|Emery High School Spartans play against Logan High School Grizzlies.|
On a perfect fall afternoon for football, well perfect for Logan but not for the Spartans, the Logan High Grizzlies ended the 2006 football season for the Emery Spartans with a 34-0 victory in the first round of the state play-offs.
The hopes and spirit of the Spartans disappeared early in the contest as two separate plays went Logan's way rather than the Spartans' way. On the first series of the ball game, Emery faced a fourth and one at their own 35-yard line and punted. Unfortunately the punt was blocked and Logan ran it in for a touchdown. Emery down 6-0.
On the very next series, Emery had advanced from their own 33-yard line to the Logan 39-yard line when again the drive stalled. Emery punted again, Logan fumbled the punt and Emery recovered inside the Logan 20-yard line. Emery ball right, wrong. The back official called a penalty on Emery for contact on a fair catch, ball back to Logan. The call was wrong though. Any contact on the play came from another Grizzly rather than a Spartan. Officials would not talk to the Emery coaching staff about the call. If the ball had gone to Emery, maybe touchdown but instead Logan got the ball. No blocked punt, Emery recovers a fumble and this game could have been different.
Although it is usually hard for a visiting team to pull the upset in play-off football, it does happen. In fact it happened in Emery's same bracket as the fourth seed from Snow Canyon traveled to Park City and handed the Miners their very first loss of the season. Ouch, what a time to lose.
Head Coach Jimmy Jones talked about the game and the season, "The Union game was winnable, we were just flat against them for some reason. It appeared that that was also the case today. We played with so much fire against North Sanpete and then that was it. It was like we accomplished something and there was nothing else left to prove. We didn't block well, we didn't tackle well, that was a problem today."
Logan is a passing team. They like to throw the football and they like to throw it often. Sometimes they send five receivers out in pass patterns and that seemed to confuse the Emery defense.
Most teams that Emery usually plays prefer to run to passing, but not these Grizzlies. In the first half, Logan ran the ball nine times and threw the ball 25 times. They were successful 18 times, including three passes for touchdowns. Logan ran the ball more in the second half as they had the lead and wanted to run time off the clock. It was also the sporting thing to do.
Emery's best series of the day was their first series of the second half when they marched from their own 28-yard line to the Logan 10-yard line. It appeared that Emery got the necessary yardage on a Justice run to pick up a first down at the Logan 9-yard line but the official the spotted the ball missed the mark by about three feet. Again, officials did not want to talk.
Big plays on that series were two Dempsey Jeffs passes. Jeffs completed the first to Ryan Draper for 17 yards and the second to Dave Justice for 15 yards.
With very few seniors on this team, Coach Jones is looking forward to next season with optimism. With his entire offensive and defensive lines coming from the junior class, Jones figures with good off-season practice that next years team should be better. Even though Coach Jones figured that it would take several seasons to get Emery back to playing good football, he felt frustration as the season ended because he knows these guys could have finished better.
Next season probably cannot get here soon enough.