Ogden • For Demario Warren and the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, defeat shaped the doctrine.
Last October, Warren’s team entered the fourth quarter of the “Beehive Bowl” with in-state rival Weber State holding a 22-point lead. The Thunderbirds left the field shaking their heads in disbelief after the Wildcats had rallied to win by a single point.
Now Warren’s players wear shirts with “8:59” printed on them — a reminder of the time left on the clock when SUU missed a field goal, the start of their collapse.
The team’s mantra now? “Leave no doubt.” And they made sure to live up to it Saturday night at Weber’s Stewart Stadium with a 32-16 victory.
Patrick and Parker announced the Thunderbirds’ arrival early in the game, connecting on a 78-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage.
The defeat was a major blow for Weber State coach Jay Hill and the Wildcats. Weber State entered the night ranked 16th in the nation in the FCS Coaches Poll. The Wildcats had won four of their first five games (their only loss coming on the road to Cal of the Pac-12), the program’s best start since 2003.
And now Weber State hopes the pain isn’t extended by an injury to starting quarterback Stefan Cantwell.
The Wildcats were trailing by 3 — but driving down the field — when Cantwell was knocked out of the game and placed under evaluation as part of a concussion protocol after a big collision. Cantwell tucked the ball and ran for 2 yards when he was hit hard near the right sideline. The play was originally called targeting, but the ruling was overturned after a replay. Cantwell remained in the game for one more play after the hit, throwing an incomplete pass on third down.
Backup quarterback Justin Shaw entered the game in place of Cantwell and struggled to get the offense going. Shaw had attempted just 12 passes in his college career up to that point — three of them for interceptions against the Thunderbirds in 2015.
After two incompletions on Saturday, Shaw was intercepted by Chance Bearnson, who returned it 13 yards for a touchdown to give SUU a 20-13 lead. The backup quarterback was intercepted later by SUU defensive back Jalen Russell, setting up a Thunderbird field goal.
Hill turned to redshirt freshman Braden Miles late in third quarter. The former Lone Peak quarterback led the Wildcats to the 1-yard late in the third quarter, before the SUU defense stiffened and held them to a field goal
Southern Utah must now gear up for a home game against Big Sky leaders Eastern Washington. Weber State, meanwhile, will travel to Cal Poly next weekend for a matchup with the Mustangs.