Monticello football to open against St. Joseph
The Monticello High School football season starts August 18 at 3:30 p.m. against St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden. The game will be broadcast on Red Rock 92.7 FM and PictureItPalmer.com.
David Boyle spoke with head coach Reed Anderson. The full interview is available on RedRock92.com as the following has been edited for length.
David Boyle: How is the team feeling?
Reed Anderson: We’re feeling pretty good. I think we’re ahead of where we were last year. Part of that is we know what to expect out of 8-player. Which we didn’t have.
We had a little bit of an idea last year but every week was a surprise of what we needed to fix and what we needed to have in our arsenal. So this year we’re a lot farther ahead than we were last year.
DB: How is JD McDonald looking?
RA: He’s looking pretty good. When you have someone that’s a three-year starting quarterback like this they start that third year they have a good grasp about what you’re trying to accomplish each play and the things that you call.
They end up with a little more leeway at the line of scrimmage to make micro-adjustments that can get you 2-5 extra yards, which over the long-term of the year adds up to quite a bit of a difference.
So he’s in that stage now where his instruction it’s not necessarily what’s happening but how to adjust to what’s happening at a very small level. It’s always nice when you have that.
DB: You’ve come in as the number 1 in preseason coaches rankings. Is that in the teams mind?
RA: We don’t really talk about it, it’s not something we focus on. I was unaware we’d been ranked number one but it’s expected given that the returning champ is no longer in the league, so obviously you go to the runner-up.
These guys have done good about focusing on themselves which is one thing we did really well last year was focusing on what we could control. It was one of those few teams that you have where every week you just got better and better and better.
You never took a step back so we’re trying to emulate that again. So far we’re doing that, saying what can we do to adjust to make ourselves better day by day, week by week and if we continue to do that we’ll be able to handle the expectations that come.
DB: You’ve lost some key contributors at offensive skill positions, including Easton Young, Landon Ewart, and Javelin Robison. How do you replace that?
RA: We’ve got Robert Morrison coming back who’s a big very athletic kid. Carter Rogers is coming in to use his speed so he looks a little more like Easton but we’re going to use him in a different spot give him another year.
He’s only a junior, maybe he’ll blossom into that explosiveness and athleticism that Easton had for us.
We’ve also adjusted to who we have. We have a bunch of 145-pounders. They’re all clones. So between the receivers and the line and the running backs, that’s where they are.
We’ll have Thomas Fullmer coming back that can get some speed on the edge and then you’ll have Tavon Black. He’s been in the weight room, he’s getting big and he’s going to be a hard-nosed runner. Between all of them, they can fill Jav’s role and we can make adjustments and other people where they can be in positions to be successful and not just try to fill roles left by seniors that have passed on.
DB: Tell us about your offensive line.
RA: So Chandler Henderson moved down to center from receiver. He’s picked it up pretty well. Mason Atwood is going to anchor that for us and he’s coming back. Then we’ve moved Tyson Wheeler in.
Between those guys, they’ve kind of picked it up, but the nice thing is that they’re also pretty good receivers so if we need to we can get some big bodies in there in guard, push them out to tight end have a wrinkle in some formations and they can fill that role too.
The lines going to be small so we’re going to try to use their speed rather than their power. Last year we had Nic Lundell and Donny Atwood those were two big kids that we could really power behind. This year we’re probably going to have to use our speed rather than our strength.
DB: In 8-player, even guards can be eligible to catch a pass?
RA: That’s right, one of the great things is they eliminated the number restriction. You can have any number and catch a pass you just have to know the rule that if they’re the last man uncovered on the line they’re eligible.
So you can play around with that get some deception and get the lineman some passes. They can block, they can catch they can run, and you force the other team to defend everybody rather than just knowing that five people you never have to worry about on defense.
It forces the defense to be a little more conscious.
DB: How is your defense looking this year?
RA: Looking pretty good. We have quite a few linebackers coming back. With Zac Thayne, Robert Morrison, and Tavon Black who played quite a bit for us. He’s going to try to fill that middle role that Jav Robison left who’d been pretty much a three-year starter for us as well.
He’s coming along and those other two linebackers will help him out. If you move down to the defensive line, we got a bunch of clones. They’re kind of the same size. So whether they drop back to linebackers or linebackers come up to end and nose, you’re looking the same.
Our biggest question mark will be corners. We do have JD coming back. He’s played a lot for us there and Carter can use his speed to play there, but last year we had a depth of two or three which was nice. We’re kind of looking to find out who can play that depth role to give us little breaks here and there.
DB: Who are some new kids you hope to see step up?
RA: We’ve got a first-year senior out that we’ve been trying to get out for years with Kaden Chief.
We’re trying to find the right position for him to be successful. He’s a naturally gifted runner and can catch so whether we move him to running back or receiver. He’s going to make a difference on both sides of the ball.
We’ll also add some of those juniors like Carter Rogers and Tavon Black, but even you’ve got someone like Cameron Carpenter who’s a very big body who is deceptively fast. You’ll see him do some work at nose tackle. It’s going to be good there because we can go heavy with him in there then we can take him out and put in a quick guy and give the other offense some different looks and not let them get complacent.
DB: What games do you have circled on the schedule?
RA: Mancos was one of our first real 8-player games and they wiped the floor with us. I think if we would’ve played them later on in the year we would’ve done a lot better. So we want to make sure we can show up for that game a little better.
Dove Creek is right down the road from us and they are the defending Colorado champs. We played them really tough until about four minutes left in the game before we kind of laid down and died. We want to make sure that we can get a good game out of them.
Water Canyon will be a fun game, and their sister school El Capitain.