Friday night was a pivotal game for the Spartans as they welcomed the Summit Academy Bears into town. The Bears and Spartans were not only fighting for second place in the region, but a first-round bye in the state playoffs.
Emery received the opening kickoff and its first drive was stalled by a holding penalty. However, special teams came through by downing the ball on the two-yard line, setting up a long field for the Bears. Then, a truly unimaginable play occurred. On the Bears’ first snap, they sent Koa Sylvester on a swing pass out of the backfield, allowing the outside receivers to block. Devin Watson turned and threw the ball to Sylvester, but Sylvester never looked back toward the ball. As a result, the ball hit Sylvester in the shoulder/back area, causing the defense to stop its feet for a half second. Sylvester, meanwhile, turned and caught the ball off his body and got past the defenders to run 98 yards for the touchdown.
Summit Academy forced another stop and quickly went down the field to take a two score lead. The Bears snuffed out the Spartans’ run game, making it difficult for Emery to move the ball all night. Luckily for the Spartans, Summit Academy forced themselves out of the Bears’ next two drives with multiple holding penalties. Emery took advantage of the Bears’ self-inflicted wounds when Ryker Jensen found Tregg Miller in the back of the end zone on a beautiful throw and catch. At the break, the Bears led 14-7.
Summit Academy drew first blood in the second half, making it 20-7. Six and half minutes later, Emery scored on Jensen’s QB sneak to pull it back to a one-score game. WIth the same score in the fourth quarter, the Spartans had the ball with a chance to go out in front. Emery took it all the way inside the five-yard line, but was stopped on third down and short. Emery elected to go for it on fourth down and three from the four-yard line. A blitzer broke loose and forced Jensen out of the pocket. All he had time to do was throw the ball up in the area of Jace Curtis, but the Summit Academy corner made a play on the ball and forced the incompletion.
The Spartans had another opportunity with under five minutes left, but a well-timed blitz once again affected Jensen in the pocket. Jensen forced the ball into a crowded area and Summit Academy picked it off near midfield. The Bears then went down and scored a touchdown to seal the victory, 27-14.
The RPI standings have been released and Emery was awarded the #5 seed. As a result, the Spartans (5-5) will host #12 Grand (0-9) on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Catch all the action live on ETV Channel 10 and online at etvnews.com/livesports.