Mistakes, primarily penalties and turnovers, are what Emmett football coach Rich Hargitt focuses on when he is looking for the keys to success in a high school season. The Huskies won that mistake battle once and lost it once in opening the season. As a result Emmett will be 1-1 when it hosts Vallivue at 7 p.m. at Huskie Field on Friday.
The lessons Emmett’s young team has learned through two weeks of the season will have to be applied on the field this week if the Huskies have any shot at containing the returning 4A State Player of the Year, Lan Larison.
“We will not stop him, we can only plan to corral him as much as possible,” Hargitt said of Larison.
The Falcon QB presents challenges on the ground and in the air. An early signee with the University of California at Davis, Larison is also a champion rodeo cowboy and those roping and riding skill sets come out on the football field.
“He’s one of a kind,” Emmett defensive coordinator Chris Roeper said. “You watch a lot of film and think he’s been handled and then somehow he’s free again.”
What Larison and Vallivue have not been able to get free of, however, is Bishop Kelly. Last Friday the Knights handed the Falcons a third loss in a year’s time span, 30-27. That could make the visitors a bit more fired up coming in Friday but it also may provide the Huskies some insights for potential success.
“We played with them for a half last year,” Hargitt said. “Then mistakes and turnovers and Larison got away from us. We might not be able to do a lot against him but we can certainly do a lot about the things we can control.”
For Hargitt that means winning the turnover battle, limiting penalties and mental mistakes.
In the season opening win over Columbia, the Huskies had only two penalties and had less turnovers gaining the 21-12 win. Four turnovers, eight penalties, a handful of missed tackles and dropped passes contributed to the 45-6 loss at Middleton this past Friday.
“Credit Middleton, they helped us to look bad at times,” Hargitt said. “They are a good team and I wouldn’t be surprise to see them win out the regular season. But we contributed to our own failings.”
Hargitt did feel his offensive line played well against the Vikings.
“For the most part we held our own there and the defensive group did a good job on the Middleton running game,” Hargitt said. “Over 300 yards of passing against us, however, really hurt and we didn’t have much fire power to respond.”
Middleton sold out to stop Emmett’s rushing attack. After putting up nearly 300 yards rushing on 48 carries in the win over Columbia, the Huskies were held to less than 70 yards on 27 carries against the Vikings. Forced to the airways Emmett could not muster enough to counter the Vikings passing attack and when they did get movement down the field, turnovers stymied any response. Emmett victimized itself twice with interceptions thrown in the end zone.
What progress this team makes this week could also be dependent upon remaining healthy. A handful of players are not likely to play this week but none are considered lost for the season due to injuries suffered versus Middleton.
The health of the team is a huge concern for Hargitt as he started the year with enough healthy players to have separate offense and defense platoons. As injuries mount that means more players going both directions and that could lead to more fatigue and injuries.
With Bishop Kelly next after the Falcons, Hargitt just hopes to make it though this early season maze to a portion of the schedule thought at one time to be a little softer. Early season results in the SIC, however, seem to indicate that there are no weeks off. Only one team, Kuna, is undefeated after two weeks and only Caldwell has yet to win. The other seven teams are 1-1 and looking to break out in the coming weeks. That separation could begin Friday.