ETV News stock photo by Dusty Butler
The Spartans will return to the Gridiron this Friday with a lot of prove after a disappointing 2019 campaign. Injuries plagued the team a season ago, translating into a 1-9 record.
Emery has already shown signs of improvement this summer, competing in a number of competitions, including passing tournaments and big man competitions. In fact, Emery’s offensive line demonstrated its strength, winning the Manti Big Man competition. This is a good sign for the offense as a whole, as the struggles on the offensive line last year stalled the Spartans offense and lead to turnovers.
“[The offensive line] has probably been our biggest improvement,” said head coach Jon Faimalo. “Those guys have got their minds set up that they’re going to do something this year. That’s were it all starts on both sides of the ball, is at the line.”
Another positive for the Emery program is the experience that is coming back from last year. The Spartans bolster a large senior and junior class with about 16 players in each. Faimalo added, “We have a lot of weapons and a lot of depth in our skilled positions as well as our line.”
On the defensive side, linebacker Hayes Dalton is back after leading the Spartans in tackles last year. The defensive line is also full with a number of returning players. “I’ve got a lot of experience up front, a lot of size. We’ve just got to get more physical, that’s been our biggest problem. I think we will be a lot more improved on the defensive side,” explained Faimalo.
“If we take care of the ball, we’re disciplined and don’t give up big plays, then we are going to be in every game. If we take care of those three things, the wins will come.” Faimalo concluded, “That’s the recipe for us to win, or give ourselves a chance to win. If [we] win the turnover battle, don’t give up big plays or kill ourself with dumb penalties, we should be in every game. Just for the fact that we’ve got the physicality, big kids to hopefully handle whatever teams throw at them.”