by Tad Barton
School sports tend to slow down during summer break, but they don’t come to a complete stop. Many teams attend camps and tournament to fine tune their skills, improve, and compete.
The San Juan High football team has been hard at work since about the middle of May, with a focus on getting stronger in the weight room and improving speed and agility through a variety of running and footwork drills.
The Broncos also had another chance to get better Saturday, June 9, when they hosted the first ever Blue Mountain Classic 7 on 7 passing tournament.
While days in the weight room and on the field working on footwork are important, it’s always nice to get a break from competing with yourself and your teammates and compete against other teams.
Four teams from different Four Corners area high schools joined San Juan for a day of competition and the opportunity to improve their skills in the passing game. Those participating include San Juan, Monticello, Mancos, Monument Valley, and Monument Valley, AZ high schools.
The morning started off with three pool play games for each team. The results from the pool play were then used to seed a single-elimination tournament.
San Juan went undefeated in pool play and received a first round bye while Monument Valley, UT played Monument Valley, AZ and Monticello played Mancos in the first round of the tournament.
After winning in the first round, Mancos moved on to play San Juan, while Monument Valley, AZ advanced to the Championship game after defeating Monument Valley, UT.
The Broncos gave the San Juan fans who came out to watch a scare in the semi-finals against Mancos after the Blue Jays jumped to an early 9-3 lead.
The Broncos didn’t panic and kept fighting but still found themselves trailing 9-6 with just over six minutes left in the game and a continuous running clock.
With Mancos driving, San Juan’s defense stepped up and appeared to tie the game at 9-9 with an interception, which was later nullified after it was determined the Mancos quarterback had exceeded the allotted time to throw the ball, resulting in a sack and loss of down.
On their next possession, the Broncos made some adjustments and were able to finally find the endzone to take a 13-9 lead. Up by four and needing another stop to seal the win, the San Juan defense got an interception on the Blue Jay’s next drive. This gave the Broncos a 16-9 lead and possession of the ball with just over a minute left in the game, sealing the win and advancing the Broncos to the finals.
In the championship game, the Broncos faced off against Monument Valley, AZ. It was a rematch of a tightly contested pool play game that resulted in Monument Valley’s only loss in pool play.
Unlike the previous matchup between these squads, it was all San Juan in the championship. The Broncos scored early and often on their way to a 27-0 win, earning them the title of Blue Mountain Classic 7 on 7 Champions.
Coach Barkley Christensen expressed his gratitude for the teams who came and competed and was impressed by the caliber of coaching and play from the other teams.
He said, “We look forward to doing this again next year and have these teams come back and compete. It was a great tournament, and we hope to make it bigger and better next year.”