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.
(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.
(4 returning starters)
Getting outscored 171-20 in three games against 1A playoff teams a year ago obviously isn’t good enough by any standards. The new coaching staff is hoping to change that, but a lack of size in the trenches could be tough to overcome against more experienced teams.
Coaches preseason 1A South straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News 1A South prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: Wins and losses don’t define this program according to coach Jim Dandy, and it’s a good thing. The Cougars will be competitive against out-of-state teams, but outside of Whitehorse they’ll be big underdogs against the rest of the teams in Utah. If the players adjust to the expectations of the new coaching staff, they should be able to beat Whitehorse in the regular-season finale and qualify for the playoffs.
Aug. 24 — SUMMIT ACADEMY, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at Newcomb, N.M., 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — MONTICELLO, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 — MONUMENT VALLEY, ARIZ. JV, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 — SHONTO PREP, ARIZ., 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Diamond Ranch, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — MILFORD, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — at Altamont, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 — at Whitehorse, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Monument Valley High School
All-time record: 62-138-1 (25 years)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 6
All-time playoff record: 1-6
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Most played rivalry: 29 meetings with Whitehorse dating back to 1984. Whitehorse leads 17-12. Meet on Oct. 18.
Felt’s Factoid(s): When MV traveled to Pinon (Ariz.) in 1996, no game officials showed up. But the teams played anyway, and Pinon won, 24-19.
Monument Valley coaching history
2012-current — Jim Dandy
2010-2011 — Powers Whiskers (8-13)
1998-2009 — Jim Dandy (34-47)
1993-1997 — Carl Sumsion (3-24)
1991-1992 — Babe Malufau (4-14)
1985-1990 — unknown (16-35)
1984 — Ollie Whaley (0-8)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2009 — Josh Nelson, FB/S
2003 — Jeremy Tsinigine, RB/LB
2002 — Lariat Williams, QB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.