SYRACUSE — Picked as a preseason favorite to win the Region 1 title, Weber started a little shaky and lost its first two games of the season. But Syracuse shocked high school football fans and starting the season winning four straight.
But in the Region 1 battle, which was this week's KSL.com Game of the Week, Weber (3-2, 2-0) found its footing as the region favorite and handed Syracuse (4-1, 0-1) its first loss of the season in a 34-32 win that featured a thrilling last-second score.
"This is a good momentum booster, especially losing those two tough teams out of the gate with Bingham and AF — those are two great teams," said Weber quarterback Jake Lindsay. "I feel like we're just starting to stride right now."
The Warriors scored the first touchdown six minutes into the game on their first drive off a 1-yard run by senior Logan Payne. It would be the first of two touchdowns for Payne on the night, and the start of an exciting back-and-forth game between the two teams.
The game was delayed for over an hour due to lightning in the area, but Syracuse resumed the game with a 1-yard touchdown run of their own by Chandler Christensen. The Titans later ended the first half with a 20-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game 17-17.
But that wouldn't be the only last-second field goal of the night.
With just 55 seconds left in the game, Syracuse's Tyson Stapley found the end zone on a 6-yard run, cutting Weber's lead to one. Syracuse opted to go for a 2-point conversion, which the Titans successfully completed on a pass from sophomore Jake Metcalfe, to give the Titans a 32-31 lead.
In a game that seemed over, the Warriors found themselves in a familiar practice position and knew they needed to do anything they could to save the time remaining on the clock and advance the ball quickly to its opponents' 40-yard line.
They did just that.
With only three seconds left in regulation, the Warriors were in field goal range and gave themselves an opportunity to win the game. As the clock struck zero, Jaycee Jones landed the ball through the uprights from 50 yards out to end the game — and to claim victory.
"We always do a drill like that at either the end of practice or start of practice; we're always mimicking something like that," Lindsay said. "When we went out there, he's (Coach Connors) like, 'Guys, nothing you haven't done before,' and kind of calmed us all down."
The possession seemed poetic as Weber easily moved the ball up the field and got the ball right where they wanted it.
"We said we needed to get to the 40-yard line on the other side. We knew our guy, if we got a shot, that he'd put it through," said Weber head coach Jayson Anderson. "He's been really consistent with everything and it was awesome. I'm happy for Jayce and happy for all of it; it was a fun night.
"I just loved that our guys just didn't quit, even with not much time left on the clock."
The Warriors know, as the region favorites, that they have a bull's eye on their back. Friday's game — handing a red hot Syracuse its first loss in a thrilling fashion likely gave Weber the momentum it was looking for going into the rest of region play, because Anderson said "it's not gonna get any easier."
"We've got the bull's eye on our back; and we like it and we are gonna keep fighting and keep preparing so that we keep doing what we want to do and stay the course."