High school football: Monument Valley Cougars 2012 preview

Published: Thursday, Aug. 9 2012 9:56 p.m. MDT

Scroll to bottom of story to see Monument Valley Felt's Facts

Note: Monument Valley finished with a 5-5 overall record and a 1-3 record against Utah teams in 2011. It lost to Duchesne in the first round of the 1A playoffs.

After stepping aside for a few years following the birth of his child, Jim Dandy is jumping back in the saddle as Monument Valley's head football coach.

He’s thrilled to be back.

“I love football. It’s a great sport where young men can really find themselves, and there’s a lot of life lessons that go with it. And that’s my priority — to help give them that experience,” said Dandy.

Dandy was the head coach at Monument Valley from 1998 to 2009, and he takes great pride in the program he built over that stretch. In his final season back in 2009, Monument Valley beat Layton Christian in the regular season and was competitive in several other games.

Even though Dandy hasn’t been coaching the past two years, he’s been teaching at the school and believes the program has dipped a bit. His goal is to get it back to respectability in his eyes.

Big picture though, he knows Monument Valley isn’t going to win a 1A championship. But that’s not what it’s all about for him.

“The No. 1 thing I like to teach is a lot of morals, culture, tradition. Since I’m Navajo, I speak the language. I really teach these kids about the culture about who they are, and academics are a priority,” said Dandy. “We try to make the game fun for them — just to play it and know the game — so that when they become fathers they’ll be able to teach their kids and say they played football.”

Monument Valley won five games last year, but outside of a 2-0 record against rival Whitehorse it was 0-3 against other Utah teams. It lost to Monticello, Milford and Duchesne by a combined score of 171-20.

Dandy has roughly 25 players on the team this year — mostly juniors — as he tries to close the gap a bit on the rest of 1A.

The entire program will rely heavily on junior quarterback Lawrence Atine.

“He’s pretty agile. I was impressed with his passing off the run. We’ve been working on his timing. A lot of the pass plays we will use are quick short passes,” said Dandy. “We’re trying to build the whole playing style around our QB.”

Atine passed for nearly 2,200 yards and 22 TDs a year ago. He also rushed for nearly 300 yards and three TDs.

Dandy said Monument Valley will use a variety of offenses this year from spread to Wing-T to I-formation.

Monument Valley Cougars at a glance

Coach: Jim Dandy is entering his second stint as Monument Valley’s head coach. He was the head coach from 1998 to 2009 and put together a 34-47 record during that span.

Offense

(4 returning starters; Multiple-formation offense)

The offense revolves around quarterback Lawrence Atine. A starter last year, coach Dandy is building his offense around his athletic skill set. Returning two offensive lineman should help, but with the offense the team will utilize those guys up front don’t need to be too big. Kirby Atene is a returning starter at running back, while Anthony James is back at wide receiver.

Defense

(4 returning starters)

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