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North Sanpete’s Brock Justesen breaks through the Richfield line for a big gain last Friday night. North Sanpete won the matchup 27-14.

Hawks get early scare, but then down Richfield, 27-14


By James Tilson

Sports writer



MT. PLEASANT—It wasn’t October. The full moon wasn’t out. But it sure felt like Halloween last Friday night during the first two quarters of North Sanpete football game against Richfield.

 After surviving a series of turnovers, penalties on both teams, and even a “do-over” play, the Hawks asserted control and won the game in dominating fashion, 27-14.

“It was definitely a game of trials,” said Coach Rhett Bird. “I believe we had one series that we bailed Richfield out of a third down and fourth down with penalties. Those are things we need to clean up moving forward.”

The first half had some truly strange calls. There were four turnovers in the first half alone, two for each team. On one Richfield drive, there were six penalties, four on North Sanpete and two on Richfield. And then the strangest call of all came on a play in which it appeared that a Hawk player fumbled the ball into the end zone. When the referees couldn’t decide whether the ball had crossed the plane of the end zone before the fumble, the referees simply decided to do the whole play over from the beginning.

For all of that, the Hawks still managed to take a 7-0 lead going into halftime. In the locker room, Coach Bird knew he had to get his team settled down, and eliminate mistakes. “At halftime, we told our kids that we had to control the ball. We had four possessions in the first half and ended two of them with turnovers.”

In the second half, the Hawks came out and imposed their will on the Wildcats. The Hawks began grinding away with their running game, led by Brock Justesen with a game high 118 yards on 12 carries, followed closely by Maison Burgess with 112 yards on 18 carries.

Quarterback Chance Clawson also had a very efficient night, going 6 of 9 for 57 yards with a touchdown passing, and no interception. Clawson also scored two touchdowns rushing, finishing out two long drives.

“This game was a huge confidence builder for us offensively. We have been struggling to put points on the board, but we were able to execute better in the second half,” said Coach Bird.

With the victory, the Hawks move to 2-1 in Region 3A South, tied with Juan Diego for second in the region. With games against Manti and Juab left, the Hawks are squarely in the thick of the region race.

This week is the Sanpete County rivalry game, North Sanpete versus Manti, to be played in Manti this year. After losing by only one point last year, the Hawks figure to be super ready to face the Templars this time around.

“This is a big week for us,” Coach Bird said. “We know what a rivalry game brings and we have been preparing for this game since the spring. Nothing will really change with the way that we approach this game, beside the fact that we know emotions will play a big key factor in who wins. We will be focusing on one thing this week and that is execution.”

Kickoff in Manti will be at 7 p.m.

Sophomore Templar quarterback Jax Parry, filling in for Kyle King, who has been out from injury since a game against Summit Academy, readies a pass during the team’s game against Juan Diego High on Friday. Photo CSY Kyle Parry.

Juan Diego breaks through Manti defense to defeat Templars 40-13


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor




MANTI—A stagnant first quarter for both teams didn’t keep Juan Diego High from breaking out in the second quarter and outpacing Manti for a 40-13 win on Friday.

Manti had just come off a comeback win against Juab, but has been missing their first string quarterback, Kyle King, since he was injured in a game against Summit Academy—the team currently leading the region.

Sophomore Jax Parry has been filling in for King while he recuperates.

“Jax has been doing really well,” Manti coach Cole Meacham says. “He’s been up against some tough defenses, but he’s stepped up and he’s really coachable.”

Neither team scored any points in the first quarter on Friday, but Juan Diego exploded in the second quarter with three consecutive touchdowns, one of which was an interception return. All three touchdowns were accompanied by successful kicks, leaving the score 21-0 in Juan Diego’s favor at the end of the first half.

Juan Diego would score once more, in the third quarter, before Manti’s Dallin Rasmussen ran into the endzone and his teammate Seth Cornelsen kicked the extra point.

Despite another touchdown in the fourth quarter for Manti, Juan Diego racked up more points and the game ended at 40-13.

