High school football: San Juan Broncos 2012 preview

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 1:04 a.m. MDT

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.

Offense

(8 returning starters; Rollout option)

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