Price • Trent Roberts feels the laces rolling off his fingertips, sees the ball spiraling through what’s left of a Friday evening blue sky, past the setting sun as only a silhouette and into his receiver’s hands.
The 25, 20. The 15, 10, 5. Touchdown Matt Muir. Touchdown Duchesne Eagles.
The longest consecutive winning streaks in Utah history:
Wins Team Seasons
37 Duchesne 2010 to current
36 Timpview 2006-2009
30 San Juan 2009-2011
28 Rich 1994-1997
26 Bingham 2009-2011
"Make sure you get that one on the highlights!" a father hollers at a cameraman roaming the sideline.
The visiting fans who have filled the east-side bleachers at Carbon High School cheer even louder. They are men in cowboy boots, the sun shaded from their eyes by John Deere caps. They are mothers of children long since graduated from Duchesne High School. All of them are here for a chance to witness history.
They are farmers and teachers and oilfield workers. They remember the busts, so they relish the booms — and in all of Utah high school football, none ever has been bigger than this.
Booms and busts
The story of Duchesne gridiron starts with such a boom.
A surge of commercial oil production from the hardscrabble Uinta Basin earth in the early 1970s brought a wave of newcomers to the area. Among them was Mark Hall, who moved with his family from Las Vegas to Duchesne in the summer of 1972 so his father could open an auto parts store to service the new influx of oil rigs.
Hall, a junior, had played wide receiver in Nevada. But in the mix of farm boys and oil seekers from Oklahoma and Texas who came out for the very first football practices at the tiny high school, nobody ever had played quarterback.
"I knew I was never going to get the ball," said Hall, who volunteered to take the job and play the position his son Max would play 25 years later at BYU.
Hall remembers trudging down the street from the high school and chasing cows and sheep off the pasture where the team played that first season.
"When I got there, I don’t think I had ever seen a cowboy in my entire life," Hall said. "But the people were awesome. There wasn’t a lot of money in Duchesne at the time. Those local cowboys were loyal. They were hard-working, tough kids."
The Eagles posted a winning record that first season. A decade later, even as oil prices began to fall, Duchesne won its first region championship, starting a run of seven in eight seasons. But the Eagles never could get over the top.
For principal Stan Young, a former Duchesne football coach and a local basketball coaching legend, the memories of disappointing losses linger. He thinks back to a playoff game against Kanab in the mid-1980s.
"They were fourth-and-30. Hail Mary. Our DB tips the ball, knocks it down, but their guy is laying on his back in the end zone. ... It sticks like Velcro."
The wins eventually would dry up for Duchesne, and for 16 years in the ’90s and early 2000s the Eagles went without a region title. Coaches left nearly every season, taking with them their schemes and any hope at consistency.
"It got pretty lean for a while," Young says.
Things are booming again in the basin. The Eagles’ streak began Sept. 3, 2010, with a 42-point stomping of West Wendover High. Just more than three years later, as the lights flickered on and big Matt Dye rumbled for a score, the team had yet to lose.Next Page >
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