Taylor Cox makes himself some running room.
With a convincing victory in their final regular season game of the year over the North Sanpete Hawks, the Emery Spartans are preparing now for the first round of the state 3-A playoffs. Emery will travel to Park City to face the Miners this Friday at 5 pm. Emery defeated the Hawks by a score of 43-28 in a game that was never that close.
The Spartans scored on their first two possessions of the game to let it be known that they came to play and that they were not going to lose on their home turf in this very important game. The placement at state depended on how this final day of games went and much was on the line for this Spartan team.
With Emery's victory over the Hawks that clinched a play-off spot for the Spartans and then with Richfield's victory over Manti clinching a fourth seed for Emery, Thursday ended up being a good day.
Emery started their first drive of the day at their 21-yard line and scored in eight plays, all running plays. Colton Fasselin had the bulk of those carries with four, picked up 42 yards on those carries and scored the first touchdown. Taylor Cox and new fullback Nathan Mecham each had two carries in the drive. Quinn Montgomery kicked the first of five straight PATs to make the score 7-0.
Emery started their next drive at the North Sanpete 39-yard line after Nick Stoddard intercepted a Hawk pass. Mecham scored on the fifth run of the drive to get his first score of the season. After Montgomery's kick, Emery led 14-0.
North Sanpete narrowed the score to 14-7 in the second quarter only to see the Spartans come right back and score three more times in the period.
Emery's next scoring drive started at the Emery 31-yard line and the Spartans again kept all the plays on the ground and Emery scored in seven carries. Taylor Cox scored from 10 yards out and Emery led 21-7 after Quinn's kick.
Emery's Nick Stoddard then recovered a Hawk fumble at the Sanpete 23-yard line and Emery quickly took advantage of the turnover. Cox scored for the second time in the game on an 8-yard run and Emery led 28-7.
After holding North Sanpete on the next drive to negative yardage, the Hawks punted and Emery got the ball back once more. Emery took over at the Spartan 39-yard line and had plenty of time left on the clock before halftime to score. Actually it turned out that they had more than enough time as Fasselin took the first hand-off and scored on a 61-yard run. Fasselin with that run finished the first half with 146 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Emery led 35-7 at the half.
In the second half, Emery scored on their second drive of the half, an 80-yard push by the Emery team. Emery put together a 12-play drive that consumed a lot of clock that culminated in another Mecham touchdown.
On the defensive side of the game, Emery finished with two interceptions one recovered fumble. Besides Stoddard's interception, Jake Bell had a spectacular one-handed grab late in the game. Geren Payne caused a fumble with a hard hit and Jones recovered that one. Clay Collard led the Spartans with 11 tackles but fellow inside linebackers Payne and Mecham were right there with him. Payne had 10 tackles and Mecham finished with nine tackles. Jacob Tuttle and Jesse Winn each had six tackles in the game.
Delta won region 12 and will host American Leadership Academy in a play-off game and should easily win that game. Juab finished second in the region and will host Union and Juab should win that game. Region 12 sends five teams this year to the play-offs with the next three all on the road. Richfield will travel to Wasatch and Manti will travel to Juan Diego besides the Spartans traveling to Park City.
Park City and Emery had four common opponents this season. Both teams defeated Carbon, Emery 53-6 and Park City 59-0. Both teams defeated Manti, Emery 31-16 and Park City 28-22. Both teams defeated Union, Emery 36-0 and Park City 28-14. Park City did defeat Delta 20-19 early in the season while Emery lost that game.