Spartans grab second region football win
|Skyler Jorgensen goes for the tackle against North Sanpete.|
It was rainy, it was windy, it was cold, the field was almost a lake but none of that mattered to the Emery Spartans last Friday night as they departed Mount Pleasant and North Sanpete High with a 14-13 victory.
Emery scored first with Dave Justice scoring for the Spartans on a 64-yard run. Justice scored on the third play of the series, a counter play to the right side. A run for the points after was stopped and Emery led 6-0. The Hawks followed up the Emery score with a touchdown and an extra point for a 7-6 Hawk first quarter lead.
The only score of the second quarter belonged to Emery. Tailback Dave Acosta took a hand-off straight up the middle and ran away from everybody for a 72-yard touchdown. This was the second play of the Emery series. The Spartan extra point try was again no good and Emery led at the half 12-7.
In the third quarter, the Hawks scored again as they plodded down the field in the mud to score on a 2-yard run. This time North Sanpete tried to run in the extra point but the Spartan defense stuffed the attempt. North Sanpete led after three periods 13-12.
In the decisive fourth quarter, Emery started the series of events that eventually led to an Emery tackle of a Hawk runner in the end zone for a safety with a punt. Emery punted but the Hawk receiving the punt dropped it and a Spartan recovered at the Hawk 33-yard line. After a 29-yard pass from Dempsey Jeffs to Justice, Emery had the ball first and goal at the North Sanpete 4-yard line.
With four attempts for a touchdown and without having any success at scoring, it appeared that Emery might have lost their best opportunity to win the ball game. North Sanpete took over on their 1/2-yard line. On the very first play, the Emery defense led by Colton Patton and Wade Bohn met the Hawk ball carrier 2 yards deep in his backfield and tackled him for a safety. Emery now led 14-13.
In that second half, the Spartans seemed to be a transformed team as they tackled harder, blocked better and played determined to not let this victory get away. Coach Jones was happy with his teams play, "It showed a lot of character for this team not to give up when they got down. We just had a determination about us that said we are going to win this game. The kids played hard. We keep making improvement, I know I say that every time but it is true, we just keep improving."
On the night, Emery's running backs had decent numbers considering the field conditions. Acosta finished with 146 yards on 17 carries and Justice finished with 111 yards on 19 carries. A lot of credit for the success of those backs has to go to the offensive line that opened the holes for them to run through.
With the victory, Emery finishes region football with a third place finish. Emery will travel to the second place team of Region 11 for the first round of state play-offs. Before that though, Emery will close out the regular season with a non-region game Wednesday night against Union at Emery High School.