“We hope to be playing the last week of the season. That is our goal every year. We always expect to win it all. Sometimes we do sometimes we don’t but our expectations are to win a championship every year.” – San Juan Bronco Coach Monty Lee, August 2010.
The Broncos met their expectations and are moving on to the state finals in football after another shutout victory over the upstart South Sevier Rams 37-0, while the Buckaroos are moving on to wrestling and basketball after their 34-16 state semi-final loss to Rich last Saturday.
The Broncos are right where they wanted and expected to be at the beginning season, playing for another state championship. “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools,” said Confucius.
But there was some concern after the first half, which found the Broncos floundering somewhat, leading only 14-0 and struggling to overcome an injury to four-year starter, Stetler Shumway.
Shumway injured his knee on the Bronco’s first drive of the game, and though he tried to re-enter the game on defense, ended the game on the sidelines on crutches. Lastest word about Shumway is that he will play on Saturday in the finals.
But the Broncos came out focused in the second half and scored 23 points in two minutes, sparked by that defense. After a 27-yard field goal by Logan Meyer, the Broncos scored quickly on a Ryan Lyman 12-yard dash and then Bobby Bowring gobbled up a fumble on a kickoff, leading to another lightning strike, a 31-yard pass from Cameron Shumway to Barkley Christensen. When Taj Eldredge returned an interception for a touchdown moments later, just like that, the outcome was clear.
The Broncos find themselves in the finals for the fourth time in the last six years and twelfth time overall, winning five of those.
Three of those state final wins come at the expense of the South Summit Wildcats, in 1998, 2000, and last year, when the Broncos triumphed 7-0 in a second half blizzard.
The Broncos and Wildcats meet again, for only the sixth time ever in this rivalry but with the Broncos winning the previous five.
In fact, the Wildcats have only lost three games in the past two years, with all three coming at the hands of the Broncos. Look for the Wildcats to be somewhat motivated this time around.
The Bucks had their chances against the Rebels, but just as has happened all year long, they couldn’t quite get it done when they needed, losing to the defending 1A champs, 34-16.
After the Rebels jumped out to an quick early lead, scoring on their first two possessions, and on the last possession of the first half to take a 20-0 halftime lead. But the young Bucks came back on the backs of their two veterans, Kendall Maughan and Devin Wright.
Maughan scored on a 58 yard dash and Wright added the two point conversion. Then Wright intercepted an errant Eagle pass, giving the Bucks great field position and momentum. But an interception killed that drive, and inopportune penalties, a year-long plague, finally did the Bucks in.
A couple of other good Buck drives ended on fumbles or a crucial penalty as well. They end their season under first year coach, Lee Chadwick, at 4-7.
Buckaroo Volleyball wrapup
The Lady Buckaroos of Coach Tony Esplin, finished their volleyball season last week at the state championships, winning fifth place.
Esplin recently replied to Sportshorts, “It was another fun year and a good state tournament. The girls for the most part played really well at state. In three of our matches we finished in three straight with only one team scoring more than 15 points in a game on us. Then there was the one loss to Rich.
“Again this year, due to bracketing we ended up meeting the second ranked team in the state in the quarter finals. For the most part we played really well. It was an intense match trading points through about every game.
“We had our chances in the first game, leading 19 to 16. Then the momentum switched to Rich and they ran off seven straight points before we were able to get back on track. We ended up losing the first game 25-23.
“In game two, we traded points until about 14, where we got the momentum and ended up winning 25-16. In game three, it was very close until the 16 point mark, when we had Robin Randall go down with a tournament-ending sprained ankle. It took us several points to get back on track and they beat us 25-21.
“In game four, we battled back and forth all the way but ended up losing 25-22. It was a very good defensive game for us. The difference in the game came down to unforced errors. We missed several crucial serves in different games and had a couple hitting errors along with some out of position moments.
“Rich is a good team and we had our chances to upset them, we just could not capitalize on those opportunities.
“We started off the tournament with Bryce Valley. The scores were 25-8, 25-11, and 25-15, Monticello. The second game we met the second-ranked Rich Rebels.
“Our third game was with Altamont. We eliminated them by beating them 25-11, 25-12, and 25-18. Then we met Monument Valley for 5th or 7th place, where we got off to a slow start with them taking a 7-3 lead in the first game, but were able to recover nicely by winning three straight, 25-14, 25-15, 25-12.
“With Monument Valley we were playing well enough that I was able to get the bench in one or two at a time to experience the state tournament atmosphere. They were a little nervous but they did a good job.
“We will lose the key leadership of several seniors this year in setter Samara Wells, libero Abigail Chadwick, and outside hitters Bryanna Kershaw and Ashley Moore.
“We have some good young talent and with some hard work and some luck, we should be right back there in the hunt for the championship next year. One of these years we will get a good draw in the state tournament with a good team and be able to make it all the way to numbe one.