Duchesne earned their 33rd straight win and a spot in the 1A state championship game.
The Buckaroo offense turned the ball over seven times, including three consecutive turnovers in the second half that blew the game open and led to Duchesne scores.
The first half was very close.
On the first Eagle possession of the game, a Duchesne rushing attempt was stopped on 4th and short by Austin Wilcox. The Bucks took over at their 41 yard line.
A 43-yard run by Austin Maloy moved the Bucks deep into Duchesne territory. The Bucks drove all the way to the Duchesne nine-yard line on their opening drive before penalties and a sack killed the drive.
When PJ Leiataua recovered a Duchesne fumble on the 36-yard line, the Bucks had their second scoring opportunity. However, Monticello was unable to score.
The remainder of the half was a field position battle. Both teams were unable to put together a sustained drive, but punts by Leiataua kept Duchesne in their own side of the field.
Things looked good when a Buckaroo punt was downed at the five yard line, but the Eagles put together the only sustained drive of the game to take a 8-0 lead into the locker room at half time. The nine-play drive included a 35-yard trick play. The Eagle touchdown came with just 1:25 remaining in the first half.
The Bucks took advantage of a Jake Duncan fumble recovery and moved into Duchesne territory early in the second half. However an interception was returned to the Buck 44 yard line. Nine plays later, the Eagles scored on a six-yard run to make the score 14-0.
On the next Buckaroo possession, a Monticello fumble was recovered by Duchesne and returned all the way to the end zone. Suddenly, it was 21-0.
Austin Maloy led a Buckaroo comeback when he returned the subsequent kickoff 45 yards, all the way to the Eagle 14-yard line. Five plays later, Maloy scored on an eight-yard run to close the score to 21-7.
A sustained Duchesne drive was finally stopped at the Buckaroo 24-yard line, after eating six minutes off the clock.
The Bucks hoped to make a comeback, but a bad snap proved costly. The snap bounced off the quarterback’s facemask and straight into the hands of an Eagle defender, who ran 14 yards for a touchdown and a 28-7 Duchesne lead.
On Monticello’s next play from scrimmage, Duchesne intercepted a Buckaroo pass and returned it 22 yards for the score. The final score was 35-7.
Despite the final score, many aspects of the game were competitive. The Buckaroo defense, led by Leiataua, Wilcox, Shayne Christensen, Jake Giles, Duncan and Gunnar Hollingsworth, held the high-powered Eagle offense to just one sustained drive.
Senior leadership entered the game as healthy as they have been all year, and had a great game. They include Zach Johnson, Vance Westcott, Brian Robinson, Nephi Barlow and Tyrell Lee.
The Buckaroo fell in the semifinal game for the fourth year in a row. Monticello closes the season with a 7-5 record that includes a win over Rich High School. Rich will be Duchesne’s opponent in the 1A championship.