But one minute and 30 seconds was all the Spartans needed to flip the switch and regain the momentum going into halftime as Tyler Pulli pulled in a 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Spencer Labrum to give the Spartans a 22-20 lead at halftime.
That's when the turnovers started to take center stage. A sustained North Summit drive to the Spartans' 30-yard line ended when the Braves coughed up the football, a turnover that Emery eventually turned into a touchdown. In fact, North Summit head coach Devin Smith said the Braves offense had three sustained "clock-chewer" drives in the second half, but each ended with a lost fumble.
In the end, Emery walked out of Coalville with a 36-20 victory.
"It was basically a game of 'we couldn't stop them and they couldn't stop us,' but because of our turnovers, we didn't match them as far as scoring," Smith said. "It's frustrating. The kids were frustrated. It certainly wasn't because of a lack of effort. We really tried to make an emphasis on turnovers but -- they're almost contagious. It's something we've struggled with all season."
The loss dropped the Braves to 2-7 overall in 2012 and 2-5 in 2A North play. But, as Smith said, there is no time to fret because the regular season is now in the rear-view mirror for North Summit as the 2A state playoffs kick off this Friday. The Braves are scheduled to take on the Richfield Wildcats (5-4) in Richfield at 7 p.m. in the first round.
"They run a lot of different things on offense, which creates, for us, to have to prepare for a lot of different things: shotgun, power-I, pro-set split backs, and they try and do a little bit of everything, option and fly sweeps. It's like a comprehensive final at the end of the semester, but we'll be ready," he said. "We're excited for the challenge. It's like I told the seniors on Friday, 'It's a new season, but if you lose, it's over. Even though you wanted to play with urgency the whole season, you really have to play with urgency now.'"
While the job will be difficult, Smith said it's the teams that are mentally tough that end up making a run once the postseason rolls around.
"Playing mistake free would be No. 1," he said. "Also, it's a 'now or never' mentality and they have to have that mindset. If they don't give it everything they have, there may not be a tomorrow. I think those are two huge things whenever you're in the playoffs."
The Braves will have to slow down Wildcat running back Josh Henry (833 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns), quarterback Spencer Henderson (747 yards throwing, six touchdowns) and receiver Brennan Thomas (486 yards receiving, three touchdowns).
This week Smith is challenging his seniors to take over new leadership roles in practice in anticipation of the start of the postseason.
"I think they're going to have to catch that bug of urgency and help all the underclassmen understand that, because I've been a believer, as long as I've coached, that the seniors set the personality for a team and everyone else follows that," he said.