Cedar City • San Juan found itself in a position it hadn't been all year: losing the game.
One of its storied rivals, South Summit, had taken a two-point lead into the half, and the Broncos were in serious danger of losing the perfect season Saturday at Southern Utah University.
Two passes saved San Juan's campaign: one that skinny receiver Bobby Bowring caught for the go-ahead score, and one that Ammon Mitchell intercepted to seal a 15-9 win that sends the Broncos to their third Class 2A state championship game in four years.
"It's been a long time since our kids have had to play from behind or play to control the clock," San Juan coach Monty Lee said. "It's a situation where you have to strap it up and find something deep down. It was exciting to watch: My heart rate hasn't come down yet."
The Wildcats, whom San Juan beat in 2009 and 2010 in the finals, had the first edge, scoring the first touchdown on a Hayden Packard run. San Juan struck back with its own touchdown drive, but South Summit added a field goal before the half to take the lead.
It didn't help that the Broncos coughed up three interceptions and two fumbles in the early going.
"It was impossible to get into a rhythm," Lee said. "It wasn't even mistakes on our part: It was the toughness and disguise of South Summit. They played a great defensive game."
But the Wildcats couldn't get much offense going either, and it bit them.
Bowring caught a 26-yard pass from Barkley Christensen to recapture the lead, and San Juan held South Summit at arm's length for the rest of the contest.
Mitchell's interception in the final minutes assured victory for the Broncos, who have beaten South Summit in the teams' last five meetings in four years.
San Juan heads to the 2A championship
R Bobby Bowring's third-quarter touchdown reception gives the Broncos the lead.
• Ammon Mitchell intercepts a pass in the final minute to seal the win.