Manti’s overall record is now 4-3, but Meacham says the season is still anyone’s game.

“Our region is still really up for grabs,” he says. “Summit Academy is in the driver’s seat, but there is still some tough games to go for everybody.”

The Templars will face local rivals North Sanpete Friday at home.  The Hawks have displayed excellent defensive stats this season, and the game should be an exciting matchup for local football fans.

“North Sanpete has a very good defense; their offense is physical and they really want to run the ball and wear you down,” Meacham says. “They want to keep their offense on the field a long time, and when the defense comes out, they do a good job making stops.”

Meacham says to combat the Hawks he wants to encourage his team’s offense to keep the ball on the field for a longer time for more sustained drives.


Bulldogs run close to American Leadership Academy, but fail 33-55


By James Tilson

Sports writer



SPANISH FORK—In what was an otherwise close contest of evenly matched teams, Gunnison Valley’s mistakes and turnovers led to the margin of victory for American Leadership Academy, 55-33.

Four Bulldog turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles led directly to four Eagles touchdowns. With a score difference of 22 points, those four touchdowns proved to be the difference between victory and defeat for the Bulldogs.

“Turnovers played a huge part in the game,” said Coach Jack Pay. “When you win the turnover battle it puts you in a place to win. But when you lose that battle, it makes it very difficult to win.”

The Bulldogs actually managed to move the ball fairly well most of the night, scoring 33 points scattered over all four quarters of the game. Quarterback Caden Madsen was having a good night, until a scary moment in the third quarter when he sustained a head/neck injury where he had to be taken from the field by ambulance. Coach Pay reports that Madsen is doing well, but the family has requested privacy at this time.

Madsen was not the only starting player missing from the team for the game. Getting close to the end of the season, injuries have depleted the ranks of the Bulldogs. “We were down players, but our team needs to have a next-man-up mentality,” Coach Pay said. “You obviously want those players on the field, because they are game-changers. When you do not have them, everyone has to step up and rally to the team.”

With the loss, the Bulldogs are 1-2 in Region 2A North, tied with ALA for third in the region. With two games to play, the Bulldogs are still in play to host a home playoff game if they can get one more region victory.

This week, Gunnison Valley hosts region foe Delta. “We match up well with Delta, but it will depend greatly on how well we recover from the bumps and bruises we have,” Coach Pay said.

Much like the Bulldogs, the Delta Jackrabbits had a tough pre-season, losing four in a row. But once the region schedule began, Delta managed two victories and moved up the rankings. “They, like us, have gotten better each week and had some injuries. It is a battle of evenly matched teams,” he said.

Kickoff at Gunnison Valley High School is at 7 p.m. Friday night.

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Manti shutout win attributed to strong running game


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor




CASTLE DALE—For the second time in four games, the Manti Templars pulled off a shutout, defeating Emery, 28-0, but this time, the Templars used a different offensive strategy than they have before.

Manti played the Spartans on Friday, Sept. 7 in Castle Dale. Last time they met, Manti won, and last week’s game was more of the same.

Instead of the powerful passing game Manti has employed so far this season, every touchdown Manti made was by a run through the offensive line. Four different athletes accounted for four separate touchdowns.

“We went into the game expecting to run the ball,” Manti coach Cole Meacham said. “We felt like we needed to establish our running game more, and then be able to throw off of that.”

Manti’s first score came with 37 seconds left in the first quarter when Jaden Sterner rushed 75 yards to the end zone. Seth Cornelsen kicked the extra point successfully.

Shortly after the third quarter began, Manti’s Dallin Rasmussen rushed 46 yards for another touchdown. Once again, Cornelsen nailed the extra point following the score.

Manti scored again in the third quarter, with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third, when Adam Christensen ran the ball into the end zone. Cornelsen once again tacked on the extra point.

To round out Manti’s four rushing scorers, Jace Miller squeezed in through the Emery defensive line for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Cornelsen came through again for the PAT.

