San Juan and Monticello football teams ranked #1 in preseason poll

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
Two of the four high school football teams in San Juan County will begin the season ranked #1 in their respective classifications in the annual Deseret News preseason coaches’ poll.
It comes as no surprise that the two-time defending 2A State Champion San Juan Broncos begin the season in the top spot, specifically since perennial challengers Beaver have moved to the 1A classification this season.
Each year the Des News asks every football coach in the state to vote for the top five teams in their classification. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team.
San Juan received seven of the nine first-place votes as cast by the coaches representing the 2A classification. The other teams that received first-place votes were South Summit and Layton Christian.
In the 8-Man classification the Monticello Buckaroos will also begin the year ranked #1 after they received two of five first-place votes. Other teams receiving votes included Water Canyon, Rich, and Diamond Ranch.
It’s going to be a bit of a challenge this year for fans of the two local rivals to cheer on their home teams as both will spend most of the season on the road. The Broncos are looking at six away games and just three at home in the regular season while the Buckaroos will play five and three respectively.
San Juan opens on August 11 against the 2022 1A State Champion Layton Christian Eagles with a long trip to Layton. They’ll travel all the way back up to Draper the following Friday to take on Juan Diego Catholic.
In all, the Broncos will travel a whopping 3,572 miles round-trip to play games in the regular season alone. That doesn’t include additional mileage they’ll likely rack up in the postseason.
In maybe the most ludicrous trip of the year San Juan will travel to Bluffdale for the second straight season on September 1 to take on a Summit Academy team that refuses to come to Blanding to play the Broncos.
Am I out of line to suggest that the Utah High School Activities Association needs to take a more serious look at the schools in the outlying areas of the state that travel major distances on a regular basis and consider not allowing schools in certain areas to “refuse” to travel?
Monticello opens their season – not surprisingly – on the road with back-to-back trips to Ogden and Randolph, against St. Joseph August 18 and Rich August 25.
The Buckaroos are going to be on the road for 1,862 round-trip miles this season, not including the playoffs. It would have been more, but we recently learned Diamond Ranch is no longer fielding a team though they were originally slated to play 8-Man football.
With the Diamondbacks dropping out, Whitehorse moves into the #5 spot in the 8-Man preseason rankings. They are scheduled to play five games at home and three on the road.
Monument Valley will play the only “normal” schedule among the teams in the county this season with four games at home and four on the road. Along the way, the Cougars will collect 1,274 miles of travel.
The two south-county rivals begin their seasons against each other in the first Battle of the Drum matchup of the new season on August 18 in Monument Valley.
All four teams are excited to get the season underway. San Juan is looking for the three-peat in 2A while Monticello is looking for their first football state championship since 2004.
Whitehorse and Monument Valley will try to make some noise and further establish themselves in the 8-Man ranks.
The San Juan Record will feature in-depth season previews and interviews with coaches of our local teams as the opening games of the season approach in the coming weeks.

San Juan Record

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