by Walter & Becky Bird
Excitement was high for the September 28 homecoming football game between the Monticello Buckaroos and Layton Christian Eagles.
The game ball was delivered by helicopter and the fall weather could not have been better.
Coming in 3-2, Monticello knew Layton Christian was better than their 1-4 overall record indicated.
It didn’t take long for the Eagles to show off a solid running game. They scored the first touchdown of the game on a 45-yard run just 3:36 in. After a successful extra point, Layton Christian led 7-0.
That lead would hold up through the first quarter. Monticello had some nice gains early in the game on quick outside passes, but never could get the ball in the end zone. Penalties in the red zone also cost the Bucks chances to score.
Monticello had an excellent chance to score in the second quarter after a Weston Nebeker interception set the Bucks up deep in the Layton Christian red zone. But a lost Mark Beh fumble cost them that chance.
With 2:00 to go in the half, the Eagles found paydirt on an 18-yard TD scamper. After a successful kick, the Eagles took a 14-0 lead into the halftime break.
In the third quarter, each team traded punches and both played well between the 20 yard lines, but neither team could find the endzone. The Eagles finally kicked a 36-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining in the quarter to take a 17-0 lead into the final frame.
With 2:44 to go in the game, the Bucks got on the board when Weston Nebeker powered in from the one-yard line for a score. Cedar English made good on his extra point try, and Monticello looked to an onside kick to get back in the game.
The JD Keyes attempt was unsuccessful, but the Bucks forced a three-and-out and quickly got the ball back.
The Bucks struck again mere seconds later when Mark Beh sailed a beautiful pass over the top of the defense and into the hands of Reed Hedglin for a 48 yard touchdown strike. Cedar English made the extra point kick and again JD Keyes trotted out onto the field for an onside kick.
However, the Eagle receiver covered the kick and after a few victory formation kneeldowns, the Eagles snuck off the field with a 17-14 win.
Offensively, the Bucks amassed 342 yards of total offense. Quarterback Mark Beh completed 17 of 44 passes for 267 yards and one TD, but threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Weston Nebeker led the rushing attack with 75 yards on 15 carries and a TD.
The receivers benefitted from all of Beh’s passes. Nebeker came away with 125 yards on six catches, Reed Hedglin had 81 yards on five catches and the dramatic late TD, and Matt Beh and Carson King caught three and two balls each for 32 and 21 yards.
Weston Nebeker led all defenders with five solo and four assisted tackles and one great interception when he jumped up and caught an Eagle pass that was barely over the line of scrimmage.
Zach Cecil had four solo tackles and two assisted. Wyatt Fullmer had two solo tackles, four assisted, and one sack. Brevin Olsen had one solo tackle and five assisted for a total of six.
Gage Wilcox suffered a lower back injury and didn’t play much of the second half but had four tackles in the game.
In the turnover department, Matt Beh added an interception on the Monticello one-yard line, saving a TD to go with Nebeker’s first half interception.
The loss dropped Monticello to 3-3 with three very strong opponents on the schedule to close out the year.
Region play begins this Friday, October 5 when the Bucks hit the road to take on the number-two ranked Parowan Rams (5-1). Kick-off is at 7 p.m.
If you can’t make the trip, tune in to 103.9 KAAJ-LP for the live broadcast.
MHS runs strong at John Thornton Invite and Chicken Creek Challenge
The Monticello cross country teams were busy this week running in the John Thornton Invitational in Blanding on Wednesday, September 26 and the Chicken Creek Challenge on Saturday, September 29 in Mancos, CO.
In Blanding, the Bucks had a great day. In the varsity boys 5K race, the Bucks finished in the top four spots to pound second place Grand 17-57 –not close by cross country standards.
Adam Bunker took the top spot running a 17:53, followed by Alan Pettit (18:31) and Cory Bunker (18:35), who secured second and third place. Hyrum Johnson placed fourth in 19:01 and Boston Freestone in tenth with a time of 19:58 to close out the scoring. Lucas Hatch and Dylan Bird also ran varsity, covering the course in 20:06 and 20:19.
In the girls varsity race, Lily Long ran a 23:03 to place fourth. Serra St. Clair finished twelfth, running a time of 25:18.
Kennedy Brewer ran gimpy and turned in a time of 26:50 for 22nd place with teammate Halle Morrison coming in 25th with a time of 28:04. With only four girls competing, Monticello was unable to register a team score.
In the boys JV race, Monticello went 1-2 when Britton Brewer beat teammate Bailey Walker for the win. Brewer ran the course in 22:18 with Walker just behind in 22:34.
Parker Walker finished fourth, running a time of 22:57. Those three had some help when Taw Robinson, Jaxson Wells, and Robert Musselman finished twelfth, 13th, and 15th with times of 25:07, 28:38, and 29:49 to cover the 26-29 Buck win over San Juan.
At the same meet, the Monticello junior high girls placed first, edging Montezuma-Cortez MS 40-49. Adri Bird took the top spot, running the 1.6 mile course in 10:39.
Shayla Pehrson was third, running 12:33. Lilly Burton had the best race of her young running career, placing sixth in 12:47.
