The mighty Red Devil football team is doing quite well this year, with five wins and one loss, in spite of losing a young team member to a tragic death the week before school started and having two key players break their legs. This year’s season has been dedicated to their fallen teammate, Sam Woodard, and the Devils’ helmets all bear stickers in memory of No. 62.
The marching band has grown and improved remarkably over the past few years and has provided halftime entertainment for all the home games. The band, along with the high-kicking drill team and dancing cheerleaders, are testament to the degree of student enthusiasm and involvement at our high school. I very much enjoyed watching my daughter dance and march a few years ago when she was still in high school, and that was as entertaining as football is for me now.
I’ve been going to Grand County High School football games for as long as I can remember. Since my dad played football here in the ‘50s he went on to be a proud alumnus, along with my mom. They would bundle me and my brothers up for games when we were quite small. The thing I remember most was the fact that I was not allowed to run around over and under the bleachers, as many kids did and do today. I didn’t understand football then, and I can barely follow the plays now, but I was always entertained by the action.
When I attend the home games here now, my heart is warmed to still see a few of the adult faces that I saw when I was a little girl. We have some diehard boosters here in Moab!
Rural sports leagues can cover big areas, with teams having to travel across the state to test the mettle of their opponents in similar-sized schools. Grand has even been traveling to the Wasatch Front the past several years to compete against new charter schools with enrollment similar to ours.
This week, we will head to the Salt Lake Valley to watch the Devils play. A couple of weeks ago we drove to Beaver to witness the Devils’ only loss so far. For that game I had planned ahead and was pretty sure that we didn’t want to drive clear home in the middle of the night after the game, but the charm of Beaver, Richfield and Salina didn’t seem like much of a draw.
“We should stay at Big Rock Candy Mountain,” I said to my tolerant husband, who accompanies me on most of these outings. That geologic wonder is only a few miles off Interstate 70 and is situated on the lovely Sevier River. The next morning, we hiked along the abandoned train route that has been converted to a hike/bike path contouring the river to Marysvale, then we drove home with a stopover in Green River for Melon Days. It took half the day to get back to town, but we enjoyed seeing other parts of our state.
My interest in wandering around Utah is probably traced in part to high school activities, both from when I was a student and now as a parent. When my brother Tom was on the team in the late 1970s, we had to go to Hurricane for one of his games.
“Let’s take the back roads home,” my dad remarked the next morning after the game.
The back roads proved to be an epoch journey the likes of which made me hesitate to travel with my folks for quite some time. From Hurricane we drove through Zion National Park, then to Kanab and Page, just skirting the entrance to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From Page we went across part of the Navajo Reservation and on into Blanding, Monticello and finally home to Moab. I don’t think my folks realized what a journey it would be, but we saw a lot of country that day.
We won’t have time to dawdle after the kids’ varsity game this Friday near Salt Lake City. The junior varsity has a game in Blanding the next afternoon, but that journey will be on roads that I’ve seen too many times to recount.