Scroll to bottom of story to see San Juan Felt's Facts
Note: San Juan finished with a 10-1 overall record and was first in the 2A South region with a 7-0 record in 2011. It lost to Millard, 35-20, in the semifinals of the 2A playoffs.
Undefeated heading into last year’s 2A semifinals, San Juan hadn’t realistically been tested all season as it steamrolled through a pretty easy schedule.
With just four senior starters though, the lack of experience in tight games seemed to finally catch up with the Broncos in a semifinal loss to Millard. After falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter, San Juan did well to battle back and cut the deficit to 23-20 late in the third quarter. It faded in the fourth quarter, however, against a senior-laden Millard squad.
“We were just kind of inexperienced in the really tight, tough, close games,” said coach Monty Lee.
Talent wise, Lee had no doubt his team could compete with anyone in 2A last year, but mentally the Broncos might’ve been a year away.
That’s bad news for the rest of 2A heading into 2012.
With eight returning starters on offense and nine on defense, a San Juan team that won the 2A championship in 2009 and 2010 is poised for another title run.
“We have good talented kids coming back, but that can almost be a negative if they think they don’t have to work,” said Lee.
Keeping them hungry day in and day out is Lee’s biggest challenge this year, but now in his 10th year as San Juan’s head coach he knows what that entails.
“You need to always be able to dangle that carrot out in front of them. I don’t want them to think about state championships and state playoffs. I want them to think about the game ahead of them and keep things in perspective,” said Lee. “Once you start looking ahead, the edge is taken off.”
If the example set by returning starting quarterback Barkley Christensen is any indicator, that hunger shouldn’t be a problem.
Earlier this summer at Utah and BYU’s 7-on-7 camps, the senior showed tremendous maturity and improvement from the previous year.
“The maturity level is so much stronger — is confidence, his character, his reads and his willingness to look at all receivers. That maturity and confidence level impresses me,” said Lee.
Christensen will have an opportunity to show off his skills right away in a very intriguing Week 1 game for San Juan as it hosts 3A’s Snow Canyon. With so many returning starters and given Snow Canyon’s recent struggles, San Juan should be favored in the opener.
Back in 2010 San Juan traveled to 3A’s Grantsville and dominated defensively for an 18-7 preseason win.
San Juan Broncos at a glance
Coach: Monty Lee is entering his 10th season as San Juan’s head coach. He’s amassed a 85-18 record along the way, including state titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He’s a graduate of San Juan High School.
(8 returning starters; Rollout option)
San Juan averaged 34.3 ppg last season, and with a year under quarterback Barkley Christensen’s belt, that production should go up. Christensen threw for 1,919 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. Leading receiver Bobby Bowring (669 yards, 8 TDs) is back to do more damage this year, while fellow senior Ammon Mitchell made tremendous strides in the offseason and is athletic enough to catch any ball thrown his way. Keeping Logan Meyer healthy will be key. An injury sidelined him for the semifinal loss to Millard last year, and his versatility in the offense was sorely missed. Last year he rushed for 403 yards and eight touchdowns on 44 carries, in addition to catching 29 passes for 448 yards and five TDs.
(9 returning starters)
Heading into the 2A semifinals last year, San Juan’s defense was only surrendering just a paltry 5.7 ppg. That all changed, however, as Millard lit up the Broncos for 35 points. With nine returning starters this year, expect another dominant season from San Juan. Among the key returning starters are defensive linemen Bogh Bayles and Mason Shumway, two kids coach Lee calls “absolute studs.” Bayles led San Juan with 12 sacks last year while Shumway led the team with 90 tackles.
Coaches preseason 2A South straw poll: First
Deseret News 2A South prediction: First
Bottom line: Loaded with experience and talent, San Juan is one of three or four 2A teams with a legitimate shot at winning the state championship. If coach Lee can keep the team hungry and humble throughout a region schedule that won’t feature very many challenges, the Broncos may ultimately be the team to beat come playoff time.
Aug. 17 — SNOW CANYON, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at Monticello, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at South Sevier, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at Grand, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — PAROWAN, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — RICHFIELD, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Kanab, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — at Beaver, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — ENTERPRISE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — Playoffs
Felt’s Facts for San Juan High School
All-time record: 366-208-4 (56 years)
Region championships: 16 (1958, 1960, 1992 co, 1993, 1994 co, 1995 co, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004 co, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Playoff appearances: 37
All-time playoff record: 52-31
State championships: 6 (1989, 2000, 2006, 2009, 2010, )
State championship record: 6-6
Most played rivalry: 66 meetings with Grand dating back to 1956. San Juan leads 39-27. Meet on Sept. 7.
Felt’s Factoid(s): San Juan has the biggest championship game comeback: down 20-0 after the first quarter, the Broncos scored 36 straight to win the 1998 Class 2A title, 36-26. ... SJ has scored in 148 straight games since 1999, the longest active streak and second-longest in Utah prep history. ... Coach Monty Lee has the best winning percentage among active coaches (min. 5 years): .825. ... Bronco Jens Wilson returned five kickoffs for TDs (2005) to set a state record (tied with Morgan’s Jordan Wamsley).
San Juan coaching history
2003-present — Monty Lee (85-18)
1987-2002 — Art Burtenshaw (133-49)
1983-1986 — Morris Swenson (23-15)
1974-1982 — George Bayles (46-47)
1972-1973 — Murray Kula (5-11)
1969-1971 — Mike Blair (12-19)
1968 — Dennis Udy (6-4)
1957-1967 — Morris Swenson (54-43)
1956 — Neldon Cochran (2-2)
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
2010 — Stetler Shumway, RB/LB
2009 — Jace Holliday, RB/DE
2006 — Tranner Sharpe, OL/DL
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2011 — Barkley Christensen, QB/DB
2011 — Logan Meyer, RB/LB
2011 — Bogh Bayles, OL/DL
2011 — Landon Palmer, OL/DL
2010 — Colby Redd RB
2010 — Taj Eldredge OL/LB
2010 — Cameron Shumway QB
2010 — AJ Slavens OL/DL
2010 — Tyler Nielson WR/DB
2009 — Peyton Black, FB/LB
2009 — Stetler Shumway, RB, DL
2009 — AJ Slavens, OL/DL
2009 — Jimmy Tate, WR/LB
2009 — Benny Royer, DB
2008 — Kohler Black, RB/LB
2008 — Nathan Einerson, WR/DB
2008 — Jace Holliday, RB/DL
2008 — Terron Jack, WR/DB
2007 — Matt Jeppson, LB/OL
2007 — Scott Jeppson, DL/OL
2007 — Scott Jeppson, DL/OL
2007 — Dane Lyman, QB/DL
2006 — Marley Haws, RB/DE
2006 — Scott Jeppson, OL/DL
2006 — Brian Kirk, RB/LB
2006 — Bradley Royer, WR/DB
2005 — Jens Wilson, RB/DB
2005 — Rye Adams, OL/DL
2005 — Keith Sullenberger, RB/LB
2005 — Noah Imel, OL/LB
2004 — Josh Shumway, LB
2003 — Chavis Holliday, RB
2003 — Kevin Kirk, LB
2002 — Josh Nielson, OL
2002 — Logan Shumway, SpecialistComment on this story
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.