She was followed by Lidia Chamberlain in 14th (13:40), Millie Morrison in 16th (13:51), Jemma Robison (13:55), and Shannon Morrison (14:00). Kahryme Alvarado was 31st (14:49) and Sadie Whitaker 62nd (17:51) on the day.
The junior high boys continued their successful season in first place, beating Dolores 44-50. The Bucks were led by their youngest member, Kaden Pehrson, who finished second, ten seconds behind the winning time of 10:43 when he crossed in 10:53.
Jesse Pettit finished third with a time of 11:18. Curtis Bunker and Jalen Bradford ended up in sixth and ninth place with times of 11:33 and 11:55.
Eighth grader Jacob Johnson provided the final scoring time when he finished in 27th place, running a time of 13:01.
Behind Johnson was Ryan Nielson, Boden Carpenter, and Jarum Robison who ran times of 14:16, 14:18, and 15:48 for 38th, 41st, and 50th place overall in the field of 66 boys.
As is usually the case, the Mancos race was nice and sunny and a good experience for the cross country runners as the season winds down.
In varsity boys, Adam Bunker ran a 17:53 5K to beat little brother Cory, who finished second in the time of 18:32. Alan Pettit claimed the fourth overall spot running a 19:02, followed by Hyrum Johnson who placed sixth with a time of 19:21.
That was all the scoring the Bucks needed, as they posted a perfect score, claiming the meet over Pagosa Springs, 10-41.
Others finishing were Lucas Hatch (eighth in 20:07), Boston Freestone (tenth in 20:15), Dylan Bird (16th in 20:28), Justus Robison (17th in 20:53), Britton Brewer (29th in 22:07), Bailey Walker (33rd in 22:44), Parker Walker (37th in 23:21), Taw Robinson (45th in 27:42), and Robert Musselman (50th in 31:33).
In varsity girls, Lady Buck Lily Long ran well to a third place finish in 22:58. Teammate Serra St. Clair placed 15th, running a 25:32. The last Monticello runner to finish was Halle Morrison in 39th in the time of 29:51.
Once again, the Monticello girls were unable to register a team score due to lack of participants.
In the junior high races, the boys won the team title 43-63 over Mesa View MS from Farmington. The top Monticello finishers in the 3,000M race were Josh Wheeler and Kaden Pehrson in fourth and fifth place with times of 11:27 and 11:28.
Jesse Pettit was seventh in 11:39 and Curtis Bunker was twelfth in 11:49. Jalen Bradford came across the finish line in 12:16 for 18th place.
Jacob Johnson finished 47th and Treydon Harris 55th in 13:44 and 15:41. Ryan Nielson and Jarum Robison also ran, but due to a scoring error, their times weren’t reported.
In the junior high girls race, the Monticello girls finished second behind Durango 68-20. The top Monticello finishers in the 3,000M race were Adri Bird in second after she and the winning girl went off course for a bit. Bird was edged out at the line by tenths of a second, running an 11:48.
Lilly Burton had another great showing, finishing in 13:19 in eleventh place. Next across the line was Lidia Chamberlain in 15th with a time of 13:34.
Shayla Pehrson finished in 29th and Millie Morrison in 30th with times of 14:16 and 14:20. Jemma Robison and Kahryme Alvarado finished in 34th and 37th respectively with times of 14:29 and 14:48.
The final meet for the junior high will be this Friday, October 5 at the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational in Cortez.
The Region 19 Cross Country Race and Utah State Cross Country Race are October 10 and 17 in Monticello and Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City.
Lady Bucks play Grand and Monument Valley
On Tuesday, September 25, the Lady Buckaroo volleyball team traveled to Monument Valley to take on the Region 19 Cougars.
It was back and forth early, but MHS ended up taking the match 25-21, 17-24, 25-12, and 25-18.
In the game, Monticello was out-served, had an inferior service return rate, and had fewer digs, but won the match on the strengths of hitting percentage, assists, aces, and blocks.
Journey Baird led the team with a 95.5 service percentage and 21 digs. Shalee Bradford had an 86.7 percent service rate and ended with 16 digs. Presley Lewis also had 16 digs.
Megan Black had a perfect service percentage, eleven digs, and three aces. Morgan Maloy also had a nice game, putting 100 percent of her serves into play, five aces and ten digs.
Two nights later on Thursday, September 27, the Lady Bucks hosted the Grand Red Devils in a homecoming week match-up. Monticello started out well, taking an early two-set lead but dropping the next three games to lose 25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 19-25, 12-15.
The Lady Bucks out-hit Grand .126 to .115 and out-blocked them as well.
But Monticello was out-served, out-passed, and out-defended by the Red Devils. The Lady Bucks ended up with 46 errors to Moab’s 52.
Rianna Shumway, Morgan Maloy, and Shalee Bradford all had one ace in the game. The top players with digs were Journey Baird with 25, Tristen Esplin with 20, Rianna Shumway with 19, and Megan Black with 16.
It’s another busy week for the Lady Bucks (10-6). They took on the San Juan Broncos at home on Tuesday, October 2.
They travel to the Sevier Valley Tournament in Richfield for matches on Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6.