by Scott Boyle
The Duchesne Eagles spoiled the Monticello Buckaroo homecoming game on September 16 with a 35-0 whitewashing of the Bucks.
The upstart Buckaroos, however, gave the second ranked Eagles a thought or two in the first half, playing the visiting Eagles to a standstill for most of the first half.
The Buckaroo defense rose up in that first half to let the Eagles know they were in a game. Buckaroo safety Talon Black intercepted the Eagles on the first play of the game.
Then, on the second Duchesne series, Buck linebacker Paul DeAnda pounced on a Eagle fumble to foil that possession. The Bucks forced three and outs on the Eagles in the next two series and the defense was ruling the day late in the second period.
The Eagles finally managed to score a touchdown with 5:08 left in the half when QB Jarett Spencer found receiver Chad Lewis behind the Buckaroo defense for a 55-yard TD. The Bucks stopped the Eagles on the last possession of the half, leaving the Bucks trailing at halftime just 7-0.
The Buck “Orangemen” defense held the vaunted Eagle rushing attack to just 55 yards in 19 carries in that first half and 122 yards on seven of 12 attempts passing with eight first downs. And 55 of those passing yards were in one play.
Things looked good defensively for the Bucks.
The offense was not so good looking. Duchesne held the Bucks to five first downs in the first half, gaining 48 yards rushing on 17 carries and 38 yards passing on three of nine attempts. The Bucks started drives well but couldn’t sustain them.
All five of the Buckaroo possessions in the first half ended with the Bucks in Duchesne territory. The Bucks were unable to capitalize on those two first half turnovers, committing two turnovers themselves, both interceptions, one that killed the first Buckaroo drive of the game on the Duchesne 15 yard line and another at the 38 yard line of the Eagles.
But, all in all, the Bucks seemed improved on offense after a change on the line in a couple of positions. Offensive coordinator Josh Keyes moved running backs Paul DeAnda and Keaton Young to the offensive line, which gave the Bucks some hope.
In the second half, the offensive woes continued and the bottom dropped out defensively as well. Quarterback Brayson Wilcox was hit in the backfield, causing a fumble, which the Eagles recovered at the Buck 39-yard line.
Duchesne then went 39 yards in five plays to score with 9:17 left in the third quarter to go up 14-0 after the PAT.
The Bucks picked up a first down on the next possession, but a collision in the backfield for a four-yard loss and incomplete pass forced the Bucks to punt. The ensuing snap sailed over punter Weston Nebeker’s head with the Eagles taking over on the Buck 14 yard line. Three plays later, the Eagles scored again to lead 21-0 with 4:10 left in the period.
The Bucks offensive continued to sputter in the fourth quarter with three and outs on all three possessions, while Duchesne scored two more times for the final score. The Bucks managed only 19 yards rushing and zero yards passing in the second half. For the game, the Bucks had 105 total yards to Duchesne’s 451 yards.
A particular thorn in the Bucks defensive effort was the passing of Spencer to Lewis. Lewis had 10 receptions for 192 yards and proved kinda unstoppable against the Bucks.
Duchesne has now won 10 straight in the 46 game series with the Buckaroos. Monticello won the first 14 games in the series that began in 1973 and still leads the series overall, 26-20.
The two teams have faced off at least once a year all but six seasons since 1973 and have faced off in the semifinals four times, with both teams winning twice.
This night was the Eagles night, but you have to hand it to the Bucks, who kept the throttle at full speed the whole game. No quit in this bunch.
This week, the 1-3 Bucks head out on the road for the first time this season for a Friday night contest against the 2-2 Parowan Rams, with the Bucks hoping to end their offensive difficulties.
The Bucks and Rams have faced off 14 times in the series, with the Bucks leading, 11 wins to three for the Rams. Last year, the teams played for the first time since 2008, with the Bucks prevailing 45-7.
In 2008, the Rams beat the Bucks twice in one season for two of their three wins against MHS. The only other time the Rams prevailed was in 1995, a 24-14 Ram victory.
A bright football note for the week was the highly competitive Powder-Puff football game, won by the Black team, 34-33. Abbi Nielson was the offensive star for the Black team in the popular annual affair, with four touchdowns rushing. Tristen Esplin was effective for the white team as well.