Broncos earn first win of Christensen Era

Tad Barton
After a two year break, the San Juan Broncos and Monticello Buckaroos faced off for the 67th time dating back to 1957.
After a hard fought game by both teams, the Broncos emerged victorious, defeating their cross county rivals 20-7.
On the opening drive of the game, the Broncos had the Bucks facing a fourth and long. San Juan dialed up the punt block which turned out to be costly when a roughing the kicker penalty gave Monticello a fresh set of downs.
Monticello then took full advantage of the opportunity when they ended the possession with a 34 yard Spencer Knudson pass to Max Hedglin for the first score of the game and a 7-0 lead.
The Bucks then recovered a San Juan fumble on the Broncos first drive of the game, setting themselves up with a first and ten from the San Juan 25.
With their backs to the wall, the Bronco defense rose to the occasion, forcing Monticello to turn the ball over on downs when Knudson’s pass on fourth and 12 missed its intended target.
Avoiding a near disastrous start, San Juan answered with a score of their own on their next drive, when Dylan Ivins capped off a 73 yard drive with a five yard run for the score. The two point conversion attempt was no good, and the Bucks remained in lead, 7-6.
The Bronco defense struck again on the second play of Monticello’s next possession when Baylr Eldredge forced a fumble by Weston Nebeker and Ryan Imlay quickly corralled the ball for San Juan.
The Broncos began their next drive in Buckaroo territory but gave the ball back to Monticello when they failed to convert on a fourth down pass that was broken up by Tyler Draper at the goal line.
The Bucks failed to move the ball on the ensuing drive but were able to flip field position when Nebeker booted the ball 69 yards to the San Juan six yard line. The Broncos facing first and ten from their own six began to march down the field, but looked to be in trouble when the Bucks defense put them in a fourth and ten situation.
San Juan didn’t flinch as the offensive line gave quarterback Corbin Palmer plenty of time to find Jaden Torgerson on a 15 yard pass to set up first and goal from the five.
Three plays later, Palmer called his own number and dove into the end zone from one yard out. For the second time in the game the two point conversion attempt by the Broncos was no good, resulting in a 12-7 San Juan lead.
Solid defense and penalties thwarted the efforts of both offenses on their next possession forcing Monticello punt followed by another San Juan turn over on downs. The next big play came from the Bronco defense when Shaw Nielson intercepted a Buckaroo pass and returned it 34 yards to the Monticello 14 yard line.
Four plays later, Ivins found pay dirt for the second time, again from 5 yards out, Palmer then found Torgerson for the two point conversion to give San Juan the lead 20-7 with just 25.9 seconds left in the first half.
In the second half, San Juan moved the ball well at times only to in the middle of the field while the Bronco defense managed to keep Monticello in check.
The highlight of the second half came on a fake punt that Ethan Vess took 39 yards to the Buckaroo 19 yard line. With great field position and a fresh set of downs San Juan looked as if they’d score again, but penalties killed the drive and the Bucks took over on downs.
Monticello got a shot in the arm midway through the third quarter and seemed to have renewed life when Thomas Anderson picked up some great blocks and then broke multiple tackles on his way to a 35 yard run that took the ball to the San Juan 30 yard line.
The San Juan defense had other plans, with their backs’ to the wall they stiffened up, stopping the Bucks on a fourth and five to regain possession.
San Juan then started driving the ball again and appeared to have scored their fourth touchdown of the game when Vess crossed the end zone from 15 yards out, but a holding call nullified the score.
The Broncos would force Monticello to punt the ball on the Buck’s next possession. After the punt San Juan decided to take a shot down field which was picked off by Hedglin, giving the ball right back to Monticello. The game ended with both teams unable to move the ball on their last possessions, giving San Juan their first win of the season and the first win for new Head Coach Barkley Christensen.
Cross country
The San Juan Boys and Girls Cross Country teams ran in the Red Rock Invitational in Moab. The race was hosted by the Grand County Red Devils. The Lady Broncos claimed third place behind Grand and Richfield, while the boys took sixth.
Jessica Walker led the ladies squad finishing second overall with a time of 20:24. Nizhoni Warren took sixth, crossing the finish line at 21:20, Rachel Barton was the next Bronco to complete the course with a time of 22:23.
Madison Palmer and Celeste Hillhouse roundout the scoring runners for San Juan with times of 22:24 and 24:27 respectively.
The boys were paced by sophomore Kade Francom, who ran a 17:39, followed by Lymir Benn with a time of 18:33 and Grange Simpson at 19:04.
Lyle Palmer’s 19:49 and Cameron Jenson’s 20:27 rounded out the times of San Juan’s scoring runners.

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