|Emery High Football Coach Jimmy Jones coaches his last playoff game for the Spartans last November.|
In 1985, Emery High School hired their sixth head football coach in the past dozen years. As a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, new coach Jimmy Jones came to Emery High School "excited." He was "excited to be coming out of college and being hired as a head football coach. It was something he had always wanted to do." In fact, according to Jones, he was "excited just to have a job."
Jones came to Emery High "excited." He has now stepped away from that game he has loved for most of his life to hopefully recharge his batteries. This is a look back on the coach that influenced so many for so long.
Jones, after 18 seasons at Emery High and an overall record of 117-73, decided recently to leave the game that brought him here. He said, "The last couple of years have been tough, I have not looked forward to football. I haven't enjoyed practicing, watching game film or the summer weight program. The kids needed somebody more excited than I was. I just got burned out. The kids deserved better."
Jones was a 1980 graduate of San Juan High School in Blanding. At the time of his graduation, he was the career rushing yardage leader for the state of Utah. His record lasted all of one season as Kelly Smith of Beaver High broke the record the very next year, although Smith played varsity ball as a freshman. He went on to BYU and graduated in 1984.
That first season in 1985 saw the Spartans post a record of 4-5 and make the play-offs for the first time. They lost their only game 54-52 to Manti High. That game went five overtimes before someone emerged victorious. The second season in 1986 saw the Spartans improve their record to 6-4 and they won their first playoff game that year as they defeated Coach Jones' alma mater San Juan High.
Emery officially joined the ranks of good football programs in 1987 as they posted an 11-1 record and won the 2-A state football championship. They defeated Millard High in an exciting game in Orem.
Injuries were the story of 1988. That season several players went down but it was the quarterback position that was especially hit hard. Despite the hardships, the team still finished 8-3 and defeated Wasatch High in the playoffs before losing to San Juan.
In 1989, the Emery Spartans made the move from 2-A to 3-A sports. With only four classifications at the time, Emery was now playing against schools bigger than themselves, sometimes much bigger. It didn't seem to matter. The Spartans went 10-2 and lost in the state semi-finals to Woods Cross High in a game played at the University of Utah. With Cody Allred having 88 receptions, Steve Gordon having 53 receptions and Ryan Stilson throwing all those passes; Coach Jones thought that this team "was probably my best."
Coach Jones called his 1990 team his "most over-achieved team. We had no starters back, no kids that really had played, but those kids simply did not know how to lose. We should have lost several more but they always found a way to win." That team went 8-3, defeated a much bigger, physically and numerically, Pine View team in the first round and then lost a road game to Bountiful High.
Coach Jones finished his first six seasons with a record of 47-18. More importantly for Emery fans is that he finished six seasons and then stayed for many more as the coaching position was solidified for the first time. This was something new for Emery fans. Coach Jones said, "I thought, when I came here, that this is where we would start and that probably someday, I would end up back in Blanding. We found that we liked this area, so we stayed. It's a good place to raise kids. We're happy here."
His record says 18 seasons, 17 trips to the play-offs, four trips to the semi-finals and two trips to the finals. His 2000 football squad went 11-2 for the season but lost in the finals to Snow Canyon. Snow Canyon had also defeated them earlier in the year.
Coach Jones is still teaching at Emery High School and will remain the head baseball coach. He hopes to be able "to regain the enthusiasm that is necessary to coach football."