by Scott Boyle
The Monticello High School Lady Buckaroo volleyball team starting things off with a big WOW last weekend, as they traveled to St. George for their annual season starter at the tournament there.
Tony Esplin’s bunch, despite an injury or two, made a statement to start the season, with victories over five 3A teams to take third place in the Platinum bracket.
The Bucks lost to tournament champ Pineview twice and Union once, but bested numerous other teams, including Payson, Park City, Richfield, Dixie and Corner Canyon.
The girls swept Park City, Payson, and Corner Canyon, 2-0, and beat Richfield and Dixie 2-1, after losing the first game in both matches, showing their grittiness and toughness. Then they lost to Pineview and Union by 2-1 scores.
Atlanta Black played for the Bucks, cleared to play by a doctor after suffering a concussion this past summer at a basketball camp. Izabel Slade played, but was slowed somewhat by a sore shoulder she injured in practice during the week.
But the Bucks responded well to some competitive teams and start the year at 5-3.
Next up for the Buckaroos are three away games at Durango, Green River and Whitehorse on the 3rd, 8th and 10th of September respectively, before playing their first home match against Farmington, NM on the 11th.
Monticello fell to 1-1 on the season after succumbing to San Juan JV, 48-21, on a rare Saturday afternoon game in bright, sunny and hot Monticello.
A large crowd watched as San Juan junior quarterback Jordan Blake riddled a tight Buckaroo pass defense with some impressive pinpoint passing to pace the Broncos.
Monticello started the scoring off after the opening kickoff and marched right down the field to paydirt and a quick 7-0, but Blake brought the Broncos right back, scoring quickly on a long run and then a long pass play.
The Broncos kept the foot on the pedal too, scoring four more times in the first half on numerous passes to Eldredge and Jaden Torgerson, mixed in with the running of Jay McDonald and Dylan Ivins to take a 35-7 halftime lead.
For the game, Jordan scored three times on the ground and threw for four touchdowns in a skilled performance.
Alma Beh was key for the Buckaroos, scoring on a run and a nifty catch and another run in the second half.
The Buckaroos settled on Brayson Wilcox at the quarterback position for most of the game. After trading the first couple of series with Talon Black, Wilcox QBed the Bucks the rest of the way, handling the ball deftly, with no fumbles, though he did give up a couple of interceptions.
Black adds diversity to the offensive backfield as he can speedily play several positions along with his safety duties on defense.
The Bucks finally got their running game rolling a little in the second half, with Thomas Anderson picking up good yardage up the middle and Shandon Bradford, Black, Beh, and Andrew Torres getting around the outside, but it wasn’t enough as the Broncos came away with the victory.
Next up for the Buckaroos is a first ever football game in Wayne County against the first-year varsity team of the Wayne Badgers, who lost 61-0 last week to Milford.
The Buckaroo harriers traveled twice in the past two weeks for XC, running in the annual SUU Invitational in Cedar City and skipping down to Moab for the Red Rock Invitational.
Buckaroo runner Tyler Bird, who was 17th at the huge Cedar City meet, captured the Red Rock run splendidly, winning by over 20 seconds.
Buckaroos Eli Johnson (6th) and Adam Bunker (10th) also finished well. Ryan Bird was 19th to round out the Buckaroo scoring. In fact, the Bucks thought they had won the Invitational as they left to return home, but a scoring error was revealed and the Bucks actually finished third behind first place Emery and second place Manti.
Oops, but all is well and Buckaroo coach Jeff Hunt said he thought Monticello had finished behind Manti anyway.
In the girls race, Kendall Harris finished 13th for the best Buckaroo race, with Phoebe Johnson, Aunika Hunter and Nathalie Reay finishing 36, 37, and 40.
Bronco Kade Francom led ARL to the junior high boys title, placing second.
He was followed closely by Buckaroo runners Dylan Bird and Alan Pettit, who were third and fourth. Parker Nielson came in seventh and Hyrum Johnson 11th for Monticello as the Buckaroos were second.
The junior high girls from Monticello finished third, with Athea Ford coming in sixth, Halle Morrison eighth and Taylor Lewis ninth.
This week finds the Buckaroos at home on Wednesday in the annual Loyds Lake Invite.
See you there.