OGDEN — While the big dogs in Salt Lake City, Provo and Logan garner most of the attention when it comes to college football in the Beehive State, there are some fierce football-playing ‘Cats in Ogden who have their own sights set on some gridiron glory this fall as well.
Weber State officially opened its fall camp Tuesday afternoon at Stewart Stadium, where the Wildcats have 15 returning starters and 34 letter-winners, but will be busy breaking in a new starting quarterback after going 7-5 overall and reaching the FCS Playoffs last year.
And after finishing third in the Big Sky Conference at 6-2 in 2016, these ‘Cats, under fourth-year head coach Jay Hill, are focused on winning the league championship and hopefully piling up nine, 10 or 11 wins in 2017.
“We’ve got a lot of the guys that were with us last year, a big part of that team is still here and still starting for us,” said senior defensive tackle McKay Murphy. “We lost a couple senior starters, but I think it’s just our job to bring the guys that are taking their spots along with us, and I think we can definitely take that next step of winning a Big Sky championship. I think it’s definitely an attainable goal for us.”
Senior tight end Andrew Vollert, who earned All-American and All-Big Sky first team honors last season, wholeheartedly agreed.
After all, when the Wildcats break their huddle now, they chant, “Big Sky champs!” in unison.
“That is the ultimate goal,” said Vollert, who’s been named a Preseason All-American this year. “It’s been awhile since Weber State has won it, and we’ve been breaking on that since January. It’s been on the front of our minds since the end of last year, so we’re bound to make it happen. Absolutely, Big Sky champs or bust, pretty much.
“Anything short of double-digit wins is not acceptable any more. Ever since Coach Hill took over, the trajectory has just been up and up and up, and I really expect that trend to continue this year.”
One of the keys to making that happen will be the play of senior quarterback Stefan Cantwell, a former Bingham High, Dixie State and Snow College star who steps into a starting role following the graduation of Jadrian Clark, who started the past two-plus seasons.