GRANTSVILLE—Typically, 15-0 leads in football wouldn’t start before the winning team has put the offense on the field yet.
In the case of Manti’s 42-14 crushing loss to Grantsville last Friday, the Cowboys did just that against the Templars with two special team touchdowns in the first quarter. The Cowboys led 42-0 at halftime before sending in the backups for most of the second half.
“We just had some mistakes and it snowballed,” said Coach Cole Meacham. “That’s about the best way to put it.”
Junior quarterback Kayson Douglas had a rough day under center, completing 5 of 12 passes for a paltry 28 yards with an interception. Junior Larsen Pogroszewski led all rushers with 11 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown, most of it in the second half. Senior A.J Cox had the other touchdown as part of a 29-yard effort on nine carries.
The Templars moved to 1-2 on the season and have lost two straight.
Grantsville’s first score came on a punt return for 52 yards. Then on Manti’s ensuing possession, the Templars’ punt was blocked and returned for Grantsville’s second touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, the Cowboys regained possession and scored again on a 39-yard pass over the top of the defense for a 22-0 lead.
In case anyone was wondering if Grantsville could move the ball on offense normally, they then completed an eight-play, 68-yard drive for their fourth touchdown of the game in the second quarter. They then turned their next possession into another long drive, culminating in a touchdown pass to the right pylon on third down.
Manti’s next drive was another punt, and it was again returned for a touchdown, this time for 76 yards, giving Grantsville a 42-0 lead, the largest Manti deficit since facing Pine View in 2017, and one that mercifully lasted until the halftime whistle blew.
“It got everybody shell-shocked,” Meacham said. “Something like that happens, everybody gets a ‘deer in the headlights’ look for two minutes, and you just have to try to regroup and put it back together.”
The second half showed that while Manti was clearly outmatched against the Cowboys for the night, the Manti starters were at least better than the Grantsville bench, as the Templars put together two scoring drives. Pogroszewski got the Templars on the board late in the third quarter, following his goal line blockers to a patch of open real estate in the end zone.
Cox gave the Templars their second touchdown in the final minutes of the game with a 6-yard carry through a few tacklers up the left side.
“If we come back and work, we can look ourselves in the eye at the end of the night,” Meacham said. “If we come out curled up, that’s going to be hard to do.”