OGDEN — Eight days ago Weber State head coach Jay Hill had one wish: to get another chance at Montana, and that wish might just come true with how the FCS playoff seeding is set up.
On Sunday, players, coaches and family gathered together and cheered as the Wildcats learned they had been awarded a No. 3 seed in the playoff, which secured the team a first round bye and home field advantage for at least two games if the Wildcats win on December 7.
“That’s where we hoped we’d end up,” Hill said. “Nobody was going to overtake James Madison or North Dakota State, so we were hoping to get that next seed below them and we did. We got the matchups exactly the way we want. We’re going to have a very, very good opponent here in the second round and then it’s win and advance time. We know that every opponent from here on out is going to be a great team.”
Weber State will host the winner of the Wofford-Kennesaw State game, which will be played Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. at Stewart Stadium.
North Dakota State earned the No.1 overall seed, followed by James Madison at No. 2. Sacramento State came in behind the Wildcats at No. 4.
“Win and advance” was the message that Hill reiterated to his players after they learned there would be a potential rematch with Montana on the Wildcats’ home turf.
“We had a loss that we aren’t super proud of,” said Jonah Williams, speaking about the team’s loss to Montana earlier in the season. “We came back and really showed our strengths yesterday and now it’s time to take it to some other teams.
“When we win that first one we’ll have another opportunity at Montana on our home field, and like I said,that’s exactly what we want.”
While the buzz was focused on a rematch against Montana, Hill said he doesn’t want his team looking past the task ahead of them.
“At this stage, you better be mature about the situation because we’re going to get a really, really good team in here and you got to take care of business one week at a time,” Hill said. “If you look forward to a potential Montana matchup or if they're looking at that matchup with us, someone’s going to get beat.
“It’s just not the way to handle business at this time, and if it happens, great; that’s what we’re looking forward to, but we gotta take care of business the first game.”
The Wildcats will practice Monday and Tuesday this week and then get some much needed time off for Thanksgiving. They’ll be back to work on Saturday in preparation for their first game.
Both Williams and Hill acknowledged the support of the community this season and hope they’ll pack the stadium on Dec. 7.
“I hope this place is packed,” Hill said. “It’s rare that you get these kind of games this late in the season that have so many implications on a potential National Championship. I’m just hoping and praying they all come out and support like I think these players deserve to be supported.” Carra McManamon is a native of Washington State and is attending the University of Utah. Contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter: @curramac22