Quarterback Spencer Labrum with a hand off to full back Cory Cox.
After a short two-game preseason, the real thing started for the Emery High football team two Fridays ago. Manti, returning a veteran team this year and a preseason favorite for the 2-A state title, would be first up for the young but gritty Spartan team. Emery traveled to Manti the first Friday of September and came home with a 28-0 loss. Emery followed that up with another road game at North Sevier and this time Emery returned a winner, defeating the Wolves 33-14.
The scores of these two games are not reflective of how the Spartans played in these games. Against Manti, Emery turned the ball over six times by way of fumble or interception. That basically was the story of the game as Emery could not move the ball against the Templars; they just couldn't maintain a drive all the way into the end zone. Emery got close several times but just was unable to finish a drive.
Against North Sevier, the final score was not reflective of how much Emery dominated this game. Emery had nearly 500 yards of offense in this game while the Spartan defense held the Wolves at bay all night with the exception of two drives. Emery limited their opponent to 60 yards of offense in seven drives with the exception of the two touchdowns.
North Sevier and Emery battled to a 6-6 tie in the first half of their game. The Wolves scored first as Emery once again started the game slowly as they have done all season long. On their second possession of the game, the Wolves would score on a third and eight pass play from the Spartan 33-yard line to grab the early lead.
Emery would tie the score on their second possession of the night. Starting the drive at their own 35-yard line, Emery would run the ball 14 straight times with David Dyer scoring on a one-yard run. Dyer had moved to wing back for this game from his normal wide receiver position with the loss of Jesse Winn to an injury in the Manti game.
Emery had an opportunity to take the lead on their next drive but the Spartans fumbled the ball at the goal line according to the officials. Emery started the drive at their own 9-yard line and marched 90 yards until the fumble was called. To those on the goal line it appeared that Emery had both scored and had a knee down before the ball came loose.
In the second half of the game, Emery would not be denied. Emery scored on their first four drives of the half with only the last drive ending without a score but that drive ended with the game being over. Emery scored in the second half at the conclusion of a 65-yard drive, a 57-yard drive, a 71 yard-drive and a 60 yard-drive. Emery's defense limited North Sevier to 41 yards of offense in their first four drives of the second half as the Spartans dominated both sides of the ball.
Jesse Winn, after Dyer had got hurt at the end of the first half, decided the team needed him and dressed at half time despite a sore neck. One would never have known that Winn was injured since Winn scored the first three touchdowns of the second half to spark the Spartans.
Winn's first touchdown came on a 6-yard pass from Emery quarterback Spencer Labrum. Winn's second touchdown came on a 6-yard run around the right side of the Emery offense and the final touchdown for Winn came on a 26-yard run, also to the right side of the Emery offense. Emery's final touchdown came on a 60-yard pass play from Labrum to Dominic Rondinelli. Rondinelli caught about a 20-yard pass and scored after a couple of nifty moves in the open field.
Labrum finished the game three for five in passing for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Rondinelli completed a pass to Jake Bell for 15 yards for Emery's other passing yardage.
On the ground Emery would pick up 389 yards in this game. Rondinelli gained 119 yards on 16 carries. Winn, in only the second half of the game, picked up 104 yards on 10 carries. Cory Cox, from the fullback position, gained 81 yards on 14 carries. Dyer gained 46 yards in seven carries until he left the game and Nathan Thompson picked up 39 yards in eight carries in the game.
Brett Sorenson, from his middle linebacker position, led the team in tackles with nine. Linebackers Cory Cox and Marco Mota each had seven tackles in the game along with defensive end Taylor Weihing. George Sorenson and Zac Bury each finished with five tackles. This game ended with more hard tackles from different players than any of the previous games.
Against Manti, Emery gained only three yards in their initial possession and then on an attempted punt, the snap sailed over the punter's head, into the end zone and was recovered by a Manti defender for a touchdown. Emery trailed 7-0 just like that.
After the next Emery drive stalled after a single first down, Manti started their first drive at their own 46-yard line. After a 9-yard pickup on the first play, Manti scored on a 45-yard run and just like that, Emery trailed 14-0.
On Emery's next possession, the Spartans drove from their own 20-yard line to the Manti 36-yard line only to see the drive stall when the Emery quarterback threw an interception. On the very next Emery drive, the Spartans marched to the Templar 18-yard line where again the drive ended due to an interception. Emery's next two drives ended due to Spartan fumbles as they continually helped out the Manti defense with mistakes.
Jesse Winn ran the ball 11 times for 68 yards to lead the Spartan offense. Cory Cox gained 64 yards on 11 carries. Emery had 227 yards of offense in the game while Manti picked up 318 yards of offense.
Leading tacklers in the game were Marco Mota and Cory Cox with eight apiece from their linebacking positions. Right behind was Brett Sorenson, David Dyer and Jake Bell with seven tackles each.
Emery will play at home this week, as they will host American Leadership Academy this Friday night in Castle Dale. Game time is 7 p.m.