The Emmett defense had problems stopping the opposition last year. In the season opener against Columbia the Huskies surrendered 69 points. Fast forward a year and the defense has made progress – a lot of it. The bend but not break mentality paid dividends to the tune of a 21-12 season opening win over the Wildcats at Huskie Field Friday night.
After spotting Columbia an early 6-0 lead the Huskies powered their way to 21 unanswered points and saw the defense stiffen when needed down the stretch to get the win. Five times, four in the second half, the Emmett defense forced Columbia to cough up the ball on downs.
After a pass-happy offensive performance in 2018, Emmett coach Rich Hargitt was determined to return the running game to his run-pass-option offense. Junior Westyn Smith carried the ball 31 times for 152 yards including a 64-yard scamper to score the final touchdown for Emmett in the third quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Caden Young also contributed on the ground with 119 yards on 17 carries. He gave Emmett the lead for good on the first play of the second quarter, rolling left 27 yards to make it 7-6 after Ryan Solis’s first of three perfect extra point kicks.
In all, Emmett rushed the ball 48 times and Young only attempted ten passes, connecting on six for 62 yards.
Columbia relied heavily on the arm of senior quarterback Austin Collett who aired it out 45 times. He connected with nine different receivers 28 times for 235 yards and both of the Wildcat scores but couldn’t cash in enough times in the second half against the aggressive Emmett defense. The Huskies didn’t force any turnovers but held fast on fourth down five times – four times with Columbia in Emmett territory.
Coach Rich Hargitt praised the work his defensive coaches and players have put in over the past year to knock 57 points off last year’s outing with Columbia.
Emmett will now face a gauntlet that looks more interesting and a longer run than thought going into the season due to other upsets Friday night. Nampa knocked off number-one ranked Bishop Kelly 40-20. Second-ranked Middleton fell to Kuna 34-28. Ridgevue downed Caldwell 26-13 in the other Southern Idaho Conference matchup and Vallivue romped in a non-conference game at Canyon Ridge, 57-0.
Emmett travels to Middleton next Friday before hosting Vallivue on Sept. 13.