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Manti High defenders try to corral a Grantsville Cowboy in a tough loss in front of a home field crowd last week. While the defense played well, an offensive cold streak contributed to the 28-7 setback.

Templars lose season opener to Grantsville, 28-7

 

By Matt Harris 

Staff writer

9-3-2020

 

MANTI—The Manti football team suffered a cold streak last Friday, scoring only a single touchdown in a 28-7 loss to Grantsville in one of last week’s top 3A matchups.

Senior Austin Cox scored the Templars’ lone touchdown in the loss in Manti’s home opener. It was the first time Manti has lost their home opener in four seasons.

“I feel like our offense moved the ball really well,” Coach Cole Meacham said, “but when we got down in the red zone, we just didn’t capitalize.”

The Templars and Cowboys took a few shots at each other in the first quarter with neither team able to score, although the Templars gave themselves the best opportunity. Manti rode their second drive of the game down to the 28-yard line, but a fourth-down play met a miserable end as Grantsville’s defense sacked Parry from his blind side to turn the ball over.

In the second quarter, after Manti committed yet another turnover on downs, Grantsville responded with a touchdown drive with several completions in their passing game, including a 35-yard completion on a straight route for the score.

Manti’s defense held strong before the end of the half in keeping the Cowboys out of the end zone on Grantsville’s trip to the red zone on their next drive, keeping the score 7-0 at halftime.

Grantsville’s second play out of halftime was a thunderous 36-yard run that ate up all of midfield and quickly put the Cowboys in scoring position. The Cowboys experimented with run-pass option plays and powered through several missed tackles by Manti to score again on a four-yard run for a 14-0 Cowboy advantage.

Manti responded in kind with a string of chunk plays to get up the field. Their drive nearly met heartbreak when senior Tanner Justesen fumbled on a sizable gain, but senior Austin Cox dove in to save the possession and turn what would have been good field position for Grantsville into a third-and-short for the Templars.

Two plays later on fourth down, Parry faked a handoff to Brenchley on a trick run that allowed Cox to shoot straight through the Cowboy defense for a 36-yard touchdown run.

The Templars’ joy was short-lived as Grantsville responded in kind with another run-heavy drive that went all the way to the end zone to maintain the Cowboys’ two-score lead.

Manti nearly responded again on the back of a big run from senior Tyler Taukei’aho down to the eight-yard line, but a handful of miscues and negative plays forced the Templars out of scoring range. On fourth-and-goal from the 12-yard line, Parry’s pass attempt to the end zone was batted down for a third turnover on downs for Manti.

Grantsville hammered the final nail in Manti’s coffin in the final minute of the game. Parry went for a pass over the right side of the scrimmage, but it was tipped to the sky and landed in the hands of a Grantsville linebacker who took it all the way back for one last score.

The Cowboys managed 176 yards of offense from running the ball.

“I felt our defense played fairly well,” Meacham said. “We had to change some things up…they ran the ball better than I had expected watching them on film. I felt our kids’ effort was there.”

The Templars moved to 1-2 on the season. They will face a rivalry matchup with Juan Diego at home this Friday. While Juan Diego is currently 0-3, Meacham knows the Soaring Eagles will be ready to play.

“We need to just come out and focus on this week and have a good week of practice,” Meacham said.