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High school football: Dixie Flyers 2019 preview

Note: Dixie finished with an 11-2 overall record in 2018 and was first in Region 9 with a 6-0 record. It lost to Orem 60-13 in the 4A championship.

Dixie 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

ST. GEORGE — Dixie used one of the top-ranked defenses in 4A last year to march all the way to the state championship before getting steamrolled by juggernaut Orem. The formula will need to be vastly different this season.

Dixie returns just two defensive starters, has a new defensive coordinator and is switching defenses.

“That’s going to be a place we’re going to probably struggle a bit early,” said Dixie coach Blaine Monkres.

Offensively, however, Dixie returns five offensive starters including three linemen and standout quarterback Reggie Graff. The Flyers need Graff to flourish to compete for the region title in the stacked Region 9.

Regardless of who’s back, and how his team fared last year, Monkres’ message is always the same at the beginning of a new season.

“Every year is like a new team. I tell them every year you’re starting from scratch, it doesn’t matter what we did last year. You’re a different team, it’s a new year and you’ve got to do things right if you want to get to where you did last year. You’re not just going to get there because you got there last year,” said Monkres.

The talent is there for Dixie to pick up where it left off, it just might require a bit of a slow start.

Dixie opens the season against Springville for the 14th straight season, a game that’s always been a great measuring stick for both programs in different classifications. Dixie lost last year’s opener 26-21, but proceeded to win its next 11 games before succumbing in the championship.

Dixie Flyers at a glance

Coach: Blaine Monkres is entering his 29th season as a high school football head coach in Utah, and second in his second stint as Dixie’s coach. His overall head coaching record is 204-111, with stops at Morgan, Fremont, Murray, Riverton and Dixie. He’s a graduate of Clearfield High School.

Coach Monkres comments on new UHSAA RPI:

“I have mixed feelings about it. Before you could say you need to play hard, you need to play every week if you want to get into the playoffs but now everybody gets in. It’s getting kids a lot of opportunities to get into the playoffs so that’s kind of the upside. If I had my rathers I’d do it the other way, but I don’t feel strongly one way or the other. I just think now you’re going to have your blowout games in the second round instead of the first.”

Dixie Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Blaine Monkres

2018 offensive production: 30.0 ppg (7th in 4A)

-- Five returning starters

-- Spread offense

Key offensive returning starters

-- Reggie Graff (QB)

Returns after passing for 2,460 yards and 21 TDs a year ago to go along with 713 rushing yards and 14 TDs.

-- Baylor Lee (OL)

Anchors a strong returning offensive line that features three returning starters.

Returning offensive starters

Reggie Graff (QB)

Slayde Kolb (OL)

Baylor Lee (OL)

Guy Ludlow (OL)

Keaton Schweitzer (WR)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Preston Moore (RB)

Treyce Simmons (WR)

CJ Schultz (WR)

Tyler Walden (WR)

Coach Monkres comments on returning QB starter Reggie Graff:

“He’s a dual-threat quarterback so you have to worry about him running and passing it, which is huge. He fits the offense that I like to run perfectly, and he has a year under his belt. Last year he was learning a whole new offense because it was my first year back. I expect him to make a lot of strides this year and have a lot better year than he did last year.”

Coach Monkres comments on experienced offensive line:

“I think that’s our strength going in, we have some really good guys that we get to put out to start the year, but our depth at that position is not very good so if one of those guys happens to go down we’d probably be down to a sophomore or freshman.”

Coach Monkres comments on new wide receiver core:

“Keaton is the only one that’s back from last year. We were fortunate we didn’t lose anybody at that position, otherwise Treyce Simmons could’ve stepped in and done a good job. All those guys need to step up. They haven’t been in a varsity game, but they were solid JV receivers so hopefully they’re going to step up and carry on to the next level.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

Dixie is strong on the offensive line, but thin with backups so staying healthy will be critical. A healthy line should allow running back Preston Moore to flourish as the primary ball carrier. He had a modest season a year ago with 329 yards and four TDs, but bigger things are expected of him this year — including in the passing game where he continues to work on his catching out of the backfield.

Dixie Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Rick Berry

2018 defensive production: 15.8 ppg (1st in 4A)

-- Two returning starters

-- 4-3 defense

Key defensive returning starters

-- Tyler Walden (CB)

Recorded 29 tackles and six interceptions a year ago.

-- Dae Dae Faumuina (DE)

Was a rotation lineman last year and finished with eight tackles.

Returning defensive starters

Tyler Walden (CB) – moving to safety

Dae Dae Faumuina (DE)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Honor Alo (DL)

Brian Alegri (DL)

Nolan Mahi (LB)

Blaise Wade (LB)

Hunter Knighton (S)

Keilen Washington (CB)

Coach Monkres comments on primarily new defensive line:

“Dae Dae is a pretty good size kid but is pretty athletic, the others are a little undersize for D-lineman but they’re pretty athletic kids. The thing I like about them is they all have motors, they all like to play and they all get after it. They just play hard every snap.”

