After a five-year drought, the Weber State University football team recorded their first winning season, defeating conference rival Idaho State 35-14 at home.
“I am very pleased with these boys. They did what they said they would and ended with a winning season,” head coach Jay Hill said after the game. “This was a season of hard work, and they did great. However, they know like I do that we are a better team than this. We were one field goal away from the playoffs. We have to work on that for next season.”
The Wildcats got things rolling early in the first quarter when freshman running back Treshawn Garrett punched it in from two yards out to put WSU up 7-0. The team scored again halfway through the second quarter when quarterback Jadrian Clark connected with Helam Heimuli from four yards out to put the Wildcats up 14-0. The score would remain that way going into halftime.
After some back-and-forth play, the Wildcats found the end zone again when sophomore running back Eric Wilkes ran it in from 32 yards out to put the Wildcats up 21-0. Idaho State found life late in the third half when Josh Cook completed a pass to Michael Sanders to make the score 21-7.
“I thought the team started to get a little comfortable when we put up the third touchdown,” Coach Hill said. “they were too loose, and after ISU scored, they tightened up their game play and got back to work.”
The team did just that when Clark found Heimuli again, this time from 20 yards out to put the Wildcats up 28-7 to end the third quarter.
Early in the fourth, the Wildcats found the endzone one last time when Wilkes ran it in again, this time from two yards out to make the score 35-7. The Bengals were able to find the end zone once more to bring the score 35-14, but it was not enough to overcome the Wildcats.
Wilkes was instrumental on the day, rushing for 112 yards from 19 carries and two touchdowns. Junior runningback Emmanuel Pooler led the team in rushing with 14 carries for 130 yards, including one 55-yd run. Heimuli was one of the leading receivers with his two touchdowns for 24 yards on the day.
“It was a great day, a good team effort from all of us,” Wilkes said after the game. “It felt good to both end the season and send the seniors of the team off with a victory.”
The game marked the last time that 11 of the players would ever play under the lights of Stewart Stadium. For the seniors, it was a moment that they would never forget.
“It was a good day. It’s sad to think that this will be my last game as a Wildcat,” senior defensive back Devonte Johnson said of the game. “I have been here since 2011, and to end my career with a win is something I will take with me for the rest of my life. This school, this team, they are destined for great things.”
For coach Hill, the season is over, but his eye is already focused on the future.
“We have several holes to fill and several positions to work out,” said coach Hill. “Come spring time, there are several skilled players that will have to prove their place as a starter, and so springtime will be crucial to see how this team is able to continue growing.”