San Juan football team cruises to win at Canyon View, is ranked third in RPI standings

Over the course of the past three weeks the San Juan High School football team steadily built momentum with wins over Summit Academy, Bayfield, and Milford.

This past Friday, September 10 they traveled to Cedar City looking for their fourth-straight win against the Canyon View Falcons.

For the 3A Falcons, the visit from one of the best teams in 2A football couldn’t have come at a worse time. Canyon View is a team in the midst of much turmoil. Following a loss in week two, head coach Chris Sawyers was let go, and assistant coach Pat Achord took over.

In the game against San Juan this past Friday, the Falcons were also shuffling players around, most notably at the quarterback position, as junior Nick Macias took over for junior Jake Garrett, who had played in the previous three games.

The experiments did not pan out. Though it was a slow start for San Juan and the two teams traded punts to begin the game, the Broncos dominated from that point on, scoring on four straight possessions to build a 29-0 first-half lead.

In the second half San Juan added a couple more tallies to increase the lead to 42-0 and earn a running clock for the remainder of the game.

Until shifty Canyon View running back Adrian Ward finally broke free for a 78-yard touchdown with 6:52 left in the game, the Falcons had only mustered five yards of total offense. They ended the game with 54 yards rushing and zero yards passing.

Despite the lopsided score, the Broncos were not perfect on the night. When they had the ball and an opportunity to earn a running clock before the end of the first half, they turned it over on an interception, forcing more work for themselves to start the second half.

Following the game, San Juan Head Coach Barkley Christensen said his team “still has some work to do” and he’d like to see them develop an ability to keep the gas pedal down, especially against teams they are able to dominate.

Bronco quarterback Jace Palmer was unable to match his season completion rate of 58 percent, but still connected with his receivers 14 times on 30 attempts for 177 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

Cooper Black was his chief target, catching three passes for 70 yards and two TDs. Jerzy Nieves caught four Palmer passes for 42 yards.

Jensen Grover and Bronson Snyder caught one pass each, for 22 and 20 yards respectively. And Ladd Ivins uncharacteristically dropped a couple passes on the night, but still received four for 20 yards and two touchdowns.

On the ground Jensen Grover carried the ball 22 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Landon Black added 31 yards on seven carries.

All total, the Broncos only mustered 319 yards of offense, just over half the 591 yards they collected against Milford the previous week, and well below their average of 448.25 through the first four games of the year.

The San Juan defense was absolutely “lights out” according to Coach Christensen. As previously mentioned, they allowed just 54 yards of total offense, and the only blemish was the late rushing TD.

Magnum Nielson led the way with eight tackles, Jerzy Nieves had six, and Ladd Ivins got five. Trace Bennett, Callen Burke, Tyler Bayles, and Bronson Snyder all had four stops apiece.

Snyder sacked Canyon View quarterbacks three times on the night, and his season total of 11 once again leads the nation. Tyler Bayles added a sack, as did Calvin McFarland. Bayles’s nine on the season is tied for third nationwide.

The Bronco defense also forced two turnovers at Canyon View – an interception apiece for Ladd Ivins and Cooper Black. It was Ivins’s third interception of the year.

The first RPI standings of the season were released on Monday, September 13, and they’re no real shocker. 4-1 San Juan sits right where they’ve been ranked by the Deseret News all season – in third place behind Beaver and South Summit.

Coach Christensen said one of the main things the Broncos will work on this week in practice is maintaining intensity, then translating that onto the game field for a complete four-quarter effort.

They’ll also need to prepare the defense for a different look. The defense has been reasonably strong this year, allowing 1,597 yards for an average of 319.4 per game.

But so far this season San Juan has exclusively faced spread offenses, like their own. As they begin 2A South Region play this week, they’ll see more of a Wing-T, running-style offense from South Sevier.

The Rams come to Blanding this Friday, September 17 with a 1-3 record, ranked seventh in 2A. They suffered three straight losses to open the season but are coming off a 10-7 upset win over 3A Richfield this past Friday.

The Broncos will of course be looking for their fifth win in as many weeks. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the San Juan High School football field, and you can catch all the action live on Redrock 92.7 FM and pictureitpalmer.com.

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