Manti continues to win, has no problem with Richfield
RICHFIELD—The Manti High football team moved one step closer to post-season play last week with a convincing 45-14 victory over the winless Richfield Wildcats.
Knowing that the Templars were heavy favorites going into the game, Head Coach Cole Meacham urged his players to not look beyond the Wildcats. “I told them, ‘Don’t worry about the playoff picture. Go out there and have as much fun as you possibly can,’” Meacham said in a pre-game interview.
One player who took the advice to heart was Tanner Rasmussen. Rasmussen had a carrier game with an interception and three touchdowns.
Although Manti dominated the game, the Templars got off to a slow start, taking the opening kickoff and then fumbling the ball away two plays later.
With Richfield looking at a fourth and six on the Manti 16, Cort Olson batted down a Wildcat pass down to stop Richfield.
Manti moved the ball to midfield where Lance Fowles took the handoff on a fourth and five and got more than enough yardage for the first down. Blasting through a hole created by the offensive line, Fowles went 45 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
Richfield threatened again. This time the Wildcats were facing a third and nine on the Manti 11 when Rasmussen stepped into the passing lane for the interception.
Two plays later, Manti quarterback Marshall Dotson scrambled away from the Wildcat pressure to find Mac Stevens open for a 36-yard TD pass.
On their next possession, Dotson handed off to Rasmussen who broke through the line and outran the defense for a 77-yard touchdown.
Richfield responded with an 80-yard drive to make the score 21-7, but Rasmussen made it 28-7 with a reaching-behind, one-handed TD catch that was worthy of the highlight reel.
The Wildcats scored again near the end of the first half to make it 28-14 at the break.
Manti controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half. The varsity defense only allowed 12 yards rushing in the second half while the rest of the defense permitted only one pass completion for 11 yards.
Meanwhile, the Templars scored on a 20-yard run by Stevens and a 5-yard plunge by Rasmussen. Jorge Lemus booted an 18-yard field goal for the icing on the cake. Manti passed around the PAT chores with Lemus, Ivan Garcia and Pablo Hernandez each kicking two.
Defensively, the Templars held Richfield to 196 yards rushing and 62 passing. Michael Alder, Seni Latu, Nate Lee, Daniel Cummings and Brody Barson all had tackles for lost yardage.
Manti had 359 yards rushing and 127 passing for 486 total yards. Rasmussen had 82 yards on two carries. He scored every time he touched the ball on offense. Fowles rushed six times for 65 yards, Dotson ran six times for 61 yards, Stevens had nine carries for 61 yards, Lee ran for 18 and Olson had 10.
Dotson completed eight of 12 passes. Stevens caught four and had 80 yards, Fowles had two receptions for seven, Rasmussen and Lee each caught one for 20 yards.
This week the Templars will travel to Nephi to take on the Juab Wasps. Juab is undefeated in league play and will be the favorite in the game.