Manti now sits at 3-1, while Emery is winless at 0-4. Manti will face Summit Academy tomorrow in the Templar homecoming game, which is also the first conference game of the season.

“We are hoping to clean up a few things, execute better and come out and play a tough game,” Meacham said.


Gunnison receiver Brandon Tucker heads up field after catching a pass from quarterback Caden Madsen.


Bulldogs end preseason with 42-7 loss to Enterprise


By Bob Bahlmann

Guest writer




ENTERPRISE—The Gunnison Bulldogs wrapped up preseason play with a 42-7 loss when they visited the Enterprise Wolves Friday.

Bulldog head coach Jack Pay knew the Wolves would be a tough matchup. “They are an excellent team,” he said. “They use a five man front and apply a lot of pressure.”

Pay felt that the Enterprise defense could be exploited. “It’s feast or famine,” he said. “We need to use our athleticism to get into their secondary.”

He added that he was looking for his team to “do what we do better,” and play mistake-free football.

Although the Wolves and Bulldogs each had four turnovers in the game, Gunnison threw an interception on the third play of the game and then they fumbled on the first play of their next possession.

The back-to-back turnovers allowed Enterprise to jump out to an early lead that they never relinquished.

Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs were forced to punt. Brandon Tucker nailed a beauty that had the Enterprise deep man backpedaling, resulting in his mishandling the ball. Gunnison’s Harley Hill recovered the loose ball, giving Gunnison hope as they took over on the Enterprise 36-yard line.

A pair of high snaps prevented the Bulldogs from capitalizing on the turnover, but on the Wolves’ next possession, Tucker read the quarterback’s eyes and was in perfect defensive position to pick off the pass. The interception evened the turnovers up at two each, but the ensuing Bulldog drive stalled out.

A 50-yard Enterprise drive gave them a 21-0 lead. With about a minute left in the first half, Gunnison got the ball back at midfield.

Bulldog QB Madsen hit Tucker, who fought his way out of bounds to stop the clock. Madsen than connected with Avery Anderson for a first down, and then found Tucker open again on the right sideline. Tucker tiptoed down the sideline, was hit at about the five, but battled his way close enough to stretch across the goal line for the only bulldog score of the game.

The Wolves used their running game to dominate time of possession. When they went to the air, the Bulldogs did a good job defending the pass. Enterprise only completed five of their 17 pass attempts.

Gunnison had some bright spots in their running game, but were largely unable to get beyond the Enterprise front line and into the secondary. The Bulldogs only netted about 30 yards on the ground.

Madsen found himself scrambling much of the night, but was still able to complete 20 of his 31 passes for 114 yards and a TD. He mixed it up well, connecting with eight different receivers.

Tucker had five catches for 42 yards, Creed Mogle also caught five for 50 yards. Anderson caught four for 26 yards.

After the game, Pay said negative plays and timely dropped balls really hurt the Bulldogs, preventing sustained drives and keeping the Bulldogs out of scoring position.

Next up for Gunnison will be the regular season opener when they host North Summit. The Braves are 0-4 on the year and earlier lost to Enterprise 42-0. This should be a great opportunity for the Bulldogs to enter league play with a 1-0 record. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Lady Badger volleyball team wins four more


By James Tilson

Sports writer



TWIN FALLS, Idaho—The Snow College volleyball team continued its hot streak by  winning four straight at the Starr Corp. Invitational last weekend.

The Badgers defeated Northwestern College (Wyo.) 3-1, Southwestern Oregon 3-0, Casper College 3-0 and Treasure Valley 3-0. With four victories last weekend, the Badgers’ overall record is 13-1.

Nonetheless, Coach Jeff Reynolds is looking for improvement from his team. “We had a nice weekend in Twin Falls,” he said. “We came together as a team and started to play to our ability. We still have a few things to work on, but we are pleased with how things turned out.”

With the weekend sweep, the Badgers rose in the national junior college rankings to No. 8. They also set a school record for the most wins through the first 14 games of a season.

