Note: Millard finished with a 7-4 overall record in 2017 and was third in 2A North with a 3-2 record. It lost to Grand 35-17 in the 2A quarterfinals.
FILLMORE — Class 2A football was stacked last year with four great senior-laden squads, who all had no problem advancing to the semifinals.
Millard, meanwhile, with its mix of youth and experience had to settle for being the fifth-best team in the 12-team classification.
It was a definite improvement from the winless season the year prior, but a 7-4 record and a quarterfinal exit from the playoffs was never the goal.
“We’re excited, we’re optimistic. It’s hard to get too excited (coming out of camp), but at the same time we’re ahead both defensively and offensively of where we’ve been in the past coming out of camp,” said coach Stephenson, who’s entering his third year at the helm at Millard.
When he first took over he changed up Millard’s offense to a Wing-T, but injuries and a steep learning curve led to a winless 2016 season. Last year there we’re obvious improvements.
Now heading into the 2018 season, everyone on the roster has two or three years experience running the offense and it’s a big reason for the excitement.
Offensively Millard has five starters back, while the defense returns three returns.
Anchoring both of those groups is senior lineman Dillon Lund and Calun Whitaker. They’re the heart of the team and the team’s success is predicated a lot on their success.
Quarterback Brooks Myers is also returning this year, and his experience and knowledge have allowed the coaching staff to make a big tweak heading into this season.
“We’re trying to run a little bit of tempo, and with the way our kids are getting on the ball and hustling I’m really pleased with,” said Stephenson.
Millard’s conditioning isn’t where it needs to be yet, but a lot of that will come as the season rolls along. Stephenson’s optimistic that his team will be one of the last few standing at the end.
Millard Eagles at a glance
Coach: Ethan Stephenson is entering his third season as head coach at Millard after putting together a 7-14 record his first two seasons. He’s a graduate of Millard.
Millard Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Blaine Burraston
2017 offensive production: 21.1 ppg (6th in 2A)
- 5 returning starters
- Spread offense
Key offensive returning starters
- Brooks Myers (QB): Got the majority of reps at quarterback as a sophomore last year and passed for 964 yards and nine TDs.
- Austin Burraston (RB): Finished third on the team in rushing last year 64 carries for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Returning offensive starters
- Brooks Myers (QB)
- Austin Burraston (RB)
- Dillon Lund (OL)
- Calun Whitaker (OL)
- Sam Marshall (WR)
Offensive newcomers to watch
- Braxton Robins (RB)
- Kael Myers (WR)
- Hayes Monroe (WR)
- Alan Hernandez (OL)
Coach Stephenson comments on strong offensive line:
“This is one of the better offensive lines we’ve had since I’ve been here. Size alone, we have pretty good size. But also they’ve run our offense now for three years, so I feel like they get it and they should be getting their keys and running it.”
Coach Stephenson comments on playing up-tempo:
“We feel like we’ve got a pretty good group that understands the offense and we just want to change it up a little bit where we can read defenses, try and keep defenses backpedaling. We just felt as a coaching staff that could be to one of our benefits.”
Coach Stephenson comments on QB Brooks Myers:
“Him being able to see the pace of the game, get a feel of it and now come back after that, it’s awesome to see the improvements he’s made, being able to read a defense. We worked a lot in the classroom this past spring and winter, I’m really confident in what he’s going to do.”
Coach Stephenson comments on receiver Hayes Monroe, who missed last year with injury:
“He’s an awesome athlete. He can run hard, he can get up, he’s got some pretty good hands, and then that senior leadership to be out there with that junior group that’s in the backfield. He brings a lot of excitement”
Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:
The timing for any offense, especially a Wing-T offense is, is critical. One missed assignment and a play usually is dead. Playing an up-tempo style only adds to that complexity for Millard this season. Coach Stephenson stressed over and over how important it is for his players to understanding their assignments on every play to be successful.
Millard Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Stoney Myers
2017 defensive production: 19.5 ppg (5th in 2A)
- 3 returning starters
- 4-4 defense
Key defensive returning starters
- Dillon Lund (DT): Clogged the middle for Millard last year in finishing third on the team with 40 tackles and team-high 3.5 sacks.
- Calun Whitaker (DT): Ranked fifth on the team a year ago with 33 total tackles.
Returning defensive starters
- Dillon Lund (DT)
- Calun Whitaker (DT)
- Sam Marshall (DB)
Defensive newcomers to watch
- Bridger Fullmer (DL)
- Alan Hernandez (DL)
- Wyatt Taylor (LB)
- Kael Myers (S)
Coach Stephenson comments on strong defensive front:
“We’ll be tough to run against with our D-line. We’re really excited to see what they can do, try to stuff that run, that’s what we’re looking for from there. And then the outside we’re looking for containment with our backers and our corners, we’ve got some pretty good athletes out there. We’re hoping D-line can shore up the middle and everyone else will play contain.”