Coach Monkres comments on returning cornerback Tyler Walden:

“He was a first team all-state corner last year but we’re going to move him to safety. He’s gotten a lot bigger since last year, he’s really fast, got good hands. I was a little worried moving him to safety if he’d come downhill and tackle people but he did a good job at camp. He has a great understanding of the game and is kind of our leader on the defense.”

Keys for defensive success in 2019:

With a new defensive coordinator, nine new defensive starters and a switch to a 4-3 defense, there’s obviously a big learning curve this year. The coaching staff was extremely pleased with how the group has progressed since a bit of a struggle in their first 7-on-7 tourney of the summer, and the key will be to continue that progression until the opener and then throughout the regular season.

Bottom line:

Dixie has reached the state championship game in three of the past five years, and the semifinals in four of five. There’s no reason that shouldn’t be the expectation again in 2019 for one of the top programs over the past decade. The defense will need to develop quickly to compete in a tough region, but history suggests Dixie will reload and be just fine.

Coaches preseason Region 9 straw poll: Third

Deseret News Region 9 prediction: Second

Key Region Game: at Pine View, Sept. 27 (Week 7)

2019 Schedule

Aug. 16 — at Springville, 7 p.m.

Aug. 23 — ROY, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 — at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 — at Cedar, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 — SNOW CANYON, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 — at Crimson Cliffs, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 — at Pine View, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 — CANYON VIEW, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 — HURRICANE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 — TBA, 12 p.m.

….

Felts Facts for Dixie High School

All-time record: 443-250-6 (74 years)

Region championships: 27 (1949, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 co, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1991 co, 1994 co, 2009 co, 2013, 2015 co, 2016, 2017, 2018)

Playoff appearances: 45

Current playoff appearance streak: 8 (2011-2018)

All-time playoff record: 64-37

State championships: 8 (1957, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1998, 2012, 2014)

State championship record: 8-4

Most played rivalry: 89 meetings with Cedar dating back to 1949. Dixie leads 56-33.

Felt’s Factoids: Flyer Lukas Hildebrandt set the record for reception yards in a state championship game with 203 in 2012. ... Dixie’s Luke Carteris one of just eight Utah prep gridders to return a fumble 99 yards (2004). ... The 1998 Flyers were one of just two teams to win a Tuesday region playoff game just to get into the tournament and go on to win a state championship. ... The Flyers hold the record for most two-point conversions in a game with eight (seven rush, one passing) set in a 1972 quarterfinal bout.

...

Last 5

  • 2018 — 11-2 (6-0 in Region 9 – 4A Runner-up)
  • 2017 — 10-2 (6-0 in Region 9 – 4A Quarterfinals)
  • 2016 — 7-4 (5-0 in 3AA – 3AA Semifinals)
  • 2015 — 9-3 (4-1 in 3AA South – 3AA Runner-up)
  • 2014 — 10-4 (4-2 in 3AA South – 3AA Champions)

...

Dixie coaching history

  • 2018-current — Blaine Monkres (11-2)
  • 2015-2017 — Andy Stokes (16-7)
  • 2008-2014 — Blaine Monkres (54-27)
  • 2002-2007 — Jake Nelson (35-31)
  • 2000-2001 — Ray Odette (3-14)
  • 1997-1999 — Mike Smith (16-18)
  • 1993-1996 — Jerry Dyer (21-17)
  • 1975-1992 — Ray Odette (104-69)
  • 1949-1974 — Walter Brooks (168-56)
  • 1935 — Lloyd "Gus" Shields (1-2)

.....

Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

  • 2014 — Ammon Takau, QB
  • 2012 — Blake Barney, QB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2018 — Conner Walden, DT
  • 2018 — Jake Staheli, LB
  • 2018 — Tyler Walden, CB
  • 2017 — Sam Westfall, CB
  • 2017 — Payden Harrah, WR
  • 2017 — Hobbs Nyberg, WR
  • 2016 — Jacob Barben, QB
  • 2016 — Hobbs Nyberg, WR
  • 2016 — Tyson Fisher, DE
  • 2016 — Malakai Fakahua, MLB
  • 2015 — Zak Harrah, QB
  • 2015 — Tre Miller, RB
  • 2015 — Jeff Martinez, DL
  • 2014 — Bret Barben, WR
  • 2014 — Jaxon Davis, OL
  • 2014 — Jeff Martinez, DL
  • 2014 — Jaden Harrison, DB
  • 2014 — McLane Keenan, K
  • 2013 — Drew Batchelor, WR
  • 2013 — Gavin Graff, OL
  • 2013 — Braxton Ipson, DL
  • 2013 — Tanner Webster, DB
  • 2012 — Drew Batchelor, WR
  • 2012 — David Teaupa, OL
  • 2012 — Jesse Lambert, DL
  • 2012 — Tyson Graff, DB
  • 2011 — Austin Barker, K
  • 2009 — Dallen Reber, LB
  • 2009 — Dalton Smith, DB
  • 2009 — Mike Sharp, SPEC

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