High school football: Everyone gunning for Duchesne again in 1A
2. MONTICELLO: Late in the regular season last year, the Buckaroos lost to Altamont by two, Diamond Ranch by three and Duchesne by 15. With eight starters back from that team, Monticello figures to be much improved a year later. Leading the way is the 1-2 punch of seniors Austin Maloy and Austin Wilcox in the backfield. Both are important starters on the defensive side as well, with Wilcox anchoring the linebacking corps and Maloy the secondary. In the trenches, Jake Giles is a returning starter on both lines and big things are expected from him. 2012 RECORD: 7-5. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Duchesne in 1A semifinals.
3. DIAMOND RANCH: It will always be difficult to gauge how competitive Diamond Ranch will be year in and year out because of roster turnover, but coach Robbie Dias believes this year’s team should be very competitive in 1A. Back in June the D-Backs competed in the Ute Shoot 7-on-7 tournament at the University of Utah and finished second in the varsity No. 2 group. A big reason why was the play of senior QB Saxon Mingus. The program does return a few starters, led by WR/SS River Aguirre and LB/OL Mick Hardy. Two other seniors expected to be key contributors are RB/FS Levi Dustin and WR/DE Dominic Dorsich. 2012 RECORD: 7-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Altamont in 1A quarterfinals.
4. MONUMENT VALLEY: A junior-heavy team a year ago, the Cougars won five games, including in-state victories over Milford and Whitehorse. Coach Jim Dandy hopes the experience gained in 2012 leads to a few more victories this season, and a better showing against some of the upper-tier 1A teams. Leading the way will be quarterback senior Lawrence Atine, who will be a three-year starter this season. 2012 RECORD: 5-5. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Rich in 1A quarterfinals.
5. WHITEHORSE: Second-year coach Collin Jackson has been pleased with the participation this summer, and is optimistic about an improved season after going winless a year ago. Jackson expects to have roughly six starters back on each side of the ball, which includes quarterback Cedale Armstrong, who also plays safety. His top receiving threat will be returning starter JR Todachinnie. Defensively, Davik Mitchell is a returning starter at inside linebacker, and big things are expected of him. 2012 RECORD: 0-7. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.
Follow Deseret News prep editor James Edward on Twitter @DNewsPreps