When you can have 18 seniors and you’re the smallest school that plays football in Utah, that’s big. —Milford coach Thane Marshall
Note: Milford finished with a 7-4 overall record in 2016 and second in 1A South with a 3-1 record. It lost to Duchesne 47-0 in the 1A semifinals.
MILFORD — Thane Marshall doesn’t like to get his hopes up too high out of worry things won’t turn out as desired, but even he can’t ignore what could be for the Milford Tigers in 2017.
The Tigers’ head coach since 2014, Marshall has led steady improvement over the past three years, and the team enters this season with a whopping 18 seniors, plus five underclassmen who start.
“This year is kind of an exciting year for Milford,” Marshall said. “When you can have 18 seniors and you’re the smallest school that plays football in Utah, that’s big.”
Still, he wants to take a somewhat measured approach, with the primary goal for now being to make the state championship game, which would be one step further than where the Tigers went in 2016 when they won a playoff game for the first time in 17 years.
“We’re hoping to take that one more step and happen to be lucky and maybe even win state this year,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping. Of course, that’s everybody’s dream and hope. You’ve still got to beat Kanab and Duchesne and Rich.”
Marshall recalled how when he took over in 2014, he was advised that the biggest thing he could do was recruit within his own school. Now, he says, the Tigers have multiple players at every position.
“You can’t just come out for football in Milford and expect your spot,” he said. “They’ve all had to do summer workouts and stuff like that because they’re not guaranteed a spot anymore. They’ve got to work for it.”
The town has noticed. Just as players aren’t guaranteed a spot anymore, there started to be standing room only at games last year, and the excitement for 2017 has grown even bigger.
“Everybody’s looking forward to it,” Marshall said. “Everybody’s getting on board. The whole town’s behind it, and it’s kind of cool.”
Milford Tigers at a glance
Coach: Thane Marshall is entering his fourth season as the Tigers’ head coach, having compiled a 16-15 record in his first three campaigns. He is a graduate of Beaver High and attended SUU.
Milford Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Wes Marshall
2016 offensive production: 24.5 ppg (4th in 1A)
-- 10 returning starters
-- Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
Bryson Barnes (QB)
Ty Netto (RB/WR)
Stetson Wright (WR)
Cole Wilson (WR)
Colton Pomerinke (WR)
Jaxon Davis (WR)
Sid Hardy (OL)
Trae Williamson (OL)
Alec Williams (OL)
Wyatt Parker (OL)
Marshall’s thoughts on sophomore quarterback Bryson Barnes:
“His confidence is there. Bryson sees the field about as well as anyone I’ve ever been around.”
Marshall’s thoughts on Ty Netto:
“He’s the heart and soul of our football team. He’s Mr. Utility. If we had to, we could even line him up at guard and put a different jersey on him and he’d still block.”
Keys for offensive success in 2017:
Can Barnes continue to play like he did as a freshman and not start to think too much? If he can, the Tigers could be in for a special year offensively given the number of players they have returning. Looking toward the playoffs, can Milford figure out how to score against Duchesne and Kanab? In three combined contests against those two teams in 2016, the Tigers scored just 16 points.
Milford Defensive Snapshot:
Defensive coordinator: Pat Ward
Defensive production: 20.1 ppg (4th in 1A)
-- 10 returning starters
-- 4-3 defense
Returning defensive starters
Trae Williamson (LB)
Jaxon Davis (LB)
Gus Thompson (LB)
Andy Dominguez (DL)
Ike Keller (DL)
Alec Williams (DL)
Ty Netto (DB)
Stetson Wright (DB)
Colton Pomerinke (DB)
Dane Wunderlich (DB)
Marshall’s thoughts on the defensive line:
“That’s what it all comes down to 1A football, is stopping the run. You’ve got to stop Rich’s option and you’ve got to stop Duchesne’s Wing-T.”
Keys for defensive success in 2017:
Like on offense, the Tigers were good defensively in 2016 except against a few teams, Duchesne, Kanab and Layton Christian. In six games against other opponents, Milford gave up a pretty remarkable 7.5 points per game. In five contests against those three squads, however, the Tigers surrendered 35.2 points per game. Come playoff time, Milford will need to rely on experience to help it close the gap.
Coaches preseason 1A South straw poll: Second
Deseret News 1A South prediction: Second
Key region game: vs. Kanab, Oct. 6 (Week 8)
Bottom line: Head coach Thane Marshall has a sense of urgency this year given the talent and experience he has at his disposal. The Tigers should have a successful regular season, but can they, both mentally and physically, get through the barriers that are the traditionally elite teams in 1A?
Aug. 18 — at Gunnison, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 — WHITE PINE, NEV., 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 — at Layton Christian, 4 p.m.
Sept. 8 — BYE
Sept. 15 — RICH, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 — at Duchesne, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 — ALTAMONT, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 — KANAB, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Monticello, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — PAROWAN, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Milford High School
All-time record: 223-392-11 (75 years)
Region championships: 3 (1990, 1991, 1999 co)
Playoff appearances: 31
Current playoff appearance streak: 8 (2009-2016)
All-time playoff record: 13-30
State championships: 1 (1993)
State championship record: 1-1
Most played rivalry: 84 meetings with Parowan dating back to 1949. Milford leads 44-37-3.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Tiger Jared Barnes holds the record for single-game safeties (tied with one other), two, against Duchesne in 1993. ... Mike Grajek is one of only 18 coaches to win a state title in his first year (1993).
2016 — 7-4 (3-1 in 1A South – 1A Semifinals)
2015 — 5-5 (1-3 in 1A South – 1A Quarterfinals)
2014 — 4-6 (1-2 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)
2013 — 5-5 (0-3 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)
2012 — 1-9 (1-3 in 1A South – 1A Quarterfinals)
Milford coaching history
2014-current — Thane Marshall (16-15)
2010-2013 — Brian Williamson (11-30)
2007-2009 — Robert Langston (8-24)
2000-2006 — Ricky Rose (22-51)
1999 — Daren Cheney (9-3)
1995-1998 — Robert Langston (14-23)
1994 — Franklin Bramall (9-2)
1993 — Mike Grajek (7-3)
1992 — Cleve Weaver (6-5)
1990-1991 — Brennan Jackson (18-4)
1986-1989 — Marvin Magalei (7-26)
1980-1985 — Kevin Barnes (25-28)
1978-1979 — Joe Hillock (2-13)
1977 — Dave Houle (1-7)
1976 — Monte Lee (2-6)
1973-1975 — Bob Andrus (9-20)
1968-1972 — unknown (13-28-2)
1967 — Dick Payne (0-7)
1964-1966 — Ivan Rowley (9-14-1)
1963 — unknown (3-4)
1962 — Jerry Davids (1-6)
1953-1961 — Lee Petty (22-39-3)
1949-1952 — unknown (3-19-2)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2016 — Bryson Barnes, QB
2016 — Ty Netto, RB/DB
2016 — Trae Williamson, OL/LB
2016 — Isiah Montoya, K
2016 — Jaxon Davis, WR/LB
2015 — Jordan Hardy, QB
2014 — Wade Netto, RB/LB
2014 — Nathan Barnes, WR/DB
2013 — Wade Netto, RB/SS
2011 — Mauricio Hernandez, WR/DB
2010 — Chad Netto, OL/LB
2009 — Jacob Idhe, QB/FS
2009 — Chris Manuele, OL/DL
2008 — Cade Boyter, RB/LB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.