The Buckaroos are favored in the matchup that they have historically dominated. Since the teams first met in 1985, Monticello has never lost to Monument Valley, going 20-0 during that time.
MHS opened 2018 in Monument Valley with a 36-6 win over the Cougars.
For Monticello it’s a case of the revolving door scenario that is high school sports. In 2018 they had a decent 5-6 season and beat the Rich Rebels for the first time in 13 years.
They lost much of their 2018 production to graduation and look to fill numerous holes as 2019 begins. On offense, lineman Tuff Adair and receiver Carson King are back.
It’s better defensively, as linebackers Zach Cecil and Brevin Olson and linemen Eldean Lammert and Dillon Slack return.
Even though there will be numerous players stepping into new roles, second-year Coach Reed Anderson said he is confident the groundwork was laid last season for the program to continue to improve, even as MHS moves to the 2A classification.
Sophomore Devin Hatch takes over as the Buckaroo quarterback. Anderson told the Deseret News, “After about week three [last year], Devin really showed what he could do.
“If we had to put a freshman in there, I was content that we could be okay. He’s shown great progress this year already.”
Anderson admits that Hatch’s youth still shows at times. He feels the Buckaroo offense will depend on how well Hatch makes decisions. That, combined with an inexperienced offensive line, will be two big challenges.
Defensively, the MHS strength should be the line. Anderson hopes they will consistently get to opposing quarterbacks and create turnovers.
Monticello definitely has a challenge replacing many players on both sides of the ball. How quickly it comes together will determine how good they are this year, especially as they move to the 2A ranks.
Monument Valley finished 2018 with a 4-6 record, but in an exciting closing game they beat the Whitehorse Raiders in the Battle of the Drum, 39-22.
Calvert Lameman enters his third year as head coach of the Cougars with a 5-10 record.
He looks to get his team on track starting with a tough challenge on the road against Monticello.
The teams will battle it out on the Monticello High School gridiron this Friday, August 16 at 7 p.m.