Hawk offense improves dramatically, Emery Spartans downed 43-8
By Matt Harris
CASTLE DALE—North Sanpete football improved mightily upon a suspect offense from last week and throttled Emery on the road, 43-8, last Friday.
Sophomore quarterback Landon Bowles threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions in a stellar performance, guiding the Hawks to their first offensive showing over 40 points since 2016.
Coach Rhett Bird, while pleased with the win, said that his team “got things rolling in the second half, but still needs to clean things up.”
After Bowles threw a near-endzone interception on the Hawks’ first drive, Emery set up shop on their own 1-yard line and became instant fodder for the North Sanpete defense. It only took the Spartans’ first play to get pushed back and award the Hawks a safety and an early 2-0 lead.
Bowles continued to struggle in the first quarter, but he found a groove in the second quarter when he hit senior Payton Clawson for a short-yardage touchdown. On North Sanpete’s next offensive drive, the offense found itself over 20 yards from a first down due to penalties. Coolly, Bowles stood in the pocket and struck senior fullback Connor Jorgensen wide open and in stride for a 65-yard score, and North Sanpete began to pull away.
After halftime, the Hawks had their way with Emery for a quarter. Bowles delivered a 20-yard slant pass to senior Jaxton Langschwager, who juggled the catch while falling down but secured it during his descent to the grass. A few plays later, Bowles took a snap from the 1-yard line and carried it across the goal line himself to go up, 23-0. Bowles, on the next offensive possession, then hit senior Kaden Taylor on a 28-yard touchdown pass.
On both sides of the ball, Emery’s ability to keep up with the athletic Hawks quickly regressed, and fumbles and bad snaps became more common. Emery ran a rush play late in the third quarter that got blown up in the backfield, and the resulting fumble was scooped up by senior Parker Lee and run all the way back for North Sanpete’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
Emery avoided the shutout later in the fourth quarter. After Bird had put in the backups at most positions, the Spartans’ starting quarterback took advantage and delivered a strike to his top receiver for a 60-yard touchdown. Emery attempted a two-point conversion subsequently and failed.
North Sanpete would get one more score on the board, courtesy of a 10-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Xander Shelley, before the clock expired and hands were shaken to call it a night.
For the Hawks, the win marks another monumental step forward for the team. They are 2-0 on the season for the first time since 2003, when North Sanpete started 3-0 under the tutelage of Coach Mark Wootton.
The Hawks return home this week and host South Sevier on Friday at 7 p.m.