Emery Football Gears Up for the Playoffs


Alex Mintz

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, Emery’s Varsity Football team is closing in on the start of the postseason. Anytime you are practicing on Thanksgiving week, it’s always a good thing. The playoffs are upon us, and the Jags are looking to repeat as TAPPS D-1, 6-man state champions. The team led by Coach Jason Reimers lost three key players from a year ago, but they have rebounded nicely, going 6-0 in the regular season. Through all of the craziness in a shortened COVID season, Reimers has been challenged to keep everyone focused through all the noise.

When asked about this season as a whole, Reimers said, “Once we got used to it, it hasn’t been bad. We just try to tell our guys to stick to the plan, follow the protocols, and do the best they can. I think they are all just excited to be on the football field even though our get-togethers outside of football have been cancelled.”

The Jags have won the district  for the second year in a row, and had a forfeit in the first round of the playoffs due to COVID issues with the opposing team. This sets them up to face powerhouse Austin Veritas in the second round at a neutral site on December 5th. This game has been circled on the Jaguar calendar since they knew they would be on the same side of the bracket.  As Reimers said, “We have scouted them in the past, as we have matched up four times since 2016, so we knew there would be a chance we saw them.”

The Jags are very familiar with Veritas, as they were the team that knocked out the 2018 Jaguar team in the regional round of the playoffs. This game came down to the last play on special teams ending in a 2 point loss 22-20, and Reimers expects a similar dog fight this year,saying that “we don’t have to make it close, but if we don’t come out and do what we need to do, it will be a dog fight. The best thing I can tell our guys is to just stick to our motto of raising the bar.”

Reimers and the Jaguars officially have a completely healthy roster for the postseason, getting junior Conner Duffey back from an injury, and having senior Josh Blum back in action. The threat of Blum and Duffey poses issues for the opposing team on both sides of the ball as Reimers believes they “improve tremendously in the trenches, and we will have a lot more depth.” Blum has been a big get for the Jags, as he came back midway through the season once finishing his fall baseball season, and Reimers is excited to have another guy “with the championship mentality.” 

Leading the pack is second year quarterback Doran Yustein, who has had another spectacular season throwing for over 700 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Junior looks to build on his 2020 campaign heading into the postseason as he feels he can be better in all phases of his QB game, but says, “It’ll come down to making the right reads and big throws in key moments.”

The Jags will begin preparing for Veritas and will continue to do so through the Thanksgiving break.