The San Juan Broncos dominated the larger Durango Colorado Demons for most of Friday night in Blanding, but the Demons used an old San Juan trick to turn the momentum in their favor.
The Broncos took a 20-7 lead deep into the fourth quarter and seemed to have the game in hand after a one-yard Cameron Shumway touchdown.
Then the Demons returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown on a reverse, a play the Broncos correctly consider their own.
Getting new life, the Demons pushed across the go ahead touchdown with just 1:42 left on the clock to stun the hometown faithful, 21-20, and to hand the Broncos their first defeat of the year.
The first Demon touchdown also came very SanJuan-ish in nature when a Demon intercepted a Shumway pass and returned it for a touchdown with just six seconds left in the half.
Bronco Head Coach Monty Lee knew Durango would be a test. Before the game, he maintained, “Durango is the real deal and we will have to be at the top of our performance to hang near them. They have speed, size and two great threats in a speedy running back and a three year starting quarterback. It will be a fun Friday night of football.”
Yes it was, and the Bronco defense did their job, holding the Demons in check most of the night as they dominated the line of scrimmage, holding those two threats under 100 yards rushing. Jace Holliday had an incredible night for the Broncos, rushing for 171 yards.
Next up for the Broncos is the Gunnison Bulldogs. The Bulldogs game last week with Layton Christian was canceled because of swine flu fears on the part of Layton Christian.
The Bucks were idle this week, preparing for league play and resting up for the trip to Randolph, UT to ‘restle with the Rich Rebels.
Says Buckaroo Coach Jake Downard, “We are making progress, we are still making some basic mistakes that are hurting us, but the kids are working hard, they have a never quit attitude that I feel is going to take us deep in the playoffs.
“Improvements: we need to be more assignment sound, we have guys playing positions they haven’t played before, so it is critical to know and execute their assignments.
“It will be nice preparing for teams who have similar circumstances as us. Rich is going to be tough, but they are not on the same planet as San Juan, so I like where our level of play is at.
“We are going to work on the little things and also put in a few surprises for our trip to Randolph.”
Coach Lee commented on the Buckaroos after the Broncos’ 46-12 win two weeks ago, “Let me tell you how impressed I was with Coach Downard and his young men. They came at us like a group on a mission. They certainly impressed me with the great heart they showed. I really expect great things from them this year.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Downard. He comes from an outstanding football background in winning and with the experience he got from Coach Holmes (Jerre of North Summit), he knows the true meaning of winning at the high school level.”
Downard adds, “(The San Juan loss) is a tough one for me. It is hard to lose and get beat that bad. Yet there were a lot of good things that came from the game. Our line played much better than they did against Grand.”
Buckaroo Coach Tony Esplin speaks. “Our team is doing really pretty good right now. We had a good showing at the Skyline tournament a couple weeks ago and a pretty good tournament at San Juan last weekend. We have not had any surprises so far this year, but we expect the unexpected.
“We just beat Dolores, Dove Creek and Grand this week, and our current record is 14-6. Grand has a great team this year.
“The two wins over San Juan were pretty good, however San Juan, I believe, is better than they showed. They just had some miscues at the wrong time and we were able to capitalize on them.
“The games were pretty intense and close. It could have gone either way. I am just glad that it went our way. We are looking for great things this year.”
San Juan coach Cassy Moon talked about last week’s San Juan Tournament, “I felt like it was a good tournament. We got teams on the road by five, and they were more local than the rest. That is always good news.
“With the help of team parents, the team, assistant coaches, and officials, we were able to run a pretty good tournament. We do send a special thanks to Tri-Hurst for donating money for officials’ hotel rooms and Asics/Sportkeeper for donating the prizes for the past two tournaments. That was helpful in reducing the tournament costs for us.
“I think our team will be okay. We aren’t playing for right now, but October. I saw some things that need some dire attention, like finishing a match, but I think all in all, we did well for our first weekend of play. We are 5-9. Most teams started play August 21, but this is the first we were scheduled.
“We had Cortez on Thursday and played a good match. The girls wanted to win, but were pleased with our showing.
“I am excited about the fact that our team will now be playing at least two matches a week from here until the end of the season. I felt that it was really important for this team to play every week, so we worked a schedule that would do that for us.
“I see where we started last season and I am impressed with the changes and improvements these girls go through with another year of maturing.
“I am looking forward to matches; especially really close ones since that will test our mental toughness in getting the job done.”
The Broncos got plenty of close matches this past weekend at the Rocky Mountain Champions Classic. They were close in all five matches to Brighton, Lone Peak, Hurricane and Layton. All were close, just like the coach hoped.