by Tad Barton
If you had asked most people what the final score of last Friday’s San Juan vs Beaver football game would be, most would have been a bit off.
In fact, most people would have probably guessed each team would score more than 23 points on their own, not combined.
Heading into week five of the season, the Beaver Beavers boasted the number one scoring offense in the state of Utah across all classifications, a healthy 50 points per game.
The Broncos weren’t exactly scoring challenged themselves, putting up just over 32 points per contest.
With that said, it was both teams defenses who took the lead role in the game, stifling each other’s offenses, and when the dust had finally settled, San Juan had pulled off the win on the road, 13-10, in an overtime thriller.
San Juan opened up the game on offense and looked as if they were certain to score on their first drive, moving the ball quite easily before stalling out and punting the ball away.
Beaver likewise appeared to have their offense firing on all cylinders early in their first drive before being turned back by the Bronco’s defense. The two teams repeated similar drives throughout much of the first half.
Late in the second quarter, Beaver took advantage of a short field set up by a solid punt return to get on the scoreboard first, taking a 7-0 lead with 2:43 left in the half.
San Juan was unable to find the end zone on their final possession of the half, and the teams headed to the locker rooms with the score still 7-0 in favor of the Beavers.
Beaver appeared to have shaken off their offensive woes to start the third quarter, as they received the opening kickoff of the second half and began marching down the field.
On a third down and six, Beaver appeared to convert and pick up a first down, but a holding penalty moved them back, resulting in a third and long situation.
Having to pass the ball in an attempt to pick up a new set of downs, Beaver’s quarterback dropped back and hurled the ball deep up the sideline.
Safety Jordan Blake played the ball perfectly for the Broncos, pulling it down for an interception and then followed a host of San Juan blockers 55 yards to the end zone for the Bronco’s first score of the night.
The extra point by Aaron Mitchell was good, tying the game at 7-7 with 9:25 left in the third.
Neither team was able to mount much of a scoring threat the remainder of the game until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. With under two minutes left in regulation, San Juan’s offense looked as if it had finally found its stride.
Blake found Jaxon Lee on a couple of pass plays and also used his legs for big gains to move the ball into Beaver territory. With seven seconds left in the game, the drive had stalled and Mitchell came on to attempt a 42-yard field goal for the win.
Beaver had different plans, though, as they brought the house in an attempt to block the kick. Everything was going well on the field goal attempt, as San Juan’s Coleman Black fired back a good snap back to Blake who cleanly put the ball on the tee. Just as Mitchell booted the ball, a Beaver defender dove in front of it, blocking the kick.
Beaver recovered the blocked kick, and with no one in front of them, looked as if they would dash the Broncos hopes and return the block for the winning score.
Once again Blake took over, chasing down the ball carrier from behind and tackling him as time ran out in regulation to force the overtime.
After winning the coin toss, San Juan chose to play defense first in the extra period. In high school football, both teams get a chance to score from the 25-yard line.
The Beavers picked up big chunks of yardage on their first few plays of overtime and looked as if they would surely score a touchdown. With the ball inside the one-yard line, the bend-but-don’t-break Bronco defense rose to the occasion.
On second and goal from the one foot line, Connor Palmer chased down the Beaver’s quarterback on a sweep play and tackled him for a loss. Then, on third and goal, Lee forced the opposing quarterback to hurry his throw which just sailed over the out stretched hands of a wide open Beaver receiver.
Facing a fourth and goal, Beaver elected to attempt the short field goal and was successful, making the score 10-7 for the home team.
San Juan then took their turn on offense in overtime. Things didn’t start off too well, as the Broncos were hit with a false start penalty and began their drive moving the wrong direction.
Blake then found Lee for an 11-yard gain, setting up a second down and four to go. An incomplete pass on their next play made third and four from the 19-yard line.
On the next play, Blake dropped back on what appeared to be a pass play and executed a near perfect quarterback draw, picking up 13 yards behind some great blocking by fullback Dylan Ivins and the offensive line.
With a new set of downs on the six-yard line, Kavika Su’eSu’e moved the Broncos a couple of yards closer to the end zone with a two-yard run. On second and goal from the four, Blake tucked in behind his offensive line on a quarterback sneak and looked as if he scored, but the ball was spotted just short of the goal line.
On the next play, Coach Monty Lee called Blake’s number and once again Blake took the snap and nestled in behind center Lucas Giddings. The offensive line did the rest, imposing their will on the Beaver defenders as Blake scored the winning touchdown in overtime to claim the victory, 13-10.
This week is Homecoming for San Juan. There are plenty of activities. Wednesday night, the ladies take to the gridiron in the annual Senior vs Junior Powder Puff football game, which kicks off at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, the boys golf and girls tennis teams compete. Then, that evening, join in on the Homecoming Tailgate Party at 6 p.m.
Friday’s activities include the Homecoming Parade at noon and the football game at 7 p.m. against Enterprise.
The festivities wrap up on Saturday with the JV football team traveling to Farmington, NM to take on the Piedra Vista Panthers at 1 p.m. and then cap off with the Homecoming Dance that night.
The San Juan Volleyball team picked up a couple of wins this past week in Region play.
In their first match played on Friday, September 16, the Broncos defeated the North Sevier Wolves in four sets, 25-20, 25-23, 15-25 and 28-26.
Then on Saturday, September 17, the Lady Broncos traveled up the highway from Salina to Manti, where they defeated the Templars.
San Juan is now 2-0 in Region 15, tied with Emery for first place in the Region.