There was a lot at stake Thursday night as Enterprise took on San Juan. A win would put the Wolves into a second place tie with Grand, while a loss would drop them to fourth, and into the 2A playoffs play-in game against American Leadership.
With the stakes high, San Juan made the most of its opportunity as the Broncos jumped out to a big lead and didn’t look back in a 41-6 road victory.
San Juan quarterback Payton Palmer rushed for two touchdowns and a three-headed monster crew of Bronz Eldredge, Nathan Nielson and Kavika Su’esu’e each had a touchdown on the ground for the Broncos.
“We have a great offensive line and really physical running backs and that’s a great combination to have for a running game,” San Juan head coach Monty Lee said.
With each back bringing a different style to the offense, Eldredge was the primary workhorse who ran over defenders and punished any defender that stood in his way.
“Bronz is tough. He’s really just a freak of nature,” Lee said. “But honestly, he’s a great kid and really plays the game the way that it should be played. You’ve got to love a kid like that.”
After forcing the Wolves into a three-and-out, Palmer called his own number as he ran right up the middle untouched for a 60-yard touchdown on the first series of the game.
“Payton had another great game for us,” Lee added. “He’s quick and can run and throw the ball extremely well. He’s always dangerous when he has the ball in his hands, and he’s good about making the right reads.”
On the next possession for the Broncos, it was all Eldredge. The junior made an acrobatic catch near the goal line and then followed it up on the very next play with a 2-yard touchdown run to put San Juan up 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Nielson then got in on the action as he took a quick pitch from Palmer and ran 12 yards up the left side to push the lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.
But the Wolves didn’t quit.
After San Juan forced Enterprise into another punt, the Wolves caught a big break when Ben Moyle recovered a fumble after the ball hit a Bronco player who was running downfield.
Enterprise made the most of the turnover as wide receiver Brandell Shumway broke off a 25-yard run after catching a pass from quarterback Cole Stratton to the 5-yard line. That setup Jayson Holt’s 5-yard touchdown catch on the very next play to tighten the score to 21-6.
But that’s as close as Enterprise would get.
San Juan came out in the second half right where it has left off as the Broncos scored two quick touchdowns during the first two minutes of the third quarter.
After a nifty 72-yard kick return on a reverse, Su’ esu’e capped off the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 27-6.
Then less than a minute later, Jaxon Lee picked off Stratton and raced 35-yards the other way for a pick six to push the Broncos lead to 34-6.
Enterprise had several chances to score but turnovers turned into drive killers.
After big plays from Caleb Koopmans and Michael Dougherty had the Wolves near the goal line, Stratton’s pass on the next play got deflected and intercepted.
“The kids hung in and really battled the entire way,” Enterprise coach Malin Williams said. “Turnovers and lack of execution was the difference today.”
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.