The Grand County Red Devils football team defeated the Monticello Buckaroos 21-7 on Friday, Aug. 19, in Monticello. The young defense didn’t allow the Bucks’ offense to score in both teams’ season opener.

Grand opened the scoring in the second quarter on a 50-yard pass from senior quarterback Taylor Horton to junior Brayden Schultz, going up 6-0. However, Monticello’s Paul Deanda returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bucks up 7-6 shortly before halftime.

Grand responded in the third quarter, marching down to reclaim the lead 14-7 after a 7-yard pass from Horton to Bryant Troutt and a successful two-point conversion. A couple of series later after a blocked punt, Horton found sophomore Trent Elmore from 6 yards away for the game’s final score at 21-7 in the Red Devils’ favor.

Junior Nick Downard carried the ball 12 times for 62 yards, while Horton added 39 yards on 13 carries. Both players suffered injuries in the game. Downard will likely be out at least two weeks after hyper-extending his knee, while Horton’s injury likely won’t cause him to miss any games, coach Dennis Wells said.

Defensively, the Red Devils were led by Jarett Reidhead and Kenyon Birdwell each with six tackles. Downard had two tackles and an interception, while junior Dakota Johnson had four tackles and a sack.

“Our defense played really well,” Wells said. “(The Bucks) really didn’t move the ball well against them.”

Wells said the key to Grand’s success defensively was the Red Devils’ focus on themselves.

“We have a lot of work to do, but as long as our young kids are flying around, which they were on Friday – they’ll make a few mistakes,” but mistakes aren’t as bad at full speed, he said.

Grand will employ a similar game plan this week against Cortez, Colorado, Wells said, adding that Cortez has a new coach and a completely different offensive system.

“We have no clue what they’re going to bring, so we’re going to keep working on ourselves,” he said. “Our linebackers are working on reading the line instead of looking into the backfield.”

Watching the line will put players where the ball is going.

Aside from the injuries to Horton and Downard, Wells said many players also struggled with cramps during Friday’s game.

“We had a lot of guys with cramps,” he said. “We’re a young team, but we have good depth so fortunately when one player cramped up, we had a fresh guy to send in.”

Grand’s home opener versus Cortez is scheduled to take place on Friday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m., at Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East.

Defense stands tall against Buckaroos

What: Red Devil football versus Cortez, Colorado

When: Friday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East

Our defense played really well. (The Bucks) really didn’t move the ball well against them.