It will be a challenge, but I think we're ready for it. Our kids have the most confidence they've had all year. —Altamont coach Mick Fieldstead
If this weekend's 1A high school football semifinals pan out how the regular-season meetings unfolded, Duchesne and Rich are both headed for a multi-touchdown victories.
Neither underdog is counting on a similar outcome.
Even though Altamont lost to Rich 41-26 back on Sept. 21, coach Mick Fieldstead said turnovers killed his team that evening and he believes that's the only separating the teams.
"We're pretty confident we can move the ball on Rich. We did the last time we played them," said Fieldstead. "It will be a challenge, but I think we're ready for it. Our kids have the most confidence they've had all year."
As for Monticello, it was missing standout receiver Jake Duncan in a 21-6 loss to No. 1 Duchesne three weeks ago, and coach Lee Chadwick believes his Buckaroos won't be nearly as one-dimensional in the rematch.
"He's been out for a week or two and he came back in last week and had a couple touchdowns and an interception, and he adds another dimension so we're not primarily a running team," said Chadwick.
Regardless of how healthy Monticello is, putting a halt to Duchesne's 32-game winning streak won't be easy.
Both 1A semifinals will be held at Hillcrest High School in Midvale, with Duchesne vs. Monticello kicking off the doubleheader at 11 a.m., followed by Rich vs. Altamont at 2 p.m.
Duchesne has already beat all three teams in the 1A semifinals by double digits this year, and is the obvious favorite to capture a third straight championship.
Much of the Eagles' success has been due to their passing game. Quarterback Trent Roberts has passed for 936 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"A lot of these teams, more than ever, have packed it in on us defensively, and we have a pretty good quarterback who can run it and throw it. We've thrown more this year than we have in the last nine years," said Duchesne coach Jerry Cowan.
In fact, Roberts 936 passing yards this season is just 31 yards shy of Duchesne's combined passing totals the previous three years. Despite the success through the air, the Eagles are still a run-first team, and Roberts and Kaden Moon have combined to rush for over 1,200 yards and 17 TDs.
The focus of Monticello's rushing attack are tailback Austin Maloy and fullback Austin Wilcox.
"We've had injuries and other issues that has made us constantly switch individuals from position to position and quite frankly last week was the first week we've been healthy and ready to go all year, and I think it showed last week as we played Summit Academy," said Chadwick.2 comments on this story
Altamont's ground game will be the focus of the second semifinal.
Longhorn senior Kyle Foy has rushed for 1,854 yards and 16 touchdowns this year. In last week's first-round win over Diamond Ranch Foy rushed for 300 yards.
"We don't throw it well enough to play catch up. But if we can control the line of scrimmage and run the ball like we did against Diamond Ranch, we'll have a chance," said Fieldstead.
Rich is no slouch on the ground either, as both Austin Groll and Kaden Thomson have rushed for over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns.