Last play of the game gives Manti
dramatic win, 21-18 over Delta
By James Tilson
DELTA—The Manti High School football team scrapped past old rival Delta in one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory, by scoring the winning touchdown with only :02 seconds left in the game.
The Templars, after spinning their wheels for the entire first half, put together three consecutive drives in the second half to cap their comeback win by the score 21-18. On the winning play, quarterback Jax Parry threw a pass to the back of the end zone where only receiver Travis Thompson could get it. When Thompson hauled it in, it finished a drive that took over 8 minutes to complete, starting from their own 6-yard line.
“We felt we had time to score on the last drive as long as we could get first downs and keep the drive alive,” said Manti Coach Cole Meacham. “We still had a timeout left after we scored.”
In the first half, it looked like the Delta Rabbits would pull the upset, by controlling possession and running out the clock before the Templars could get rolling. On their first drive, Delta drove the length of the field and took nearly half the first quarter to go up 6-0.
Manti stymied the Rabbits for the rest of the half, but a bad punt gave the Rabbits the ball on the Manti 35-yard line, and set up Delta for their second touchdown.
The Templars, on the other hand, did not score in the first half at all. Their usually efficient offense shot itself in the foot several times with drive-killing penalties.
But the second half was a different game. The Templars took the opening kickoff, and methodically drove down the field for their first score, making it 7-12. After forcing a three-and-out, the Templars took over again, and did the same thing, to make it 14-12.
Delta fought back, and was able to get the lead back on its next drive, 14-18. But then, with a little more than 8 minutes left in the game, the Templars took over and began its game-winning drive.
“We are really proud of how the team came out and worked the second half,” said Meacham. “They have a lot of confidence in each other.”
It was clear the Manti coaches wanted to drain as much time from the clock as they could before they scored. The Templars took their time and methodically chewed up the clock as they worked their way down the field.
With :53 seconds left, the Templars had a first down on the Delta 20-yard line. Three plays later, they faced a fourth-and-short with :26 seconds left when they took their second time out of the half. A gutty running play gave them first down on the Delta 9-yard line, with only :14 seconds left.
Manti’s first play was an incomplete pass, giving them second down, with only :08 seconds left. That’s when Parry found Thompson end the back of the end zone for the win.
However, the drama didn’t end there. Manti kicked the ball out of bounds, giving Delta the ball at the 35-yard line and no time off the clock. Delta ran a reverse that only got to the 42-yard line and ran time off the clock. But Manti was called for a face mask penalty; that gave Delta five more yards and one last play with no time on the clock.
This time, Manti took care of business, and intercepted Delta’s pass to end the game.
This week, Manti defends its No. 1 ranking in 3A by hosting the Union Cougars this Friday night, kickoff at 7 p.m.