Note: Dixie finished with an 11-2 overall record in 2012 and was third in Region 9 with a 4-2 record. It beat Spanish Fork 49-21 in the 3A championship game.
ST. GEORGE — Arguably the best story of the 2012 high school football season was Dixie’s improbable 3A state championship.
Sure, the Flyers enjoyed a quality regular season, but nobody in their right mind really gave them a chance against Juan Diego in the 3A semifinals — and if they did they were bluffing.
First of all, Juan Diego had beat Region 9 co-champion Hurricane 38-0 in the quarterfinals the week before, and the previous season Juan Diego beat Dixie 41-0 in the first round of the 3A playoffs. There was little evidence to suggest Dixie could hang with Juan Diego in the semifinals.
The fact that Dixie prevailed 14-13 and then crushed Spanish Fork in the title game the following week reiterates just how special quarterback Blake Barney was for the Flyers last year.
Unfortunately for Dixie, its 3A MVP from a year ago is currently serving an LDS mission in the United Kingdom.
So it’s back to the drawing board for Dixie coach Blaine Monkres, right?
“We’ve got a lot of kids back, and expectations are kind of high,” said Monkres.
Sure, the QB position is still a big question mark, but Dixie returns all four wide receivers from a year ago along with five members of what turned out to be a very strong defense.
Monkres believes if his players forget about last season, there’s no reason they can’t compete for another region and state title in the revamped landscape of 3AA.
“You just have to get it out of these kids’ heads, 'Hey, that was the other team. If you want to make a name for yourself you’ve got to come out and do it again, and the only way to do that is work as hard as that team,'” said Monkres.
No one worked as hard as Barney over his three years as a starting quarterback. By the time he was a senior, he had evolved into the master of 3A with more than 4,100 yards of total offense and 46 total touchdowns.
It’s going to take a collective team effort to replace that kind of production.
“We’re going to have a new quarterback that’s coming in, and we’re not going to be able to rely as heavily on him early in the year, so the rest of the guys are going to have to step up their game,” said Monkres.
The defense in particular will need to be strong because without Barney, it’s not realistic to expect the offense to average a 3A-best 36 points like last season.
With the season just a week away, Monkres is still unsure which QB to had the reigns of his offense to.
“This is kind of important because they’re both underclassmen. Whoever I pick we will end up having for a couple years, so it’s a big decision. So you don’t want to make a mistake,” said Monkres. “You want to see which one can lead, which one the kids can follow, which one the kids are confident in and just kind of go from there.”
Neither has separated himself yet, and Monkres is preparing to play both in the season opener at Springville.
Takau’s strength is his understanding of the offense and his arm strength, while Harrison’s strength is he’s a really strong runner.
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