Spartans drop season opener to Duchesne
|Emery offensive players make a play against the Duchesne Eagles defense.|
After an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring those who have died and those who are missing in the Crandall Canyon coal mine, the Emery Spartans and the defending state champion Duchesne fought a hard defensive battle before Emery fell in overtime. Final score in the game was 18-12.
The pre-game ceremony featured the KUTV helicopter and sportscaster Dave Fox delivering a game ball. The delivery was to Gage Phillips, 5 year-old son of trapped miner Brandon Phillips. Brandon was once a student at Emery High School. The Emery football team also presented Gage with a remote control truck and the Emery cheerleaders presented Gage's grandmother with a rose. A moment of silence was observed just before the National Anthem.
Emery came into the game wanting to continue the rebuilding process and capture a win. Duchesne came into the game wanting to extend their longest in the state winning record. Had one of four plays went Emery's way and the result would have been different.
Emery scored first in the game. After the Emery defense recovered a botched Duchesne punt attempt, Emery's Mike Jones scored on a 13-yard run behind the left side of the offensive line to give Emery the first lead of the game. The point after kick was no good. This was Emery's last possession of the first half.
In that first half, the Spartan defense bottled up the Duchesne offense completely. Duchesne had the ball six times in that first half and for the first five possessions did not pick up a single first down. As time ran out in the half, Emery went into a prevent defense and the Eagles picked up two first downs but were still in their own territory. Emery led 6-0 at the half.
|Channel 2 News fly the game ball in by helicopter.|
In the second half, Duchesne scored on their first possession as Tyler Reinhardt came around the right side of the offense and scored from 66-yards out. That was Duchesne's only first down of the third quarter. Emery turned the ball over on a fumble on their first possession of the second half but the Emery defense came up strong and allowed the Eagles a minus two yards on the series to get the ball back after a punt.
After getting the ball back on the punt, Emery started at their own 22-yard line and put together a 14-play drive. With a mixture of runs and passes, Emery marched to the Duchesne 16-yard line before stalling. On a fourth and five from the 16-yard line, a Dempsey Jeffs to Jordan Gee pass attempt was incomplete and Duchesne took over there. The big plays in the drive were a 27-pass reception by Cody Allen from Jeffs and a 21-yard pass reception by Gee.
After Emery's defense held Duchesne to a minus two yards, Emery took over at the Eagle 40-yard line and scored again five plays later. Jeffs to Gee picked up two yards, Mike Jones ran for a yard, Jeffs to Ryne Jones went for 18 yards and Mike Jones up the middle went for four more yards. Jeffs then scrambled to his right and hit Gee for the 17-yard touchdown pass. Emery now led 12-6 after the 2-point conversion try was no good. That score came with 3:26 left in the game.
Duchesne scored on their next possession to tie the game. Starting on their own 37-yard line, Duchesne completed a 12-yard pass before Emery held them to a fourth down run attempt that picked up the first down. On third and nine at the Emery 37-yard line, Reinhardt went out on a pass route down the right side line and made the catch for a touchdown after the Emery defender fell down as he turned for the interception. Score again was tied.
Emery then had one last try but came up short in regulation. Emery got to the Duchesne 37 yard line before three straight passes were incomplete and time was gone.
In overtime, Emery attempted to score first from the 25-yard line and came up short on fourth and three at the four yard line. Duchesne's Reinhardt then ran the ball twice and scored on the second attempt to give the Eagles the win. Reinhardt is the reigning 100-meter dash state champion.
Emery contains Reinhardt just one of those times, Emery makes a point after and the score is different and Emery gets the win. Take away the touchdowns and Emery holds Reinhardt to 26 total yards of offense.
After the game, Coach Jimmy Jones talked to his players, "That was disappointing. I hope that one hurts just a little bit. We have a good football team. Let's bounce back next week, let's practice hard and get the win next week."
The Duchesne team raised $1,612 for the families of the stricken miners. They presented checks to Principal Gwen Callahan before the game and she will distribute them accordingly.
Emery is at home this week as they host the Canyon View Falcons Friday night at 7 p.m.