Weber Warriors 2-8 at Roy Royals 7-3
Last meeting (2020) Weber 35 Roy 8
The Shield game moves to the playoffs for these two bitter rivals. The records can be thrown out for these teams as this will be a classic game that will be close. The Warriors started the season 0-5 but found a way to get wins over the Clearfield Falcons and Olympus Titans. The Royal’s losses came against top 6A teams, West Panthers, Farmington Phoenix, and the American Fork Cavemen.
During the second half of the season, the Warriors have used sophomore quarterback Tyce Abbott in situations to compliment senior Aidan Carter. The Warriors will look to freshman receiver Salesi Moa (685 receiving yards), and senior Crash Coggins (5 receiving touchdowns) to make plays. On defense, senior linebacker Konrad Kerr (60 total tackles) will be key in stopping Royal’s offense. Special teams for the Warriors are senior kicker/punter Jace Jones (6 touchbacks) and returner Teegan Humphreys (99-yard return for TD). This game has the uniqueness of being a rivalry and playoff game and the players know it. “That combination creates a whole new level of excitement and determination,” said Kerr. This Warrior team is having fun and enjoying the moments even if the win total is not like last season. “Last year, I was the young guy and I looked up to all the seniors,” said Humphreys. “But this year I’m the senior and it’s fun to hang around all the young guys.”
The Royals season began with the new head coach (Chris Solomona) and coordinators (Connor McGuire and Jake Gallegos). This team bought in from the start. “Our coaches did a great job keeping the boys active, engaged, and locked in all spring and summer,” said Solomona. “We continued to trust the process and got 1% better each day.” Trusting each other led to a 7-3 record and second place finish in region 2 for the Royals.
“Weber is definitely a game that I always circle on the schedule,” said Gallegos. “Back when I was playing and now as a coach.” The Royals look to sophomore quarterback Dru Gardiner and receivers sophomore Robert Young and juniors Cole West and Cove Rodriguez as playmakers on offense. The defense is a total team effort as the defense has totaled 17 sacks and 15 team interceptions. Special teams get a boost from senior Ryker Howell’s 27.4 kick-off return average and junior kicker Aidan Hart’s 58 total points.
The Royals have lost in the playoffs at home the last two years and look to get a win. “Both playoff games I’ve played in we’ve lost and both at home,” said Royals Cole Millward. “So, it means a lot to get to play one last game at home with our fans in one of the best stadiums in the state.” This year the Royals again are at home and have more options on offense for the Warriors to prepare for.
A key will be turnovers and special teams for both teams. If the Warriors are able to keep the game close early, the fourth quarter will be great between these two rivals. Whichever team establishes the run and is more physical at the line of scrimmage will have the upper hand. A close game is something to look for with Roy having an edge at home.
Photo courtesy James Tate of Warriors Braylon Parker and Royals Cole Millward