Gavin McDermott finds the space he needs to motor into the endzone.
Summit Academy, a school from Bluffdale made their first ever football appearance at Emery High last Friday night and played the Spartans tough for about a quarter before Emery took control and easily won their season opener 40-14.
Summit Academy scored on a long pass play on their first drive to give notice that they came to play. The Bears, in only their second year of football existence, were a big, physical team. Last season, playing in the 1-A ranks, traveled from border to border playing teams and scored 81 points in a game at Monument Valley. They finished 5-5 last season and moved to the 2-A ranks this season. They will continue moving through the classifications and could end up a 4-A team.
Emery responded quickly against the Bears. After starting with good field position after the kick-off, Emery scored on a 25-yard run by Ryan Cox and tied the score on a PAT kick by Ridge Nielson at 7-7.
After shutting down the Bears on their next possession, Emery came right back and scored again on a 44-yard run by Marco Mota and Emery took their first lead of the night at 14-7 with Nielson adding the extra point kick.
Summit Academy was not going to just roll over for Emery though and responded with a touchdown on their next drive to tie the score at 14-14 and that is the way the first quarter ended.
After a month of practice, both teams were happy to finally be playing somebody besides themselves. It took a moment for the Spartans to settle down but after a wild first quarter, Emery took control of the game.
Emery never gave up another score to the Bears and really never let them threaten, even after a Spartan turnover in Emery territory. Besides controlling the game defensively, Emery also ran their offense well as they never punted in the game.
Emery scored twice more in the second quarter and once in each of the final two periods. Cox added another touchdown, this time on a 22-yard run followed by Gavin McDermott scoring for Emery on a 6-yard run to the left side of the Emery offense. Mota scored the final two touchdowns for the Spartans. The first came on a 5-yard run and the second came on 44-yard pass reception.
Emery ran up 414 yards of offense with 343 of those yards coming on the ground. Mota was the leading ground gainer with 149 yards on 14 carries. Cox ran the ball 11 times and gained 96 yards. McDermott ran 7 times and gained 57 yards and fullback Tanner Lake ran 9 times and gained 51 yards.
Emery attempted three passes on the night and completed all three for the 71 yards. Quarterback Tai Justice was 2 for 2 and McDermott completed his only attempt. Besides Mota's reception, tight end Carson Healy had a catch and Cox also had a catch.
Defensively, Zach West caused a fumble and recovered it and Mota recovered another fumble just before the half and returned more than 30 yards before being knocked out of bounds. An attempted field goal never got off the ground as the snap was not good and Nielson downed the ball. Justan Potter was the leading tackler with seven followed by West and Slayde Childs with six apiece.
Emery now goes on the road for three straight games, this week to Moab to play Grand High School. That game is at 7 pm. Emery will then travel to Richfield and Delta the next two weeks before coming home to face Morgan High in their region opener.