SNYDER— Tiger Stadium in Snyder, Texas was the site for the Area showdown between the Sonora Broncos and the Farwell Steers.
Last season, the Broncos ended up beating the Steers in the second round 18-7. This year, the Broncos stomped Farwell into the dust, 42-14.
Sonora won the coin toss and chose to wait until the second half. Farwell couldn’t do much on the first drive and punted the ball to the Broncos.
“I’ve got you.”
Bronco quarterback Jaime Buitron, who has a knack for finding the camera on big plays, said as he took the field with the same confidence that he’s had all season since reclaiming the starting job after tearing up his knee.
Of course, Buitron ended up finding Kam Aguero down the middle of the field for a touchdown with 6:50 left in the first quarter. Buitron would also get into the endzone on the two-point conversion to put the Broncos up 8-0.
The Bronco defense took care of business on the next Farwell offensive possession and force another punt. At the end of the punt, the Sonora returner, Roberto Rodriguez, was run into on a fair catch. A facemask by Farwell, a first down run by Josh Lozano, and a huge Dylan Ford run took the ball down to the seven-yard line and Sonora was threatening again with two minutes left in the first quarter.
On third and seven from the seven, Buitron took off around the left side of his offensive line and found the endzone with Juan Castillo also finding the endzone on the two point, moved Sonora out in front 16-0.
The Farwell offense got things going on their next offensive drive but not before the Broncos had a near interception on a Steer pass. Farwell ended up driving the ball down the field, with the aid of a pass interference call on the Broncos, and Steer running back Corey Stancell rushed around the right side of his line for a nine-yard score. This cut Sonora’s lead, 16-7.
Sonora running back Edgar DeLuna got things going on the ensuing drive, that took the Broncos all the way down to the one-yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the Broncos back and on fourth down, Buitron found himself one-yard short of the endzone. This ended up with Farwell’s back against the wall, but they did manage to move the ball down the field a short way until Lozano and Elijah Samaniego teamed up to tackle the Steers quarterback and make it fourth down.
Farwell ended up punting the ball back to Sonora and Buitron would ultimately find Ford down the Farwell sideline for about a 30-yard touchdown. Now, Sonora leads 23-7 going in at the half. One thing that was noticed here was that Stancell, one of the Steer’s best players, was on crutches on the sideline and he would not return to the game.
After the bands took the field, the second half kicked off with the Steers trying to pin the Broncos deep. The Steers kicked the ball to junior Julian Zaragoza, who raced through the Steer defenders, spinning and sprinting down the field for a huge kickoff return for a touchdown. The score ended up moving the Broncos to 30-7 over Farwell and this play was a real turning point in the game.
Now, the Broncos had all the momentum and, after a quick Farwell drive where there was a near pick, found themselves back on offense. Of course, DeLuna moved the ball, getting first down yardage on third and 11. He would prove to be quite difficult to guard when Buitron, from the 11-yard line, found him at the back of the endzone through triple coverage. DeLuna’s receiving touchdown moved the Broncos further out in front, 36-7 with 5:48 left in the third quarter.
One next drive, Farwell made a great catch but DeLuna, who is a freak on defense as well, blitzed the quarterback and with the help of Lozano, striped the ball where Jacob Martinez was there to scoop it up and give possession back to the Broncos.
For what felt like the first time all game, the Sonora offense stalled, and the defense was back at it. Martinez made his presence felt again when he sacked the Steer’s quarterback to end the third quarter.
On what everyone thought was fourth down, at least the scoreboard thought so, Sonora’s Cason Boggs took his turn getting to the Farwell signal caller. The down extra down fiasco did not matter much as the Steers ended up punting the ball back to the Broncos.
The Broncos started their drive and on second down, the ball slipped through Buitron’s hands and ended up on the ground. A Farwell defender could not hang on and the Bronco’s Jorge Leija fell on the ball.
The Steers ended up taking over and Dylan Ford snagged himself an interception and took it to the house to make the score 42-7 with just over five minutes left in the game. With 3:29 left, the Steers managed to add seven to their score on a 55-yard touchdown. The Broncos were still up 42-14 in the closing minutes of the game.
With the ball and about a minute left, Buitron knelt the ball and the Broncos emerged victorious.
“Man, awesome,” Head Coach Blake Weston said, “Kids played well.”
Weston had great things to say about Zaragoza’s return, which really swung things the Bronco’s way.
“You talk about a spark plug, Julian Zaragoza, right after the half, take that kickoff to the house, that’s huge.” Weston said, “Kids played well all night, I was excited.”
“I was looking for you,” DeLuna said on his touchdown catch, “I was like ‘Hopefully you got that on video.’”.
Don’t worry Edgar, absolutely did.
The Broncos are riding high and seem ready to take on the defending state champion Hawley Bearcats next week who won their Area matchup against the Panhandle Panthers 59-16.
“We’re excited,” DeLuna said, “We’re ready for Hawley. They’re going to bring it, but we’re ready for that rematch.”
When Samaniego and Martinez were asked what the mentality was going into the rematch with Hawley, Samaniego said, “It’s not business, it’s personal” and Martinez had a one-word answer.
The Sonora Broncos take on the Hawley Bearcats in the Regional Semifinals on the Texas High School Football Playoffs.