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Senior Austin Cox, on defense, scooped up a fumble and returned it back to the end zone for Manti’s second touchdown of the game. Manti went on to win convincingly, 35-7, against American Leadership Academy.

 

Templars overcome ALA with

35-7 homecoming rout

 

By Matt Harris

Staff writer

9-24-2020

 

MANTI—The Manti football team returned home in two ways last Friday.

First, they played host for their first region home game of the season. Secondly, they returned to a more familiar type of football, and with clear success.

The Templars scored all their points on the ground as they ran over American Leadership Academy, 35-7, to notch their second win of the season last Friday in front of a crowd of Manti’s faithful. The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Templars.

Senior running back Tyler Taukei’aho had a nose for the end zone, scoring three touchdowns, the first multiple-touchdown performance for Taukei’aho in a Manti jersey. Senior Austin Cox scored an offensive and defensive touchdown to round it out. Manti scored two touchdowns in the first four minutes.

“I think the kids just played with confidence and went out and had fun,” Coach Cole Meacham said. “We didn’t worry about other things.”

Meacham said he made a change to the defensive game plan this game by switching to a four-man front, and it paid huge dividends as the speed-oriented Eagles had nothing open. The Templars held ALA’s pass offense to merely 138 yards, one touchdown, and an interception on 40 pass attempts.

Taukei’aho got started early as he burst through the middle on the Templars’ second play of the game, going 40 yards to the house.

On the second play of ALA’s responding drive, Manti blitzed hard on a run play by the Eagles at the same time the handoff was fumbled. Cox scooped it up and trotted in 11 yards for another quick score and the second defensive touchdown of the year by Manti.

Cox scored again late in the first quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run, capping off a drive entirely composed of run plays and giving Manti a 21-0 lead at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, Taukei’aho struck again, this time on a 44-yard run for the score for Manti.

With the game well in hand, the Manti defense kept the Eagles at bay in the second half, not allowing a score until the very end and intercepting a pass. Sophomore Larson Pogroszewski recorded the pick when he honed in on an inside slant pass and stepped right in front of it. The Templars held the Eagles to 193 total yards, the second-lowest of ALA’s season.

Taukei’aho scored once more in the third quarter, running in from 4 yards out.

Manti’s record moved to 2-4 with a 1-0 region mark. They will travel to face Union this Friday.