MANTI—Manti football took on a championship team returning nearly all its starters last Friday night, and the end result was what usually happens when taking on a championship team returning nearly all its starters.
The Templars battled early, but the Grantsville Cowboys eventually gave them more than they could handle as Manti took their first loss of the season, 37-14, at home. The Templars now stand at 2-1.
Except for a couple of sustained scoring drives, the Templars couldn’t get much done against a stalwart and experienced Grantsville defense.
“Grantsville’s a very good team, a team you can’t afford to make very many mis- takes against,” coach Cole Meacham said. “Penalties hurt us. We got in too many first-and-15 situations and couldn’t really get the offense on track.”
Penalties continued to be a concerning trend for the Templars, who have seen too many of their drives this year stall out just from getting flagged.
“We had penalties we shouldn’t be having on Week 3,” Meacham said. “Things that should have been happening in Week 1, but they shouldn’t be happening now. We’ve got to address it if we want to beat the really good teams. That’s got to be taken care of.”
Offensively, the Templars had some great moments. Senior quarterback Kayson Douglas completed 14 of 22 pass for 134 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, including one that was taken back for a score by Grantsville star defender Ethan Rainer. Ranier made life difficult for Douglas all game long.
Senior Larsen Pogroszewski led the charge at running back and finished with 95 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, an average of 5.9 yards per carry. But the Templar offense as a whole netted only 89 total rushing yards.
The Templars had a great start to the game as junior Hunter Stevens returned to the field after losing a half to a targeting call against Delta. On the very first play of the game, Stevens dove for the ball off the hands of a Grants- ville receiver and secured the interception.
Penalties killed the Templars’ first drive, and the Cowboys quickly turned it around with powerful running plays that pummeled Manti’s defense and scored the ball within a few minutes of play.
The Templars kept up the pressure, even after the Cowboys went up by 10 on a made field goal. On the ensuing drive after the kick, Douglas passed out to Pogroszewski on a draw screen, and Pogroszewski shed several tacklers en route to an impressive 23-yard touchdown.
The Cowboys owned the third quarter and began the fourth with a 31-7 lead. Rainer’s pick six off Douglas came within the first two minutes of the quarter.
“I think (Kayson) was coming out and making a read and just not seeing him,” Meacham said. “That’s one of the fastest kids in the state. He’s going to make a break on that ball.”
Meacham and the Templars knew that Grantsville, and their subsequent games on the road against Juan Diego and Morgan will say a lot about who they are this season.
“We’re feeling confident,” Meacham said. “Our kids played hard, and that’s the thing I was glad to see, even after a couple big wins, go- ing in and getting hit in the mouth, how are kids were able to react. They continued to play hard the entire game. If we fix things, and they continue to play hard, we’ll be all right.”
The Templars will travel to play Juan Diego this Friday.