The Emery High football team played its way into the 2A State Football Tournament with a narrow 20-18 win at Enterprise on Thursday afternoon.
Bailey Faimalo’s 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with less than four minutes left in the game proved to be the difference as the Spartans gutted out a hard-fought win.
Faimalo’s score and the ensuing extra point put Emery ahead 20-12. A poor kickoff combined with questionable officiating gave Enterprise a chance to tie the game, and a freak touchdown on a fumbled option play got Enterprise to within two points at 20-18. Emery’s defense flexed its muscle on the two-point conversion as the Spartans stopped another option run.
Emery recovered the ensuing on-side kick and took a series of knees to ice the game.
The turning point of the game came midway through the fourth quarter with Emery leading 13-12. Emery’s defense stiffened to force an Enterprise field goal attempt from approximately 23 yards. Enterprise made the field goal and seemed to take a two-point lead, but the field goal was disallowed because of an illegal procedure penalty.
Backed up five yards after the penalty, Enterprise missed the second attempt wide-right and turned the ball back to Emery.
The Spartans took advantage of the momentum swing as Spencer Labrum connected on a long pass play with David Dyer. Emery’s drive stalled inside the Enterprise 20 yard line, and the Spartans turned the ball over on downs. The sequence set up Faimalo’s dramatic touchdown.
Cory Cox and Dyer scored Emery’s first two touchdowns on eight and five-yard runs, respectively.
Emery advances to play at Manti next Friday or Saturday. The game will be broadcast live exclusively on ETV Channel 10.
The Emery vs. Enterprise game was broadcast live, and the thriller will be rebroadcast throughout the week.