Late in the fourth quarter Friday night, the Emmett Huskies were on their heels, clinging to a seven-point lead as rival Middleton quickly marched downfield for the potential tying or go-ahead score.
Then, faster than you can say “DJ Crump,” Emmett’s junior star flipped the script. With Middleton facing fourth-and-short deep in Emmett territory, Crump made a perfect read from his corner position, jumping an out route at the first-down marker.
Ninety-one yards later, Crump raced into the end zone for a pick-six, the pivotal play in a 20-13 Emmett victory at Huskie Stadium.
Crump added a touchdown reception and 85 rushing yards on 13 carries — including the game-clinching first-down carry on fourth-and-inches — as the defending 3A state champions improved to 3-0 by winning their first game back in 4A Southern Idaho Conference play.
“I think that was the best game DJ has played for us,” Emmett coach Mike Schroeder said. “I’ll tell it like it is — without DJ and the plays he made tonight, I don’t think we win the game.”
Crump’s pick-six was his second interception of the fourth quarter — and both came inside Emmett’s 10 yard-line. On the game’s decisive play, he sniffed out play-action on a play where just about everyone in the stadium expected a run from the option-heavy Vikings.
“I knew exactly what play they were going to run,” Crump said. “When it comes down to it, there are 11 players on the field — and even more on the sideline — who contribute to the game. The guys who go unseen, those are the guys who helped us run that play a million times in practice, and that’s why we were able to perform it to perfection.”
This 4A SIC opener featured two highly-ranked, previously unbeaten teams, and defense carried the play early. An Emmett fumble late in the first quarter set No. 4 Middleton up with a short field, and the Vikings cashed in on a 28-yard pass from Garrett Gasaway to Hayden Smith for a 6-0 lead.
No. 3 Emmett found its stride in the second quarter, with senior QB Dane Buck firing 17-yard TD passes to Crump and senior Cayden Crume to give the Huskies a 13-6 halftime lead.
That score held until the final four minutes of the game, which featured Crump’s interception return, followed by a 47-yard TD strike from Gasaway to Smith. The Vikings had one last chance to stop Crump on fourth down with 2:40 remaining, but he shook off a tackle in the backfield and lunged ahead to preserve the win.
“We preach hard work, and we never get arrogant,” Crump said. “It doesn’t matter if we are playing Bishop Kelly, the three-time 4A state champs, or Payette from 3A — we are going to prepare the same way, and we are going to be ready to grind.”