Coach Stephenson comments on new linebacker Wyatt Taylor:
“We’re really excited to see what he can do, he’s one of our middle backers. He played that last year for JV. He’s a tough-nosed kid, he’ll go out there and put his nose into something and try and make that hit, so we’re really excited for him. He’s got grittiness. He’s not scared to step up and fill a hole and he’s really bought into the system.”
Coach Stephenson comments on strong defense:
“Our defense is way ahead of the game from what we’ve had in the past, and even from our offense. We’re really excited with what they’re doing, looking to get a lot of takeaways. I feel like with the group that we’ve got we’ve got a pretty opportunity to do that.”
Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:
Linebacker is the biggest question mark heading into the season for Millard. Not only does Millard lack any returning starters at that position, but underclassmen will fill the majority of the positions as well this year. Getting everyone on board with their assignments and staying assignment sound is vital.
Coaches preseason 2A North straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News 2A North prediction: Third
Key Region Game: at Delta, Sept. 14 (Week 5)
Bottom line: Following a 0-10 season in 2016, Stephenson went into last year knowing his team would be better and it showed with a 7-4 record. This season he’s just as excited about another big jump. Everything will come down to the big games. Millard went 0-4 against last year’s semifinalists — losing to Grand twice — and only one of those four games was close. Getting over the hump and becoming one of those semifinalists is the next step for a program that Stephenson is trying to return to prominence.
- Aug. 17 — ENTERPRISE, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 24 — at Parowan, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 31 — NORTH SEVIER, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 7 — at Grand, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — at Delta, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — at American Leadership, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — NORTH SUMMIT, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — at South Summit, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 12 — GUNNISON, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Millard
All-time record: 568-269-22 (92 years)
Region championships: 40 (1933, 1937, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947 co, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 co, 1969, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983 co, 1988 co, 1989 co, 1997, 1998, 1999 co, 2001, 2002 co, 2003, 2004 co, 2006, 2007, 2009 co, 2010)
Playoff appearances: 69
Current playoff appearance streak: 23 (1995-2017)
All-time playoff record: 81-52
State championships: 13 (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1988, 1995, 2001)
State championship record: 13-8
Most played rivalry: 94 meetings with Delta dating back to 1926. Millard leads 50-40-4.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Millard’s 40 region championships are the most in state history, as are its 12 consecutive region titles (1949-60). ... Millard also has the most undefeated, untied regular seasons — 18, including four consecutive on two occasions (1957-60 and 1978-81). ... The Eagles have appeared in 21 championship games (won 13), 130 state tournament games and made the playoffs 67 times, all state records.
- 2017 — 7-4 (3-2 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)
- 2016 — 0-10 (0-5 in 2A North – 2A First round)
- 2015 — 5-6 (2-3 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)
- 2014 — 6-5 (3-3 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)
- 2013 — 5-5 (4-2 in 2A North – 2A First round)
Millard coaching history
- 2016-current — Ethan Stephenson (7-14)
- 2000-2015 — Marshall Sheriff (135-55)
- 1999 — Dennis Alldredge (7-4)
- 1995-1998 — Franklin Bramall (36-9)
- 1992-1994 — Al Marshall (12-17)
- 1984-1991 — Dennis Alldredge (50-32)
- 1973-1983 — Lew Monsen (99-27)
- 1967-1972 — Nyle Norris (40-22)
- 1965-1966 — Lynn Foxley (10-7-1)
- 1964 — Rex Lilly (3-5)
- 1943-1963 — Taft Watts (149-33-10)
- 1942 — Sam Gordon (1-3-1)
- 1941 — Meldon Walker (2-3)
- 1938-1940 — Stan Watts (8-6-1)
- 1936-1937 — "Riff" Kimball (6-4)
- 1935 — unknown (1-3-1)
- 1934 — F.G. Richards (0-2-1)
- 1933 — Dunn Taylor (6-2)
- 1931-1932 — Leo Probert (0-6)
- 1930 — Phil Baker (0-4)
- 1927-1929 — Royal Chamberlain (2-8)
- 1926 — Eddie Kimball (0-3-1)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 yearsComment on this story
- 2017 — Slade Sheriff, DB
- 2017 — Dillon Lund, DL
- 2015 — Kyler Rowley, QB/DE
- 2015 — Cole Whatcott, OL/LB
- 2014 — Skyler Cranney, QB/DB
- 2014 — Gerardo Ruvalcaba, RB/LB
- 2013 — Eric Alcala, OL/LB
- 2012 — Jesse Rhodes, RB/DB
- 2011 —Pancho Alcala, RB/DB
- 2011 — Jesse Rhodes, RB/DB
- 2011 — Keith Kesler, OL/DL
- 2010 — Nate Robison, QB/DB
- 2010 — Jesse Rhodes, RB/DL
- 2010 — Pancho Alcala, RB/DB
- 2009 — Rendon Shields, RB/LB
- 2009 — Thomas Kesler, OL/DL
- 2009 — Kade Wilcox, RB/DE
- 2008 — Clancy Mortensen, RB/LB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.