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For the second time this season, the Rich High Rebel football team spoiled the homecoming celebration of an opposing team. This time it was with a 34-12 win over the Monticello Buckaroos.
Once again the Rebels got off to a slow start, allowing their opponent to score on the opening possession of the game. It may have had something to do with the seven-hour bus ride from Rich County. The Buckaroos took only six plays to put points on the scoreboard. Running back Thomas Anderson found his way into the end zone from 30 yards out and a 6-0 lead.
The Rebels quickly answered with a six-play drive that was highlighted by a 40-yard touchdown run from Joseph Leifson. Leifson added the extra point to put the Rebels up 7-6 at the half way point of the first quarter. The teams exchanged punts, leaving the score unchanged at the end of the quarter.
Rich started off the second quarter with a seven-play drive that covered 74 yards. The drive was highlighted by a 32-yard run by Cache Sabey, who also punched in from a yard out for the score. With eight minutes left in the half, Rich now owned a 14-6 lead.
The Rich defense showed its strength as blitzing linebacker Sabey hit Monticello quarterback Talon Black just as he was releasing a pass. The result was an interception by Jayden Wallentine at the 33-yard line, which he returned for the score. Rich’s cushion was now 21-6 with 7:00 minutes left in the second quarter.
Monticello blocked a Rebel punt but was unable to capitalize on the short field. It appeared that Rich would add another score before halftime when quarterback Koy Brown found tight end Lincoln Huefner for a 28-yard pass play down to the 25-yard line. However, as the Rebels worked out of a shotgun formation, the snap got by the quarterback and was eventually recovered by Monticello at the 45-yard line.
The Buckaroos only had 30 seconds to work with, but it was just enough. Talon Black found receiver Makade Maloy in the end zone with no time on the clock for a 22-yard touchdown pass. This left the score at the half Rich 21 and Monticello 12. The statistics for the first half were close with Rich picking up 124 yards on the ground and Monticello 145. Brown for Rich was 2-of-4 passing for 32 yards and Black for Monticello was 2-of-8 for 22 yards.
The Rebel coaches recognized that Monticello had spread its defense to stop the Rebel option plays. So the second half saw Rebel fullbacks Kyler Clark and Mitch Jarman receiving a high percentage of the carries as the hand-offs to the middle of the field proved to be a productive approach. Clark finished the game with 119 yards on 14 carries.
Following the game, Clark said, “I felt like we played well. We made a few key mistakes like my fumble, but we played through it and came out with the win.” Clark had a 42-yard run and was able to score from three yards out to bump the Rebel lead to 28-12 with four minutes to go in the third quarter. Quarterback Koy Brown finished the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run in the beginning of the fourth quarter. A failed two-point conversion left the score at 35-12 for Rich.
The Rebel defense held Monticello to just 17 yards on the ground in the second half and scoreless. The Buckaroos turned to a passing attack, but Black finished with only five completions out of 16 attempts for 65 yards — one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Rebels did not attempt a pass in the second half but kept the ground game moving. Leifson finished with 93 yards on 10 carries, Sabey 72 yards on nine carries and Mitch Jarman 24 yards on three carries.
The Rebels (3-2) will host their homecoming game next week against Kanab (3-3) which is coming off a one-point loss to Duchesne (3-2).