by Tad Barton
The San Juan Broncos survived a close call against the Summit Academy Bears last Friday afternoon. San Juan looked to have the game under control early on jumping out to an 18-0 lead early in the second quarter. Summit Academy managed to score once in the second to cut the lead to 11 points at 18-7. The Broncos answered that score on the ensuing kickoff when Payton Palmer took the ball on the 10 yard line, picked up some good blocks and 90 yards later crossed the goal line for the touchdown. After a failed two point conversion attempt San Juan led by 17, 24-7 at the half.
In the second half Summit Academy came out firing posting two touchdowns and field goal in the third quarter all while their defense managed to keep San Juan scoreless in the period ultimately knotting things up at 24-24. The Bears would be the next to score and claim the lead 31-24, late in the fourth. Though the odds were stacked against them San Juan wasn’t finished quite yet and three plays into their next drive Palmer hooked up with Jaxon Lee on a long pass play to pull within one point 30-31. Bronz Eldredge then punched in the two point conversion making the score 32-31 in favor of the Broncos.
The Broncos got on the board first when Kavika Su’eSu’e batted a pass attempt by the Bears’ quarterback and defensive tackle Reilly Myrick reeled the pass in and then rumbled 30 yards for the score. The PAT attempt by Aaron Mitchell was no good and San Juan led 6-0. San Juan’s next score came on their next possession when Bronz Eldredge took the ball around the right end and 48 yards later hit pay dirt, the two point conversion attempt failed giving San Juan a 12-0 lead.
San Juan had a pair of second quarter scores interrupted by one Summit Academy touchdown. Su’eSu’e scored on a one yard run early in the second giving San Juan a 18-0 lead. The Bears answered that score to get on the board making the score 18-7. That’s when Palmer exploded for a 90 kickoff return. The Broncos would miss a PAT on the first score and a two point conversion failed on their second giving them a 24-7 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was all Summit Academy as they rattled off 17 unanswered points to tie the game up at 24 all. Both defenses took turns forcing turnovers and stopping the other teams’ offense in the first part of the fourth quarter. With just over two minutes left in the game Summit Academy took advantage of a breakdown in coverage to take their first lead on a 18 yard pass play, the PAT was good and the Bears led 31-24. With 2:11 left in the game the Broncos started their final possession. After a few small gains San Juan faced a third and three from their own 37 yard line. Palmer dropped back and heaved the ball down field where Lee made a leaping grab between defenders before racing into the end zone. Eldredge’s two point conversion gave San Juan the lead, 32-31.
Just in case the final few minutes hadn’t been exciting enough for fans, Summit Academy came right back, marching down the field to the Bronco 15 yard line with just second left on the clock, where the Bears lined up for a 32 yard field goal attempt. The snap was good the ball went down onto the tee and the Summit Academy kicker drove the ball into the air, right into the arms of Lee who had shot through the left side of the line for the block. Max Slavens secured the ball for San Juan as time expired and the Broncos survived another playoff thriller this time 32-31.
Palmer finished the game 12 for 22 for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Lee led all receivers with 89 yards on four catches and of course the winning score. Slavens finished the game with two snags for 38 yards, while Baylr Eldredge pulled in on pass for eight yards, Nathan Nielson had two catches for seven yards and Bronz Eldredge had one reception, also for seven yards. Su’eSu’e rounded out the receiving for the Broncos with two catches for one yard.
One the ground Bronz Eldredge let San Juan with 55 yards on four attempts and finished with one touchdown. Su’eSu’e rushed the ball nine times for 39 yards, Palmer also ran the ball nine times for 16 yards, while Nielson logged 11 yards on six carries. Jay McDonald rounded out the ground attack with four carries for 17 yards.
On the other side of the ball Bronz Eldredge had another solid game tallying 15 tackles including two for losses. Su’eSu’e missed double digit stops by just one as he logged nine take downs. Slavens finished with eight tackles, Baylr Eldredge and Myrick had seven, Myrick also added a sack and an interception return for a touchdown. Palmer and McDonald each added six while Nielson finished with five tackles. Both Brendon Pugh and Lee each had four tackles, with Pugh adding a sack as well. Peter Shumway and Elliot Jones each notched three stops and Coleman Black, Adrian Bitsinnie and Dylan Ivins each had one tackle.
The Broncos now advance to the 2A Semi-Finals where they will face the South Summit Wildcats in Cedar City, UT at 11 a.m. this Saturday, November 7. The game will be held at Southern Utah University’s Eccles Coliseum
The Lady Broncos’ volleyball team wrapped up their season this past weekend in Orem, Utah at the UHSAA Volleyball Championships with a sixth place finish. San Juan lost in their first game of the tournament to North Summit in three sets, 14-25, 23-15, 17-28. Jerica Pugh and Jamie Meyer led the Broncos from the service line with 3 aces each. At the net Krista Grover and Meyer teamed up for 12 kills, six each. Nani Benalie ended up with 9 digs and Bodell Nielson set 15 assists.
The Broncos quickly took control of things in their second match against the Waterford Ravens winning both games by double digits 25-15,25-14. The Ravens returned the favor in the third game before just getting squeezing past the Broncos in game four, 15-25, 22-25. In the final set San Juan managed to hold of Waterford to pick up the win and advance 15-13. Megan Grover led the Broncos with 4 aces. Jamie Meyer came up big at the net with 15 kills. Megan Grover finished with 21 digs in the contest and Nielson led San Juan with 41.
San Juan blew past Layton Christian in their third match, sweeping the Eagles in three, 25-6,25-20,25-23. Keya Black led the Broncos serving up 4 aces while Ryann Shumway drove home 10 kills. Benalie and Krista Grover each had 10 digs to lead San Juan in that category and Nielson again led the Broncos in assists with 26.
In their final game of the tournament San Juan faced off against Rowland Hall and again won the match in three games, 25-18,25-19,25-22. Megan Grover, Krista Grover and Bodell Nielson each had two aces in the match. Krista Grover led the Broncos in hitting with 14 kills, while Benalie led the way for San Juan with 21 digs and Nielson paced the Broncos with 40 assists.
With the last match of the season we say good-bye to the seniors on the volleyball team, Jamie Meyer and Krista Grover. Thank you for your hard work and dedication over the last four years. Best wishes to you as you finish your high school careers and in all your future pursuits.