by Tad Barton
It’s August, and that means it’s time for a new school year. And with a new school year comes the return of high school football.
The long, nine-month wait for some Friday night lights is just about over as many students, parents, and fans will gather across the state of Utah on Friday, August 17 to cheer on their favorite teams and athletes.
Heading into the 2018 football season, Blanding has been abuzz with excitement for this year’s squad to take the field, especially after an uncommon 4-7 season a year ago.
Many players from last year’s team return with a year of varsity experience under their belts. They’ve put in time and effort during the off-season to improve and get better.
Off-season leadership has been a key in preparation for the Broncos 2018 campaign.
Although small in numbers (six), this year’s seniors have been leading by example and have been working hard through the spring and summer in the weight room, at camps, and 7-on-7 tournaments in hopes of returning the Broncos to the top of the 2A ranks.
This off-season marked a couple of firsts for San Juan, as they traveled to Nephi, UT the last week of June and participated in a full contact team padded camp.
Over 20 Broncos made the journey and took advantage of the opportunity to get better, both as individual athletes and a team.
Then on Thursday, August 9, Coach Barkley Christensen and this year’s captains participated in the 2A South Region Media Day in Richfield, UT.
Coach Christensen, Corbin Palmer, Carlos Redd, Landon Pemberton, and Tanner Black fielded questions ranging from what they have done to prepare for the season to what game they are most anticipating.
They all did a great job representing San Juan High and Blanding. If you would like to watch a replay of the 2A South Region Media Day, you can find it at local10.tv.
What to look for in 2018 from the San Juan Broncos:
Head Coach: Barkley Christensen – Second Year (4-7)
Returning Offensive Starters (eight):
Tanner Black – Center. A warrior with great strength; will anchor the offensive line.
Carlos Redd – Slot Receiver. Great hands and loves to compete; will be a tough match-up for opposing defenders.
Corbin Palmer – QB. Has stepped up as a leader, has a big arm, and is one of the fastest athletes on the team.
Randall Flavel – OL. Big and athletic; will be a key part of making the offense go this year.
Isaac Jacobs – OL. Strong and quick; will be a handful for any defender lined up against him.
Ryan Imlay – TE/Slot. Will move from the OL where he started last year; will give Palmer a big, sure-handed target.
Landon Pemberton – Slot Receiver. Smart with a good combination of strength and speed; will be tough in both the run and the passing game.
Shaw Nielson – Wide Receiver. Good route runner with good hands.
Offensive newcomers to watch:
Isaiah Hannigan – RB
Kian Conway – RB
Landon Nielson – OL
Josh Whitehorse – OL
Returning Defensive Starters (six):
Landon Pemberton – OLB. Top returning tackler from 2017 (69 tackles); has a nose for the ball.
Shaw Nielson – FS. Plays smart and puts himself in position to make opposing QBs pay for their mistakes.
Tanner Black – Nose. Great recognition makes offenses wary to run the ball in his direction.
Isaac Jacobs – DE. Will move from DT to DE; has a knack for finding the ball carrier and making plays.
Ryan Imlay – DB. After starting at DE last season, will move to CB where his length and physical play should give opposing players fits.
Carlos Redd – OLB. Plays aggressive and downhill; capable of stuffing the run and defending the pass.
Defensive newcomers to watch:
Porter Ivins – DB
Isaiah Hannigan – MLB
Landon Nielson – DE
Heading into this season, San Juan knows that to be successful they will have to execute better on offense and score with more consistency.
Defensively, the Broncos will have to limit the number of big plays given up to opposing offenses and play with more physicality and effort.
If San Juan can do those things, it should be a great season for the Bronco faithful.
Aug. 17 @ South Summit, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 24 @ Monticello, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 host Bayfield, CO, 7 p.m.
Sep. 7 host Delta, 7 p.m.
Sep. 14 @ Beaver, 7 p.m.
Sep. 21 host Enterprise, 7 p.m.
Sep. 28 @ South Sevier, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 host North Sevier, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 @ Grand, 7 p.m.
Next week: Previews for volleyball and cross country and recaps from sports competitions.