Emery football wins one; drops one
To have any reasonable expectation of finishing in the top two football teams in the 2-A North region, both Emery High and Millard High knew that last week's game was pivotal for each team. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Millard came out on top 41-21. Millard scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives to take the lead at 14-0. Millard gained 158 yards on just 12 plays in those two drives. Millard was held scoreless the rest of the half.
Emery, after punting on their opening drive and then fumbling the ball away on their second drive after gaining 55 yards, put together a six-play 80-yard drive to score their first touchdown of the game and they cut the lead in half. Jared Shakespaere scored on a 29-yard run.
Late in the first half, Millard was driving towards the goal line when Nick Arizmendi broke up a screen pass with an interception at the Emery 23-yard line. Emery then put together an impressive drive off 77 yards in just seven plays culminating with a Spencer Labrum to David Dyer pass for a 16-yard touchdown. Cory Cox added the extra point again and the score was tied 14-14 at the half.
Emery fumbled the kickoff starting the second half but the Emery defense kept Millard out of the end zone as the Eagles fumbled the ball away moments later.
Millard found their stride midway through the third quarter as the Eagles ended the game by scoring on their final four possessions of the game to blow open a tight score.
Emery was able to score only once in the second half. This score came on a Tanner Lake 2-yard run late in the game after Emery put together their only drive of the second half. After seeing their first three drives end on three plays and a punt, Emery put together an 80-yard drive.
Shakespaere led the Emery offensive effort with 107 yards rushing on 11 carries and the first touchdown. Dyer gained 65 yards on 14 attempts and Lake gained 43 yards on 14 attempts.
Labrum completed three other passes besides the touchdown pass to Dyer in the first half. Lake caught a screen pass then gained a total of 19 yards, Marco Mota pulled down a pass for 13 yards and Tyler Pulli had the big gainer of the game when he caught a pass that went for 35 yards.
Defensively, Dyer led the Spartan effort with 13 tackles from his safety position. Slayde Childs had nine tackles from middle linebacker with defensive tackle Zach West and defensive end Kayden Feichko having six tackles each. Cornerbacks Faimalo and Pulli along with linebackers Cle Richards and Taylor Weighing each had five tackles.
Emery gained 216 yards on the ground and 82 yards through the air for a total of 298 yards. Millard finished the game with 342 yards rushing and 33 yards passing for a total of 375 yards of offense.
Emery at Gunnison
It was not supposed to be as difficult as it was but the Emery Spartan football team played well enough to defeat a stubborn Gunnison Valley Bulldog team in region action by the score of 28-25. Gunnison scored the first touchdown of the game on their opening drive of the game to take the lead at 7-0. The Spartans responded by scoring on their next drive to tie the score at 7-7 and then Emery took the lead by scoring on their next drive to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Gunnison then scored twice in the second quarter while the Spartans were shut out and Gunnison led at the half 19-7. Gunnison scored on the first possession of the second half to lead 25-14. Emery then scored once in the third quarter and then once in the final period to win the game by three points as both teams scored four touchdowns but Gunnison missed all but one extra point while the Spartans scored on all their point after attempts.
Emery's first touchdown came after Jared Shakespaere returned the Bulldog kickoff 60 yards to the 25-yard line. On the seventh play of the drive, Spencer Labrum completed a pass to Bailey Faimalo on a play that covered 13 yards and resulted in the first Spartan score.
On Gunnison's next possession, the snap from center went over the quarterback's head and Emery's Kayden Feichko was the first to the ball and recovered the Bulldog fumble for Emery. Emery started this drive at the Bulldog 35-yard line. On the fifth play of the drive, Labrum connected with Tanner Lake on a screen pass and Lake scored from 12 yards out.
Emery's next drive started at their 26-yard line and marched down the field 73 yards when the ball was fumbled on the 11th play of the drive right at the goal line. Emery thought that the runner had scored prior to the fumble but the officials saw it the other way and the ball went to Gunnison. Gunnison then put together a 99-yard drive to narrow the lead to 14-13 Emery. Gunnison then added another score right before the half to lead at the half 19-14.
In the second half, Emery added a touchdown in each quarter. Emery's score in the third quarter came on a 14-yard run by Shakespaere on a 14-yard run. Shakespaere was the leading rusher for Emery on the night with 131 yards gained in 19 rushes. That was almost a seven yard average per carry.
In the final period Emery scored one final time. Emery put together their longest drive of the night at 80 yards and ended the drive on Labrum's third touchdown pass of the night, this time to wingback David Dyer. The pass play covered 25 yards. Cory Cox added his fourth straight extra point kick to get Emery to their final score total.
Gunnison's final four drives of the game ended on a fumble, two punts and the final drive ended with a Faimalo interception. After picking up more than 300 yards of offense prior to these final four drives, the Emery defense limited the Bulldogs to a total of 32 yards of offense in those final four possessions.
Labrum completed six passes on 15 attempts in the game for a total of 95 yards and those three touchdowns. Shakespaere completed one pass for 24 yards.
Emery picked up 238 yards on the ground led by Shakespaere. Lake gained 53 yards from the fullback position while Dyer gained 37 yards. Cory Cox gained 15 yards.
Faimalo had four receptions totaling 61 yards in the game to lead the team. Dyer, Lake and Gavin McDermott had touchdown receptions. Defensively, Emery was led by safety Dyer and defensive ends Feichko and Nick Arizmendi with eight tackles each. Linebacker Taylor Weighing had seven tackles and cornerback Tyler Pulli had six tackles.
Emery will host a very good South Summit in their final regular season home game this Friday night at the Spartan field. South Summit is currently ranked third in the state in 2-A while the Spartans are ranked fifth. With a win, Emery could tie for second in the region. Emery's final regular season contest is next week at North Summit High School.