Following last week’s action, the Scenic West Athletic Conference named freshman Savannah Tanner as co-defensive player of the week. This season, she is averaging 23 digs per match.

This coming weekend, the Badgers travel again, this time to New Rochelle, N.Y. In a four-match tournament, the Badgers will take on Monroe College (N.Y.), Catawba College (N.C.), Hillsborough College (Fla.) and Wallace State College (Ala.).

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Manti’s Travis Thompson, No. 12, hops over a tumbling Cowboy on his way to the end zone. Thompson and Manti QB Kyle King proved to be an effective team in the game against Grantsville, but not effective enough. Despite big plays like a 74-yard touchdown pass from King to Thompson, Grantsville came out with a 28-14 win.


Grantsville pulls away during second half in hard-fought game against Templars


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor



Manti’s Adam Huff leaps for a pass that would end up out-of-bounds during the team’s loss against Grantsville on Friday, Aug. 31.

MANTI—On paper, the Manti Templar contest with Grantsville last Friday appeared to be a two-man passing threat against a one-man rushing attack, with the Cowboys coming out ahead after three quarters of tied football to win, 28-14.

Of course, anyone who understands team sports knows that is not the case, but you could make that mistake if you were looking only at statistics. Because in a game where two teams battled neck-and-neck toward a tie that lasted halfway into the fourth quarter, the game was a showdown between the Templar combo of QB Kyle King and his teammate Travis Thompson, versus Grantsville’s seemingly unstoppable junior ball-runner, Parker Thomas.

In fact, throughout the whole game, special teams excluded, King, Thompson and Thomas were the only players putting points on the board.

Manti coach Cole Meacham said King and Thompson have been clicking together well in the games so far, and support from other players on the receiving end, such as Adam Huff, have helped the team continue to improve their passing.

Four minutes into the first quarter, Thomas ran in the first touchdown, followed up by a successful kick by Dayne Linton.

Barely more than a minute later, Manti answered back when Thompson scored after catching a 74-yard rocket launch from King. Seth Cornelsen kicked the extra point.

But the Templars were in for more trouble from Thomas in short order. Less than a minute after Thompson’s touchdown, the Cowboy galloped 67 yards in to score again. The first quarter wrapped up with Grantsville leading 14-7.

Not to be unseated from their 2-0 record so easily, with a little more than 9 minutes into the second half, Manti worked its way up the field, and King threw the ball again into the waiting arms of Thompson, followed immediately by another extra point from Cornelsen.

That is when it all ground to a screeching halt. For nearly a third of the entire game, the teams maintained a scoreless stalemate.

Meacham says the defensive plays during the stalemate were from adjusting their own defensive strategy, and a strong defense coming from Grantsville as well.

The tie would only last so long, however. Grantsville once again had Thomas to thank when he ran in another touchdown with nearly 5 minutes left in the fourth. Linton tacked on the extra point for the Cowboys.

The Templars where still hitting a brick wall offensively. They would not score again during the game, but Thomas would score one last time.

With 15 seconds to go before the game was over, Thomas pushed his way through to his fourth touchdown of the game, Linton added the final point of the night, and the Cowboys walked away the undisputed winners.

“We learned some things from this game,” Meacham said. “Grantsville’s Parker Thomas was a fantastic player with a strong offensive line to back him up. Our kids played great and with some fine tuning I think we are going to do well into the rest of the season.”

Now sitting at 2-1, the Templars will face the Emery Spartans (0-3) on Friday in an away game.


Templars accelerate through second half, beat North Sanpete decisively


By James Tilson

Sports writer



Manti High’s Ashton Wood gathers possession of the ball during the game between Manti and North Sanpete last Thursday. Manti came out on top, 5-0.

MANTI—A second half explosion put a tight game out of reach, as the Manti Lady Templars defeated the North Sanpete Lady Hawks 5-0 last Thursday in a girls soccer match at Manti High School.

Although Manti took a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Lady Templars struggled to maintain possession through to scoring opportunities. “It took us a little bit to get our groove, but we found it,” said Manti Head Coach Elishia Steinfeldt. “We came out sluggish, but we worked through it.”

