Scroll to bottom of story to see Diamond Ranch Felt's Facts
Note: Diamond Ranch finished with a 5-5 overall record and a 2-4 record against 1A teams in 2011. It lost to Rich, 33-8, in the first round of the 1A playoffs.
Looking back on last year, Diamond Ranch football coach Robbie Dias admits he was way overconfident.
Even though it was Diamond Ranch’s first year as an officially sanctioned UHSAA school, the program had been around for five years prior to that, and with some quality athletes attending the Hurricane residential treatment center Dias expected to dominate 1A.
“As a coaching staff we thought we were going to dominant and just beat people up going into 1A. I had no idea how tough it was,” said Dias.
The Diamondbacks did well to beat Parowan, Altamont and Milford, but in five games against the eventual four 1A semifinalists — Duchesne, Layton Christian, Rich and Monticello — they were outscored 204-95. Diamond Ranch scored 46 of those 95 points in a 60-46 loss to Monticello.
The season was a wake-up call in another regard for Dias.
“The other thing we learned as coaches was how much we didn’t know. We played college and semi-pro ball, and you kind of have a feel for the game. But it’s another thing to coach it — to know what plays work and how it's going to work,” said Dias. “Last year I was humiliated as far as the coaching goes.”
This offseason the D-Backs' coaching staff worked with coaches at Dixie State College and Desert Hills High to improve their understanding of the offense and defense.
Now it’s just a matter of how quickly the kids buy into it.
As a residential treatment center for troubled teens, Diamond Ranch will almost always have complete roster turnover from year to year. The only returning starter this year is defensive lineman/tight end Tion Timmel, a California native who Dias says has offers from Utah and Utah State already.
Timmel would’ve normally returned to California after one school year at Diamond Ranch, but he wanted to stick around for the academic structure to help him get ready for college.
“Colleges are looking at him as a defensive end, but in my opinion they haven’t seen him at tight end. That’s where he shines. He has soft hands. He’s a big body. And he moves quick,” said Dias.
Timmel will primarily play offense this year as the coaching staff tries to platoon on both sides of the ball.
“That’s one thing that’s going to make us a little bit tougher to deal with this year,” said Dias.
Diamond Ranch will participate in the 1A South region this season after primarily playing northern teams a year ago. That should help the D-Backs get a decent seed come playoff time if everything comes together as the much more humble Dias hopes.
Diamond Ranch Diamondbacks at a glance
Coach: Robby Dias is entering his sixth year as coach at Diamond Ranch, but this is just his second year as a coach of an officially sanctioned varsity program. He’s a graduate of Dixie High School.
(1 returning starter; Spread offense)
Ryan Ong has never played football, but the baseball player takes over as quarterback for the D-Backs. Ong’s top receiving threats will be tight end Tion Timmel and wide receiver River Aguire. Eric Upson will start at tailback, and coach Dias has been impressed with him this summer. With that said, he’s never seen him play in a meaningful game and he’s anxious to find out if he’s a gamer on Friday nights. Joe Yeager and Donald Chapman will be the leadership of the offensive line.
(0 returning starters)
Safety Andrew Miller played safety for his 5A team in Texas a year ago, and at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds he’ll be an imposing presence for the Diamond Backs this year. He’s also one of the few players who will probably play on both sides of the ball. Timmel is being recruited to play defensive end in college, and even though his primary position in high school is tight end, with his athleticism it will be hard for Diamond Ranch’s coaches to keep him on the sideline defensively.
Coaches preseason 1A South straw poll: Second
Deseret News 1A South prediction: Second
Bottom line: The quality of 1A football caught Diamond Ranch by surprise last year, and the coaches vow to be much more prepared this year. The players, however, are all new and there will always be an inevitable learning curve as a result. It’s unlikely that Diamond Ranch will unseat Monticello as the 1A South region champion, but it’s a slight favorite to edge Milford to clinch the second seed and earn a home playoff game.
Aug. 17 — at Enterprise, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — WHITEHORSE, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — BISHOP GORMAN, NEV. JV, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — ALTAMONT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — at Duchesne, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Milford, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — MONUMENT VALLEY, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — at Monticello, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — RICH, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — at Summit Academy, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Diamond Ranch High School
All-time record: 5-5 (1 year)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 1
All-time playoff record: 0-1
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
*Most played rivalry: 2 meetings with two schools, Agassi Prep (Nev.) and Rich, both dating back to 2011. DR leads Agassi Prep 2-0 and Rich leads 2-0. Meets Rich on Oct. 12.
Felt’s Factoid(s): DR became just the 11th school to advance to the playoffs in its first year playing varsity football.
Diamond Ranch coaching history
2011-current — Robbie Dias (5-5)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2011 — Kyle Atchison, QB/DB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.