by Tad Barton
The last time San Juan started off a football season 0-2 the year was 1999. Most of the boys playing on this year’s team were still in diapers or not even born yet.
Around the country, former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota, a new television show called the “Sopranos” made its debut on HBO and Minnesota Viking placekicker Gary Anderson became the first kicker in NFL history to finish the regular season without missing a field goal or extra point, only to miss a field goal late in the NFC championship game which allowed the Atlanta Falcons to eventually tie then go on to win it in overtime.
Last Friday night, the Broncos traveled to Farmington, NM and faced off against the Piedra Vista Panthers. San Juan hoped to pick up their first win of the 2015 football season after falling to South Summit in the season opener.
It didn’t take long for the Broncos to find themselves in a hole when the Panther’s scored on their first offensive play of the game, by executing a perfect double pass to go up 7-0 early in the first quarter.
San Juan was forced to punt on their next possession only to have lightning strike twice when on the Panther’s next play, their second on offense, they scored again. Just like that the Broncos found themselves down 13-0.
The second quarter started out much like the first with the Panthers punching in the first touchdown of the period. Just as it looked like things were going to get totally out of hand San Juan’s offense came to life and scored on an 11-yard pass from Payton Palmer to Kavika Su’eSu’e.
Piedra Vista answered on their next possession with a field goal to push their lead to 17 points 23-6. The final score of the half also came courtesy of the Panthers as they entered the locker room with a 26 point lead, 30-6.
Neither team was able to get much going in the third quarter; however, the home team did add one more touchdown to the scoreboard virtually putting the game out of reach at 37-6.
The Broncos finally came to life in the fourth quarter manufacturing two scoring drives. The first of the two scores came on a great catch by Jaxon Lee on a 35-yard hook up from Palmer. The Broncos final score came via a two yard Bronz Eldredge run. Both the PATs from Mitchell were good making the final score 37-20.
Palmer overcame a rough start to finish the game nine of 24 for 100 yards two touchdowns and two interceptions. Lee led all receivers with two grabs for 48 yards and a touchdown, followed by Su’eSu’e who finished with three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Eldredge pulled in two passes for 11 yards, while Nathan Nielson and Jordan Blake each snagged one pass for 14 and seven yards respectively.
Eldredge led all Bronco rushers with 35 yards on 11 carries. Blake carried the ball five times for 20 yards and Palmer finished with 20 yards on seven carries. Nielson rounds out the rushing with three totes for 12 yards.
Defensively San Juan was led by Eldredge with 11 tackles. Blake finished the game with 10, just one ahead of Su’eSu’e who had nine. Palmer tallied eight followed by Jay McDonald with 6 and Reilly Myrick with five. Three Broncos had four tackles, including Peter Shumway, Elliot Jones and Jaxon Lee.
Baylr Eldredge, Myrick, Shumway and Su’eSu’e each recorded a sack, while Bronz Eldredge had two fumble recoveries and Lee forced a fumble.
San Juan will look to punch their first notch out in the win column this Friday, September 4, as they host the Richfield Wildcats. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.