by Walter & Becky Bird
The bright lights of Friday nights will be turned on August 17 when the 2018 Monticello Buckaroo football team travels south to take on the Monument Valley Cougars in Monument Valley. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.
It’s an exciting time for Monticello football as they commence a new era with first-time head coach Reed Anderson taking the helm.
We asked Coach Anderson some questions about the new season. The following are his responses:
1. For those of us who don’t know, what is your past coaching experience and overall coaching philosophy? Also, why did you choose this time in your career to come back to Monticello to coach?
I dabbled in coaching at different places throughout my college experience. I consider myself starting at Westlake High School, which I coached for one year before moving on to help jumpstart the struggling Copper Hills High School program.
I coached there for two years before taking a job in Nephi at Juab High School. I coached and taught at Juab for three years before coming back to Monticello.
I learned a great deal in each of those places and had the opportunity to be surrounded by great coaches who each taught me a great deal in different areas.
Overall, I think my philosophy is to have kids leave our program as champions.
That doesn’t mean winning state championships, although that is a goal we have. It means they are champion sons, brothers, friends, students, and athletes, in that order.
If we can do that, then the players will have a great base to accomplish any challenge that arises in their life.
In the end, football will be over, and we as a program want the lessons learned to last longer than the life of their playing days.
With that as a base, I believe in high expectations. I believe players should have to put forth effort. I believe players should feel involved and have a say over what happens in the program as it aligns with our goals.
Coming back to Monticello was a big decision for our family. My wife and I had many discussions about where we would like to go next after Nephi, if anywhere.
We loved Nephi and the people there; we loved many places we visited.
When Monticello offered us the teaching and coaching position, we felt it was a place we could make a difference. We are excited to be here and hope we can make a difference and play a role in the community.
2. What can Monticello fans expect from your offense?
We like to keep things simple. I feel that being an expert at a few things is better than being good at many things. In order to make this work, we need to use our knowledge to our advantage.
One way we do that is by using tempo. Tempo means we control the pace of the game. We may go fast, then slow, then average, or just slow, or just fast – whatever our game plan for that week calls for. We will try to put our players in the best position to be successful.
We will try to play to our player’s strengths to attack opposing defenses.
All in all, we try to make it fun and enjoyable to play and to watch. If you want to know what I mean by that, come by and watch us on Friday nights; it will be a blast.
3. What are your defensive strengths?
Our strengths on defense will be our experience. We have many players that have some varsity defensive experience that will serve us well early.
Our secondary will be solid and have some depth this year to help against teams that love to throw the ball.
We hope to identify ourselves as a hard-nosed defense that hits hard and disrupts the timing of offenses.
4. What challenges do you foresee for this year –especially in the early season?
Getting ahold of the offense will be the first. There are lots of little things that make a big difference, and the sooner we master those, the sooner the offense will be able to play to its potential.
A new offense requires evey player on the team to know what they are doing at all times. In any sport, depth players need to understand the system just as well as the starters in the event you need to rely on depth.
Staying healthy, not just at the beginning but throughout the season.
5. Who are the returning players and maybe some new players whom you will rely on this season to have success?
There were many players last year who needed to step up into big roles due to the injuries we suffered. Those players are going to be relied on this year.
We have a great senior class that is leading by example. Gage Wilcox, Wyatt Fullmer, Braxton Atwood, and Chance Deeter anchor the line on both sides of the ball.
We have two great running backs and linebackers in Steven Robinson and Weston Nebeker. Young Brevin Olson has the ability to step in at running back and will also be a key defensive player for us.
We have depth at our receiver position with Reed Hedglin and Matt Beh solidifying key roles.
Colton Lewis has a unique skillset that can translate into any one of our non-lineman positions and will be relied on to be the piece that fits it all together.
Cedar English, Zac Cecil, Dillon Slack, and Eldean Lammert will give us valuable reps on Fridays in a number of diverse ways.
Tuff Adair and Carson King are two underclassman that will help us on the line and in the receiver/secondary positions respectively.
Overall, it’s a great team with many others helping us in a variety of ways: scout teams, managing, etc.
6. Competitively, how does Monticello fit into the 1A football title race? What teams seem to be strong this year?
1A is very solid this year. There are some great coaches with lots of experience. Our region has three of the four semifinal teams from last year, including the defending champions.
Each of these teams are led by good coaches that prepare week in and week out to help their teams be successful.
Milford and Kanab lead the way and are always tough. Parowan will try to build on their great success last year.
In the other region, the team to beat is always Duchesne.
Behind them are Altamont and Layton Christian who surprised everyone last year and will be fighting for that second spot.
The Buckaroos will have their work cut out for them with all the 1A teams improving and building on past successes.
Fans are excited for Coach Anderson and his team heading into the season.
It’s been rough for Monticello football in the past five years; the team has won just 19 of their last 55 games.
On the bright side, the team has a string of 19 straight playoff appearances dating back to 1999. This team hopes to continue that streak.
After Friday’s non-region game, the schedule lays out as follows:
August 24 host San Juan; August 31 at Dolores, CO; September 7 host Rich; September 14 at Altamont; September 21 host Wayne; September 28 host Layton Christian; October 5 at Parowan; October 12 at Milford; and October 18 host Kanab.
Come out and support the team!
Next week: Previews of volleyball team and the boys and girls cross country teams.