High School Football

Emmett football smokes Sugar-Salem to clinch first state finals berth in history

Emmett QB Saige Wilkerson avoids a sack by Sugar-Salem’s Zach Belnap during their 3A state semifinal Saturday in Emmett.
Emmett QB Saige Wilkerson avoids a sack by Sugar-Salem’s Zach Belnap during their 3A state semifinal Saturday in Emmett. For the Idaho Statesman

The Emmett High football team found little resistance between themselves and history Saturday, cruising past Sugar-Salem 42-14 in the 3A state semifinals.

The victory clinches the No. 1-ranked Huskies (10-0) a berth in the state championship for the first time in school history. They will take on Gooding (9-2) at 4 p.m. Nov. 21 at Holt Arena in Pocatello.

“It’s unbelievable,” Emmett senior Yancy Hyde said. “It’s just something that we’ve always dreamed of growing up, and now we’re finally playing together and it’s all working.”

Emmett showed why it’s the most successful team in school history with a juggernaut performance on both sides of the ball. The Huskies scored five TDs on their first five possessions, needing only 16 plays to hang 35 points on the board. Then Luc Overton intercepted a pass at his own goal line and returned the ball 100 yards for a pick-six to give Emmett a 42-0 lead after three quarters.

“We just physically couldn’t match up with them, but that’s been their recipe all year,” Sugar-Salem coach Dwight Richins said. “They’re bigger, faster, stronger than everybody else, and they’ve pushed their way around. They aren’t cute. They just line up and beat you.”

Senior quarterback Saige Wilkerson completed 5-of-5 passes for 208 yards and two TDs. His second touchdown pass proved Saturday was just Emmett’s day.

Wilkerson hit Overton for a quick slant over the middle, and it took everything a Sugar-Salem defender had to wrestle him to the ground. While he got Overton off his feet, Overton sat on top of the defender and never touched the ground. He alertly jumped back up and ran away for an 81-yard TD catch and a 21-0 lead.

Senior running back Mason Farnsworth added 122 yards and two TDs on eight carries, including the opening two of the second half that he ripped off for a 31-yard run and a 24-yard run to the end zone.

“Pretty much everything was working,” Hyde said. “Our line was working. Our backs were working. Our receivers were working. Saige was on fire. It was on point tonight.”

Emmett’s defense kept Sugar-Salem and its powerful running back, Derek Ostermiller, under wraps. Ostermiller racked up 20 carries through three quarters but only had 45 yards to show for it. He finished with 175 yards and two TDs thanks to a big fourth quarter with the game already out of hand, allowing him to finish the season with 2,077 yards and 25 TDs on the ground.

“Defensively I’m proud of the guys and how they prepared,” Emmett coach Mike Schroeder said.

But after coming this far, Wilkerson said the Huskies aren’t content with being the first team to reach the state championship. They want to hang the school’s first banner.

“It just makes us more determined to win it,” Wilkerson said. “This next week of practice is going to be one of the hardest weeks of practice. So we’ve got to work hard.”

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

Local title games

5A: Rocky Mountain (10-1) vs. Mountain View (11-0), Boise area/TBD

4A: Bishop Kelly (9-2) vs. Sandpoint (8-3) at Kibbie Dome, Moscow, 2 p.m. MT Saturday

3A: Gooding (9-2) vs. Emmett (10-0) at Holt Arena, Pocatello, 4 p.m. Saturday

1A Division II: Deary (11-0) vs. Salmon River (9-1) at Kibbie Dome, Moscow, 8 p.m. MT Saturday

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