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High school football: Monticello Buckaroos 2017 preview

Note: Monticello finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2016 and fourth in 1A South with a 1-3 record. It lost to Duchesne 35-6 in 1A quarterfinals.

Monticello 2016 Offensive and Defensive Stats

MONTICELLO — In a sense, the Monticello Buckaroos started the 2016 season in the hole before games even started, as off-the-field issues with some players led to internal strife, and the Buckaroos wound up finishing just 3-7, their worst mark since 2008.

Entering the 2017 campaign without such challenges and with a bevy of returning experience, fourth-year head coach Arthur Adair is optimistic things can be better this fall.

“Anytime you’re dealing with non-football related issues when you’re trying to coach football, it’s hard to do,” he said. “I think we have a better team right now than last year just because of the fact that we don’t have the issues we had last year.”

Adair acknowledged that some of the challenges had to do with backlash after he and the coaching staff moved some players to new positions.

“We just didn’t have that buy-in from certain people on the team and community members, and so it was a struggle,” he said. “Anytime you’re fighting and struggling internally, it’s very hard to go out and defeat an opponent that has got all those things clicking and doing those things right.”

Although Adair anticipates putting some returning players in different spots in 2017, he’s confident such moves won’t cause the same problems they did a year ago.

“If we can overcome a couple of hurdles, I think this team can be very good. I see a lot of similarities with this team as I did with our first-year team that went to the semis and lost to Rich. Just that determination to succeed and to not let the past senior class dictate what they are or who they are.”

Monticello Buckaroos at a glance

Coach: Arthur Adair is entering his fourth year as head coach of the Buckaroos, having compiled a 13-20 overall record to date. He is a graduate of Monticello High School.

Monticello Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Josh Keyes

2016 offensive production: 14.4 ppg (7th in 1A)

-- 8 returning starters

-- spread offense

Returning offensive starters

Brayson Wilcox (WR/QB)

Spencer Knudsen (QB/WR)

Max Hedglin (WR)

Thomas Anderson (RB)

Paxton Lewis (WR)

Justin Cecil (OL)

Gage Wilcox (OL)

Keaton Young (OL)

Offensive newcomer to watch

Weston Nebeker (RB)

Adair’s comments on quarterbacks Brayson Wilcox and Spencer Knudsen:

“(Knudsen’s) not as fundamentally sound right now as Brayson is, but he’s a two-dimensional kid. He can throw it deep and we can have a run game. Brayson is probably the best all-around player on our team. If you talk about skill, ability, knowledge of the game, Brayson Wilcox is our No. 1 guy.”

Keys for offensive success in 2017:

The Buckaroos’ offense in 2016 was boom or bust, as they scored at least 30 points in all three of their wins and fewer than 14 points in their seven losses. Can they be more consistent in 2017? Monticello will likely enter the season without a clear-cut starter at quarterback and Adair said his offensive line doesn’t have a whole lot of size. How much pressure will this put on running backs and wide receivers to make plays? If they can’t, the Buckaroos could struggle again.

Monticello Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Arthur Adair

2016 defensive production: 23.3 ppg (6th in 1A)

-- 8 returning starters

-- 3-5-3 defense

Returning defensive starters

Brayson Wilcox (LB)

Tyler Draper (DB)

Max Hedglin (DB)

Thomas Anderson (LB)

Paxton Lewis (LB)

Justin Cecil (DL)

Gage Wilcox (DL)

Keaton Young (LB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Weston Nebeker (LB)

Adair’s comments on his linebackers:

“I think we have our speed and our skill at linebacker. That’s our core group. Those are the five guys that we really need to shut down the run and also cover the pass.”

Keys for defensive success in 2017

Monticello’s defense was quite good through the first six games of last season before stumbling down the stretch. Can the Buckaroos stay strong throughout the year? Like on offense, they’re small in the trenches on defense. Adair is confident in his linebackers, and they could be put under pressure if the line gets outmanned. There is a good deal of experience in the secondary to help out.

Coaches preseason 1A South straw poll: Third in 1A

Deseret News 1A South prediction: Third

Bottom line: Adair feels his team could be underrated, and with Kanab and Milford primed for strong seasons, that just might be the case. If Monticello can find the consistency on both sides of the ball that it lacked in 2016, the Buckaroos could wind up being a surprise. On the other hand, if they can’t find stability at quarterback and the defense gives up a bunch of points like it did in the second half of last season, it could be another tough year in Monticello.

2017 Schedule

Aug. 18 — at Grand, 7 p.m.

Aug. 25 — at Wayne, 7 p.m.

Sept. 1 — at San Juan, 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 — at Rich, 4 p.m.

Sept. 15 — ALTAMONT, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 — KIRTLAND, N.M., 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 — at Layton Christian, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 — PAROWAN, 7 p.m.

Oct. 13 — MILFORD, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 — at Kanab, 7 p.m.


Felt’s Facts for Monticello High School

All-time record: 346-268-9 (64 years)

Region championships: 18 (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 co, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 co, 1988, 1989, 1991, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013 co)

Playoff appearances: 45

Current playoff appearance streak: 18 (1999-2016)

All-time playoff record: 34-41

State championships: 4 (1969, 1992, 2001, 2004)

State championship record: 4-4

Most played rivalry: 66 meetings with San Juan dating back to 1956. San Juan leads 43-21-2.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Buckaroo Antonio Mustache set a state record for season interceptions with 26 in 2004.


Last 5

2016 — 3-7 (1-3 in 1A South – 1A Quarterfinals)

2015 — 5-6 (2-2 in 1A South – 1A Quarterfinals)

2014 — 5-7 (3-1 in 1A South – 1A Semifinals)

2013 — 4-7 (3-1 in 1A South – 1A Quarterfinals)

2012 — 7-5 (3-1 in 1A South – 1A Semifinals)


Monticello coaching history

2014-current — Art Adair (13-20)

2010-2013 — Lee Chadwick (24-22)

2009 — Jake Downard (4-5)

2005-2008 — J.C. Hall (20-25)

2004 — Seth Giddings (11-1)

1997-2003 — Mike Bowring (46-30)

1994-1996 — Matt Torrens (13-16)

1991-1993 — Bill Manzanares (25-6)

1989-1990 — Joe Davis (11-11)

1979-1988 — John Dowell (63-37)

1976-1978 — Joe Davis (23-12)

1972-1975 — Nyle McFarlane (26-13-1)

1971 — Harold George (8-3)

1966-1970 — Ray Odette (30-13-3)

1961-1965 — Tom Burr (15-26-1)

1955-1960 — Dale Maughan (12-25-4)

1934-1935 — Unknown (0-3)


Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years

2016 — Shandon Bradford, RB/LB

2015 — Andrew Torres, WR/DB

2015 — Paul DeAnda, LB

2014 — Makade Maloy, QB/DB

2014 — Cole Eldredge, RB/LB

2014 — Andrew Torres, WR/DB

2013 — Austin Maloy, RB/LB

2013 — Austin Wilcox, TE/LB

2013 — Jake Giles, OL/DL

2012 — PJ Leiataua, TE/FS

2012 — Gunner Hollingsworth, OL/DL

2011 — Adam Black, OL/DL

2010 — Kendal Maughan, RB/LB

2010 — Devin Wright, RB/FS

2009 — Kendal Maugham, RB/LB

2009 — Devin Wright, QB/S

2008 — Chase Randall, RB/LB

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.