Note: Kanab finished with a 6-5 overall record in 2009 and a 2-3 record in Region 2A West. The Cowboys made it to the 2A quarterfinals in the 2009 state playoffs, where they were eliminated by San Juan.
KANAB — Some say good things come in small packages. In this case, Kanab, Utah, and its high school football team are the package.
A team with only 40 kids on the roster, the Cowboys will have to play great football every week to win games and also maintain good health as the weeks pass.
"Our numbers are terrible," admits head coach Bucky Orton. "We can't afford any injuries."
Unfortunately for Kanab, the injury bug has already struck, with senior quarterback Kade Quarnberg suffering a broken collarbone in preseason training.
"The team was really high on Kade. He was doing a great job up to that point, and you could see the team rallying the team around him," said Coach Orton.
Sophomore Brandon Jenson will take over at the QB position, where he'll have to lead this team through a preseason loaded with tough opponents.
The Cowboys' first game of the season is against defending 2A state champion San Juan, where a victory would bring more than just the team together but also the Kanab football community.
"Our community has high expectations for the team, so I'm very interested to see how the kids respond themselves," said Orton.
"We've always traditionally done well in football, so the other coaches and our expectations won't change. The boys will just need to get out there and do their best to win. It's a different vibe with the community reaction, and it's nice to have that chip on your shoulder."
Overall, it seems as though Kanab will have to overcome a tough preseason schedule in order to have greater success during the regular season.
"We'll either be depleted, or ready to rock and roll for region. Preseason is a great way to test us out, and if we were to win five straight that would be a big deal," Coach Orton said.
"I just hope our kids come out and play Kanab football. I can live with any result."
Kanab Cowboys at a glance
Coach: Bucky Orton is returning for his eighth season at Kanab with a 64-21 record. Orton is also a graduate of Kanab High School.
(3 returning starters)
Brandon Jenson will take over for at least the first five games of the season at the QB position. Injured senior QB Kade Quarnberg will be out 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a collarbone injury. Senior Cody Barber, who started every game on defense last year, will be running the ball for Kanab. Accompanied by fellow seniors Dan Chamberlain, John Terrel and Chase Morgan, Coach Orton hopes his seniors can lift this young team.
(3 returning starters)
Bradon Crosby will be the anchor on the defensive side of the ball at the linebacker position. A junior, Crosby will lead his fellow underclassmen into some tough games that will test the Cowboys' young backfield.
Coaches preseason Region 1A North straw poll: Second
Deseret News Region 1A North: Second
Bottom line: Kanab has one of the toughest preseason schedules in 2A, and will be tested for the first five weeks of the season before region play begins. A successful preseason run could yield a great path for the rest of the season, while a poor start could do the opposite. Building confidence in a young QB and the team around him is the first stepping stone.
Aug. 20 – San Juan, 7 p.m.
Aug. – at Virgin Valley, Nev., 7 p.m.
Sept. 3 – North Sevier, 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 – Moapa Valley, Nev., 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 – Parowan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 – at Beaver, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 – Millard, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 – at Enterprise, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 – South Sevier, 7 p.m.