Jerome came into Emmett last Friday as one of the top offensive 4A powers in the Magic Valley. The Emmett defense tamed the Tigers for the most part but untimely penalties and lapses in offensive execution kept the Huskies from pulling the upset for Homecoming.
Despite 178 yards rushing from junior tailback Westyn Smith, Emmett was unable to get any additional offensive consistency and fell 21-14 to the State playoff bound Tigers.
“We had too many self-inflicted wounds,” Emmett coach Rich Hargitt said. “Huge mistakes are keeping the offense from flowing.”
Jerome had risen to the league leadership in the 4A Great Basin west pod with a potent passing attack. It was evident in a game opening scoring drive that put the visiting Tigers on top, 7-0 on a 24 yard pass hookup just five minutes in.
The Huskies countered with a bruising ground attack that saw Smith carry the load. On its third possession of the night Emmett drove 83 yards on 16 plays. Eleven of those were carries by Smith for 64 yards and culminated with his nine yard drive with five minutes left in the half to make it 7-6.
Emmett had a second-half opening drive stymied by a penalty and turned the ball over at the Jerome 40 on downs. The Tigers responded with a penalty aided drive and got its second score on a five yard pass connection midway through the third quarter – going up 14-6.
Three straight three and outs by Emmett wasted a pair of Jerome turnovers. When the Tiger’s tailback Kyle Craig broke through the center of the line for a 42 scoring run with five minutes left to make it 21-6 the Homecoming spirits were dampened.
A Landon Helms 34-yard kickoff return set Emmett up in Jerome territory and the Huskies capitalized on a second Smith touchdown run. A two-point conversion pass from Caden Young to Axel Sanchez made it 21-14 with two and a half minutes left.
It appeared Emmett was going to hold the Tigers and get one last chance. A pair of 15-yard penalties against the Huskies, however, allowed Jerome to run out the clock.
Emmett has a short week to deal with this week as its return to Southern Idaho Conference action against Caldwell will be played at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Cougars were Emmett’s single win last season but Hargitt warns that it won’t be a gimme.
“They are a much better team than they were a year ago,” Hargitt said. “They are still looking for a win but they are playing much better. It’s on their field so it will be a challenge.”
The challenge Hargitt’s Huskies face may be as much their own execution as any surprises Caldwell may have in store. No turnovers against Jerome was a positive. The 95 yards lost on eight penalties, each either stopping Emmett drives or extending Jerome possessions, were killers.
“Those will have to be stopped if we are to beat Caldwell and get that third win,” Hargitt said.
Emmett’s final home game will be Oct. 18 when currently unbeaten and number-one ranked Kuna will enter Huskie Stadium.