The San Juan High School football team entered unfamiliar territory on August 23 as they lost their season opener to Snow Canyon, 21-0.
The last time the Broncos found themselves in a similar situation was in 2007, when they dropped their first game to Kanab 27-7. The Cowboys went on to win the 1A State Championship.
The Snow Canyon Warriors jumped to an early 7-0 lead when they took the opening play of the game 65 yards to the end zone.
The Bronco offense didn’t have much room to work as they found themselves backed up on their own 12-yard line. After a solid gain on first down, the Broncos failed to gain any more yardage on second and third down and were forced to punt.
The Bronco defense came to life on their second trip onto the field as they thwarted the Warrior’s, when sophomore Bronz Eldredge forced a fumble which was recovered by fellow Bronco Grant Laws.
While the San Juan offense continued to struggle, the Bronco defense flexed its collective muscle, holding the Warriors in check until mid-way through the fourth quarter, when the Warrior quarterback found a man open from 12 yards out to make the score 14-0.
San Juan fans were treated to a great return on the ensuing kickoff as junior Max Morley returned the ball 49 yards to the Snow Canyon 44 yard line.
On the next play Eldredge carried the ball for a two-yard gain, which turned into a 17-yard gain after an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Warriors.
Again the Bronco offense struggled, picking up just three more yards on three plays, before a missed 41 yard field goal attempt by senior Kasper Pederson turned the ball over on downs.
The final score of the game came two plays later, as Snow Canyon broke another big run, this time for 80 yards and the score pushing the Warrior lead to 21-0.
On their final drive of the night, the Bronco offense finally got things going. They quickly and efficiently moved to ball down to the Warrior 33-yard line before an interception ended the drive.
When asked about his thoughts on the game, defensive coordinator Kol Conway said, “I’m really pleased with our defensive effort. The kids fought hard, made some key stops and gained some experience.”
Offensively the Broncos spread the ball out with four ball carriers tallying 109 yards. Leading the charge is Morley, who carried the ball seven times for 41 yards. He also had one catch for 16 yards.
Eldredge added 29 yards on eight carries. Senior Jens Grover toted the ball seven times for 28 yards. Terrence Tate had four carries for 11 yards.
On defense, the Broncos were led by Grover, who tallied 13 stops. Close behind him is Eldredge with 11 tackles and a forced fumble.
Junior Brittain Bowring had nine tackles. Morley chipped in seven tackles while seniors Chase Richmond and Sterling Black had six apiece.
Brayden Giddings and Tate each added five tackles. Giddings also had two sacks and batted down a pass. Easton Lee added four stops, Laws had three and a fumble recovery, Hayden Brown had two and DiQuan Lopez recorded a stop for the Broncos.
The Broncos play host to the Buckaroos of Monticello on August 30, beginning at 7 p.m.