by Scott Boyle
“The wind always blows in Monticello” - so goes the first line of an early 1900s book about the history of the Forest Service in San Juan County.
It’s OUR wind and us Ourwinders don’t mind saying so, at least I don’t. Our wind was certainly whistling in Monticello Friday night, and even though both teams deal with the wind an equal amount of time in a football game, the Parowan Rams certainly came out of the second skirmish of the year with the Rams lookin’ more like ourwinders than the Bucks.
The Rams battered the Bucks 31-14 and our wind was a factor almost immediately. After the Rams, who chose our wind in the first quarter, sent the opening kickoff into the endzone, the Bucks surprisingly fumbled away the ball on their first play.
The Rams instantly scored, leading 7-0 barely seconds into the game. Our wind then influenced a tiny biased punt when the Bucks couldn’t pick up a first down on the next possession, which the kite-happy Rams turned into another easy score on the shortened field. 14-zip barely minutes into the game.
The Buck defense stiffened some and kept the Rams away from the endzone until the Bucks turn with our wind came in the second quarter, only to see the Rams use the running game to control the ball and clock nearly the entire quarter.
The Bucks moved the ball at times, but couldn’t sustain momentum inside the red zone and were never really able to utilize our wind to their advantage.
Adding insult to injury, the Rams continued to hog our wind to up the score when the Ram kicker blasted a near state record 60 yard field glider in the fourth quarter to put the Rams up 31-0.
Hoping to avoid a shutout, the Bucks made the score somewhat respectable for the papers with two amazing scores against our wind in the last seven seconds of the game. Go figure.
Our wind must have made it to Moab also when San Juan and Grand met for the 62nd time last Friday night.
See if this doesn’t sound familiar. The Red Devils fumble on their first possession and the Broncos score on their first offensive play when Kohler Black rumbles in from the 20 to lead 7-0 barely seconds into the game.
Then the Red Devils are forced to punt on their next possession apparently into our wind, and the Broncos capitalize on the short punt on an eight yard Jace Holliday dash to paydirt. 13-zip only minutes into the game.
Sound familiar? The lesson? Our wind always blows in southeast Utah; better to go “kite-flying” right from the start. After the 37-7 shellacking, which was also Coach Monty Lee’s 50th coaching victory at San Juan, the Broncos lead the series against the usually competitive Red Devils 34-28, and are a high-flying 7-0.
The big rivalry volleyball match between the Broncos and Buckaroos will have been played by the time you read this. The Bucks are experiencing a strong season to remember, currently at 22-4 and are improving every match.
Says Buckaroo coach, Tony Esplin, “This year we have several young key players on the team. Sophomore Samara Wells is the only setter, freshman Swayzi Slade, and junior Kendal Boyd are leading our attack in the middle.
“Junior returning starter Mersadez Slade is leading us in our outside hitting attack. Junior Berlin Eldredge is a first year outside hitter. Senior Kayli Rogers is our off-hand hitter and is leading the block against what is usually the opponents best hitter.
“Nichole Freestone, senior, is one of our defensive specialists. Bettina Benally, senior, is the other defensive specialist playing the Libero position. Janessa Bowring, junior, is our back-up setter and also gives some of the other players a break on the court, so Janessa plays in several positions.
“Ashley Moore, a sophomore, is a backup outside hitter and middle blocker; she can be called on to give those players in those positions a break if needed.”
The Bucks find themselves ranked fourth in the 1A polls.
The Broncos have struggled some this year, with a losing record to show for it.
More recently, signs of improvement have become evident. Against Manti a week or so ago, the Broncos compiled 58 digs, 33 kills and 31 assists in sweeping the Templars in three straight.
Says Bronco coach Cassy Moon, “We are currently in third place in our region. The girls are really improving. Our first couple of matches, we were averaging 15-20 kills. That means that our assists and digs would be low too.
“We are putting up good numbers [now], and I think that shows the dedication these girls have to show up to practice every day and improve in some way to better the team. We are constantly working on the mental part of the game for these girls.
“We see great improvements in that area, which had been our only concern.”
Despite a losing record, the Broncos are ranked third in the DesNews, revealing the level of respect teams have for the dynasty that is San Juan Volleyball. Hope you didn’t miss the match of the year between these two teams.
Bronco golf news
San Juans’ 2008 golf season came to a close at the state tournament in Heber Valley at the Soldier Hollow State Park golf course last week. The Broncos failed to make the first day cut, but were glad to be in the tournament.
Members of the team are Randy Bowers and Sloan Perkins, (who had the lowest Bronco scores at the state meet), Tyrell Nielson, Shea Swenson, Dillon Seely, and Stockton Perkins.