The Kanab Cowboys lost their season opener last Friday night at Arlyn Hafen Stadium, getting shut out by the defending 2-A state champion San Juan Broncos.

Even though the final score was 28-0, the defense actually played a pretty good game. After spotting the Broncos two quick scores in the first 5-1/2 minutes, they only allowed one more score the rest of the game. They stopped the Broncos in the red zone on three straight possessions after that, allowing them to get to the six, 13 and nine yard lines, before taking over on downs.

The offense was another story! They actually gave up eight points, a safety and a touchdown when they fumbled in their own end zone. The offense could only manage 37 yards for the entire game, gaining eight yards on the ground on 28 carries, and 29 yards yard through air on three of six completions.

Sophomore quarterback Brandon Jenson was running for his life most of the game, getting sacked eight times for 45 yards in losses. He got the start with senior QB Kade Quarnberg nursing a dislocated shoulder he suffered in a football camp last month.

Another notable senior not dressed on the sidelines was lineman Dan Chamberlain. The offensive line definitely could have used him.

San Juan scored on their first two possessions. It took them just three plays to go 64 yards. The touchdown came on a 43 yard yard pass play from quarterback Cameron Shumway to running back Stetlar Shumway. The extra point was no good and the Broncos led 6-0 with 9:16 left in the first quarter.

San Juan’s next touchdown came one play after Kanab fumbled the ball attempting an inside reverse. The Broncos recovered on the Cowboy 18 yard line. Running back Ryan Lyman ran it in from there, and the score was 13-0 with 6:32 left in the first frame. It looked like it was going to be a long night!

While the offense sputtered, the defense began to stiffen, holding the Broncos out of the end zone on the next three series, taking over on downs deep in their own territory each time.

After the third time the defense held, Kanab took over on downs on their own 13 yard line. QB Jenson was sacked on two consecutive plays, with the second one ending up in the end zone for a safety. This made the score 15-0 with 4:29 left in the second period.

San Juan started their final drive of the first half from their own 41 after the free kick. After picking up one first down, QB Shumway scrambled his way out of a sack and ended up gaining 17 yards to put them on the Kanab 28 yard line. He should have been sacked, but he broke three tackles to make the big play! A 15 yard pass from Shumway to Tyler Nielson put the ball on the 13. A holding penalty on the Broncos moved the ball back to the 23. Two plays later, facing a third and 13, a Shumway to Shumway pass play netted 11 yards and San Juan faced a fourth and two from the Cowboy five yard line. A pass with 16 seconds left in the half from Shumway to Lyman made the score 22-0 at the break.

The Cowboy defense was back on the field to start the second half. After the Broncos drove down to the Kanab 37, Josh Child sacked the quarterback from the back side for a six yard loss, and the Cowboys took over on downs on the 43.

Three plays later, Kanab was punting once again, this time all the way down to the San Juan 18. However, on the very next play, a 50 yard bomb from Shumway to Nielson put the ball on the Cowboy 32. The Broncs drove all the way down to the Kanab one yard, only to fumble the ball away. On the Cowboys first play, a fumbled snap into the end zone was pounced on by San Juan to give them their final tally and a 28-0 victory.

The Cowboy offense was still non-existent in the second half, with the exception of one Cody Barber dash of 30 yards.

As bad as 28-0 sounds, it could easily have been 56-0 or worse.

San Juan picked up 175 yards on the ground on 32 carries and Shumway was 14 for 27 for 248 yards through the air.

Coach Bucky Orton and his assistants have their work cut out for them this year.

This Friday night, the Cowboys travel to Mesquite to face the Virgin Valley Bulldogs.