2013 high school football preview: Loaded Emery Spartans in good situation while making jump from 2A to 3A
Note: Emery finished with a 7-4 overall record in 2012 and was fourth in 2A North with a 4-3 record. It lost to San Juan 56-13 in the 2A quarterfinals.
EMERY — There will always be challenges for 2A teams jumping to 3A, but for Emery, the circumstances this season couldn’t be better to take that leap.
After back-to-back seasons of starting primarily sophomores in 2011 and then juniors in 2012, Emery is loaded with talent and varsity experience as it embarks on the new challenges that await in the 3A North region.
“We have a lot of experience, and I think the kids for the most part know what they’re doing,” said Emery coach Jim Jones.
For the Spartans, they’re hoping that experience makes a difference in closing games out this season.
Emery lost four games last year to arguably the four best teams in 2A: Manti, South Summit, San Juan and Millard. In three of those four games it either led or was tied at the half.
In Week 3, Emery led eventual 2A champion Manti 14-0 at halftime but lost 15-14.
In Week 6 it was tied with Millard 14-14 at the half but fell apart in the second half and lost 41-21.
In Week 8 the Spartans led South Summit 27-20 early in the third quarter but again collapsed in the second half and lost 55-34.
“We were really good last year, but still a bit young and we got wore down as the year went on,” said Jones. “We had a hard time stopping some of the better teams physically, but I think the added year of maturity with these kids I’m banking on to be the difference.”
Defensively is where Jones hopes the added year of maturity makes the biggest difference.
“For us, defensively going into this year, we have to be able to stop the run. We have to be more physical. We have to be more aggressive,” said Jones.
With seven returning starters on defense — including the entire defensive line — there’s no reason Emery shouldn’t be better on that side of the ball. If that’s indeed the case, coach Jones’ team should have no problem competing in 3A because it can move the football.
Last year Emery averaged 35 points per game, and eight of those offensive starters are returning, including the entire offensive line.
The Spartans must replace quarterback Spencer Labrum, but senior Bailey Faimalo might end up being an upgrade. He has solid athleticism and leadership abilities.
Faimalo played receiver last year and hauled in 20 catches for 344 yards and six TDs. All growing up through, Faimalo played QB.
“He’s a pretty athletic kid, so we’re excited to see what he can do at quarterback,” said Jones. “He’s a playmaker — that’s his big strength. He’s a basketball player; he’s a point guard. He makes things happen. He has a good arm; he throws the ball well.”
Emery must also replace leading rusher David Dyer (837 yards), but between Jared Shakespeare, Marco Mota and Tanner Lake — who combined for 1,563 yards and 24 TDs in 2012 — that shouldn’t be a problem.
Emery Spartans at a glance
Coach: Jim Jones is in his second stint as Emery’s head coach. His second stint began in 2006 and he’s amassed a 39-38 record in those seven seasons. His all-time record in 25 years is 164-111. Jones is a graduate of San Juan High School.
(8 returning starters; Jet offense)
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