Monticello football upsets Grand County

The Monticello Buckaroo football team opened the season with a gutsy win on the road over rivals Grand County in Moab this past Friday, August 13.

Aggressive play calling, hard hits, a positive turnover ratio, and a 40-yard touchdown heave as the first half expired all contributed to the Bucks’ 20-17 win.

The Buckaroo offense put up 360 yards of total offense in the Moab evening heat. The Bucks’ hottest connection of the night, senior quarterback Devin Hatch and senior receiver Logan Draper, combined for 185 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, the Bucks forced six turnovers, including two interceptions by Devin Hatch and four fumble recoveries, one each for JD McDonald, Tate Ramsey, Tyler Thayn, and Carson Wells.

On Monticello’s opening possession, senior running back Cameron Bailey ran into the endzone from the three for the first score of the game, giving Monticello a 6-0 lead.

Grand’s first offensive play was also Monticello’s first takeaway of the game, a Hatch interception.

On the following play, a pass to Draper from Hatch in the backfield was broken up when Draper was hit. What appeared to be an incomplete pass was ruled a fumble and the Red Devils scooped up the ball and ran into the endzone.

The Buckaroos gave up another two points in the second quarter when Hatch was tackled in his own endzone, resulting in a safety and a 9-6 lead for the Devils.

The Monticello defense stopped the Devils from scoring with about 40 seconds remaining in the first half. The Bucks decided to remain aggressive, throwing the ball down the field to the 30 yard line with enough time for one more play.

On the final play of the half, Hatch threw 40 yards into the end zone, where two Buckaroo receivers and two Grand defenders were in position.

Buckaroo Logan Draper ripped the ball out of the air, leaving the Grand crowd stunned and the Monticello sideline going wild. MHS went into halftime with a 14-9 lead after Hatch added a two-point conversion.

In a postgame interview, head coach Reed Anderson talked about the decision to be aggressive near the end of the first half.

“I actually was thinking about just running out that clock in the half and Coach [Art]Adair said, ‘We’re going to get this ball back and go down and score.’

“I said, ‘All right, he’s given me the green light. He can’t get mad at me now,’” Anderson explained. “I told the kids what we were doing, and they believed it, and we managed to pull out a few miracles on that drive.”

The teams traded possessions in the second half until late in the fourth quarter. Once again, Monticello faced a tough decision and once again head coach Reed Anderson used aggressive play calling to give the Bucks the advantage.

With under four minutes to go and MHS hanging on to a five-point lead, Monticello faced a fourth down with 12 yards to gain.

Instead of punting, Hatch once again found Draper for a 27-yard gain and a first down. Two plays later, Hatch threw a pass to Javlin Robison for a ten-yard touchdown and a 20-9 lead.

Grand rallied to score a touchdown and two-point conversion to cut the lead to three with 45 seconds to go. 

But the Buckaroos recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt to thwart the Red Devils’ comeback and secure a 1-0 start.

The Buckaroos were led by quarterback Devin Hatch, who completed 14 passes on 32 attempts for 233 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

The bulk of the Hatch passes ended up in the hands of Logan Draper, who had eight catches for 185 yards, including the 40-yard touchdown at the end of the first half. Javlin Robison also caught three passes for 14 yards and a touchdown.

On the ground, Cameron Bailey had six carries for 14 yards and a touchdown, Robison had 11 carries for 59 yards, and Hatch ran for 53 yards on 13 carries.

On defense, Robison and Bailey each had nine tackles, Hatch and Tyler Thayn had eight, Draper had seven, and J.D. McDonald and Michael Peterson had five each.

The Buckaroos are back home to host the Gunnison Bulldogs this Friday, September 20 at 7 p.m. You can see the game live on PictureItPalmer.com.

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