Note: Emery finished with a 1-8 overall record in 2014 and was fifth in 3A North with a 1-4 record. It did not qualify for the playoffs.

Emery 2014 Stat Recap

CASTLE DALE — After an incredibly frustrating 2014 season, Emery’s football team is looking forward to simply competing again.

Six sophomores and six juniors started in some capacity last season, and it showed as Emery finished with a 1-8 record and lost by an average score of 43-9 in those eight losses.

“Last year we started so many sophomores, just physically they weren’t ready to compete at the varsity level, the speed of the game, the strength of the players they were competing against, we struggled with that all year long,” said Emery coach Jim Jones.

The Spartans will still be fairly young with a bunch of juniors starting, but physically they’re much more equipped to compete with teams like Morgan, Union and Grantsville compared to last season.

With all five starters returning, the offensive line should see the biggest improvement. Koby Butler, Ty Mecham and Logan Labrum all started as sophomores while Taigon Pulli and Kayden Avilla started as juniors.

With an extra year of experience under its belt — not to mention an extra year of weight lifting — the offensive line is poised for a strong season.

“Execution wise, we’re doing pretty good right now,” said Jones earlier this summer.

Junior quarterback Zac Jorgensen should benefit from all that experience in front of him, not to mention his own maturation.

As a sophomore last year, he started Emery’s final seven games but it was anything but memorable as he completed only 32 percent of his passes with six interceptions and five touchdowns.

“Last year he was a sophomore, and he was competing against kids that were bigger, faster and stronger and he had some games where he had a lot of mistakes,” said Jones.

Emery’s coach has already seen great strides from Jorgensen this summer, a trend he hopes to see continue.

The Spartans have usually had success running the football, but the passing game has typically been a struggle. Altering that trend has been one of the focuses this season for Emery, and Jones has been impressed so far as Jorgensen has proven he can throw the ball “really well.”

Emery’s bread and butter remains running the football, and much of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of Tyler Olsen, Ashton Dieli, Bryce Dugmore and Austin Allred.

Olsen was second on the team last season with 74 carries for 428 yards and two touchdowns. Dieli was third with 74 carries and 343 yards.

“We have a lot of good athletes, but they’re all tiny little guys. But they’re playmakers. If we can get them in space they’re pretty good,” said Jones. “We’re not going to line up and power it at you.”

Defensively, Emery’s strength is on the line and in the secondary, but there are legitimate question marks at linebacker.

Earlier this summer Labrum was the only player coach Jones was confident would start at linebacker. As a sophomore last season, he started on the defensive line, but the position no longer suits him.

“Prior to this year we just never felt like he was quick enough to play linebacker, so we felt like he had to play defensive line, but he’s actual got a lot quicker,” said Jones.

The defensive line consists of most of the same players who will start on the offensive line, along with newcomer TJ Lacock.

The collection of defensive lineman Emery will roll out should do a much better job stopping some of the running teams in the 3A North region. That alone should have Emery back in contention for a playoff berth after missing out on the postseason a year ago.

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 44-56 record in those nine seasons. His all-time record in 27 years is 169-126. Jones is a graduate of San Juan High School.

Offense (10 returning starters; Jet-T offense)

Offensive coordinator: Jim Jones

Returning offensive starters

Tyler Olsen (RB)

Zac Jorgensen (QB)

Kolton Butler (WR)

Koby Butler (OL)

Ty Mecham (OL)

Logan Labrum (OL)

Taigon Pulli (OL)

Ashton Dieli (RB)

TJ Lacock (WR)

Kayden Avilla (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Bryce Dugmore (RB)

Austin Allred (RB)

Defense (8 returning starters, 4-3 defense)

Defensive coordinator: Jim Jones

Returning defensive starters

Tyler Olsen (DB)

Austin Allred (DB)

Kolton Butler (LB) – move to DE

Koby Butler (DT)

Ty Mecham (DT)

Taigon Pulli (DT)

Logan Labrum (DL) – move to LB

Ashton Dieli (DB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Zac Jorgensen (DB)

TJ Lacock (DE)

Coaches preseason 3A North straw poll: Fifth

Deseret News 3A North prediction: Fourth

Bottom line: After last season there’s really only one direction for Emery to go, and that’s up. It started a bunch of sophomores and juniors last year and was never really competitive as those youngsters were regularly pushed around. Most of those players are back and, a year stronger and a year wiser, they’re hoping for a much more competitive season. With five returning starters on the offensive line, Emery will certainly compete for a playoff berth — and then with a bunch of those same players back again next year the 2016 season could be even better.

Last 5

2014 — 1-8 (1-4 in 3A North – Missed playoffs)

2013 — 4-7 (2-3 in 3A North – 3A Quarterfinals)

2012 — 7-4 (4-3 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)

2011 — 6-5 (3-4 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)

2010 — 7-5 (2-3 in Region 12 – Missed playoffs)

Emery coaching history

2006-current — Jim Jones (second stint, 44-53)

2003-2005 — Kevin Reynolds (5-26)

1987-2002 — Jim Jones (106-63)

1985-1986 — Greg Cook (10-10)

1983-1984 — Dean Nelson (3-15)

1978-1982 — Layne Moody (13-34)

1976-1977 — Unknown (4-16)

1974-1975 — Paul Clark (6-12)

1972-1973 — Bob Steele (1-16)

1971 — Unknown (6-3)

1970 — Stilson (8-3)

1967-1969 — Unknown (15-13)

1965-1966 — Ray Butcher (8-8)

1963-1964 — Douglas Hunt (8-9)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2013 — Zach West, OL

2012 — David Dyer, RB/LB

2011 — Cory Cox, RB/LB

2007 — Wade Bohn, OL

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.