Monticello football earns homecoming win
The Monticello Buckaroo football team earned a 33-8 homecoming victory on Friday, September 8 over the Water Canyon Wildcats.
The win, earned with stout defense and steady scoring, was Monticello’s second of the year bringing their record to 2-2 in early September.
The Buckaroos opened the scoring in the first quarter with a nine-yard touchdown run by quarterback JD McDonald.
The Buckaroos next scored in the second quarter on a 17-yard jet sweep run by junior Carter Rogers to increase their lead to 13-0.
Water Canyon responded on the ensuing drive with a 25-yard pass to midfield and a 49-yard touchdown run by quarterback Johnny Johnson. A two-point conversion made the score 13-8 at halftime.
Monticello’s offense picked up steam in the second half, scoring on a 35-yard pass from McDonald to senior Zac Thayn to give the Bucks a 21-8 lead.
The touchdown for Thayn was just another contribution by the senior who has been a multi-tool for the Buckaroos. Last week’s injuries required him to start on the offensive line. Head Coach Reed Anderson praised Thayn’s utility.
“Zac is in a long genealogy of lineman so him being a receiver is a first for his kind. Last week he fulfilled his genealogy there and played line for at least one game and he was able to come back out. He made that big catch that really ignited us in the third quarter.”
Later in the quarter McDonald ran in a 27-yard touchdown run to give the Bucks a 27-8 lead to begin the fourth quarter.
Monticello capped the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 44-yard touchdown pass from McDonald to Rogers with three minutes left in the game to give Monticello the 33-8 victory.
Coach Anderson noted that the final score late in the fourth quarter was not the call on the field. While Anderson called a run play to help run out the clock, McDonald noticed an opportunity before the play and audibled to the pass.
“That was good to see out of JD – to take charge of that and make a play when he saw something would be open,” he stated.
Also making a big impact on the game in his first start of the season was senior lineman Quinn Nebeker. Coach Anderson had high praises for the senior. He explained that the coaches had to sell the idea of football to Nebeker several years ago.
“He would only play football if he could have Friday nights off because he wanted to work the concession stand. But we convinced him the last 3-4 years to just leave the concession stand behind and stay with us.
“He played big out there. He’s a really strong kid. We tried to play right into his strengths to give him an opportunity for him to be successful. If he was successful I felt like the rest of our line would be successful and it certainly made a big difference. I hope he had a good time and I hope he wasn’t missing the concession stand.”
Nebeker helped establish the Buckaroo run game up front and recovered a fumble in the game.
In unofficial statistics, Monticello finished the game with 305 yards rushing. Senior running back Thomas Fullmer had 169 yards on 14 carries. McDonald added 122 yards on 23 carries.
McDonald completed 10 of 21 passes for 231 yards. 146 of those yards went to Rogers, who had eight catches and a touchdown. Thayn added his 35-yard touchdown catch.
Speaking after the game Coach Anderson said it was a well-fought game by the Bucks. They moved the ball in the first half but were unable to punch in scores.
He was pleased with the team’s ability to finish drives in the second half, as well as assignment-sound defense throughout the game, with the exception of the long touchdown run in the second quarter.
Monticello is next in action this Saturday, September 16 in Collbran, CO where they’ll take on the 0-3 Plateau Valley Cowboys. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Redrock 92 with video at streamutah.live.