Broncos win 26-25 thriller with last second score
by Tad Barton
Whether they were in Beaver watching the game in person or viewing over the internet via live stream, San Juan Bronco football fans witnessed a game they won’t soon forget.
It was closely contested from beginning to end, with neither team able to pull away from the other.
Beaver scored first on a 66-yard pass to go up 7-0 in the first quarter.
San Juan finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Corbin Palmer plunged into the end zone from one yard out. Ward’s PAT attempt was blocked, and Beaver held a 7-6 lead at the half.
San Juan struck first in the second half when Isaiah Hannigan scored on a 30-yard run. The two-point conversion pass from Palmer to Shaw Nielson was good, and the Broncos led 14-7.
Trailing by a score, the Beavers got their ground game going, scoring on runs of seven and 57 yards, respectively.
Beaver was unable to convert either of the PATs, giving them a 19-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Beaver looked to have the game under control when they added one more rushing touchdown to put them up by eleven points, 25-14, with 6:51 left in the game.
Down but not out, San Juan drove down the field where Palmer found Porter Ivins from six yards out.
The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Broncos down by five, 25-20.
The San Juan defense then did their job, forcing the Beavers to a three and out with just over two minutes to go.
Once more the Broncos started moving the ball, but an interception all but wiped out any chance of San Juan completing the comeback.
One more time the Bronco defense stepped up, stopping Beaver and forcing another punt.
Trailing by five with 51 seconds left on the clock, no timeouts, and pinned deep on their own 14-yard line, the San Juan offense took the field for one final shot at a win.
A 14-yard completion from Palmer to Ryan Imlay got things rolling for the Broncos.
San Juan picked up another chunk of yardage on the following play when Palmer found Ivins, who made a leaping grab surrounded by four Beaver defenders for a 28-yard pickup.
Bronco fans got a bit of scare two plays later when Palmer’s pass was nearly picked off, but luckily for San Juan, the defender couldn’t bring it in.
Then on third and ten and under heavy pressure, Palmer spotted a Bronco receiver near the ten-yard line and fired the ball downfield despite tight coverage.
Two Beaver defenders tipped the pass before it fell toward the grass and then bounced off another defender’s helmet and into the hands of a diving Nielson, who made a circus catch to keep San Juan’s hopes alive.
The Broncos spiked the ball at the nine-yard line to stop the clock with 5.7 seconds remaining.
Palmer lined up in the Gun with two receivers to each side, took the snap, rolled left, then fired a pass to the end zone where Ivins caught his sixth and most crucial pass of the game with just 0.2 seconds left to put San Juan up 26-25.
Levi Ward added the PAT, making the score 27-25.
Beaver did have one more chance to make something happen, but the Broncos kickoff team corralled the returner, and Ivins and Imlay made the tackle to secure the win.
San Juan improves to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the 2A South Region.
The Broncos return to Blanding next week. They host the Enterprise Wolves for homecoming on Friday, September 21 at 7 p.m.
The Lady Broncos volleyball team played two matches last week. Both were Region 15 contests.
The first match of the week was on the road against Grand on Wednesday, September 12 and the second was a home match against South Sevier on Friday, September 14.
San Juan made short work of Grand, defeating the Red Devils in three games, 25-13, 25-21, 25-18.
Ta’ssi Su’esu’e led the Broncos with 19 kills. Whitnie Ivins also finished with double digit kills – eleven – and Delaney Palmer had nine.
Ivins also finished the match with four aces and Hope Holliday led the way for San Juan in service percentage, putting 92 percent of her serves into play.
Bodell Nielson had a busy night distributing the ball to her teammates, finishing with 35 assists.
On the defensive side of the net, Palmer had four blocks and Holliday finished the game with 14 digs.
Against South Sevier the Broncos had another dominant performance, once again winning the match in three games, 25-15, 25-14, 25-16.
Su’esu’e again led the way at the net, finishing with 14 kills. Nielson recorded 28 assists, and Hope Holliday was a perfect 13 for 13 from the service line to lead the Broncos.
Defensively, Delaney Palmer, Jerika Torgerson, and Amber Nielson finished with three blocks each, while Su’esu’e led San Juan in digs with twelve.
The Broncos will be at home this coming Friday, September 21 at 5 p.m. when they host the Richfield Wildcats.