SANDY — The pressure was one for Stockton Short, the goalkeeper who jumped into goal as Weber High took upstart Skyridge into a shootout in the championship match of the Class 6A boys soccer tournament.
The pressure has been on all year, though, for the unbeaten Warriors.
And like he has all year, Short handled that pressure with aplomb. With a 4-3 lead and Skyridge's final penalty taker at the spot, Short didn't earn the save — but he earned something even better as the ball caromed off the crossbar.
The junior goalkeeper who was a backup on the 2019 championship team that featured another standout 'keeper performance from Charlie Wheelwright was a repeat champion.
Short pushed aside back-to-back penalty kick to end the shootout, and Weber clinched its second consecutive Class 6A state title 4-3 on penalties Friday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"I knew that if I saved it, we'd be the champs," Short said. "Just seeing it come off his bench, and rise a bit to hit off the crossbar was the best feeling, honestly. I dove to the left, and fortunately it came out.
"All that hard work paid off. This team has been phenomenal all year," Short added. "I didn't make the save, but I did what I had to do to keep it out.
Weber became the first repeat champion since Brighton in 2008 and 2009 to win consecutive state titles. The Warriors also took an 18-0 record into the championship match, and became the first school to go undefeated since Juan Diego in 2016 and the first public school to accomplish such a feat since Wasatch in 2013.
With three goals allowed all year, Weber set the Utah High School Activities Association state record for fewest goals allowed, obliterating Brighton's previous mark of five in 2006 that was tied with Bonneville in 2004, Davis in 2019 and Juan Diego in 2016.
And they did it all in the final match of head coach Jan Swift's legendary career.
What a way to go out.
"I feel great," Swift said. "It's emotional, obviously. But we worked hard all season. The boys believed in us and they bought in all season — and they did it.They accomplished it; I'm so proud of them.
"I told them on the bus coming over. They knew. And they just said, 'do it for Jan' kind of a thing."
Did that give the Warriors any extra nerves — to 'do it for Jan'?
Not really. Again, Weber has been living with pressure all year, with 18 wins, 16 shutouts and the final penalty kick-decided championship. Until Friday's finale, the Warriors hadn't allowed a single goal in the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 5-0 in three previous matches — including a 3-0 win over Region 1 rival Fremont in Monday's semifinals.
That match was the first of the postseason not decided by a 1-0 margin. Weber has been living on an edge, with all kinds of pressure in the regular season and postseason.
Friday was just another chance — one last chance, in the case of 10 seniors — to prove themselves again.
"We just told ourselves it was another game," Short said. "It may be a championship at Rio Tinto. But we prepared for it the same, we came out the same, and we won the same, too."
Friday was a bit different in one way, though — the Warriors trailed, and trailed for the most minutes of the year.
Jacob Jensen opened the scoring from Skyridge (16-5) in the 17th minute, finishing off a ball from the side of his foot inside the right post to give the Falcons a 1-0 advantage that held through halftime.
Weber had plenty of chances to counter before the break after giving up just the third goal all season, including a corner kick moments after the goal off the head of fullback Logan Funk that sailed just over the crossbar.
The Warriors trailed for just the second time all year, and the first since a 2-1 win over Northridge back on April 27. In that match, Weber rallied from a 1-0 deficit to equalize before halftime en route to the late win.
That made Fridays' 23 minutes of trailing time the longest deficit of the Warriors' 2021 season.
"It was stressful. It got scary," Short said. "But you're not going to come back if you have zero confidence. The boys picked their heads up, and we just came right back at 'em.
"That's what we had to do against Northridge, and it's what we did today when we were down. I'm so proud of our guys, and, you know, we made it."
The Warriors equalized just one minute into the second half, when Braden Bennett's ball from 20 yards out off the right corner of the box glanced off the back line head, took a fortuitous bounce, and hit the back of the net.
The rest was up to Short and the defense — a group that includes all 11 players on the field, from the back line to the front forwards.
"It starts with our offense," Short said. "We keep the ball pretty well; it's amazing what these guys do with the ball.
"Other teams don't have a chance to get shots, because they don't have a chance. And then our defense is phenomenal. We have the best back line in the state … You could tell that these guys deserve to be called the best team in the state."
Class 6A boys soccer state championship
Rio Tinto Stadium
Weber 1, Skyridge 1
Weber wins 4-3 via shootout
Goals — SKY: Jacob Jensen. WEB: Own goal.