Broncos advance to 2A semifinals for the first time since 2016 with 39-7 win over Millard

San Juan High School entered the 2021 2A Utah State Football Tournament ranked #1 in the state and enjoyed a bye in the first round.

When Millard trounced South Sevier 40-14 on October 22, the Broncos were officially set to face the #8 Eagles in the state quarterfinals in Blanding, looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time in five seasons.

This past Friday, October 29 brought perfect weather to the San Juan High School football field, and a 5 p.m. kickoff ensured it would stay that way for the duration of the game.

It wasn’t the first time Millard and San Juan had played each other this season. They met on September 24 on the same field, and the Broncos handled the Eagles easily 41-6.

But a rematch can favor the losing team, as they can make needed adjustments to take the favored team off their game. And that’s just what Millard brought to the table this past weekend.

The Broncos did force the Eagles into a three-and-out on their opening drive and got a nice bounce on Millard’s ensuing punt. An offside call against the Eagles moved the ball to the 46-yard line.

From there, San Juan running back Jensen Grover promptly ran right up the middle of the field through the Eagle defense to the house on the first snap of the ball for San Juan.

A two-point try failed, and the Broncos lead remained 6-0 just 1:19 into the game.

That was all the offense for a while. For the remainder of the first quarter, the Eagles threw multiple defensive formations at the San Juan offense, not allowing the Broncos to complete scoring drives though they could move the ball at times.

The teams traded scoreless possessions until 1:53 into the second quarter. On third and ten at the Millard 24, San Juan wide receiver Ladd Ivins found a soft spot in the Millard secondary and quarterback Jace Palmer hit him with a pass at the seven.

Ivins juked to the middle of the field after the catch and sprinted into the end zone for San Juan’s second touchdown of the game. Once again, the two-point try failed, and the lead was 12-0 with 10:01 left in the first half.

That’s when it got a little interesting. Though they had mounted virtually no offense to that point in the game, Millard’s running back Morgan Wade returned San Juan’s kickoff 85 yards to the house for a special teams touchdown.

Adalid Hernandez added the extra point and the Broncos’ lead was trimmed to five points with 9:49 left in the first half.

For the next few minutes, the Eagle defense continued to stymie the San Juan offense, and the score remained unchanged. But with 4:45 left in the half, the Broncos began a beautiful scoring drive at their own 12 that went 88 yards in 3:36.

It culminated when, on fourth down at the Millard 32, Palmer found a wide-open Jensen Grover in the middle of the field and made no mistake, hitting him with his third touchdown pass of the night. Once again, the two-point try failed, but the 18-7 lead at halftime gave San Juan a little breathing room.

The Broncos continued their attack when they came back onto the field for the third quarter and smothered the Eagles with three more touchdowns to increase their lead to 39-7.

That’s where it would remain for the duration, and though Millard had given the Broncos a tough game in the first half, it was a very similar result to the teams’ first meeting after all was said and done.

Quarterback Jace Palmer was once again instrumental in the win, throwing for 335 yards and four touchdowns on the night. He completed 23 of his 36 pass attempts for nearly 64 percent.

But Jensen Grover was the star of the game. He caught his first two receiving touchdowns of the season and ran two more in on the ground. He ran for 133 yards on the night and added 55 yards receiving.

Not surprisingly, Ladd Ivins caught the other two passing touchdowns. He received ten Palmer passes on the night for 143 yards.

The win was a momentous achievement for San Juan. It marks the first time they’ve advanced through the state quarterfinals since 2016, so they get that pesky quarterfinal monkey off their backs.

Now they can bear down and focus on the task at hand as they pursue their first state championship since 2010. They’ll face the #4 Summit Academy Bears this Saturday, November 6 in the 2A semifinals at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

The Broncos beat the Bears for their first win of the season way back on August 20 in Blanding. It was a hard-fought 48-29 win though, so San Juan expects Summit to bring all they can handle.

It’s an early kickoff at 10 a.m. on Saturday. You can hear the local broadcast live on Redrock 92.7 FM, with the pregame beginning at 9:30 a.m.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

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