by Scott Boyle
The 2007 version of the Monticello Buckaroo Football team is two weeks away from kickoff. Coach JC Hall, in his third season as head football coach, is looking forward to an awesome season.
The Buckaroos have been flying below everyone’s radar this season, as evidenced by the fact they were picked finish next to last in their region this year. Last year ended on a bad note, with a lopsided loss to Enterprise in the first round of the state playoffs.
“To be honest,” said Hall, “I was glad it was over, with our troubles and many key injuries.”
The Bucks had some great players, with the two hardest to replace being Kedric Curtis - “you can’t replace how hard he hit” - and Chad Sonderegger - “huge heart and will to work”. The Bucks are stressing discipline and character for 2007.
Consequently, the Bucks are starting this season with high expectations. Coach Hall is installing a new offense for 2007, a split back veer offense, a kind of modified option offense. It is about 50/50 running and passing the ball.
Five offensive players to watch in the new offense:
Junior Connor Frost has been impressive in summer activities. At the recent 7on7 week in Blanding, Frost made many spectacular catches from his wide receiver spot.
Junior quarterback Daniel Torres has stepped up as the leader of the team, according to Hall, and is learning the nuances of the option offense. He is throwing the ball soundly, and making high-quality reads.
Senior Kelvin Curtis will be the halfback. Curtis has the speed to get to the outside for the Buckaroos. However, his compadre, speedy junior Gabe Beh, broke his collar bone in the 7on7s and will miss four to six weeks.
Chase Randall will be the fullback, doing the tough running up the middle and off tackle. The junior returns for his third season of varsity ball, bringing lots of experience.
Junior Ashton Whipple will man the all-important tight end spot in the new veer offense. “We use the tight end a bunch” explains Hall.
Five players to watch on defense:
Senior Kevin Anderson is back “with a vengeance” after missing most of 2006 with a broken ankle. As a sophomore, Anderson started on defensive line, but will man the middle for the 2007 Bucks, middle linebacker.
Daniel Torres might challenge former Buck Antonio Mustache’s state interception record. He recorded nine interceptions in the three days of 7-on7.
The entire defensive line is Hall’s third, fourth, and fifth players to watch. The Bucks will run many players in and out and will be smallish but very quick. Senior Ryan Bailey, juniors Jesse Barton, Joseph Weatherford, Chris Larsen, and sophomore Tyler Ketron will be the anchors.
Most improved Player:
Coach Hall sited the improved play of senior Corey Eardley, who will be back at his cornerback spot he started in as a first year player last year and at receiver. “He is running the best routes on offense and has the best footwork on defense,” praises Hall.
Key to a successful season: “We have so many good skill players,” marvels Hall. Indeed, the Bucks are loaded at the receiver spots with Eardley, Frost, Whipple, and senior Travis Tibbs catching the ball, and with Torres, Randall, Curtis, and perhaps Anderson (he could play on the offensive line) lugging the pigskin, the Bucks will be exciting to watch.
“But the key to our season,” Hall continues, “will be the play of the offensive line. If they will block and open even the littlest hole, our skill players will make it through.”
Anticipation is high in Buckaroo land. They’ve had a positive, hard working summer that has prepared them for the work to come. Coach Hall particularly appreciates Bronco Coach Lee for inviting them to the 7 on 7 week in Blanding. “We were pleased with the positive experience and glad to find things to work on.”
Perspective: One wonders why coaches do what they do. Particularly in Hall’s position, who is not a teacher at Monticello High. Hall’s son, Steven has helped in the perspective department.
Steven, all of five years old, underwent his third major heart reconstruction surgery this past June. He is doing wonderful after the surgery - “it’s a miracle” says Hall.
Steven’s experience helped Hall and wife, Kathryn, with another huge reminder of reality. While the coach was sitting with Steven in the hospital, studying his new playbook, what was really important in life was reemphasized decisively. For Hall, “the number one thing is family.”
Steven, who is preparing to enter kindergarten, will someday need a heart transplant, but in the meantime is running and jumping with the best of them. Why would someone take time to coach with these kinds of issues to deal with?
“I coach because I love being around the kids. I love the relationships with the coaches. It’s fun to build those memories.” His two oldest sons, Carter, 7, and Alex, 9, are old enough now to attend most of the football events with dad.
“If I can build better character and better young men; that is more important than winning. Of course, we want to win, but I hope these boys can look me in the eye at the end of the season and say, ‘I’m a better man.”
Worthy Glover, Jr., not Sr., as I reported, finished second in the C-Flight division of the 2007 Hideout Amateur. “It probably doesn’t help that there are three Worthy Glovers running around San Juan County,” says Junior, “my father, myself and my own son. We don’t make life easy on the people around us.”
I apologize for the error.
The third Boyle brother, Doug, has tickets in right centerfield in San Francisco on August 11. What are the odds that Barry Bonds hits his record-breaking homerun then?