Box score

San Juan made the elusive 2A three-peat a reality on Saturday night at Southern Utah University.

As expected, the top-seed Broncos took care of business against No. 2 South Summit in the 2A state championship, rolling to the 43-28 victory to run its winning streak to 37 straight and claim a third straight state championship in the process.

Dating back to 2008, there’s been a repeat winner in 2A every other year for the past 16 years, but San Juan did what none of the other seven could, make it a 3-peat.

“I remember my freshman year we lost to Juab, and we were all sitting in that locker room crying. All us seniors now were freshmen then and we were determined to never let that happen again. We set down a goal and kept building from there,” said San Juan lineman Taylor Black.

San Juan’s 37-game winning streak now ranks third all-time in state history. The longest winning streak is 48 held by Duchesne (2010-2014) and Corner Canyon (2018-2021).

“It’s unreal how hungry they were. They’re the most competitive group I’ve ever seen from my playing days to coaching seven years. They’re so competitive and hungry. They won it last year and started immediately in this season,” said San Juan coach Barkley Christensen.

Before he worries about next season and rebuilding a bit with the departure of 10 offensive starters and eight defensive starters, Christensen is going to savor the tremendous accomplishment his team churned out in 2023.

Two years ago, San Juan went 12-1 with a 24.7 point average margin of victory, followed by last year’s 13-0 record and 28.8-point victory margin average. This year’s margin of victory swelled to 46 ppg as the Broncos put the finishing touches on a 12-0 season.

Parker Snyder and Zack Conway led the way for San Juan in championship game where the outcome never really felt in doubt.

Snyder completed 21 of 31 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 65 yards and another score.

Conway, meanwhile, churned out 170 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries, which included a 53-yard touchdown run with 4:45 remaining in the game that was the icing on the cake for the Broncos as they stretched the lead to 43-21.

It was Conway’s 34th rushing touchdown of the season, moving him into a tie for second place all-time with Park City’s Dylan Chynoweth (2009) for most rushing touchdowns in a season in state history. East’s Jaylen Warren holds the record with 38 in 2016.

“He’s a hard runner and he wears people down,” Christensen said of Conway. “Their defense was tired and beat up just because of Zack. He might only get two, three yards, but he’s going to punish you on those two, three yards, and you saw the knockout punch on that last run as he got to show off his speed. He can fly,” said Christensen.

San Juan High School plays South Summit High School in the 2A football state championship at Southern Utah University in Cedar City on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

San Juan wasn’t its typical efficient self offensively in the first quarter, but still led 7-0 on the first of Conway’s three touchdowns. Christensen credited South Summit’s athletic defensive line for much of the Broncos’ efficiency troubles early on.

San Juan still found success in that first half, building a 22-7 lead on Conway’s second TD with 1:53 left in the half.

For South Summit, the dagger on its hopes for an upset realistically came on its ensuing possession just before halftime when Snyder intercepted a pass and returned it 70 yards all the way to the 5 yard line where he was knocked out of bounds with one second remaining in the half.

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That gave San Juan one crack at the end zone, and Snyder made the most of the free possession by hitting Keaton Ivins on a 5-yard slant rout to stretch the lead to 29-7 heading into halftime.

In the second half, the teams pretty much just traded scores. South Summit scored twice to whittle the lead from three TDs to two, but each time San Juan had a response to stretch it back to a three-score cushion.

South Summit quarterback Bracken Lassche finished the game completing 27 of 40 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, but three interceptions in the first half proved too difficult to overcome.

“That first half when we they started that two-minute drill, we were getting after the quarterback and getting pressure. Our secondary is awesome. They did amazing work. We challenged them this week, and they showed up,” said Black.

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