by Tad Barton
The San Juan Broncos wrapped up another football season this past Saturday, November 7, falling to the South Summit Wildcats in the 2A Semi-Finals. For the second year in a row the Broncos’ season ended one week earlier than their goal of playing in the championship game.
San Juan fell behind early in the game and was never able to recover, as the Wildcats claimed a 47-23 victory over San Juan.
The first quarter saw both teams punt on their first possession after solid defensive stops by both. South Summit used their second possession to burn up the majority of the remaining time on a long scoring drive to take a 6-0 lead.
San Juan answered with a solid drive of their own to the start the second quarter, but a fumbled snap on second and goal at the goal line was recovered by the Wildcats ending the Broncos scoring threat.
Stopping San Juan at the goal line gave South Summit a huge momentum swing which they used to reel off three more touchdowns in the quarter resulting in a 26-0 lead at the half.
San Juan finally got on the board in the third quarter after another South Summit score when Payton Palmer returned a Wildcat kickoff 95 yards for the score.
The Broncos looked like they were on the verge of climbing back into the game when they forced South Summit to punt on their next possession. It was all for not though when a promising drive by the Broncos was ended when an errant pass was picked off by the Wildcats.
With the momentum back in their favor South Summit cruised to another score in the third quarter claiming a 33-point lead heading into the final period, 40-7.
San Juan made a late push in the fourth quarter scoring two more times first on an 18 yard pass from Palmer to Jaxon Lee. The two then hooked up on the two point conversion cutting the lead to 25 points at 40-15.
Thwarting the San Juan comeback, South Summit added one more touchdown pushing their lead back to 32 points at 47-15. The Broncos would score one more time before time expired when Kavika Su’eSu’e pushed the ball across the goal line from one yard out.
Palmer then found Max Slavens who made a great sideline catch in the end zone for the two point conversion making the final score 47-23.
The Broncos finished the game with 126 yards on the ground, the majority of that coming late in the game courtesy of fullback Jay McDonald who led San Juan with 55 yards on six carries.
Palmer finished the day with 32 yards on nine attempts, while Nathan Nielson toted the ball three times for 18 yards. Bronz Eldredge and Kavika Su’eSu’e rounded out the ground game as Eldredge had 12 yards on three carries and Su’eSu’e ran the ball six times for nine yards and a touchdown.
Through the air Palmer went 11 of 25 for 136 yards one touchdown and two interceptions. Baylr Eldredge led all receivers with one catch for 43 yards he was followed by Lee who had to grabs for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Su’eSu’e pulled in two passes for 20 yards, McDonald had one catch for 18 yards and both Bronz Eldredge and Slavens finished with 17 yards.
Bronz Eldredge led the Bronco defense with 12 tackles, just one more than younger brother Baylr who finished with 11. Palmer and Su’eSu’e both finished with seven takedowns, while McDonald posted six tackles.
A host of Broncos finished with five tackles including: Reilly Myrick, Peter Shumway, Brendon Pugh, Elliot Jones and Lee, Shumway also added a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Nielson totaled four tackles and a fumble recovery on the day and Mason Bethea had three tackles.
Dylan Ivins, Connor Palmer, Coleman Black and Slavens each chipped in two stops. Aaron Mitchell and Jaden Torgerson rounded things out with one tackle each.
With the final game of the season we say good-bye to another group of seniors.
This year’s Bronco football team had eleven seniors; Bronz Eldredge, Payton Palmer, Jon Brewer, Reilly Myrick, Adrian Bitsinnie, Elliot Jones, Max Slavens, Brendon Pugh, Mason Bethea, Paul Kyles and Kahlil Payton.
Each of you worked hard and brought a special quality to the team. The final destination wasn’t what you may have planned or worked for, but the journey has been a great and memorable one.
Thanks for your dedication and hard work. Good luck to each of you as you complete your high school careers and in all your future undertakings.