The Park City player tries to strip the ball from Taylor Cox after a good gain by Cox.
The 3-A state football play-offs began last Friday night throughout the state. Emery High was at region winner Park City as these two teams would begin the fight to make the championship game. According to the Salt Lake newspapers, according to conventional wisdom and according to the Park City fans themselves, the Miners would easily win this game and move on to face the Hurricane Tigers the following week in a good battle. Problem with above, you bet, Emery forgot to follow the script, played a heck of a ball game and was victorious on the Miner's field 26-23.
On this night, the Spartans were everywhere. Park City is a good football team but they apparently underestimated how good their opponent was. I felt the shock in the air when the first quarter ended tied at 0-0 instead of Park City up by two or three touchdowns. The Miners scored in the second quarter but Emery marched right down the field and tied the score and at the half the game was 8-8. Not what the home team expected.
Emery scored twice in the third quarter to go up 20-8 to momentarily stun the home crowd. Park City scored twice in the fourth quarter to recapture the lead but Emery had one last drive in them and drive they did, down the field 62 yards in 13 plays to recapture the lead for themselves at 26-23 with less than a minute to go.
Park City had one last attempt but on the first play from scrimmage, Nick Stoddard came up with an interception, Emery then kneeled on the ball three straight times and the game was over. The Emery sideline erupted as a good contingency of Spartan fans made the trip to Park City and all had celebration in mind. The fans on radio and on TV all commented on how good a game it was as Emery fans everywhere joined in the win.
The first half was interesting as both teams controlled the ball for long periods of time. The half consisted of each team having possession only three times, something that I'm not sure I had seen before and I have seen a lot of games. Park City's first drive was 10 plays long and ended in turning the ball over to Emery on downs as the drive stalled at the Emery 31-yard line. Emery then put together a 14-play drive than died at the Miner 8-yard line. Park City took over and marched 92 yards in 20 plays to score the first points of the game. Emery responded with a 74-yard drive that took 12 plays and tied the score at 8-8. Colton Fasselin scored the first touchdown for Emery on a 2-yard run. A pass from Stoddard to Kashe Potter added the two points after.
The third quarter belonged to Emery. Emery received the kickoff to start the second half. Receiver Quinn Montgomery returned the ball up the Emery sideline to the Park City 45-yard line, and Emery picked up another 15 yards because of a facemask penalty on the tackle, and the Spartan drive to start the third quarter would start at the Miner 30-yard line.
Fasselin started the drive with a 3-yard run. Nathan Mecham picked up four yards followed by Fasselin picking up another three. Taylor Cox then gained 18 yards and Emery had first and goal at the 2-yard line. A penalty moved them closer, another moved them back and on third and goal from the five, Cody Jones connected with Fasselin on a short pass and Emery had the lead. Extra point was no good as the snap was off.
Park City was limited by the Emery defense to three plays and no yards and had to punt on their first drive of the second half. Emery got the ball back at their 30-yard line, picked up a first down, and then threw an interception at the Park City 8-yard line. On the Miners' first play from scrimmage, Spartan Kashe Potter returned the favor and intercepted the Miner pass and Emery had the ball first and 10 at the Miner 25-yard line.
Emery scored in five plays but they were assisted by a couple of Park City penalties, as the undisciplined Miner team picked up lots of penalties on the night. Cox scored on a 1-yard run.
After Park City scored twice to recapture the lead, Emery started their final scoring drive of the night. A good kickoff return by Potter gave Emery first and 10 at their 38-yard line.
After a short run by Cox, Jones hooked up with Nathan Mecham on a screen pass and Mecham gained 17 yards. Emery was penalized 10 yards on the next play. Fasselin picked up two yards followed by Miner 5-yard penalty. Mecham gained six yards and Fasselin gained another five yards to give Emery a first down at the Miner 36-yard line. After Jones was sacked for a 12-yard loss, Fasselin connected on a halfback pass with Stoddard for a 24-yard gain. Cox picked up four yards, Mecham lost a yard, Fasselin gained a yard and Emery had fourth and six at the Miner 20 yard line.
Jones connected with Potter for a 10-yard gain on a pass and Emery had first and goal just inside the 10 yard line. Cox gained three yards and then Mecham scored the winning touchdown on a 7-yard run, as Mecham was not going to be denied the end zone.
Cox gained 101 yards on 15 carries to lead Emery. Fasselin had 56 yards on 10 carries but also caught a pass for a touchdown and threw a pass for a huge gain. Mecham gained 32 yards on nine carries but no carry was bigger than his final one of the night.
Jesse Winn, an outside linebacker led Emery with nine tackles and Mecham, an inside linebacker had eight tackles. Fasselin and Clay Collard each had six tackles from their linebacker positions. Cody Jones and Jacob Tuttle each had a sack in the game. Stoddard and Potter each had huge interceptions.
Emery will now travel to Hurricane this Friday night for a 5 p.m. ball game. Hurricane has been a year long favorite to win it all this year. Hurricane has finished second the past two years.