by Scott Boyle
24-20 BYU. That was the Saturday morning prediction. Just missed on the score though with that 20-19 lucky Utah win. But like my dad used to say, “I’d rather be lucky than good.”
That was simply the weirdest BYU-Utah game ever. It’s why you never quit.
All this talk about rivalry and football has stirred SportShorts memories of football at good ole MHS. Yes, SS was a Buckaroo football player (and a good player, as the memory remembers). Are you ok with one memory?
The memory is by way of the Grand County Red Devils. Those memories of that first year of football way back in seventh grade in 1966 are vivid.
There is nothing quite like the sensation of wearing the helmet and pads for the first time, though soon realizing that “this stuff is heavy” and running in the full gear of a football player is kinda like running laps in a swimming pool.
It was all made palpable, fortunately, because of the final piece of equipment, the mouthguard.
Nothing matches the feel of boiling the mouthguard and sticking it burning hot over your teeth to make a perfect mold and then wearing it everywhere.
Wearing the mouthguard was so cool that I even wore it to bed for a couple of weeks. Mom wouldn’t allow me to wear it to school, but I certainly would have if allowed.
So how does Grand County fit in this memory? It was a Grand County Red Devil eighth grader, all 8’3” of him, at least as twice as big as our biggest player, who knocked that mouthguard right out of SS’s mouth in an early junior high game, delivering a blow to much more than the teeth the mouthguard is supposed to protect.
Grand County weren’t the Red Devils, they were the Red Behemoths, all of them. They had to have been at least 16 years old, we all thought.
The most convincing moment of that 60-0 or so shellacking we took was when the Mouthguard Amputator took his helmet off after the game. To the surprise of none of us Monticello seventh and eighth graders, he sported a mustache the likes of which we wouldn’t see on ourselves for years to come.
And hasn’t it always been so? They simply grow ‘em bigger, quicker and earlier in Moab.
Just last week, the current Jr High version of Buckaroo football took the field against the Grand County Jr. High team with a definite size differential immediately apparent.
The result was another 50-0 score in a game played with two teams seemingly years apart in age. Must be something in the water or perhaps the hot weather that grows ‘em so big so soon down there.
I will say this. The MHS kids catch up later in high school and hold their own against the Red Devils.
Even though the Red Devils have won 44 of the 62 games the two teams have played in their storied football histories, the rivalry has been more even in recent years. In fact, the Buckaroos have won two of the last three meetings and seven of 13 games since 2000.
Have you noticed the oak trees are richly laden with acorns this year? Just right for the acorn woodpecker, which stores acorns for the winter in thousands of holes drilled in a “granary” tree.
San Juan County hosts at least a pair of acorn woodpeckers where Highway 191 crosses Devil’s Canyon between Monticello and Blanding.
SS stopped for a look-see last week, and sure enough, after playing the sounds of the acorn on an I-Phone bird app, an acorn flitted through the trees, a dazzling splash of black and white, black mostly with white patches on each wing and on the rump, and a red cap.
Soon, it landed on a dead branch of a live ponderosa tree different than the granary. A quick look in the binoculars confirmed the identification, an acorn woodpecker, complete with a scrumptious looking acorn perched in its beak.
He hopped around on the branch, which SS noticed was riddled with holes, just like the granary tree, looking for a hole to pound the acorn into, which he then tried to do.
Apparently it was unsuccessful, because after a two minute viewing, he flew off to branches unknown with the acorn still in its beak. A fascinating birding experience, along with the thought that maybe there is more than one grannery!