By the time last Friday night's football game finally got here, the Emery Spartans had spent a good month in preparation for the season, as had every other football team in this state. Before the games actually begin, every team and every coach believe that they have the right stuff to win this year. After that very first night, half the teams in this state are no longer undefeated. Emery is now one of those teams that have a loss. The Spartans lost a home game to a very good Desert Hills Thunder team by a score of 19-6. Desert Hills is out of St. George.
It was the general consensus of most fans in attendance that this Desert Hills team may have been slightly bigger in body size plus in number of athletes on the sidelines and that this was a very good team. Desert Hills is expected to challenge for the region title this season in the south region.
Desert Hills scored once in the first quarter to lead 6-0, once in the second quarter to increase the lead to 13-0 and then once again in the third quarter to lead 19-0. Emery scored their lone touchdown in the fourth quarter to get a final score of 19-6.
What one does not read in the above narrative is the rest of the story. Two of Desert Hills' touchdowns came on the possession immediately following an Emery turnover. Emery had a 58-yard drive stopped by a turnover and another 50-yard plus shortchanged due to penalties. Emery had their opportunities in the game but did not capitalize on them once they came to the realization that they could play with this team.
Emery's rushing attack led the offense in this game. Taylor Cox rushed the ball 17 times for 94 yards with Colton Fasselin carrying the ball 12 times for 69 yards. Jade Fielder also rushed four times for 14 yards.
First-year quarterback Cody Jones got his feet wet against a team that was intent from the beginning to make life miserable for the opposition. The Thunder have two agile, big defensive ends that gave the Emery tackles a struggle most of the game. Jones was under constant pressure in most passing situations. On Emery's touchdown drive, Emery started at their own 20-yard line. Jones hit Nick Stoddard with a pass that covered 11 yards. Cox then ran the ball twice and picked up 14 yards on the two carries. Fasselin picked up six yards to get into Thunder territory. Jones then ran for three yards and Cox ran for another eight yards on two carries. After two incomplete passes, a Thunder penalty gave Emery a first down and they would take advantage of the Thunder mistake. Fasselin picked up 14 more yards on a carry and Cox picked up 10 yards to get to the 1-yard line. Jones then scored Emery's first touchdown of the year. A two-point attempt was no good.
Jesse Winn intercepted a Thunder pass on their first series of the night and Taylor Cox came down with an interception late in the first half to thwart another drive. Emery also recovered a Thunder fumble late in the ballgame. On defense, four Spartans finished the night with five tackles each. Clay Collard, Nathan Mecham, Mckay West and Jesse Winn each had five for the Spartans.
Emery travels to Vernal this Friday night to play Uintah and although schedules say different, Emery will host Canyon View on Sept. 3. This was a game changed to make Canyon View's administration happy.