. As juniors, they pulled off a couple of major upsets, stunning Davis and Viewmont in league play.
"We're pretty excited," said coach Richard Murray. "We've got some really, really good seniors. I think we have all the pieces. I think we're pretty solid depth-wise."
The Warriors' defense will be among the best in Region 1. Moore leads a unit that is fast and fundamentally sound. All Weber has to replace from last season is a linebacker and a cornerback.
Weber has a quality quarterback in Dallin Adams. He's proficient in running the team's spread offense.
"Offensively, we've got an amazing quarterback with a cannon behind him," Moore said.
Adams started as a junior, and the experience should help him this season.
"He's been pretty solid for us," Murray said. "He's been working really hard in the offseason. The kids are behind him. He does the little things well. He's really put the time in. That's been nice."
Adams will have plenty of players to distribute the ball to. Cody Van Buren looks to have a big season at running back, and David Daines will be solid at fullback. Receivers to watch are Bo Thomas and Jake Oberg. The Warriors' offensive line should also be strong with Branson Tingey anchoring the unit at center.
"Our offensive group has gone above and beyond what we've asked in the offseason," Murray said.
A big strength for Weber this season will be its chemistry. Losing teams don't always get along well, and the Warriors say that's been a problem in the past. It's an underrated trait for football teams, and it helps that the Weber players actually like each other.
"I think that's the most important thing — how a team comes together," Murray said. "They mesh well. That above everything else is what's important."
The Warriors are talented and experienced. After putting together a quality offseason, all that's left now is to prove on the field that they can be a factor again in championship races.
"I think we're in the position that we can do that (contend for the Region 1 title)," Murray said. "We have everything we need. We'll see how it pans out."
Weber Warriors at a glance
Coach: Richard Murray will be in his fifth season as Weber's coach. He has a 9-30 overall record.
Key Players: The Warriors will be led by quarterback Dallin Adams. He started last season and is poised for a big year. Running backs Cody Van Buren and David Daines will be weapons on offense, and so will receivers Bo Thomas and Jake Oberg. Branson Tingey anchors the offensive line. Mason Moore is one of nine starters back on defense.
Strengths: Weber has talent and experience on both sides of the ball. The team's defense will be fast and fundamentally sound. Adams will be one of the top weapons in Region 1 at quarterback.
Concerns: The Warriors have had success on the lower levels but that doesn't always translate in varsity ball. Weber starts out with two tough opponents in Region 1 in Viewmont and Davis. If the Warriors lose those games, will they lose their confidence?
Last year: 3-7, did not qualify for the playoffs
Predicted Region 1 finish: Fourth
Postseason possibilities: Weber looks poised to get back into the postseason. The Warriors can compete with the top teams in Region 1, and barring injuries, reach the playoffs. If that happens, who cares how far they advance? Just getting there would be a big step for the program.
Aug. 21 — BOX ELDER, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 — VIEWMONT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 — at Davis, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — FREMONT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — at Roy, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — CLEARFIELD, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — at Bonneville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 — at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 — LAYTON, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 — at Northridge, 7 p.m.