Lee Chadwick has seen the school population at Monticello High School drop by about 60 students in the last four years, so the football coach keeps realistic expectations concerning his Buckaroos facing larger schools in the future.
Still, the present is what's bright for Monticello. Chadwick, who is entering his fourth season as the Buckaroos' coach, feels his team will be competitive at the top of Class 1A this year.
"This is our year if we're ever gonna have one for awhile," said Chadwick, whose squad fell 35-7 to eventual state champ Duchesne in the 2012 state semifinals. "We're senior-heavy and we've been working our way to this for a long time."
A couple of Austins will be key in Monticello's wing-T attack running backs Austin Wilcox and Austin Maloy are back for their senior seasons. Helping out in the backfield will be senior Dillon Maughan and junior Cole Eldredge, while quarterback Makade Maloy, Austin's younger brother, orchestrates the offense.
Wilcox and Austin Maloy have more of a role than carrying the ball for the Buckaroos: They're also linchpins for the defense. Wilcox is a linebacker, and that's a position Maloy also will see time at when he's not trying to snag opponents' passes in the secondary.
Along the line, look for senior Jake Giles to be a solid anchor offensively and defensively. He'll get help from senior Eric Anderson and junior Brandon Musselman.
"We're missing about five guys from last year," Chadwick said. "We're returning the whole backfield and quite a bit of the line. We feel pretty strong with what we've got coming back."
ASSIGNMENT • Class 1A South
LAST YEAR • 7-5 overall, 3-2 Class 1A South
KEY RETURNER • Austin Wilcox, sr., RB/LB
PLAYER TO WATCH • Austin Maloy, sr., RB/DB
BIGGEST HOLE • Spots on the offensive and defensive lines.
NEED TO KNOW • The schedule affords the Buckaroos time to shore up any problem areas because Duchesne and Kanab are the last two opponents on the slate.