MONTICELLO — When it comes to discussing his coaching philosophy, Monticello football coach Lee Chadwick likes to recall a story.
He tells of a coach who was asked, “How is your team going to be this year?”
That coach responded, “I won’t know for about 20 years, when they come back to visit and I get to see who they have become. That is how I will know how successful we were this year.”
“That is our main focus,” Chadwick said. “I am very proud of them on and off the field. Their test scores, who they are in the community, I get to coach an all-around great group of people.”
And this year, that group is led by a bunch of upperclassmen.
“We have got a lot of returning seniors,” Chadwick said. “More seniors than we had for some time. It adds quite a bit of experience.”
One of those kids is Austin Maloy, a running back and defensive back who led the team in rushing yards, with 291, and passing yards, with 329, and totaled 14 touchdowns.
“He is a top-shelf kid in every way,” Chadwick said of the quiet but hard-working team leader.
Jake Giles is another returning senior who will be back to anchor the offensive and defensive lines, and Austin Wilcox is the team’s emotional leader. Wilcox is a running back and linebacker who contributed a variety of stats to the Buckaroos’ efforts last season.
“This senior class has some really great leaders,” the head coach said. “On and off the field, they are a great set of kids.”
Those players will be guiding a solid group of underclassmen, including Maloy’s brother McKade. The younger Maloy filled multiple roles last season and will return as the primary quarterback this year.
“He learned a lot last year, and that will continue,” Chadwick said. “He has a cool head, he is extremely smart, and he is exactly what we need to run our offense.”
The Buckaroos expect great things from Cole Eldredge, a junior lineman and linebacker, as well as Brandon Musselman, a running back and linebacker.
“He would be one of our top running backs, but we have four others,” Chadwick said of Musselman. “So he is moving to the line and he is more than willing to do that. I love that about him — he’s willing to do whatever the team needs.”
Part of what the Monticello team needs is to improve disciple on offense.
“Turnovers in key moments of the game killed us,” Chadwick said. “We have to be more precise in what we run.”
He then added, “We have a great plan on defense. We were solid there last year, and we hope to continue that this season.”
Strong defense and improved offense will be key as the Buckaroos move through the 1A South, which includes an unpredictable Diamond Ranch, a tradition-rich Duchesne, and returning Kanab.
“1A South benefits from having Kanab,” Chadwick said, “and it should be a tight competition.”
Monticello Buckaroos at a glance
Coach: Lee Chadwick is entering his fourth season as Monticello’s head coach, where he has led the Buckaroos to a 20-15 record. He is a graduate of Filer High in Idaho.
Offense (8 returning starters, wing-T) Monticello was third in scoring in 1A a year ago with an average of 28 points per game. Austin and McKade Maloy will return to lead the offense, along with running backs Austin Wilcox and Cole Eldredge as well as linemen Jake Giles and Brandon Mussleman.