High school football: Monticello Buckaroos 2012 preview

Published: Thursday, Aug. 2 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Note: Monticello finished with a 9-3 overall record and a 7-1 record in the 1A South Division in 2011. It lost to Layton Christian, 35-6, in the 1A semifinals.

The Monticello football team’s mantra might as well be this saying: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

At the Class 1A school located in southeastern Utah, Buckaroo coaches and players remind themselves of that notion frequently.

“I am uncomfortable talking about individuals,” said head coach Lee Chadwick, “because when I name one kid, I am leaving 20 deserving kids out.”

Chadwick, who is entering his third season at Monticello, expanded on his team’s all-for-one approach, saying, “These kids are eager and willing to work hard for a common goal; they’re a very selfless group. That’s pretty unique to this group of kids, and I think it will help us out this season.”

While the Buckaroos performed well throughout last season, their run ended with a decided loss in the 1A semifinals to Layton Christian, a team they had defeated just weeks before. A handful of seniors have since graduated, but Monticello returns many of its contributors from a year ago.

“We have many kids coming back with a familiarity of our system,” the coach said, referring to the Wing-T offense he implemented upon his arrival three summers ago. “Kids coming in now all know what to expect in our program, and consistency is a big key to success.”

An additional key to the Buckaroos’ success is the play of juniors Austin Wilcox and Austin Maloy.

“Our junior class is really strong. There is a lot of great leadership among them,” Chadwick said, specifically highlighting Wilcox and Maloy.

Wilcox, at 5-foot-10, was the team’s leading running back last season, finishing with 1,031 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore. He is expected to step back into that role this season.

Maloy, on the other hand, has somewhat of a learning curve in front of him after being moved from running back to starting quarterback for the 2012 season, replacing senior Brian Robinson.

“When one or two kids graduate, everyone moves a little,” Chadwick said of the quarterback shuffle, adding that the team is down in numbers with only about 30 kids compared to last year’s roster of 40 players.

To help with the change in signal-callers, the offensive line returns with many of the same kids. Chadwick stated that it, along with the experience of the defensive line, is one of the greatest strengths the Buckaroos having going for them.

Zach Johnson is back to anchor both lines,” Chadwick said of the senior. “Look for good things from him this year; he has done well in the offseason.”

The Monticello senior class also includes standouts Jake Duncan, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver and defensive back, and PJ Leiataua, a 6-foot tight end and linebacker.

“Jake (Duncan) and Maloy are both tremendous cornerbacks who I think can cover about anyone we’ll play,” Chadwick said. “PJ is someone we will look to for leadership. He has really worked hard this summer, and he has great hands so we’ll be looking to get the ball to him.”

Monticello Buckaroos at a glance

Coach: Lee Chadwick is entering his third season with the Buckaroos, building an overall record of 13-10. Prior to moving to Monticello, he coached football in Alaska for eight years. Chadwick is a graduate of Filer High School in Filer, Idaho.