High school playoff football: Kanab broke a curse to win a home playoff opener against Milford
1A high school football preview: Milford at Kanab
KANAB — When Kanab lost to Monticello last week to fall into a three-way tie for the 1A South region title, coach Bucky Orton pretty much resigned himself to the fact the Cowboys would be traveling to Rich in the quarterfinals.
A coin flip would determine the playoff seeds between Kanab, Monticello and Diamond Ranch, and that’s always been a no-win situation for Kanab.
“We’ve never won a coin toss since I’ve been at Kanab; football, baseball, all the sports I’ve been involved. Kanab is notorious for losing coin tosses,” said Orton.
Much to Orton’s delight though, new principal Brennan Jackson broke the coin flip hex on Monday as Kanab clinched the No. 1 seed from the 1A South region.
Instead of traveling north in the quarterfinals to face Rich — a team it lost to 41-13 in early October — now Kanab is hosting Milford on Friday night in a much more winnable game.
“I think we were a little disappointed in last week’s game, and this will be a good chance for us to move forward and really see what we’re made of,” said Orton.
Kanab beat Altamont and Diamond Ranch in the games preceding the Monticello loss, and Orton said getting quarterback Merrill Terry back on track will be key this Friday.
“Every game we play we have to have Merrill play well. That was part of the problem last week, he didn’t play well, but I think he will,” said Orton. “He’s been very coachable all year, and he’s made every adjustment I’ve asked him to make this first year as quarterback. He’s been awesome.”
Terry has passed for 1,373 yards and 17 touchdowns this year while also rushing for 899 yards and nine scores.
Milford coach Brian Williamson said his defense needs to be very mindful of Terry at all times.
“Their quarterback is very mobile, we have to make sure we contain him in the pocket and don’t give him a chance to roll out and run on us,” said Williamson.
Milford started the year 1-4 but enters the playoffs with four straight victories over West Wendover, Nev., Kanab’s JV team, Whitehorse and Monument Valley.
“Going into Kanab we really feel confident, with our four-game win streak we know what’s going on now,” said Williamson.
Milford has leaned heavily all season on quality downhill running backs Wade Netto and Kaydon Noyes, who’ve racked up 901 yards and 786 yards respectively. Noyes, however, will miss the game because of a concussion, which puts more pressure on Netto to have a big game.
Orton was very impressed with Netto’s running style and said Milford is a big, physical team that can cause Kanab some troubles.
“They’re a team that you’re going to have to play to beat, they’re not a fluke team by any means,” said Orton.
Milford statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 29.5 ppg (4th in 1A)
Scoring defense: 22.1 ppg (5th in 1A)
Passing leader: Jalan Hardy (5-12, 41.7%, 133 yards, 3 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Wade Netto (105 carries, 901 yards, 17 TDs), Kaydon Noyes (138 carries, 786 yards, 7 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Nathan Barnes (6 catches, 128 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Wade Netto (105 tackles), Kaydon Noyes (80 tackles)
Sack leaders: Jordan Hardy (7 sacks)
Interception leaders: Nathan Barnes, Lucas O’Daniel, Brandon Pomerinke, Trevor Robinson (2 INTs)