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Hammer had to connect the dots as to why a 5A school with a history of producing athletes couldn’t field a team. He said for one reason or another the "system was broken," adding that the recreational youth program up to the middle school and junior high feeder programs were disjointed.
"There was no continuity from when they were 8 until they were 18," he said.
The streak » Warriors lost 23 consecutive games before Friday’s win at West
All-time record » 281-460-22
State titles » 2 (1999, 1985)
He rectified that by essentially re-recruiting the entire school upon his hire.
And when it finally was Hammer’s time to address his players minutes before kicking off at West, his voice reached new heights.
"What’s going to happen tonight?" he asked his team. "We’re going to win, right?"
Senior Austin Dew spent much of his pregame time in the locker room vocalizing rap lyrics and cracking jokes while many teammates sat quietly, incessantly bobbing their knees in anticipation. Senior captain Ryan Beal was in a cramped corner nearly catatonic waiting for those 48 minutes.
The white and gray brick encapsulated the sounds, but also the heat and stench.
"That’s work," Nick Austin said. "That ain’t stink. It’s work."
Once Hammer and the Weber coaching staff threw in their two cents, Dew stood on a chair in front of a whiteboard that, in large skinny letters read: "Win The Day."
Dew, like Hammer, ensured the sounds inside the visitor’s locker room wouldn’t be forgotten.
"We are not normal," Dew yelled. "We are legends."
Legends in their own right.
Fueled by junior quarterback Cole Dean and Tesch along with junior running back Hunter Bell, the Warriors chipped away at the West defense. They controlled the clock. They forced four turnovers. They broke long runs on third down.
On a third down midway through the first quarter, Dean threaded a pass down the seam to Wade, who took two thunderous hits only to pop right up and point to the crowd.
Tesch punched it in twice from short-yardage situations, and Dean showcased his gall in making pinpoint touchdown passes to Jaxon Porter and Mike Baker.
"We were so pissed off," Wade said. "We wanted a win so bad, it was ridiculous."
When the fourth quarter started at Gean Plaga Stadium, the once-lowly Warriors, a program that was the laughingstock of Utah high school football for two years, were cruising, up 27-0.
Defensive coordinator Andre Dyson, a former University of Utah cornerback who played in the NFL from 2001 to 2007, nearly ran to midfield when his defense made the final stop of the game, a fourth-and-1 situation with just two minutes left on the scoreboard.
"The only thing I think is win," he said. "Even when I lose, I think I win."Next Page >
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