It went like this: “How many pencils do I have?” he would stand up and shout. The crowd would respond “five!” because he held five pencils in his hand.
“How many?” he would scream. “Five!” “How many?” “Five, five, five!” the crowd would fanatically shriek.
The opposing team always thought they heard an ear-splitting “fight, fight, fight”. It was kind of brainless, but fun, and in a silly kind of way, intimidating (the cheer, not LeGrand). It always put a smile on my face and a giggle in my heart.
The San Juan Lady Broncos and all their faithful followers have big smiles on their faces after triumphing, in dramatic fashion, over North Sevier on Saturday to capture the 2A state volleyball title for the fifth year in a row.
The Broncos started the tournament in familiar fashion, making short work of the Kanab Cowboys in three sets, 25-10, 25-14, 25-13. However, surprising South Summit took the Broncos to five sets in the second round, even leading the Broncos 2-1 in sets before the defending champs bounced back, winning the last two sets, including 16-14 in the fifth and deciding set.
Next up was the South Sevier Rams in the third match of the season between the teams. They split the first two contests.
Buoyed by the comeback success over South Summit, the Broncos sent South Sevier south with a convincing straight set rout, 25-21, 25-13, 25-15. The win set up a finals rematch with North Sevier, whom the Broncos defeated for the title in 2006.
The Wolves had redemption on their mind, coupled with a four set defeat of the Broncos in Blanding in late September. North Sevier quickly jumped out to a two set lead over the surprised Broncos.
Undaunted, the Gals in Blue staged a comeback in the last three sets, winning 25-19, 28-26, 15-11 to capture their tenth title in 12 years!
As for the comeback, Bronco Coach Cassy Moon said, “It was a high point in the match, but not the season. As these girls pointed out after the tournament, they have done that with tough competition fives times this season. So we realized five matches have gone to game five and we have won five of them to get a fifth championship. I know it sounds silly, but it was fun for us to appreciate that.”
Moon adds, “With that said, obviously that particular comeback was a little more important than the rest, but the comebacks earlier in the season helped put us in that position at state. Without them, we wouldn’t have had the first seed in Region 12 and our road could have been a lot tougher.
“We had also been there before and been successful in that situation before. The girls knew how to handle that stress and anxiety. In fact, we pointed that out before the beginning of the third game.”
Two-time MVP Heather Meyer led the Broncos against the Wolves with 32 kills and 16 digs. Meyer, only a junior, will be back for a final senior season, perhaps becoming the only three time MVP ever in Utah volleyball.
Emma Bayles, with eight kills and four blocks, and sophomore Sagan Shumway, with 53 assists, were key cogs in the Bronco championship. Both Bayles and Shumway were named to the all-tournament team, along with MVP Meyer.
With sophomore Alyssa Simpson’s 10 kills, and freshman Kelsi Meyer, and only two seniors, don’t look for the caliber of play at San Juan to diminish next year.
“Five, five, five!”
Monticello finishes fourth
The Monticello Buckaroos proved to be a top tier volleyball team with solid tradition after their fourth place finish in the 1A volleyball championship. A second place in 2005, a third in 2006, and fourth this year are good indicators.
“We must be doing something right to be placing fourth in state,” said long time Buckaroo coach Tony Esplin.
The Bucks started out with a tough match against St. Joseph, winning in four hard-hitting sets, 25-17, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21. Senior Ashley Dowell, with 21 kills, and sophomore Mersadez Slade, with 20 kills, led the victory.
Next, the Bucks made short work of Tintic in three sets, 25-18, 25-10, 25-10, to move to the semifinals for the third year in a row.
The Bucks have lost to the eventual state champion for the past two seasons, and they fell again this year, to the eventual champion Panguitch in three quick sets, 25-14, 25-17, 25-14.
The loss dropped them into the third place game against Intermountain Christian. They fell in three more sets, 25-13, 25-22, 30-28.
Said Esplin, “We just did not play well the second day. It seemed that we were just going through the motions and not playing with emotion. It didn’t seem that we were having much fun. Much of that could be due to the fact that we found ourselves behind most of the time trying to play catch up.”
The Bucks did recover enough to give Intermountain Christian a competitive match, tieing the second set at 22 and leading the final set 28-27 before succumbing.
With second, third and fourth place finishes in the past three years, it looks to me like the Bucks need a first place finish to have a complete set of eliteness.
End of football
For the first time in many years, 26 to be exact, neither the Bronco nor the Buckaroo football teams will be playing football in November. The last time both teams lost in the quarterfinals was in 1981, when the Broncos were beaten by Lehi 20-0 and the Bucks surrendered to Beaver 34-14.
This year, the Broncos gave a valiant effort against the undefeated, number one ranked and redemption-minded North Summit Braves.
Hoping to avenge last year’s semifinal loss to the eventual 2A champs from Blanding, the Braves controlled the clock with a strong running game and kept the Broncos from the end zone just enough to triumph 21-14.
Interceptions on the first two Bronco drives momentarily took some of the enthusiasm out of the boys in blue, enough to let the Braves go up 14-0 early on.
With the Braves stifling the running game, coach Monty Lee turned back to the always-deadly passing game. It didn’t disappoint this time, resulting in a Bronco touchdown just before halftime when Dane Lyman connected on his 2A leading 14th touchdown pass of the season.
Nate Einerson caught his sixth touchdown when he snagged the 17-yard pass. Lyman’s 15th TD pass came in the fourth quarter, to Terron Jack, who also snagged his sixth TD pass on fourth and 22 at the 23 yard line. The touchdown closed the score to 21-14, fired up the Bronco faithful who made the long trip to Coalville and made the hometown Braves nervous.
Unfortunately, the Braves were able to use tradition – they’ve only lost one home playoff game in 20 tries, that being last year against San Juan – and their rushing game to run the final eight minutes off the clock and secure the victory.
As a result, the Broncos never had a chance to tie the game. With the loss, the Broncos finish the season 6-5.
Bucks dropped 31-3
Monticello finished the season at the hands of Enterprise for the fourth time in six years and by nearly the same score as last year, losing to Enterprise 31-3. In 2006, the Bucks were bested by the Wolves 49-8.
Offensively, the brightest spot for the Bucks was German exchange student Daniel Hassentefel’s fourth field goal of the year, a 28 yarder, in the fourth quarter. With five more turnovers, the Bucks bane of the year with 34 on the season, the offense just couldn’t get unwound.
Even so, in their last Buckaroo game, seniors Kelvin Curtis rushed for 61 yards and 77 return yards, Ryan Bailey had 13 tackles and Kevin Anderson rushed for 18 yards on three carries, had two pass receptions for 13 yards and was in on nine tackles.
The Bucks finish 5-6 on the year with a young team, while playing through several injuries, the most critical being the loss of quarterback Daniel Torres to a broken leg.
The new veer offense installed by coach JC Hall never got cranking after Torres went down. Now, if we can just figure out what to do with ourselves for the next couple of weeks.