Weber State football: Bright spots, progress on display at 2017 spring game

Saturday , April 15, 2017 - 5:28 PM

BRANDON GARSIDE, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — The Weber State football team wrapped up spring camp with its defense grabbing a 46-38 win over the offense in the spring game Saturday at Stewart Stadium.

“Our veteran players are really good. In this conference, we can compete with those guys,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said.

“We have a couple of spots that we need to come along, and I think today was a good gauge to see where they’re at right now. We’ve got an opportunity to be pretty good, we just need those young guys to keep coming.”

Sophomore defensive lineman Adam Rodriguez grabbed an interception and a sack, and Jawain Harrison recorded two tackles for loss.

Senior quarterback Stefan Cantwell threw 9 of 14 for 116 yards, with sophomore quarterback Justin Shaw throwing 11 of 23 for 122 yards and a touchdown.

“I think Stefan’s had a phenomenal spring,” Hill said. “He’s picked up right where Jadrian (Clark) left off ... He’s a quarterback that can put his pads down and bull his way through for three or four extra yards.

“I think Justin Shaw’s right there nipping at his heels. Going into fall camp, Stefan Cantwell will be our starter and Justin Shaw is right there behind him, and I like the way both of those guys have played.”

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Wide receivers are dealing with injuries to key starters like Drew Batchelor, but the team isn’t worried about the position group as starters get healthy and new recruits add to depth.

“We had a lot of receivers go down,” Cantwell said. “That’s helped other receivers step up. We’re just waiting for those ones that have gotten injured to get healthy again so that it can round out our receiving corps. It will just make us all better when they’re better, too.”

Hill said earlier in camp that the tight end group might be the best in the Big Sky, and the three players at the position certainly made a case for that claim Saturday.

Junior tight end Raphael Longangu led the receiving efforts with six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Senior Tui Satuala had four catches for 60 yards, and Andrew Vollert also hauled in four passes for 34 yards.

The offense didn’t see a lot of success in the run game, as Shaw led the rushing effort with five carries for 14 yards. Standout running back Treshawn Garrett was only given the ball twice.

“We didn’t run Treshawn Garrett very much,” Hill said. “I think Kevin Smith has a chance to be a really good running back. He’s new. We just pulled him over from defense this spring. In high school, he was a phenomenal running back in the state of California, but he’s pretty young.”

Hill has three redshirt freshmen starting at offensive line.

“We’ve got a young offensive line. If those guys come to play, we’ve got a chance to be pretty good,” he said.

Using a modified scoring system, the defense got on the board on the first play as Cantwell fumbled and Xequille Harry scooped it up and carried it 25 yards for a touchdown. That earned the defense 10 points — four for the turnover and the usual six for a touchdown.

Cantwell was injured on the play, staying on the turf for some time before walking off the field. He later returned to action.

Preparations for the 2017 season continue with fall camp starting in August. Weber State opens the season Sept. 2 by hosting Montana Western at Stewart Stadium.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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