Weber wins the weekend in Flagstaff

Weber State’s football team defeated the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks after Kyle Thompson secured a last minute field goal on Nov. 19, and the ‘Cats left Flagstaff with the Red Rock Rivalry trophy in hand after a 33–31 victory.

The Wildcats finished the regular season 8–2, with their losses coming from Montana State and Sacramento State.

Both teams started their first possessions of the game with a quick three and out, the Wildcats were put into good field position following Hudson Schenck 30-yard punt return.

Following the return, the Wildcats went on a four play drive that finished with Bronson Barron connecting with Ty MacPherson for a five-yard touchdown pass. The ‘Cats took a 7–0 lead with just under ten minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The ‘Jacks had a slow start to the game and weren’t able to produce any scoring opportunities, and three and out again. The Wildcats used this to their advantage, and on their following drive’s second play, Josh Davis ran for a 40-yard gain. Creyton Cooper was brought out for a one yard rushing touchdown pushing the ‘Cats to a 14–0 lead.

The Lumberjacks’ offense picked up to start the second quarter when RJ Martinez connected with Hendrix Johnson for a 45-yard touchdown, the ‘Jacks cut their deficit to 14–7 with just over 11 minutes left in the second quarter.

Abraham Williams responded to the Lumberjacks’ touchdown with one of his own, collecting their fourth 100-yard kickoff return on the season and giving the Wildcats a 21–7 cushion. Williams was named the FedEx Ground National Special Teams Player of the Week and now holds the Big Sky Conference’s single-season record for kickoff returns for a touchdown.

NAU answered back with back-to-back touchdowns, the first coming from a 12-yard rush by Draycen Hall, and the second coming from Martinez, who threw a five-yard touchdown pass to receiver Isaiah Gerena to end the half 21–21.

“We just got to execute,” head coach Jay Hill said. “We had some drop balls that hurt us, missed throws that hurt us and some coverage things hurt us.”

The third quarter was all Thompson for the Wildcats, who put six points on the board following two field goal attempts. The first coming with just over ten minutes left in the quarter and for 39 yards and the second with just over four minutes remaining and for 29 yards.

NAU took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter, Martinez connected with Johnson for a six yard touchdown, the pair’s second touchdown of the game. This score put the Lumberjacks up by one.

Thompson answered for the ‘Cats by following the Wildcats’ ten play drive with a 41-yard field goal, putting them up by two.

Similarly, the Lumberjacks’ following drive went on a ten play drive, resulting in a 39-yard field goal by Collin Robbins, giving NAU the advantage by one, 31–33.

With just under three minutes remaining in the game, the Wildcats started their last drive. On second and ten, Barron connected with MacPherson on a 33-yard dagger, putting the ‘Cats in field goal position. With eight seconds left, Thompson kicked a 23-yard field goal right down the middle to put the Wildcats up by two and win the game, 33–31.

Coach Hill highlighted that there were times they looked good, but they had to give Northern Arizona credit for their explosive offense.

On offense, Barron threw for 220 yards and one touchdown, Davis led the Wildcats with 82 yards rushing and Macpherson led Weber with 97 yards receiving.

Selection Sunday was held on Nov. 20 for the FCS division and Weber State was selected to host the University of North Dakota, a previous member of the Big Sky Conference, in the first round of the Playoffs on Nov. 26 at Stewart Stadium.