BLANDING — On a nearly perfect fall day, the San Juan Broncos were just a little less than stellar while still managing one more quarterfinal win over the Kanab Cowboys, 47-14, Friday.
Cameron Shumway, senior quarterback for the Broncos, efficiently ran a balanced offense that churned out 234 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. Shumway was 11-of-18 in the passing department with two touchdown passes. He also ran for a TD on a one-yard keeper. Ryan Lyman did plenty of offensive work too with 143 yards rushing and two TDs along with two catches for 53 yards and another touchdown.
The Broncos started quick, recovering a squib kick on the opening kickoff and quickly scoring on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Shumway to Lyman. Two minutes into the game the Broncos were up 7-0. But the always tough Cowboys kept the game closer than the final score indicated for most of the game. Kanab scored the first touchdown on the Bronco defense in five games after senior quarterback Kade Quarnberg intercepted an errant Shumway pass and returned it 52 yards to the Bronco eight-yard line. From there, Quarnberg hit receiver Kyson McBride in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass that knotted the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
But back came the Broncos, mounting an 80-yard drive in just six plays to score on a one-yard Shumway keeper and the Broncos led 14-7 at halftime.
The Broncos went up 21-7 shortly into the second half after senior linebacker Taj Eldredge intercepted a Quarnberg pass. Two plays after the interception, Lyman outsprinted the Cowboys 88 yards to the end zone. The Cowboys quickly closed it to 21-14 minutes later when Quarnberg hit sophomore Brandon Nielson in the end zone with a 12-yard TD pass after the Broncos fumbled away a Cowboy punt.
"I knew at that point if we could stay positive," said Cowboy coach, Bucky Orton, "we could win the game." But the Cowboys received a severe setback when offensive and defensive star Cody Barber was lost with a shoulder injury.
"Our offense just had fewer plays to run without Barber" said Orton, and was less experienced on defense. The Broncos took advantage with an 80-yard bomb from Shumway to Stetler Shumway the first play after the kickoff, upping the Bronco lead to 28-14. The Broncos scored on their next two possessions, a two-yard Stetler Shumway run and a 21-yard Lyman run, to put the game out of reach. Kevin Arthur added a 51-yard touchdown dash in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
The Broncos were slightly sloppy in their sixth straight opening-round win, coughing up two fumbles, throwing two interceptions, and allowing the most points this season, but Bronco coach Monty Lee was happy with the victory.
"It is difficult coming back after 17 days off," said Lee. "You can't simulate game conditions in practice for that long. But no excuses."