by Tad Barton
The San Juan Broncos hit the road on Friday, September 5 to begin their Utah 2A South Region schedule against the Rams of South Sevier High School.
Last year, the Rams came to Blanding and picked up their first victory over the Broncos in 33 years when they hit a last second field goal to claim a 10-7 win.
Needless to say, the loss didn’t sit well with San Juan, and they were determined to not repeat their performance of a year ago.
The Broncos wasted no time, forcing the Rams to punt on their first possession. Brittain Bowring then set San Juan up with excellent field position with a 29-yard punt return.
The Broncos made their first of many trips to the end zone when Payton Palmer hit DiQuan Lopez from 15 yards out. Aaron Mitchell added the point after to give San Juan a 7-0 lead.
On their second possession, the Broncos again hit pay dirt, this time when Bronz Eldredge scored on a five-yard run. Mitchell’s point after attempt was good, and San Juan led 14-0.
With a 14-0 lead and all the momentum, the Broncos were in total control of the game when play was postponed due to a lightening strike. When the teams retook the field, San Juan struggled to regain their offensive dominance.
The San Juan defense, however, continued to impose their will on South Sevier, backing the Rams up deep in their own territory.
On fourth and long, the Rams lined up to punt the ball when Eldredge came through the right side of the line and blocked the Ram punt. Braxton Brown recovered the blocked punt, returning it to the four-yard line before being tackled.
On the next play, Grant Laws punched the ball across the goal line with just 2:31 left in the first half. The point after attempt was no good, giving San Juan a 20-0 lead.
San Juan looked to have regained all momentum on the opening kickoff for the second half when Bowring fielded the ball on the one-yard line and then out-ran everyone to the end zone. The 99-yard touchdown was called back, though, due to a block in the back, and the Broncos took over on their own nine.
Eleven plays later, Palmer found Brown in the back corner of the end zone to push the score to 26-0, the point after split the uprights, and San Juan led 27-0.
The Broncos would score three more times in the fourth quarter. Max Morley found the end zone from 39 yards out, then Mitchell booted the point after.
The next score came on a 15-yard scamper by Laws. The PAT by Chase Palmer was good.
San Juan’s scoring was capped off when Kavika Su’eSu’e scored on an 11-yard run. Chase Palmer missed the PAT, giving the Broncos a 47-0 victory.
Payton Palmer had another solid outing, passing the ball for the Broncos. The junior quarterback was 12 of 19 for 202 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
On the receiving end of his passes, Lopez led all receivers with four grabs for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Brown finished with two catches for 40 yards and a score. Eldredge added two receptions for 27 yards, while Bowring had one catch for 25 yards and Jack had one for 24 yards.
Kesian Barton and Jon Lewis each had one catch, for 13 and nine yards respectively.
On the ground, the Broncos were paced by Morley, who finished with 162 yards on 13 carries and a score. He was followed by Laws, who carried the ball six times for 41 yards and two touchdowns.
Eldredge was close behind Laws, rushing for 40 yards on six carries and one trip across the goal line. Nathan Nielson had one carry for 21 yards, Su’eSu’e toted the rock five times for 18 yards and one touchdown, and Trason Jack finished four carries for 17 yards.
Payton Palmer rounded out the rushing with four yards on the ground.
Defensively, Eldredge and Jack again had outstanding games. Eldredge racked up 12 stops to go along with a blocked punt, while Jack had nine tackles.
Bowring finished with seven tackles, followed by Laws, Su’eSu’e, Payton Palmer, Jordan Blake and Easton Lee, all with five tackles.
Laws also added a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Lopez added two interceptions to go with four tackles. Also finishing with four tackles was Holden Smith.
A host of Broncos tallied two tackles, including Baylr Eldredge, Tanner Desrosiers, Mason Bethea, Jay McDonald, Reilly Myrick and Coleman Black.
Brown, Jaxon Lee, Adrian Bitsinnie, Chase Palmer, Aaron Mitchell and Elliot Jones each had one tackle. Jones also had a fumble recovery.
San Juan hosts North Sevier this Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
In addition to the football game, San Juan will honor the 1989 Bronco football team. This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Broncos’ first football state championship.
The San Juan volleyball team will host Grand on Thursday, September 11, with the varsity match beginning at 7 p.m.
They will then hit the road on Saturday, September 13 to take on the South Summit Wildcats.
That match is set to start at 3 p.m. in Kamas, UT.