It was senior night on Friday when the Spartans and Broncos met on the gridiron. Emery honored its 14 seniors before the ever-important game, which included: Tristen LeRoy, Cannon Sharp, Jaxton Maden, Quintin Sorensen, Jeremy Brannon, Luke Stilson, Kevin Lopez, Jerrick McDonald, Braden Howard, Stockton Jensen, Aidan Mortensen, Kove Johansen, McCoy Allinson and Jaxton Lake.
Not only was it each teams’ final chance to improve its RPI ranking before state, but it was also a battle for second place in Region 12. San Juan received the opening kickoff and quickly got on the board with a touchdown.
Emery struggled to get going offensively and was forced to punt. The Spartan defense came up big on the next possession with a pressure on Bronco quarterback Jace Palmer. Palmer’s pass was deflected and went right into Hayes Dalton, who returned it for a touchdown to tie the game at seven.
San Juan then continued its tear on offense with two consecutive touchdowns. The Broncos missed both PATs and led 19-7 after the first quarter.
Emery came alive in the second quarter. The Spartans scored their first offensive touchdown to cut it to 19-14. San Juan again answered back with a touchdown, but failed the two-point conversion to go up by 11, 25-14.
With just over two minutes left in the half, the game took a turn for the Spartans. Emery executed a perfect hook-and-latter and Jace Curtis took the pitch 59 yards for a touchdown. After a quick three and out by the defense, Emery once more had the ball. The Spartans drove down the field and Ryker Jensen found Jace Madsen in the endzone for a score.
In a stunning turn of events, Emery found itself on top 28-25. The Spartans scored 21 points in the second quarter, and two of them occurred in the final three minutes. The Broncos tried to regain the lead, but ultimately ran out of time.
The Spartans scored first in the second half to go up by two scores, 35-25. San Juan matched the touchdown with one of its own to make it 35-32 with one quarter left to play.
San Juan held Emery and again found the endzone to regain the lead 38-35. Emery had a couple chances at the end to tie or take the lead but continued to stall once passing midfield. In the end, the Spartans were unable to make enough critical plays at critical times and came up short 38-35.
11 Emery will open up the 3A State Football Tournament at 6 Grantsville on Friday at 6 p.m.