“Aren’t you guys excited to play Layton again? Don’t you want to take on Milford again? Don’t you want to face Duchesne again?” Cowboy head coach Bucky Orton asked his team after Kanab overwhelmed Monticello 33-7 last Friday night.

Earlier this year, Kanab lost heartbreakers to Layton 7-0, Milford 29-26 and Duchesne 7-0. The ‘Boys will get their chance, starting with Layton Academy this Friday, Oct. 27 on the road with kickoff set for 3 p.m. Milford and Duchesne better look out, as they will probably be Kanab’s next two opponents. I would not want to play the Cowboys!

As senior Wyatt Houston told the team, “We’re in the shadows. Nobody is expecting us to do anything in the playoffs. But we know we can win it all!”

Against Monticello, Coach Orton started sophomore Sam Orton at quarterback, and moved three-year QB starter Tavin Ott to wide receiver. Coach Orton said, “We had to try something different.”

Offensive coordinator Mason Fox said, “We were running Tavin too much at quarterback, 25 times a game. Splitting him out as a receiver along with Matt Glover, we had two great options to get them the ball out in space, with room to run.”

It worked better than they could ever have dreamed, as young Orton threw three touchdown passes in his first start. When asked how he felt about starting his first varsity game, Sam said, “I wasn’t nervous at all. I felt good out there. The line was great. They protected me all night.”

And how did Ott feel about being moved out to wide receiver? He said after the game, “It was so much fun, probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing football.”

Ott wasted no time at his new position, as he scored the first touchdown, hauling in a 45-yard pass from Orton just two minutes into the game.

The next time Kanab had the ball, Orton hooked up with Matt Glover on a 54-yard touchdown pass, proving the coaches prophetic with their new plan. The play was a quick throw, with Glover making a nice cutback, picking up a nice block from Ott that sprung him into the clear as he sprinted to the end zone. That score came just over five minutes into the game and it was quickly 14-0 in favor of the Cowboys.

Kanab had another great chance to score when Monticello’s punter bobbled the snap and the kick was blocked and recovered by AJ Foster on the Buckaroo 34 yard line. Unfortunately, Kanab could not pick up a first down and turned the ball over on downs at the 27.

On the Cowboys’ next possession, Cody Stubbs broke off a nifty 42 yard run, but a block in the back penalty on Kanab negated half of the yardage on that play. They were forced to punt three plays later.

Early in the second quarter Monticello put together their best drive of the game, getting to the Kanab 40 yard line before Ott picked off a pass on the 35, returning it to the Buck’s 30. Coach Orton called the pick seconds before it happened right in front of him, when he warned Ott to look for a slant pattern.

It took only two plays for Kanab to reach the end zone with Zeck Brayton picking up nine yards on first down, then busting through the line and darting 21 yards to the end zone on the second carry. With 7:30 left until the half, Kanab’s lead was now 20-0.

Monticello was not going to quit, as they started their next drive on their own 31. After picking up three first downs, one on a penalty, one on a 23-yard pass play, and one on a 26-yard end around by Max Hedglin, they were on the Cowboy seven yard line. Parker Collins stuffed the first run for no gain, but Monticello came right back with the same end around reverse play and Hedglin scored. With the PAT, the Cowboys led 20-7 with 3:41 left until halftime.

Stubbs had a nice kick return to the Kanab 42, setting the Cowboys up with great field position. Two plays later, Orton hit Glover on a 46 yard TD pass, only to have the play called back on a holding penalty. Kanab did manage to pick up a first down on three plays after starting out with a first and 25, but on the next play, Orton was intercepted ending that drive.

Just before the half, safety Carter Jackman almost had a pick for the Cowboys, however the ball slipped though his hands, but Monticello was forced to punt anyway.

Neither team would score in the third quarter, although Kanab squandered a good chance when Jackman did intercept a Monticello pass, on a much more difficult catch, to give the Cowboys the ball on the Buck’s 27. On third down, Orton’s pass was dropped at the one yard line by Marcus Fox and the Cowboys tried a 41 yard field goal. The kick didn’t get high enough and was blocked at the line of scrimmage.

Later in the third period Kanab started a drive on their own 22, and drove down to the Monticello 13 yard line. Two big pass plays from Orton to tight end Collins picked up 22 and 27 yards. Orton ran it in from there on a quarterback draw on the second play of the fourth period to increase the Cowboys’ lead to 27-7.

The Cowboys would add one more score when Orton hit Collins on an eight-yard touchdown pass with 8:06 left in the game. Kanab kept the drive going despite a six-yard loss on a screen pass and a 15-yard holding penalty. Orton had a 21-yard run and then threw a 36-yard pass to Fox to set up the first and goal.

Kanab had their third interception in the game when Brayton picked off a pass midway through the fourth to stop another Monticello drive. Later in the fourth, Stubbs had a fourth Cowboy interception and returned it all the way to the Buck’s two-yard line. But a blindside block penalty on Kanab on the return moved the ball back to the Monticello 32, where the Cowboys ran out the clock.

Kanab picked up 13 first downs to Monticello’s nine. The Cowboys gained 134 yards on the ground and 222 through the air. Zeck Brayton picked up 63 yards on 15 carries, scoring one TD, while Sam Orton had 54 yards on nine tries and also reached the end zone once. Orton completed 11 of 17 passes, with three touchdowns and one interception. Parker Collins led the receivers with six catches for 81 yards and one touchdown.

On defense, Jake Shakespear led the way with six tackles, while Matt Glover had five.

The win set up a rematch with Layton Academy on their field this Friday at 3 p.m. In the other half of our bracket, Milford will host Rich. Monticello will travel to play Duchesne, while Altamont is at Parowan in the other bracket. The winners will play on Friday, Nov. 3 at Weber State University, with the championship game set for Saturday, Nov. 11 at Southern Utah University.