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2A high school football preview: Emery's high powered offense will face defense minded San Juan

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23 2012 8:30 p.m. MDT

Emery (7-3) at San Juan (9-0)

2A State Quarterfinal

Friday, 5 p.m.

Parry’s Power Guide: San Juan by 22

All-time series: San Juan leads 15-8

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between San Juan’s Monty Lee and Emery’s Jim Jones

Last meeting: Sept. 1, 2000 — San Juan 34, Emery 13

Something’s gotta give.

Emery scored 61 points in last week’s 2A first round victory over Kanab. This Friday though, the Spartans face the most dominant defense in the state. San Juan has shut out five of nine opponents this season and is averaging only just over a field goal per game.

San Juan coach Monty Lee believes Emery could be the toughest test of the season for his defense.

“Emery can put points on the board, they did that against Kanab and they gave Manti the closest game they’ve had. They’re no slouch,” said Lee.

If Emery has any hope of upsetting No. 1 San Juan, it will need to figure out a way to move the ball because it’s going up against arguably the best offense in 2A.

Led by extremely efficient quarterback Barkley Christensen, and four running backs who’ve eclipsed 400 yards rushing, San Juan is averaging over five touchdowns per game. That’s not good news for an Emery defense that has struggled a lot this year.

“Our offense has been really good. We have a good quarterback who can throw the ball, we’ve got kids that can run it and we’re all pretty healthy. I’m pleased with where we are, but at this stage of the game is every game is do or die,” said Lee.

Despite the mismatch on paper, Emery probably won’t be lacking confidence. In its three losses this season — Manti, Millard and South Summit — Emery was in every game.

The Spartans led Manti 14-0 at the half before losing 15-14. They were tied with Millard 14-14 at the half before losing 41-21, and they led South Summit 27-20 in the third quarter before losing 55-34.

“We’ve been there all year long. We kind of got worn down a little bit against those three teams,” said Jones.

If Emery can find a way to win the turnover battle against San Juan, Jones is optimistic his team can compete.

Moving the chains will be key. David Dyer, Jared Shakespeare and Marco Mota have combined to rush for over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns this year. They accounted for six touchdowns against Kanab in the first round.

San Juan is equally as balanced on the ground as Logan Meyer, Justin Nielson and Christensen have all rushed for over 400 yards.

What separates San Juan from the rest of the 2A field is its ability to throw the ball. Christensen has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,607 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.

Emery statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 37.2 ppg

Scoring defense: 24.7 ppg

Passing leader: Spencer Labrum (39-79, 49.4%, 667 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs)

Rushing leaders: David Dyer (101 carries, 837 yards, 8 TDs), Jared Shakespeare (88 carries, 694 yards, 10 TDs), Marco Mota (60 carries, 493 yards, 9 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Bailey Faimalo (20 rec., 344 yards, 6 TDs)

Tackles leaders: David Dyer (84), Slayde Childs (49)

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