In the second half, the “groove” came around for Manti. In the space of about ten minutes, the Lady Templars blew open the game, scoring four goals in quick succession. Steinfeldt said the explosion was a result of hard work by the team to keep possession as a team. “We’ve been working really hard to play possession ball, and not just force the ball down the field. We want to stay connected, and move forward as a team.”

North Sanpete Head Coach Mickel Holder admitted her team may have run out of gas in the second half, but they were also dealing with some adversity as well. “It was both physical and mental. We’ve been working on our physical training, and we’re not quite there yet. But we had four injured varsity players today, three of them starters. I was really proud of our first half effort.”

Kassidy Alder and Ally Squire both had two goals for the Lady Templars, while Jayci Jolley added on another. Goalkeeper Jentry Young maintained a clean sheet by shutting out the Lady Hawks.

Both teams have begun their region schedules. North Sanpete travels to Grand County today, and plays South Sevier and Richfield next week. Manti travels to Richfield today, and plays Grand County and Emery next week.

Gunnison Valley quarterback Caden Madsen looks for a completion against South Sevier last Friday night. The Bulldogs fell to South Sevier, 28-63.


So. Sevier runs off 23 points straight,

Bulldogs too far behind to catch up


By James Tilson

Sports writer


GUNNISON—The Gunnison Bulldogs could not overcome a horrible start against the South Sevier Rams in which the Bulldogs gave up 23 unanswered points in the first quarter on the way to a 28-63 defeat.

Center-quarterback exchange woes continued for the Bulldogs in the game last Friday, Aug. 31, as two early snaps sailed over quarterback Caden Madsen’s head, leading to a South Sevier touchdown and a safety. The Rams scored on their next two possessions and had a 0-23 lead before the first quarter was half over.

The injury bug made its appearance, too. Senior starters Thomas Yardley and Ty Hill were both sidelined before the game began, which took out two key linemen for the Bulldogs.

Gunnison Coach Jack Pay made a switch at center after the first three series in the game and had junior Brandon Tucker take over for the duration. The move settled down the offense, eliminated the bad snaps and enabled Gunnison to start putting some possessions together.

However, the Bulldogs could not find an answer for big Rams running back Tyson Chisholm. Chisholm wound up scoring six touchdowns and was a primary force for the Rams.

After starting the half behind 6-43 at half, Pay was able to make some adjustments, and his team came out with a little more fire. The Bulldogs took the opening possession and scored, and the crowd felt a little excitement. However, Gunnison was not able to stop the Ram running attack and could only keep pace with South Sevier the rest of the game.

Gunnison will travel to Enterprise this Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

North Sanpete’s Cesar Lemus digs for more yardage in the Hawks’ game against Cedar last Friday night. North Sanpete fell to Cedar, 6-14.


Hawk defense OK, but offense not on track in time


By James Tilson

Sports writer



CEDAR CITY—North Sanpete has made a point of “grinding” out its games this year, and last Friday was no different.

The Hawks limited the Cedar Redmen to only two touchdowns, but could not get their own offense on track until late in the game and ended up falling to Cedar 6-14.

“We played right with them the entire game, and moved the ball down the field like we wanted to but didn’t execute when we got into the Red Zone,” said North Sanpete Head Coach Rhett Bird.

Brock Justesen led the Hawks with 30 yards rushing, although three other Hawks had significant yards as the Hawks went with running back by committee.

The Hawks had a chance to even up the game up to the last horn, but fell just a little short. “The last drive was one that we look back on and ask ourselves if we got a little greedy. We found a rhythm there in the fourth quarter and got away from it on the last drive trying to score. We had drawn up a reverse for this game and thought it would be great to call it on fourth down to either put us in the Red Zone or score. Things weren’t executed the way they were supposed to, and it didn’t go our way. I’m proud of the way our kids competed all the way down the stretch.”

This week, North Sanpete hosts the Judge Memorial Bulldogs at North Sanpete High School, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.