Prep football coach of the year: Dixie's Blaine Monkres
Many wrote off the Dixie football team after it lost its regular-season finale against crosstown rival Snow Canyon.
But there was one guy who didn't count out the Flyers their coach, Blaine Monkres.
Monkres rallied a deflated group and led it to one of the most impressive championship runs in recent years.
"That loss might have been the best thing to happen to us," Monkres said. "We could have just given up and believed we didn't belong, but we put it behind us and treated the playoffs like a new season."
It was plain to see that third-seeded Dixie indeed had left the Snow Canyon loss in the past because the Flyers looked rejuvenated in their opening-round 35-6 walloping of No. 2 seed North Sanpete.
After that, though, people looked at the bracket and again assumed Dixie was done.
The Flyers would have to knock off two undefeated No. 1 seeds just to get to the title game.
They stunned Stansbury on the Stallions' home field to get that first win in the quarterfinals. Dixie then came from behind to shock Juan Diego in a snowy semifinal game at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"We played in a really tough region, so we used that experience to prepare us for what we would see in the playoffs," Monkres said.
In the Class 3A state championship game, Dixie faced another top seed, Spanish Fork. The Flyers didn't play like the underdogs, jumping out to a 21-7 halftime lead. But Monkres made sure his players didn't get ahead of themselves by celebrating too early.
"We told our guys that they [Spanish Fork] have been behind before and they aren't going to roll over. We said we have to keep the pedal to the metal," Monkres said. "We kept saying, 'They're going to come back,' and we played like it."
Sure enough, Spanish Fork did make a late push in the game and narrowed the Dixie lead to 28-21 entering the final quarter.
Dixie refused to get complacent.
The Flyers stayed aggressive and put up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to claim the victory and the school's seventh state championship.