by Tad Barton
A new head coach, a new offensive scheme and only two returning starters have many wondering just what to expect from the San Juan Bronco football team this season.
In spite of all the changes, one thing remains the same at San Juan High: the Bronco coaching staff and players expect to be one of the top teams in 2A, just as they have at the beginning of every season for the past three decades, plus.
Lacking varsity experience at almost every position, San Juan will count on some very talented but untested players to step up and lead.
Since early in May, a solid core of players have spent countless hours learning the offense of new head coach Barkley Christensen, attending speed training and working in the weight room to get ready for the upcoming season.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, the Broncos recently wrapped up another Boot Camp, a week of hard work, team building and conditioning which culminated in a visit from the man who brought football to San Juan 60 years ago, Coach Morris Swenson.
In addition to sharing stories about the first football teams at San Juan, Coach Swenson reminded the Broncos to have fun and cherish the time they spend with each other. Hearing his words of advice and stories were a great way to end a physically and mentally grueling week for both players and coaches.
Without further ado, here is a quick glimpse of the 2017 San Juan Broncos.
Head Coach: Barkley Christensen – First year. Brings in excitement and enthusiasm as well as a new offense.
Defensive Coordinator: Kol Conway – Conway’s second stint calling the defense for the Broncos. In 2014 his defense gave up just nine points per game and pitched two shutouts.
Returning starters: Baylr Eldredge and Dylan Ivins.
Team strengths: Hard working, competitive and athletic.
Team weaknesses: Experience. Only two returning starters on each side of the ball.
Players to watch for:
Dylan Ivins led San Juan with 118 tackles last season. He also played significant minutes at fullback, where he rushed for 294 yards and scored three TDs.
Baylr Eldredge totaled 489 yards of offense and four scores to go with 54 tackles.
Jens Jones will help anchor the offensive line and play linebacker on defense.
Avery Mitchell missed most of last season due to an injury. He will be a key component on both the offensive and defensive lines.
Jaden Torgerson has great hands and body control. At 6'3", he should be a great target for his QB.
Ethan Vess has raw athletic talent with big play potential. He should be exciting to watch on both sides of the ball.
Corbin Palmer is a strong-armed QB and has impressed coaches.
Shaw Nielson is a sophomore WR/DB with great hands and a knack for finding the ball.
The Broncos will have their metal tested early with a very tough preseason schedule, including the 2016 2A runner-up South Summit, Colorado 2A powerhouse Bayfield; followed by cross county rival Monticello, and a road trip to the 2016 3A runner-up at Delta.
A key matchup for San Juan comes in week five, when they face Beaver who many pick as the early favorite to win the 2A South Region.
Be sure to read next week as the Round-up will preview San Juan volleyball, soccer and boys and girls cross country.