It wasn't that long ago that high school football wasn't even played in Duchesne or, for that matter, at any other 1A school.
But Jared Bruton, for one, is very happy that gridiron competition has spread to the farmlands of Duchesne. Bruton was nominated for the Wendy's High School Heisman. He competed with 32, 000 applicants and won both state and regional honors and the opportunity to travel to New York last weekend to be honored as one of 12 finalists in the competition.
Bruton did not win, but all 12 finalists six boys and six girls received a $2,000 award for their high schools.
Playing football in a town with no stop lights is an adventure just to field a competitive team. However, Duchesne compiled a 7-5 record this past season, reaching the state semifinals before losing. Most believe it was a pretty successful season.
Bruton weighs in at 180 pounds and played guard on this team. Bruton clarified, "pulling guard."
On defense, Bruton played safety. That again runs against the grain because at larger schools linemen and safeties usually aren't interchangeable. He will move on to BYU where he most likely won't play football unless he walks on and all the Cougar pulling guards get injured.
Come to think of it, there just might be an opportunity at safety. Walk-ons have been known to get a little playing time there.
Billy Hoopes was the assistant coach at Duchesne this year. He will be elevated to head coach for next year, as Jerry Cowan has already left the program for another opportunity to return to work in a family business. Hoopes laments the loss of Cowan.
"We are going to miss his excellent preparation for every game regardless of the opponent's record," he said.
This year's leading rusher was Tyler Reinhardt, a senior who piled up 1,230 yards from both the quarterback and running back positions. Colby Evans, another senior, amassed 810 yards on the ground.
Two more seniors that the Eagles will lose are Austin McKee at tight end and Brysen Bench at center.
But the future looks bright, with another Reinhardt returning at fullback. Selby Reinhardt plays middle linebacker also.
"He is a hard-nosed runner on offense and has great instincts on defense," Hoopes said.
Derek Herrera will return at quarterback. Jacob Evans is a returning 5-11, 260-pound lineman who Hoopes thinks will be one of the best in the state.
As for the experience this past year, Hoopes enjoyed it.
"This was a fun team," he said. "The best thing about these kids is you didn't have to worry about them getting in trouble."
E-mail: [email protected]